For years, the Caps’ party line has mostly been that reports of Alex Ovechkin’s hard-charging off-ice lifestyle were exaggerated, although Olie Kolzig sang a slightly different tune last winter.
“For Alex, it’s a work ethic,” Kolzig said then. “He just has to get back to being the way he was in his younger days and maybe not get wrapped up too much in the rock star status that comes with being Alex Ovechkin.”
Well, maybe Kolzig wasn’t the only one who felt that way. GM George McPhee was on ESPN 980’s The Sports Fix this week, and Thom Loverro asked the GM how No. 8 looks physically.
“He looks really good to me,” McPhee said. “He’s probably 230, which is usually where we like him, and he’s been playing [overseas].”
Then Loverro asked about No. 8’s mental state.
“I think there’s a maturity about Alex that we haven’t seen before,” McPhee said. “And it may be he’s 27 now, but he’s also engaged. And he’s not going to be living the way he used to live. And that’s ok with us.”
“Women,” Loverro said with a sigh. “What are you gonna do?”
“You know, why should he be happy?” McPhee quipped. “Get married.”
The next day, Adam Oates was on with ESPN 980’s Sports Reporters, and he was asked about reaching Ovechkin.
“I really think that the biggest thing for me is to let Alex know that I respect who he is and what he’s accomplished and what he’s done for this franchise, and to earn his trust,” the coach said. “As a team, we’ve got to win games, and he’s got to believe in me, that I have his back. And you know what? That is definitely one of my goals. Because he is the focal point of this franchise. Everybody knows that. And I’m gonna do my best to make sure that he succeeds.”