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Teammates appreciate that kind of talk, Alzner said, though several players said they didn’t notice Ovechkin’s ice time. Keith Aucoin on Monday night had to look at the stat sheet to even know how much he played.

Buying into equal opportunity ice time, based on game situations and more, is part of Hunter hockey.

“Everybody right now just doesn’t care. Just go out there and play, work hard. Dale’s going to reward you,” Alzner said. “He knows when guys are going, when guys aren’t. Even when certain guys need to be played more than others regardless of if they’re going or not.”

Ovechkin knows what he has to do in order to get going and earn more ice. “Just score the goals,” he said. “Score goals, and play safely. When you play safely, the team and the coaches have trust in you.”

Hunter did double-shift Ovechkin during the regular season, when he played more than 26 minutes twice. But when that trust is lacking and the Caps are thinking defense first, Ovechkin finds himself plastered to the bench more often than would ever be expected for one of the NHL’s biggest stars.

“That’s the way it is,” Knuble said. “I guess they can talk about it this summer after the season and figure it out. For now, it’s working and we’re going to run with it.”