Alex Ovechkin and Barry Trotz met Tuesday morning to discuss the Capitals captain’s spate of penalties in recent games.
“We did [talk],” Trotz said. “It actually went well. You know and I know that we have a very straightforward relationship. Alex doesn’t hide from anything. He mans up. It was good. He understands that the best way to help his team is to not be in the penalty box. Especially some of the stick penalties and stuff, he can get those out of his game [and] he knows that.”
Ovechkin has been whistled for a team-high 11 minor penalties through 24 games, including six over the past five contests.
“He knows as the leader of our team that he can’t be putting us down a man as often as he has lately,” Trotz said. “I know he’ll clean it up.”
Ovechkin also described the discussion as productive.
“We did [talk] and obviously I have to be on the ice, not in penalty box,” said Ovechkin, who hasn't scored in five games. “It’s a good thing we talk. It’s my mistakes. I just have to handle it and not take all of those penalties.”
Of the 11 minors, six have been for slashing. Trotz said Ovechkin has been repeatedly warned by referees at the bench.
“Some of the referees have come by and said, ‘Hey, Alex, next time I’m going to call you.’ And then he gets called,” Trotz said. “They’ve been very fair in warning him. He’ll respond the right way.”
Trotz added: “One of the things that Alex understands that to be the captain, you have to be the front guy, you have to man up. It’s a big weight to carry the ‘C’ because you have to be the leader of a hockey team. You have to be the guy that, when things aren’t going right, you have to help be part of the solution, not the problem.”
Ovechkin’s latest penalty was a slashing infraction in the second period of Monday’s 3-2 overtime win over the Sabres. Although he did not hit Marcus Foligno very hard, Ovechkin owned up to the fact that he shouldn’t have put himself in that position.
Although Trotz says he’s confident Ovechkin will make the necessary adjustments, the veteran coach also acknowledged that he won’t hesitate to hold the three time MVP accountable.
“If it’s going on again, then there’s not going to be a lot of power play and playing time,” Trotz said. “If my message is not getting through the only thing I have is really ice time.”
MORE CAPITALS: Oshie practices fully, considered 'possible' for Wednesday