A popular thing to write about Alex Ovechkin this week is that he’s newly mature.

From Wise:

“Sometimes I was so shy to say something when I was younger,” he says. “But right now I’m 27 and next year I’m going to be 28 and it’s time to grow up for me. The captaincy, I know Backie going to support me, Greenie going to support me, others going to support me. I work hard at communication now because I know if they don’t understand me, it can go the other way….

“I’m grown man,” he adds. “I’m not like anymore 20-year-old guy who listen to everybody and what fan says every day — to take all the pressure from me. I’m growing up. The teammate and coaches is the most important people I want to hear critical [things from].”

From the New York Times:

Ovechkin, perhaps spurred by past playoff shortfalls, has grown more mature, the veteran forward Jason Chimera said.

“I think you eventually know how little time there is to win in this league,” Chimera said.

“And as every year passes, you kind of look back and say, ‘Oh, maybe I ruined another chance.’ I think a lot of times you look back and think you got to get going and you need to win now. And that was the big key, I think. That maturity, it shows.”

Perreault added that Ovechkin’s off-ice preparation had also improved.

“He shows up a little earlier for practice and stuff,” Perreault said. “But, I mean, he does his own thing. It’s Ovie.”

Indeed. Also, sometimes his own thing is bobbing his head along with Drake’s “Started From the Bottom” while riding around with his girlfriend and assorted pals.

(First blogged by RMNB.)