Alex Ovechkin spoke with reporters late Wednesday afternoon once he wrapped up an interview with Jim Rome. Here is a partial transcript of his comments about the Capitals’ lackluster play, bag skate and battle drill practice, Mike Knuble’s comments and more.
Q: What did you think of the skate?
“It was hard. But it’s Bruce’s decision, if he say we have to do it we going to do it. I think he just try to make a wakeup call for us; I think couple games we didn’t play hard and we didn’t battle so I think it’s kind of wake up call.”
Q: Hardest skate you’ve had since you’ve been here?
“Yeah probably. For me personally it’s hard but if we didn’t play hard and Bruce thinks it’s gonna help, we’ll see.”
Q: At what point is it up to players to police themselves and hold everyone accountable?
“I think we try do our best, but sometimes it happens. Last couple games, I think we play great against Carolina and against New York Islanders we stop playing after first period and right now you can see how we play against Dallas. We can’t be continue like this.”
Q: Do players need to call each other out privately, in the room among themselves?
“I don’t think it’s that kind of moment right now that we have to have meeting with group. We only lost two games. It’s not like four or five games we didn’t play hard. I don’t think it’s the kind of moment for us to make something like talk to each other, think we all understand what we have to do and how we have to play.”
Q: Is it important to have commitment to pay attention to details this early in the season?
“We all understand what we have to do. Sometimes we just didn’t win the battle, you stay too long on the ice and you don’t have the energy to play more intensively in the defensive zone, but again, Bruce tell us what we have to do, we just have to do it if we want to have success.
“Sometimes you just cant do it because you don’t have energy at all because you play over minute, minute-ten on the ice and you’re stuck in your zone so you kind of bad situation.”
Q: Does it resonate in the room when a veteran player makes comments like Knuble did?
“Everybody want to say what they have to say. If I want to say we play like clowns, I’m going to say it. I think we are play like clowns last night because we don’t have any effort; we play only I think a couple minutes well, after that we just give them everything that they want.”
Q: Can comments like that be motivation?
“I think motivation we lost. It’s not just all about words to say something like if we’re going to see some fans going to say something like we’re clowns, play like a group of idiots, it’s not going to be motivation for us. It’s just motivation like we’re losing right now.”