Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Updated: February 16, 5:00 PM ET
Ex-Cap: Alex Ovechkin upset by play
ESPN.com news services
Washington superstar Alex Ovechkin is in the midst of a down year, and former Capitals goaltender Olaf Kolzig suggests the captain is too wrapped up in his "rock star status."
"He just has to get back to being the way he was in his younger days and maybe not get wrapped up too much in the rock star status that comes with being Alex Ovechkin," Kolzig, currently an associate goaltending coach with the Capitals, told the Washington Post.
Kolzig believes another part of Ovechkin's struggles is the absence of Nicklas Backstrom. Backstrom has been out since early January after sustaining an elbow to the head.
Ovechkin has 44 points so far this season, 23 of them goals. He tallied 32 goals last season, after scoring a combined 171 from 2007-10.
"I think a lot is frustration," Kolzig told the Post. "Obviously he's not scoring at the clip he's accustomed to. Part of that is not having Nicky Backstrom in the lineup. Alex -- and I think I'm seeing it a little more with Dale behind the bench -- Alex was getting away from playing the hard, no-nonsense, honest type of hockey, exuberant hockey that he displayed the first three years that he was in the league.
"I think that's what endeared him to everybody. Then all of a sudden he was the same Alex, he was celebrating certain ways and what endeared him to everybody now made him look like a villain.
"So, I think part of it is he's feeling a little not as loved as he used to be, he brings that on himself sometimes. But I think obviously missing Nicky, it hurts. Teams have kind of got a handle on him, maybe how to close the gap on him and not allow him to score those fantastic one-on-one goals that he used to score."