With two consecutive MVP awards under his belt, forward Alex Ovechkin was the logical choice to fill the void at Washington Capitals captain created when the team traded Chris Clark to Columbus last week.
Now, he has to prove he was the right one.
So far so good after Game 1 of his reign, as Ovechkin led the Caps to a 4-2 victory Tuesday night over the Canadiens. The win stopped the Caps' three-game losing streak.
"Our team has adopted Alex's personality," General Manager George McPhee said. "He sets the tone, on the ice as well as off. He's respectful to everyone and a great ambassador for our team and our sport. We look forward to him leading the Washington Capitals for a long time."
McPhee consulted coach Bruce Boudreau in deciding who should wear the "C."
Ovechkin is always the first to call when a new teammate arrives, McPhee said. He wears his emotions on his sleeve, and the team was unanimous in its support of Ovie for captain.
"I know they [the players] were really happy when I told them this morning," Boudreau said. "This doesn’t happen to often, but the group got up and cheered. I had talked to a lot of them in the last couple of days and they said that Alex was the only choice; he’s our leader, he’s our guy. I think the thing that really sort of shows how he was ready was, when I talked to him a few days ago, he said, ‘I would accept the responsibility, but only if my teammates want me to.’ Like, I mean, if they are happy with me as a captain, I would be glad to be their captain. So, he was already thinking about the team rather than thinking of himself, which is what good captains do.”
Ovechkin leads the team with 26 goals and 50 points this season. He said he will still lead with his play on the ice, but knows he also has the floor in the locker room when needed.
“We have lots of guys that can speak up, but if I need to say something I’m going to say something," Ovechkin said. "I’m just going to show it on the ice, and if they need someone to help them, I will."
The "C" replaces the assistant captain's "A" that he had been wearing.