WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Washington Capitals winger Troy Brouwer is downplaying the notion that Alexander Ovechkin is growing disgruntled over a lack of playing time.
Ovi’s power play goal in the third period lifted the Caps to a Game 2 victory over the New York Rangers on Monday night which kicked scrutiny of his ice time into overdrive.
“I know guys want to play as many minutes as they can, but I hope guys understand there’s certain players for certain situations in the game,” Brouwer told LaVar Arrington and Chad Dukes on Tuesday. “And putting Ovechkin in the ice when we’re up a goal with five minutes left isn’t exactly what he’s paid to do.”
The 26-year-old Vancouver native explained Ovechkin’s dwindling minutes weren’t an indictment of his ability or a sign he is in head coach Dale Hunter’s penalty box. The truth is far simpler. It’s just strategy.
“If we’re down by a goal we’re going to put (Ovi) out there every shift possible,” Brouwer stated. “But when we have a lead, we need guys like Jay Beagle, Matt Hendricks — guys who can block shots, the guys who pay the price in the d-zone and who are really good defensively. Those are usually the guys who log the most minutes. Because we had the lead the whole game last night, Ovi’s minutes were down a little bit. But, he understands that’s all part of winning in the playoffs.”
Brouwer says the media is over-blowing Ovi’s lack of playing time. He stressed every player has a role, no matter what type of paycheck he earns or what name is on the back of his jersey.
A point often overlooked in the scenario is benefit to Ovechkin who enters the game with fresher legs and is subsequently more explosive.
Despite only playing 13:36, Ovechkin led the Capitals with 7 shots on goal in the win.