The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Barry Trotz calls Alex Ovechkin’s recent rash of penalties ‘unacceptable’

(Molly Riley/Associated Press)

Alex Ovechkin’s slashing minor in the second period of Monday night’s game against the Buffalo Sabres marked his fifth minor penalty in the Washington Capitals’ past three games. With Ovechkin leading the team in minor penalties with 11 and penalty minutes with 22, Coach Barry Trotz has seemingly had enough.

“Unacceptable,” Trotz said. “He’s the leader. He can’t take those penalties. You’ve got to be on the right side. I’m going to address it harshly with him tomorrow. There’s way too many of that. If you’re working, then you don’t need to do that. We’re going to address that.”

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Six of Ovechkin’s minor penalties have been for slashing, and teams have scored on two of those. Ovechkin slashed Jordan Staal in Carolina and then Staal scored on the ensuing power play. On Saturday night, Ovechkin slashed Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman, and Hedman setup Nikita Kucherov’s goal on the resulting power play. Washington lost both of those games.

After the Capitals’ loss to the Lightning, Trotz was critical of Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom for taking the team’s three penalties, and he said they got some redemption by delivering a power-play goal to tie the game in the third period.

“They’ve got to stay out of the box,” Trotz said. “I need them on the ice. We’ll talk about it for sure.”

After being one of the most disciplined teams to start the season, the Capitals have taken the sixth-most minor penalties in the league in their last 11 games with 47.