Q: Alex Ovechkin is not producing the way he historically does. How big of a factor is this in the Capitals' disappointing start?
A: You ask any player to be the same player they were years ago, and it's tough. Everyone tries to do their best. Everybody goes through rough patches. He needs to produce, just like the rest of us. That's the bottom line. I don't know if there's any added pressure on Alex. But he needs to produce just like the rest of us.
Q: Is it safe to say that your entire team, not just Ovechkin, needs to start playing better for the Capitals to turn around their fortunes after such a surprisingly bad start?
A: Oh, yeah, absolutely. It has to trickle down. Absolutely. It starts with those guys (Washington's highest-paid players), including myself. We play the most minutes. We need everyone to chip in, though. Teams are so good at shutting down top lines in the NHL right now. It makes it tough. We just need to keep working hard and find a way to turn this thing around.
Q: Even though the Capitals are off to a rough spot, you look healthier than you've been in a quite a while. Do you feel better now than you have in a while?
A: I feel good. I feel really good. It's been a while since I was able to play the game injury free. You know, it's just kind of a relief to be able to play the game the way I feel like I'm capable of. I'm feeling good. I'm trying to contribute as best as I can. I'm just working hard and playing (new coach Adam Oates') new system.
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