Capitals coach Trotz: Relationship with Ovechkin 'will be fine' until they 'start playing real games'

Ian McLaren

Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz addressed his relationship with team captain and fairly one-dimensional superstar forward Alex Ovechkin, telling Josh Cooper of The Tennessean that predictions of a disconnect are overblown. 

At the same time, he suggests issues may arise if progression towards more of a two-way game isn't made evident once the puck drops on a new season.

"I think people make too much out of it," Trotz said. "I do know how I operate will be different from previous [coaching] staffs. Until we go into the season and start playing real games, our relationship will be fine."

Ovechkin led the NHL in goals last season with 51 - including 24 on the power play - but came under fire after posting a woeful minus-35 rating. 

Trotz is already on record in saying Ovechkin, "has a little too much glide maybe in his game," and will no doubt challenge his captain to exercise maximum effort at both ends of the ice.

Time will tell as to how Ovechkin reacts to Trotz's coaching style, but if the pair can find a way to mesh, it could result in Washington finally living up to their potential as Stanley Cup contenders. If not, the relationship - and the team's fortunes - could go south in a hurry.

Either way, this is one storyline that certainly bears watching this season.