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As Ovechkin slumps again, Trotz gives him familiar advice

As Ovechkin slumps again, Trotz gives him familiar advice

After taking a closer look at Alex Ovechkin’s recent struggles, Barry Trotz said he’s come to a couple of conclusions: the Caps’ captain has played solidly without the puck but he also needs to put more pucks on net.     

“We did some stat stuff on him and I thought he’s playing really well,” Trotz said after the morning skate on Tuesday.

“You can tell by the way he’s skating. We do chances for and against—and who’s causing the chances against. When you’re cheating, those are one sided on the wrong side because you’re trying to do something on the other side.”

The coach added: “He hasn’t done that.”

But Ovechkin hasn’t been scoring, either. And that’s becoming an issue for the skidding Caps, who are mired in a rare four-game losing streak and have averaged 2.2 goals per game since returning from the six-day bye week 12 games ago.

RELATED: UPDATED NHL POWER RANKINGS

Consider:

-- Ovechkin’s 10-game drought is the longest of his 12-year NHL career.

-- He has two goals in the last 17 games.

-- No. 8’s last 5-on-5 goal came Jan. 26, or 20 games ago.

-- The 31-year-old has just two points in the last nine games, a primary assist vs. Anaheim and a secondary assist on the power play vs. Philly.

-- In the last 14 contests, three times Ovechkin did not record a shot on goal. That’s only happened nine times in his 907 career games. Additionally, he’s currently on pace for 304 shots. He averaged 393 shots per season the previous three years.

Asked what his message to Ovechkin has been, Trotz said he’s told the six-time goal scoring champion that he needs to get back to doing what he does best: hammer more one-timers. And be more accurate with all of his shots.  

“He’s not quite shooting enough of those one-timers when he gets an opportunity,” Trotz said. “They’re just not sitting flat for him right now. And he’s just missing the net a little bit. If he starts shooting a little bit more off that one timer and hitting the net a little bit more they’re going to go in, no question. His work ethic, his skating and all that, it’s all there. It’s just got to happen for him. You can’t get frustrated and cheat in other areas. He’s not doing that, which is a good sign.”

It's similar to the advice Trotz gave Ovechkin two weeks ago when Ovechkin failed to register a shot in two of four games

Ovechkin said he agrees with Trotz’s assessment.

“I just have to shoot the puck more,” Ovechkin said. “That’s the key to success.”

Ovechkin also insisted that he’s not frustrated and hinted that he’s more concerned about his team’s four-game losing streak rather than his personal stats.

“I don’t get frustrated or something,” Ovechkin said. “Right now we have more thoughts about how we have to win a game and bounce back and be in first position.”

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What Caps prospect Jonas Siegenthaler is doing to show he's ready for roster spot

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What Caps prospect Jonas Siegenthaler is doing to show he's ready for roster spot

Jonas Siegenthaler joined the Capitals' informal practices on Monday morning in an effort to get a head start on what figures to be a critical couple of months for the 20-year-old.

When training camp opens in mid-September, he'll be one of a handful of bubble players and prospects battling for two openings on Washington's blue line, if you count the spare. Even for those who don’t make the cut out of camp, it’s a chance to establish their spot in the pecking order for early-season call-ups.

Siegenthaler says he’s ready and looking forward to the competition.

“You work hard even more in the summer if you know [there are jobs available],” he said at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “And, obviously, every young guy knows that. I think every guy will get in great shape and do everything for the spot. And at the end, the better one will get a spot.”

“It’s going to be a hard battle,” the 2015 second-rounder added, “and I’m excited to accept that challenge.”

RELATED: Previewing the 2017-18 Metro Division

Siegenthaler is the first of the young defensemen to join the Caps’ informal offseason skates, having arrived from Zurich a few days ago. He wanted to get here early for a couple of reasons: to work out at the team’s top-notch facility and to show everyone how serious he is about earning a spot next month. A year ago, Siegenthaler did not get the chance to play in a preseason game.

“It’s a great opportunity to train here with Nemo,” Siegenthaler said, referring to Washington’s strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish. “I can get used to it and be more ready for camp. I’m trying everything to set my goals high — that’s why I’m here.”

He continued: “I want to show them that I want to play here. I think’s a pretty good sign. I think I’m ready.”

