- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Alex Ovechkin’s postgame tirade might have cost him an iPod on Saturday night, but he wasn’t all that upset about it yesterday after practice.

It was, after all, just one of three he owns — and it was an old one.

On a more serious note, his stick- and MP3 player-smashing tantrum came after another frustrating loss for a Washington Capitals team that has had far too many of them of late.

“We lose the game; I was just [ticked] off,” Ovechkin said. “It was not whole season, just this game and that’s it. I always look forward. It happened and it was just emotion and it happens with lots of players.”

The Caps have lost six straight and 15 of 17 games, but Saturday night in Tampa, Fla., was particularly painful for this struggling group. Washington was down 2-1 late in the second period to Tampa Bay when Alexander Semin inexplicably picked up the puck while sitting on the ice and threw it down.

He earned a penalty for his actions, the Lightning quickly capitalized and the Caps never recovered. The players held an impromptu meeting after the game that was a precursor to Ovechkin’s outburst.

“When you are going like we are from a young group who started this a couple years ago in quest of a Stanley Cup, along the way there are going to be things like this,” Caps coach Glen Hanlon said. “Everybody’s frustrated from Olie [Kolzig] on out. We are all competitive people and Ovie might be the most competitive.

“How can you sit and praise Alexander Ovechkin for being passionate and having fun and being emotional and then when he gets caught being mad … I appreciate the fact that he has stayed so competitive right down to the end. I would be very disappointed if he just took his equipment off after every game and said, ‘This is OK. Let’s just finish these games up and get ready for the world championships.’ ”

After an off day and yesterday’s practice, the Caps can put Saturday night behind them with a win against the Florida Panthers tonight at Verizon Center. Florida bested Washington in overtime Friday night in Sunrise, Fla., and has won five straight games against the Caps.

As for any lingering bad feelings from the postgame talk?

“We came with a great outlook today and had a great practice,” Kolzig said. “It’s water under the bridge.”


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