Alex Ovechkin hasn’t consistently looked like his former two-time MVP self for nearly two years now, but the Capitals captain says he thinks his game is coming back around.
“Of course the personal stats are important and my numbers, it's good but it's not that good,” Ovechkin told reporters at Kettler Capitals Iceplex this morning. “Again, the last probably 10 games I feel pretty good. I feel like my game is coming back, my shot is coming back. I feel I move pretty well. So, it's coming back, and I'll be there.
“The most important thing right now is the team results,” he continued. “The team wins a couple games and loses a couple of games. We just have to find the balance of win five, lose one, something like that and we'll be OK.”
After the jump, read more of Ovechkin’s comments from his brief interview session ahead of tonight’s clash with the Penguins:
Q: Your shot total is down again this season. Do you need to shoot more?
A: Yeah, of course, but you don't have to shoot more from red line to get shots on net. If I have opportunity to get shots on net, I shoot it. But, the last two games, if I am in front of the net, I look to find my partners again and that kind of stuff I have to go away from.”
Q: Did the last two games take some of the luster off from the way things were going the seven or eight games before that?
A: The last two games, they were pretty bad, but again if I use my chances, what I have, maybe it's going to be a different game. But, I didn't score, so it's a situation where you just have to forget about those kind of games, know what you can do out there and do it.
Q: What about tonight’s game and needing a win with Pittsburgh in town?
A: Of course, it's a big rivalry. Of course, they lost a couple of good players, leaders for their team. But, we lost our leaders, too. So, it's going to be a pretty good battle. It's always an interesting game, Capitals against Pittsburgh.
Q: Are you feeling the pressure of needing to return to your old level?
A: You know what, it's a situation when you go way high, and if you don't have those kinds of numbers people think, ‘Okay he's done, he don't care about his personal stats, he don't care about nothing. He just go there, and if he score, he score.’
But, I'm not that kind of person. I don't put my head down and say, 'OK, you guys, you won, I don't want to score goals and I don't want to play with my emotions.' I do my best. Again, sometimes when I have opportunity to shoot the puck in front of the net I have to shoot it, and I have to see those goals and don't find my partners in front of the net. Sometimes I have to find them, but sometimes you have to shoot it and put pucks in the net.
Q: Because of where you guys are in the standings right now, do you look at it and say, ‘The pressure is on now’?
A: The second half is the most important games of the year. You want to be in playoffs and you never know what is going to happen in the last games so you have to take some points now. You don't put it in the box and say we're going to take our chances. You have to win and you have to take all the pressure from your shoulders and put everything out there on the ice.
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