“You know, I don’t understand this. This guy is a horse,” Cherry said during Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada. “If I had this guy, coaching this guy, he would never come off the power play. I would double-shift him.”
Capitals coach Barry Trotz came under fire this week after Ovechkin was credited with just 15:08 of ice time in Game 3, which Washington lost 4–3 in overtime.
“You know when you play hockey, you gotta play a little tired,” Cherry said. “This guy’s not playing tired.”
Ovechkin played 24:35 in Game 2, which went to double overtime. He logged 19:52 of ice time in Game 1.
Cherry added that his own approach is shared by European coaches. “This guy would play 25 minutes,” he said.
Ovechkin himself said after Game 3 he didn’t care about his ice time. “I think I play good minutes,” he remarked. “Again, right now it’s not about my ice time and what I’m doing right now out there.”
But Cherry is confident the Russian winger would agree with his stance.
“If he heard me talking right now he’d give me a hug because he’s a horse!” Cherry exclaimed. “He’s gotta play, and you know that.”