Ted Leonsis says Alex Ovechkin ‘needs to play better’

Whether or not the biggest problem for the Caps thus far has been Nicklas Backstrom’s lack of production, or Brooks Laich’s injury, or adjusting to Adam Oates, or poor special teams, the headline will always be “Ovechkin has just one goal through six games.”

So it was that owner Ted Leonsis was asked about his team’s, and his captain’s, slow start on WTOP Wednesday morning.

“Well, we’re concerned too,” Leonsis said. “I’m not so sure that [team] scoring’s gonna be an issue, but it has been to date. And Alex is off to a slow start….He’s having to get integrated into this new system….He needs to play better. I don’t have the answers. Obviously I’m not running the hockey operations. If I knew what to do, I would go see George and Adam, but I don’t, so they’re gonna have to work it out.”

Leonsis said when he talked with Ovechkin during the first few days after the lockout, they mostly discussed the winger’s offseason engagement to tennis star Maria Kirilenko. But Leonsis said he also asked Ovechkin about his biggest concern transitioning from the KHL back to the NHL, and Ovechkin mentioned the significant difference in rink size.

“He gets double-teamed all the time [in the NHL], so he has to keep moving,” Leonsis said. “And that’s the one thing I’ve noticed: when he doesn’t have a good game, he seems to be more stationary, and video coaches show him that.”


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