ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) â A slimmer, trimmer-looking Alex Ovechkin is back on the ice for summer workouts more than two weeks before the start of training camp.
The Russian superstar skated in an informal practice with Washington Capitals teammates on Tuesday and looked lighter than his playing weight of 239 pounds last season. If that’s indeed the case, Ovechkin took to heart the challenge from general manager Brian MacLellan to train differently and add more speed to his game as he’s about to turn 32.
A team spokesman said Ovechkin would not speak to reporters until the first day of training camp in September. But his teammates certainly notice a change in Ovechkin’s physique.
“You can see he lost some weight,” center Evgeny Kuznetsov said. “Every year you’re trying to be better. You change something in the summer. Ovi’s like other guys, too â he wants to change something, right? It’s always nice to see when your teammates get better. They change. They try something new.”
Ovechkin is already trying something new by getting to the D.C. area in late August, which is earlier than usual for captain and 13-year pro. Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and fellow Russian Dmitry Orlov all flew back together, joining goaltender Philipp Grubauer and others.
The early arrivals are no coincidence after the Capitals lost again in the second round to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
“After we lost to Pittsburgh, a lot of negative things (were said) about our team, about him,” Orlov said. “Everybody said, ‘The Caps cannot do anything, blah, blah, blah.’ So everybody understands and everybody wants to show we can do everything. … He wants to be where he’s always been, one of the superstars in the league and he wants to work hard and show everybody who he is.”