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Alex Ovechkin’s goal for Stanley Cup champion Caps: ‘Not suck back-to-back’

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On the information of Sergei Aleksandrovich Ovechkin’s arrival into the sector on Aug. 18, Nicklas Backstrom despatched a textual content message to his longtime Capitals teammate.

“What a summer season for you,” Backstrom wrote to Alex Ovechkin. “Two of the most important issues in existence the similar summer season.”

After 3 months of celebrating the franchise’s first Stanley Cup, opening day of Washington’s coaching camp Friday may’ve been a harsh go back to fact. The summer season was once candy, nevertheless it was once additionally a month shorter than offseasons previous. There was once much less time to heal the bumps and bruises from a longer season, after which there was once much less time to coach for the brand new one. The impact from social media was once that the Capitals simply spent their summer season guzzling beer in a single raucous occasion or any other.

Ovechkin welcomed a primary kid on best of all of that, so it might’ve been comprehensible if he wasn’t precisely having a look ahead to Friday’s conditioning skate take a look at. However as a brand new season formally commenced with Day Certainly one of coaching camp, Ovechkin appeared leaner and happier. The load of previous postseason disappointments were lifted with June’s triumph. And any fear over his precise weight went away when he looked to be in even higher form than he was once a 12 months in the past.

“I used to be so inspired with how he got here into camp. The form he got here in was once super,” Trainer Todd Reirden mentioned. “It’s one thing we mentioned somewhat somewhat this summer season, and I’m in reality pleased with him for the way he confirmed up the previous few days in checking out and nowadays’s apply. To head together with that was once a large smile, and that all the time pushes guys to be higher when one among your leaders is playing coming to the rink.”

Ovechkin’s temper appeared to be emblematic of the staff’s. Previous Stanley Cup winners have fallen sufferer to gradual begins to the season following their championship. But when the Capitals had been intended to nonetheless really feel the damage in their lengthy playoff run, they insisted it was once very a lot the other.

“It wasn’t as rusty whilst you step at the ice,” Backstrom mentioned.

“Perhaps they didn’t have sufficient time to get off form,” Basic Supervisor Brian MacLellan mentioned.

In addition they would possibly not have had sufficient time to heal. Two avid gamers — third-line heart Lars Eller and best defenseman John Carlson — are already indexed as day by day with lower-body accidents and weren’t at the ice Friday. Reirden mentioned that was once a precautionary transfer for 2 veterans and the diseases are fairly minor.

“There are a couple of guys with bumps and bruises,” ahead Tom Wilson mentioned. “The ones would possibly elevate over somewhat greater than different offseasons since you don’t have as a lot time to place all of them to mattress. However hockey avid gamers will let you know, maximum nights you’ve were given little issues to handle, however that’s why you’re a professional.”

Proper wing T.J. Oshie doesn’t be expecting the Capitals’ conditioning to be a lot other from that of alternative groups. “Even supposing different guys had been coaching prior to us, we had been nonetheless enjoying and in sport form longer,” he mentioned. As for the belief that the Capitals drank their summer season away, he insisted that was once exaggerated by way of social media.

“I’m now not going to disclaim that we had a good time, and we surely celebrated,” Oshie mentioned. “Nevertheless it was once numerous occasions, other folks would question me to drink a lager via my blouse. That’s the one beer I drank that day, so that you’d suppose that I’m going loopy however other folks have in fact requested me to do it. You handiest see that one snapshot and suppose that’s all that we’ve been doing. . . .

“We’ve had a good time, and we’re pleased with the accomplishment that we had, and we’re proud to be known as Stanley Cup champions. However we appear very refocused right here and in reality keen to begin operating at doing it once more.”

Rely Ovechkin in that staff. Some of the clips of him flopping in a fountain on the Georgetown waterfront was once one among him understanding in South Florida a couple of weeks prior to his son was once born. He mentioned “in fact” he’s been converting diapers and succinctly described fatherhood as “amusing.” MacLellan spotted he was once in a “excellent position mentally,” most likely relieved the primary day of coaching camp didn’t additionally include questions on how he hasn’t gained a Stanley Cup but.

“I imply, it’s long gone. Presently, it’s a must to suppose of a few other questions on a daily basis, once a year. So it’s all on you guys,” Ovechkin mentioned to newshounds.

A 12 months in the past, Ovechkin was once coming off one of the crucial worst seasons of his profession, bombarded with scrutiny over his health degree and the low expectancies for the staff. “We’re now not going to be suck,” he mentioned defensively, most likely talking for each his personal play and the staff’s.

He’ll flip 33 on Monday, and after he got here one function shy of 50 a 12 months in the past, that it will be the bar for him once more this 12 months. This 12 months’s message for the staff?

“No longer suck back-to-back,” he mentioned together with his trademark gaptoothed grin.

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