Reirden: Ovechkin 'never ceases to amaze me'

Josh Luckenbaugh
December 12, 2018 - 8:22 am

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Ovechkin has shown no signs of slowing down this season, leading the NHL with 25 goals, three of them coming in the Capitals' 6-2 win over the Red Wings Tuesday night, his 21st career hat trick.

And count Caps head coach Todd Reirden among those in awe of the "Great 8"'s early season scoring spree. 

"I don't know if he can continue at this pace, because it's at a pretty high level right now, but he never ceases to amaze me," Reirden told The Junkies Wednesday.

"At that age, to continue to improve his game, I think you always expect Ovi to put up numbers on the power play, but the numbers he's putting up in this streak, they're almost all on even strength situations. That just says a ton right there."

"There was he talk, 'Well, is he just becoming specialist now? Is he slowing down?' Every year those questions come up, but right from the beginning he came to camp in great shape, and he's just gone from there."

Ovechkin, 33, now has a 12-game point streak, the Caps going 10-2 over that span to take a five-point lead over the Metropolitan Division. 

And as Reirden noted, Ovechkin's unselfishness has also been key to Washington's run. 

"That's been great to watch him continue to evolve as a player, and you wouldn't think that from someone that's been in the league for as long as he has," said Reirden. "His shot total is down a little bit this year, and he's a very underrated playmaker."

"I know that sounds crazy for everyone here in D.C., but this guy can pass the puck as well."

Reirden brought up the example of Oveckhin's second goal from Tuesday's win, which came on a 2-on-1 situation with T.J. Oshie, making his first appearance since suffering a concussion, skating across from him.

"He really wanted to get that puck to T.J. Oshie, with T.J. coming back and having gone through a tough time, that's just a little glimpse at what Ovi really is behind the scenes," Reirden explained. "He was like, 'I want to get it to him. I want to get it to him.'"

"They completely backed off and took away T.J. so much so he had no chance to pass. But his first thought, when he was carrying that puck into the zone in that situation, had nothing to do with himself. And that's pretty neat to see that growth of him as an adult here and getting further along in his career."

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