On the brink of playoff elimination, the most prolific goal-scorer in the NHL has been called out by his coach.
Frustrated by his club’s lack of effort in Tuesday night’s 5-0 rout at home to the Dallas Stars, Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates singled out a few players for their lackadaisical approach, but no one will feel the heat as sharply as Alex Ovechkin.
“Ovie quit on the play coming back,” Oates told the Washington Post Wednesday, regarding Dustin Jeffrey’s third-period goal. Dallas forward Ray Whitney “forced [the play] down the ice, and just goes to show you you’ve got to hustle the entire time, the whole entire time.”
As the play shifted down-ice toward the Capitals’ goal, Ovechkin “stops the wheels,” as the colour commentator points out, and failed to check Whitney, who drove to the slot and set up the goal:
Adam Oates said Dmitry Orlov and Mike Green both 'relaxed' on goals by Stars Tuesday night. Green a minus-3. #CapitalsTalk
— Chuck Gormley (@ChuckGormleyCSN) April 2, 2014
Washington sits just two points behind Detroit and Columbus in the Eastern Conference wild card race but has dropped four straight.
A minus-2 on Tuesday, Ovechkin now has the worst plus/minus in the NHL; his minus-36 ranks him 861st. And although the forward easily leads the NHL in goals with 48, he failed to score an even-strength point in the entire month of March.
“It doesn’t make any sense to me. It blows my mind,” Capitals-turned-Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau told Hockey Central at Noon Wednesday. “Coaching Alex for four years, he was always in the plus-30s or plus-40s.”
Ovechkin’s plus/minus under Boudreau actually dipped as low as plus-8 (2008-09) and soared as high as plus-45 (2009-10).
“He didn’t get an even-strength point in March. That’s pretty mind-boggling for the amount of ice time he plays,” Boudreau said. “Watching the game last night, I felt really bad for him. He looked real frustrated.”
Former coach Bruce Boudreau talks Ovechkin on HC @ Noon: