Kevin Shattenkirk was able to call Alex Ovechkin a teammate for only a brief time, but the Great 8 evidently left an impression.
Shattenkirk signed with the New York Rangers in the offseason and went to the NHL-NHLPA media tour representing his new team. While there, he was asked about his now former captain Ovechkin.
"I loved him," Shattenkirk said. "The thing that surprised me the most was how much fun he has. I didn't really grasp how big he was and how much pressure he has on him. He always comes to the rink with the smile on his face. That's something I really admired about him."
While with the Capitals, Shattenkirk was added to the power play on the point. Though his time in Washington was brief—he was a trade deadline acquisition as a pending free agent—Ovechkin is someone he became quickly familiar with as he was tasked with setting up the captain in his "office" in the left faceoff circle.
Ovechkin is a player who always seems to face a lot of criticism. Some of that is fair considering he is one of the greatest players of all time and yet has not been able to lead Washington past the second round of the playoffs. Much of the criticism about the person he is in the locker room, however, is not. He is a player universally praised by his current and former teammates with Shattenkirk being just the latest example.
And if you're in the "what is he supposed to say?" camp, consider that Shattenkirk left Washington after a second-round playoff loss and signed a four-year deal with a rival team within the same division. If he had an ax to grind, he could have said whatever he wanted.
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