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Dale Hunter: Ovechkin isn’t going to win the Selke, but he’s ‘coachable’

St Louis Blues v Washington Capitals

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 29: New head coach Dale Hunter of the Washington Capitals (R) talks with Alex Ovechkin #8 during the first period against the St. Louis Blues at Verizon Center on November 29, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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Glenn Healy may not think that Alex Ovechkin is “coachable.” In fact, the Sportsnet analyst is predicting the Capitals’ captain will cause three more coaches to be fired in Washington before all’s said and done.

But one of Ovechkin’s former coaches, Dale Hunter, disagrees with the notion that Ovechkin is a coach killer and that new Caps bench boss Barry Trotz won’t be able to get through to the player.

“Yeah, he is [coachable],” Hunter said today on Hockey Central (audio). “You know something though? He’s just - he’s not no Bob Gainey out there defensively... I’ve watched the last couple of games. Trotzy’s doing a good job with him. He’s picking up the right guys. So you need star players. They’re not all going to be Selke winners and he’s not going to be a Selke winner, but you still need goals and he’s trying to figure out his defense a little bit more and that’s the only thing that coaches sometimes question him a bit about.”

Hunter added that, when he was coaching the Capitals in 2011-12, Ovechkin “never said anything back to me. He never back-talked. He listened to the video. He never said nothing. So definitely he was coachable that way where he tried to do what I told him. He could have given me attitude - he had none. He listened.”

And remember that Hunter dramatically reduced Ovechkin’s ice time on certain occasions. In one playoff game, the star forward was on the ice for just 13:36, less than the likes of Jay Beagle and Matt Hendricks. Suffice to say, Hunter’s short stint in D.C. wasn’t a particularly fun time for Ovechkin.

Ovechkin’s play was once again put under the microscope last night when he whiffed on a point shot in Edmonton, an error that led to an Oilers goal. The Capitals, despite dictating much of the play during the contest, went on to suffer their first regulation loss of the season by a score of 3-2.

(h/t Nichols On Hockey)

Related: Trotz raves about ‘very coachable’ Ovechkin