Although the Capitals rallied for an overtime win over the Sabres on Monday night, Coach Barry Trotz had some sharp criticism for his team's captain following the game.
Alex Ovechkin was whistled for his team-leading 11th minor penalty in the second period—and Trotz was none too pleased about it.
He didn’t like the timing of the penalty or the type of infraction. And he definitely did not like the fact that it’s become an all too common occurrence for Ovechkin in recent games.
“Unacceptable,” Trotz said. “He’s our leader [and] he can’t take those penalties. He has to be on the right side [of the opponent].”
Trotz added: “I’m going to address it harshly with him tomorrow. There’s way too many of [those].”
The slashing call on Monday appeared to be a weak one. Ovechkin reached out and whacked Marcus Foligno on the hip with the blade of his stick, but it was not hard and there did not appear to be any malicious intent.
Still, though, the referee raised his arm…and once again, Ovi was headed to the box. The penalty also came at a bad time for the Caps, who struggled horribly late in the second period.
What troubled Trotz the most, however, was the fact that it’s become a trend for his team's best player and leader in recent games.
In fact, over the past five contests, Ovechkin has no goals and six minor penalties (three slashing calls, two tripping infractions and one interference foul).
In all, six of Ovechkin’s 11 penalties this season are slashes.
Trotz indicated that many of Ovechkin's penalties could be avoided if he continued to move his feet rather than using his stick to impede/engage the opponent.
“If you’re working, then you don’t need to do that,” Trotz said. “We’re going to address that. He’s got to lead by example; he’s the captain and right now he’s [got] way too many penalties on his behalf.”
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