Coach Barry Trotz and his assistants, of course, will ultimately determine whether he’s ready — or at least how close he is to being ready based on camp and the preseason.

Siegenthaler, a left shot who is listed by the Caps at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, said he worked diligently with his personal off-ice coach in Switzerland this summer to improve his explosiveness. He also said he focused on building more upper body strength — another area the staff asked him to address following a solid showing at development camp in June.

“My skating, especially my quickness — it was my weakness over years and years,” Siegenthaler said. “I’m still working on it. You never can get to 100 percent, but you want the highest percentage [possible]. I will be working on quickness my whole career. I think that’s normal. I see improvements right now, and I hope I can improve more [before] camp and over the season.”

Another area where Trotz and company will want to see improvement from Siegenthaler will be his comfort level on smaller North American rink. It takes time, and he’s appeared in just 18 regular season and playoff games for the Bears over the past two seasons.

“It’s another game from Europe,” he said. “In Switzerland, the rink was bigger and you have more time. I need to get in my mind that you can’t always look for a beautiful [outlet] pass, or good pass. Sometimes it’s got to be a chip out with the boards.”

If he’s got to work his way up the ladder, he indicated that he’s ready to do whatever it takes. That said, his focus over the few weeks is going to be a singular one: earning a spot on the Caps’ roster.

“Everything is going to happen quicker, so I got to be ready,” he said. “But I think I am. We’ll see at camp.”

MORE CAPITALS: Devante Smith-Pelly on the list of top 25 most important players

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Capitals' 2017-18 Division Preview: Breaking down the rest of the Metro

Capitals' 2017-18 Division Preview: Breaking down the rest of the Metro

Last season, the Metropolitan Division was the toughest in the NHL, producing the Stanley Cup champ, the regular season champ and three of the top four teams in the overall standings.

How’s the division shaping up for 2017-18 after a summer of change for a few of its eight teams?

This week, CSN is taking a look at each club's offseason moves and predicting how they’ll do this winter.

Team: Carolina Hurricanes

2016-17 Results: 36-31-15 (87 points). Seventh in division, 12th in conference. Did not reach the playoffs.

Notable acquisitions: F Justin Williams, F Josh Jooris, G Scott Darling, D Trevor van Riemsdyk, F Marcus Kruger

Notable departures: F Jay McClement, G Eddie Lack

2017-18 Hurricanes analysis and prediction: Carolina is arguably the most improved team this offseason and also return a stong, young core. The most important move was the trade for goalie Scott Darling. The Hurricanes were ranked 26th in team save percentage last season. If Darling can provide consistency in net, that will be a huge boost. Carolina finished last season eight points out of the playoffs. Even with some questions on offense, they can easily make up that gap with the improvements they made. 

Team: New Jersey Devils

2016-17 Results: 28-40-17 (70 points). Eighth in division, 16th in conference. Did not reach the playoffs.

Notable acquisitions: F Nico Hischier, F Brian Boyle, F Marcus Johansson

Notable departures: F Michael Cammalleri, D Mirco Mueller, D Jon Merrill

2017-18 Devils analysis and prediction: After years of looking like they had no direction, there may finally be light at the end of the tunnel for New Jersey. The Devils improved tremendously on offense with Nico Hischier, the top overall draft pick, and Marcus Johansson. Did they do enough to end their five-year playoff drought? Probably not, but they did take a big step in the right direction.

Team: New York Islanders

2016-17 Results: 41-29-12 (94 points). Fifth in division, 9th in conference. Did not reach the playoffs.

Notable acquisitions: F Jordan Eberle

Notable departures: G Jean-Francois Berube, D Travis Hamonic, F Ryan Strome

2017-18 Islanders analysis and prediction: After firing Jack Capuano midseason, the Islanders went 24-12 under Doug Weight. They then proceeded to do little to help him in the offseason. Jordan Eberle is a solid addition and their three-goalie headache is now solved thanks to J.F. Berube going to Vegas. But this is a team that did not make the playoffs last year and did very little to improve, banking instead on their prospects being able to contribute enough to get them over the edge. To go with the concerns on the ice, there is also a major concern off of it as they will have to deal with the headache of John Tavares nearing free agency without an extension. The noise surrounding Tavares' status will only get louder as the season goes on. Can they compete for a playoff spot? Sure, but they will ultimately be watching the postseason from home.

More Metro Division previews: