11.20.13: Caps week in review
Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin knows all too well the questions Penguins center Evgeni Malkin is being asked these days.
Through 21 games, Malkin has just three goals and has gone a career-worst 14 games without a goal entering tonight’s showdown against the Capitals at VerizonCenter [8 p.m., NBCSN]. [To be fair, it’s worth noting Malkin ranks fourth in the league with 17 assists].
Last season, when Ovechkin scored just eight goals in his first 21 games, many wondered if at 27 years old, he had become too predictable and might never score 40 goals again, let alone 50 or 60.
Ovechkin went on to lead the NHL with 32 goals in 48 games and won his third Hart Trophy as MVP of the league. So, is there any advice Ovechkin can give to his 27-year-old countryman?
“What I did, I just kept working hard,” Ovechkin said. “Of course he’s frustrated. Of course he starts thinking and thinking more and more about it. He just have to relax and forget about it.”
Ovechkin smiled when he was asked when he knew he was back from his slow start last season.
“I always was here,” he said. “I didn’t go to Miami or Jamaica. I was here.”
Since Ovechkin’s slow start last season he has scored 40 goals in his last 42 regular season games. The trick, he says, is to be able to filter out the negativity.
“When you [don’t] score goals, when you [don’t] make assists, when your name is [not] on the score [sheet], of course, everybody think like your bad,” he said. “But sometimes you don’t have a great game but you get a point and everybody think you play well.
“Of course, it matters [what people think]. When I was a little kid, my first couple years, I know nobody here. I just read the front pages and the news and I was crazy about it.
“But right now, to be honest with you, I don’t care what the people say, what the media say. Of course, I read this kind of stuff, but most of the time I read it and forget it in a couple seconds.”