Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russia, celebrates his goal with teammates Matt Hendricks, left, Karl Alzner (27) and Mike Ribeiro (9) during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Sunday, April 7, 2013, in Washington. The Capitals won 4-2. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)The Associated Press
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russia, celebrates his goal with teammate Nicklas Backstrom (19), of Sweden, as Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier (4) looks on at back right, during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, April 7, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)The Associated Press
WASHINGTON – "Trust" and "respect" have put Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals back on top.
That's how Ovechkin and Capitals coach Adam Oates describe it. A meeting of the minds between the first-time NHL head coach and the two-time league MVP — along with a position switch — has No. 8 putting up numbers like the Alexander the Great of old.
Oates worked to gain Ovechkin's trust while persuading him to switch from left wing to right wing, and Ovechkin feels a respect from Oates that he didn't get under former coach Dale Hunter.
After a rough start, the Capitals have moved into first place in the Southeast Division — and Ovechkin is tied for the NHL's goal-scoring lead.