Alex Ovechkin: "It was a tough series"
Alex Ovechkin said he believes the Capitals were good enough to win the Stanley Cup this year and that Henrik Lundqvist is the reason they’re not getting ready to face the Boston Bruins in the second round of the playoffs.
Speaking with reporters Tuesday before leaving to play for his native Russia in the World Hockey Championships in Finland and Sweden, Ovechkin said Lundqvist’s back-to-back shutouts in Games 6 and 7 proved to be the difference in the Rangers' seven-game series victory over the Caps.
“I felt like this group of guys could do lots of good things this year, but unfortunately, we lost,” Ovechkin said “Almost one guy beat us. Of course they have a good team. They have great players, a great defensive team. But the goalie out there was unbelievable. It was like he was best in the league.”
Here are some other highlights of Ovechkin’s interview with reporters. We'll have a full transcript coming later.
On being judged by wins and losses: “Winning gives you everything. Nobody remembers losers. Everybody remembers winners. We’re in that kind of position where we’re bad, but that’s why when you’re growing up you have to move. I think we’re going to do lots of work this summer and I hope this group of guys sticks together.”
On his thoughts on why the Rangers had 28 power plays to the Capitals’ 16 in the seven-game series: “That’s not my call. I don’t skate with a whistle. I skate with a stick. My job is to play the game and somebody else’s job is to look at the game and make decisions. … I said everything last night.”
On lessons that can be learned from this season: “Every year after we lose the playoffs I hear that kind of question. What lesson? What lesson? The lesson is keep trying and keep doing what you have to do and do your best. I think we have too much lessons, this group of guys, and bad lessons. I hope next year is going to be much, much better.”
On head coach Adam Oates: “He’s probably one of the biggest reasons for my success this year.”
On free agents and Mile Ribeiro and Matt Hendricks: "I hope we're going to sign them and they're going to stay here and play. It's not my call and not my decision. I don't know much about salary cap and all that kind of stuff but I think George [McPhee] and Adam [Oates] are going to talk about who they want to see in the lineup."