Coach Dale Hunter said Tuesday that he intends to have individual meetings with every player on the Capitals’ roster, including Alex Ovechkin. The pair hasn’t held a one-on-one meeting yet, but they’ve done plenty of talking on the ice.
During the morning skate, Hunter had conversations with Ovechkin before, after and during the team’s work on the power play to make sure they were on the same page. Hunter knows that while the Capitals’ success hinges on the team playing well as a group, it also relies heavily on finding a way to reinvigorate Ovechkin.
Since Ovechkin was named captain in January 2010, many have questioned whether the star left wing and face of the franchise was suited for that role. General Manager George McPhee was even asked on Monday whether Hunter would have the option to remove the captaincy from Ovechkin. “That’s not going to happen,” McPhee said.
On Tuesday, Hunter was asked about the type of captain he was and if he could see Ovechkin following in that mold.
“There’s always different captains. I didn’t score 50 goals, either,” Hunter said. “A lot of captains in the league lead on the ice by playing hard, hitting people and scoring goals and some are more vocal in the dressing room. Everybody has to be their own type of captain and be a leader that way.”
So what type of captain do Hunter and the Capitals need Ovechkin to be?
“He’s got to be a big part of the game every night if we intend to win,” Hunter said. “Plus the other guys too but he’s got to be a big part in the dressing room he’s got to give these guys confidence.”