But in last year’s playoffs, Ovechkin saw as his ice time dip as low as 13 minutes and 36 seconds, even as he was scoring goals and helping the Washington Capitals win. That was under Dale Hunter, who put an emphasis on defensive play and leaned on the likes of Jay Beagle and Brooks Laich late in playoff games rather than Ovechkin.
And it’s not just about being there to talk, something Oates said is key to his style with all of his players. It’s about understanding how a star player’s mind works.
“Coaches that never [were stars], they don’t understand Ovechkin. Like Dale Hunter. How is Dale Hunter ever going to understand what’s inside the mind of Ovechkin? He can’t. Adam Oates can,” said Hull, who scored more than a third of his career goals with Oates as his linemate. “He understands the mind of a superstar scorer and the ego that goes with it and what it takes to satisfy that ego. And the ego I’m talking about isn’t a bad thing; it’s a hunger within that guy.”
Managing that and channeling it is part of what Oates was brought here to do. He coached alongside Peter DeBoer with the New Jersey Devils last year as Ilya Kovalchuk scored 23 more points than the previous year and became a better all-around player.
“We thought that that would be important, we thought that Adam’s going to be a terrific communicator with the club, collectively and individually, but he’s certainly going to be able to relate to the star player,” general manager George McPhee said. “Adam, he’s going to have a great relationship with all the players, but in particular really get along well with the top guys.”
Ovechkin said the most important thing with Oates is “trust.” Because he’s comfortable with his new coach, the 27-year-old is trying to make the switch to right wing after spending the vast majority of his career on the left side.
The team’s hope is that Ovechkin returns to all-world form from earlier in his career, when he was a 50-goal scorer. In a 48-game season that would equate to roughly 30 goals, a nice goal to shoot for in Oates‘ system.View Entire Story
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
By Jay Sekulow
The left's outrage over the IRS turns to a plea to 'move on'
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Things to do, places to go, new spots to enjoy with friends and family from Norfolk to Washington, D.C., to Delaware and all points inbetween.
Take a look at our pet friendly reviews and travel tips or find the best vacation deals and activities compiled by the The Washington Times Communities experts.
Empowering mind/body/spirit and health dialogue along with cutting-edge, conscious social, political, and world commentary with Adam Omkara. Join the Evolution!
Richard Ivory, editor-in-chief of Hip Hop Republicans and HHR at Communities Digital News, turns his interests, and pen, to the people making news today.
World's Ugliest Dog Contest
Spelling Bee finale
Marines train Afghan soldiers
Rolling Thunder 2013
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal