Continued from page 1

The challenge for the next coaching staff is to keep that momentum going, earn enough of Ovechkin’s trust to make him at least a passable presence in his own end and hope the new GM finds a way to improve Washington’s blueline depth, which was a glaring weakness in 2013-14.

“The criticism goes unfairly,” Patrick said. “[It is] tilted towards him when we’re not winning because people are saying ‘Well, you’ve got Alex Ovechkin, how come you haven’t won a Cup?’ It does take a team. It takes 20 guys. But how can be unhappy with what Alex Ovechkin’s accomplished and continues to accomplish in the National Hockey League?”