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Barry Trotz, Alex Ovechkin meet to discuss Capitals captain's penalty problem

Barry Trotz, Alex Ovechkin meet to discuss Capitals captain's penalty problem

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.”

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Newest Caps defenseman Radko Gudas happy for a fresh start in D.C.

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Newest Caps defenseman Radko Gudas happy for a fresh start in D.C.

Radko Gudas was surprised, but also relieved. A different year in Philadelphia, where everything seemed to go wrong for the Flyers, is behind him now. He plays for the Capitals now. 

 

“I was a little bit shocked to be honest,” Gudas said in a conference call on Tuesday. “But when I heard where I'm going, I was pretty happy that I got traded to a team that's well known for their winning and their will to win every game they play.”

 

It capped a whirlwind few days for the 29-year-old, a polarizing figure in the sport along the lines of Washington forward Tom Wilson. Gudas has been suspended four times by the NHL Department of Player Safety. To say he plays the game on the edge is an understatement.

 

“Staying on right line of suspensions: It's always tough lately in the hockey these last few years,” Gudas said. “I worked on it in the summer and I thought I adjusted the game enough to still be able to play physical, just not be a liability out there for my team. It's always something hard to adjust, but we still have to do it. It's our job.”

 

In the midst of a rough year for Philadelphia that saw a coach firing and a late playoff surge fall short, Gudas took advantage of increased ice time – and cut his penalty minutes to 63 from a high of 116 when he joined the Flyers four years earlier. He will never be a big offensive threat, but he’s figured out how to suppress shots and play a reliable defensive game.

 

At a friend’s wedding in the Czech Republic on Friday when he got the news, Gudas received messages from his new teammates and wasn’t even sure who, exactly, of the Capitals coaches he spoke with. There was a lot going on. But he’s excited to play “for a well oiled machine” like Washington, which has its 2018 Stanley Cup and has won the Metropolitan Division four years in a row. 

 

Gudas knows fellow Washington defenseman Michal Kempny, 29, well. The two men were born just three months apart in 1990 and were teammates on the World Juniors under-18 Czech Republic team in 2008. They reconnected in 2017 for the Czech Republics’ entry in the IIHF World Championships. Jakub Vrana, 23, is a third Czech on one of the NHL’s most diverse rosters and played with Gudas at the 2019 World Championships. Kempny was still recovering from a torn hamstring sustained during the regular season. 

 

That familiarity is nice, but Gudas has been traded before when Tampa Bay sent him to Philadelphia in 2015. You just adjust to the role given with your new team. He’s ready for a fresh start with the Capitals. 

 

“They’re the winners from last year, they were the contenders this year,” Gudas said. “They always have a good team. They in the playoffs every year all these years. Play my simple game, the guys to know what to expect for me and know I’ll be there for them.”

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Capitals Talk hosts "Capitals On the Clock" special: How to watch, live stream, listen

Capitals Talk hosts "Capitals On the Clock" special: How to watch, live stream, listen

With the NHL Draft just a few days away in Vancouver and after countless mock drafts, NBC Sports Washington will have you covered as the Capitals decide who to take with the 25th overall pick.

As part of NBC Sports Washington's coverage of the NHL Draft, the Capitals Talk Podcast will host 'Capitals On the Clock: Draft Night' on linear television and as a live stream on the NBC Sports MyTeams app.

Capitals Talk will sit down with Rob Carlin, Grant Paulsen, Al Koken, Michael Jenkins, J.J. Regan and Brian McNally to discuss the Capitals the 2019 Draft. They'll be joined by Zack Fisch, Manager of Media Relations & Broadcasting with the Hershey Bears, who will shed light on who's ready to make the jump from the AHL to the NHL.

The live stream will also include an NHL and Capitals Draft trivia segment which fans will be able to play along with.

And if you haven't already downloaded the MyTeams App, you can do so right now, RIGHT HERE.

Capitals Talk Podcast "Capitals on the Clock" Special

When: 8 p.m. Friday June 21

Where: NBC Sports Washington and NBC Sports MyTeams App

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