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According to Oates, it won’t be as much of a turnaround as Ovechkin getting rewarded for strong play. The coach in recent weeks cited how many times the $9 million winger touched the puck.

Thursday night, Ovechkin couldn’t cash it. As he said, “Teammates see it.” Saturday afternoon, teammates saw Ovechkin getting touches and making the most of his chances.

“He’s a good player. He’s going to find ways to score,” right wing Troy Brouwer said. “He’s got to make sure that he’s working hard and he’s working for his opportunities, and then he’s dangerous. When he’s not working for those opportunities and looking for someone else to do it, then he’s not as effective.”

That’s where Elias’ view of team vs. individual success comes in. This system, which Oates borrowed from Devils coach Peter DeBoer, can play into Ovechkin’s strengths.

“It’s fun. And you experience something special with your teammates and it doesn’t take away your stats,” Elias said. “It makes it a lot harder for the other teams to play against. You don’t waste energy. You use energy for the right place, right things. And he’ll be fine.”

But it’s an ongoing development. Even as Ovechkin grows more comfortable on right wing and figures out the angles, opposing defenses will try to adapt.

That’s why Oates spends time at practice working with Ovechkin on shooting lanes and more.

“Talking about every little nuance,” Oates said. “We are becoming football where there’s not a single second of the game that isn’t being analyzed.”

If Ovechkin scores six goals every seven games, he’ll be analyzed more even as the rest of the NHL marvels at his progress. But at that point, he’ll have to remember Oates‘ advice about the other important things in hockey.

“You’ve got to be a complete player and you’ve got to grow as a player and you’ve got to get better,” Oates said, “and he’s no different than everybody.”