Penguins notebook: Ovechkin stumped by his struggles
WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin cannot figure it out.
Not the reason his Washington Capitals are struggling with two wins in nine games. Not his personal struggles while adjusting to life as a right winger after spending seven previous NHL seasons on the left side.
What Ovechkin, a two-time MVP, cannot fathom is why so many players who spent the lockout in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League — considered the second-best league — are failing to dominate this season.
“Maybe it's just different hockey, different size of (the) ice, but it's kind of surprising because you can see lots of guys have lots of points and goals, and I'm standing here with only (four) points,” Ovechkin said Sunday before the Capitals' 6-3 loss to the Penguins at Verizon Center. “It's embarrassing.”
Entering Sunday, Detroit center Pavel Datsyuk had the most points (10 in eight games) of those who played in the KHL.
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, the KHL's second-leading scorer when he returned from Metallurg Magnitogorsk, recorded two assists against the Capitals and has 12 points in nine games. He said adjusting to the smaller NHL rink surfaces is more difficult than anticipated.
“In Russia, you have a puck in the corner, (and) you know you have room to make something,” Ovechkin said. “Behind the net is the same. Here, everything is smaller, faster. It's kind of different.”
• Capitals veteran defenseman Tom Poti replaced John Erskine, who served the first game of a three-game suspension. The Penguins made no lineup changes following a win Saturday against New Jersey.
• The Penguins went 2 for 3 on the power play at Washington and are 3 for 12 (25 percent) on their three-game winning streak. They were 1 for 14 (7.1 percent) in losing three of four games from Jan. 23-29.
• Goalie Tomas Vokoun, on the bad-bounce goal in the second period at Washington: “(It happened) once, in Chicago about 12 years ago, and I remember it really good. They're rare, but it happens. Thankfully we won. That game in Chicago we lost. This doesn't feel as bad.”
— Rob Rossi
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins confident Pouliot will be healthy, ready for camp
- Penguins GM insists new coach Johnston was no afterthought
- Penguins goalie Fleury likely to enter season without new contract
- Penguins coach says team needs to ‘lessen the load’ on Crosby
- Pens’ Johnston hopes to `lessen the load’ for Crosby
- Penguins alumni rally to help Mitch Wilson, who is fighting ALS
- Rossi: Time with Penguins taught Bylsma importance of stability