Penguins defensemen Orpik, Scuderi discuss shutting down Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin has scored more than 400 goals in nine seasons.
He has 22 in 32 games against the Penguins.
His Washington Capitals return Wednesday to Consol Energy Center, and he will try to shoot through a slump in which he has produced five goals in his past 12 games against the Penguins.
To figure out what works against Ovechkin, the Tribune-Review went to a couple of Penguins expert sources:
• Defenseman Brooks Orpik is in his fourth season of being primarily deployed against Ovechkin at even strength. The Penguins have held Ovechkin to two even-strength goals.
• Defenseman Rob Scuderi earned high grades from Penguins coaches — and, ultimately, a lucrative free-agent contract from Los Angeles — for his work against Ovechkin in a 2009 playoff series against the Capitals. Ovechkin went without a goal in two of the final five games, four of which the Penguins won.
Orpik: “The only time you can really have success is if you have a good gap on him and get him early in the neutral zone. If you let him get that head of steam, he backs you off, and then, you're in a lot of trouble.”
Scuderi: “It's a cliche, and it's boring, but you have to try and take away time and space. Otherwise, he can get that wicked shot off. He's got great hands, a good toe-drag, every move that somebody can possibly have. You've just got to get in his face and not give him room to move.”
Orpik: “When we played against him and (former Capitals winger Alexander Semin) — both of them have that ability, even if you think you have a good stick on them, they can shoot the puck from behind their feet. That makes it really tough to block, and then, they use you as a screen, too.”
Scuderi: “I'm sure he might get frustrated, but I don't think his game shows it. He just tries the same stuff. He's an elite player with a high-revving motor, and he just keeps coming.”
Orpik: “It helps (practicing against) our two guys (Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin). It's not always a lot of fun, but there aren't a lot of guys that can do more than those two guys. You don't always win those battles, but going against them helps all of our defensemen when we face other great players. Especially the younger guys.”
Scuderi: “I always just let somebody play his game. As a younger guy, you find out real quick against a player of that caliber what he's capable of, what he can do. If something should happen, you just don't worry about it. You learn that as you get older.”
Orpik: “Winning. Of course, the more quality chances (Ovechkin) gets, that's probably less of a chance that we'll win the game, so…”
Scuderi: “He's Alex Ovechkin. Most likely he's going to get a chance or two. You can do everything right — positional, gap-wise, everything — and you still can be made to look silly and one ends up in the back of your net. You just have to be confident that you're sticking with the right game plan. That's what I think about.”
Orpik: “Don't give him the blue line. If you do that, you're in trouble.”
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 notebook: Lovejoy says individual play is problematic
- Starkey: Tracing the Penguins’ demise
- Rossi: This type of hockey is a serious problem
- Penguins notebook: Neutral zone play key against Crosby, Malkin
- Penguins believe they can shift momentum with win in Game 5
- Bettman: World Cup team could train at Lemieux facility
- Rossi: Rutherford falling apart, too
- Starkey: Vanilla Mike too polite on officiating
- Penguins notebook: Top power play still without a goal in series with Rangers
- Broken play seals Rangers win in OT
- Rossi: Rutherford falling apart, too