Hagelin: Once Ovi starts smelling blood, it's 'game over'

Chris Lingebach
February 10, 2020 - 9:01 pm
Hagelin: Once Ovi starts smelling blood, it's 'game over'

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Few are more familiar with being on the receiving end of Alex Ovechkin's offensive bursts than current Capitals winger Carl Hagelin.

As a member of the Rangers and then as a two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Penguins, Hagelin had faced off against the Capitals in 35 playoff games prior to his trade to Washington. Amazingly, Hagelin was 5-1 in helping eliminate the Caps in those playoff series, three times with the Rangers (2012, 2013, 2015) and twice with the Penguins (2016-17). The Caps finally got him back in 2018.

That all should help explain the initial awkwardness when Hagelin was traded to the Caps last year. Given their history, perhaps no one is more uniquely qualified to give the then-and-now perspective on what it's like playing against Ovechkin vs. having him as a teammate.

"Well I certainly didn't like him before I got here, that's for sure," Hagelin told Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier during his weekly 106.7 The Fan appearance, presented by F.H. Furr.

"He was a player you always had to be aware of when he was on the ice," Hagelin said. "He would lay out big hits, score big goals. You definitely didn't like him as a player."

"I didn't know him as a person at all. I didn't hear much about him as a person," he continued. "But now being on his team, having him as your captain is great. He's won a ton of games for us this year and he's a fun guy to be around off the ice."

Ovechkin put on a mesmerizing performance for the ages in last week's 4-2 win over the Kings, scored the most natural of hat tricks in the span of just four minutes and 24 seconds, capping off a seven-game stretch that included three hat tricks and 14 total goals scored.

When asked to describe the memorable evening, Hagelin served up a quote that should be inscribed on Ovi's Hall of Fame plaque.

"He took it upon himself there over the last 10 minutes of that game," Hagelin said. "I don't think we created a ton. We didn't have a lot of energy or a lot of emotions involved into that game."

"Ovi's like a shark," he added. "Once he starts smelling blood, it's game over."