NHL

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Oates will restore Ovie's greatness, Hull says

Caps new coach will let star play his game

  • Print

BRETT HULL is excited to see what his friend and former teammate Adam Oates can do as the head coach of the Washington Capitals, particularly when it comes to how he can help revitalize Alex Ovechkin.

Well, to a certain extent.

"I'm excited about it but I'm also not really excited about it because he's going to break all the records," Hull said with a laugh. "It's crazy. He's going to thrive under Oates. There's just no question. When I played, Adam was my coach. He told me what we were going to do, when we were going to do it, how we were going to do it and it always worked. He'll be able to do the same thing with Ovechkin and (Nicklas) Backstrom too."

Leading up to Oates' induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night, Hull has spent a lot of time reminiscing about his time playing with the Weston, Ont., native.

They played only 195 regular season games together in St. Louis, but both men readily admit that their chemistry was unlike any other experience they had during their careers. In less than three seasons, Oates recorded 286 points (228 assists) and Hull, who is also enshrined in the Hall of Fame, notched 212 of his 741 career goals. Hull believes that Oates' experience working with superstar players, from himself to Boston's Cam Neely and Washington's Peter Bondra, will help the first-time head coach make a connection with Ovechkin.

"To me, the number one thing in being a great coach is being able to understand great players," Hull said. "Alex Ovechkin is going to be like a kid in a candy store. He's going to be reborn and he's going to be the happiest kid on the planet because he's going to have a coach that gets him."

The decline in Ovechkin's scoring prowess has been well documented over the past two years. He went from three consecutive seasons with more than 100 points and at least 50 goals to totaling just 85 points (32 goals) in 2010-11. Last year, his offensive production shrunk to 65 points (38 goals) and in the playoffs Dale Hunter, whom Oates later replaced, infamously limited Ovechkin's post-season ice time.

If there's anyone who can jump-start Ovechkin, it's Oates, Hull said. "He's going to get Ovechkin. He's going to get the ego -- and egos aren't a bad thing," Hull said. "All great players, all great goal scorers have egos. You have to feed the ego and the more you feed the ego, the happier Ovechkin is, the happier the rest of the team is, the better the rest of the team plays."

On Monday, Oates agreed with the assessment that his time as a teammate of elite players prepared him to understanding the demands they face when coaching them.

"They have different pressures," Oates said. "They drive to the rink and he expects to score a goal tonight. Yeah, he wants to win, but he expects to score a goal. 'Yeah, we're going to win, and me score.' (Alex Rodriguez) goes to the ballpark expecting to hit a homer, not a single; Kobe Bryant knows he's going to get 30 shots. 'If we're going to win, it's because I'm scoring tonight' -- they have a different mindset."

-- The Washington Post

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 15, 2012 D2

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

How Winnipeg's slow growth saved the Exchange District

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Gardening Column- Assiniboine Park English Garden. July 19, 2002.
  • A mother goose has chosen a rather busy spot to nest her eggs- in the parking lot of St Vital Centre on a boulevard. Countless cars buzz by and people have begun to bring it food.-Goose Challenge Day 06 - May 08, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How many goals do you think Evander Kane will score this year?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google