Wednesday October 22nd, 2014

Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz said he has gotten about “a thousand and one” questions about his relationship with forward Alex Ovechkin, but he insists their relationship is fine.

Trotz is in his first season with Washington after spending the previous 15 years with the Nashville Predators, leading them to seven playoff appearances. Trotz said he anticipates that he will get questions about his relationship with Ovechkin during every road trip.

The Capitals play at Edmonton on Wednesday and at Calgary and Vancouver this weekend before returning home to face the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 29.

“We get along great,” Trotz told The Washington Post. “He’s playing great, he’s been receptive. He’s an honest player. He tells you what he thinks and that’s all a player wants from a coach. He’s really been a pleasure to coach.”

Ovechkin says there is already a difference in the locker room from this season to last, but declined to get into specifics, citing confidentiality between player and coach. Ovechkin, a three-time Hart Trophy winner, has five goals and one assists this season.

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“We just have to be not individuals, we have to be a group,” Ovechkin said. “Changes already made. It’s not bad way change, it’s a good way. I like it a lot. It seems like everybody enjoy it.”

Trotz said he can’t explain Ovechkin’s minus-35 rating last season, which was third worst in the NHL.

“I don’t know, I wasn’t here. Sometimes it just happens. You’re pushing," Trotz said. “But there are some things in his game that he has committed to change. Not all of them were Alex’s fault. Some of the things he was asked to do, he did and it probably took away from him defensively."

Ovechkin has a plus-one rating for Washington, which has started the season with a 3-0-2 record.

- Scooby Axson

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