A day after the Capitals were swept from the playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Alex Ovechkin admitted that, throughout the course of the 2010-11 season, “most of the time I was hurt.”
Neither Ovechkin nor Coach Bruce Boudreau or General Manager George McPhee offered specifics on the star winger’s specific ailments but one is believed to have been a nagging knee injury that required minor surgery and forced him to miss three games in March.
Asked what the worst injury was, Ovechkin remained mum.
“I can’t say that,” he said. “Again, it was something that was what I have almost two months. I play with it and I miss a couple games just for recovery. I think, again, the trainers do unbelievable job; they put me back in the game so I’m standing here, I’m healthy, I’m happy.”
Ovechkin didn’t cite the ailments as the main reason for the lowest offensive numbers of his career (32 goals and 85 points). Instead, Ovechkin brought up his training and the fact that he spent most of the season focused solely on the postseason.
“No,” Ovechkin said when asked if the injuries impacted his offensive production. “I think all year I just want to be ready for the playoffs and I was starting like in the middle [of] my shape and I get better for the end of the year. I feel pretty good about myself in playoffs the last months before playoffs. I don’t know if I’m going to do the same next year, but again it’s something to think about.”
“I’m going to think about whatever I’m going to do in the summer,” Ovechkin continued. “Maybe I’m gonna go back to my old, old coach when I was 15, 16. We’re going to see.”
Ovechkin declined to name the former coach he hoped to reconnect with. The Capitals’ 25- year-old captain said several times that he wants to find new ways to improve as a player, including adjustments to his training regimen.
“I’m at a time where I want to be better and better. So, I don’t want to stop finding the right way to be better,” Ovechkin said. “Probably [for] next year I’m going to talk to him, I’m going to call him. I’m going to talk to him and ask can I practice with them, can I be with them, because he’s probably going to be busy, too… It’s going to be new for me because I don’t want to stop. I want to keep growing up like a player, like a person too.”