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Ovi returns to rookie days, visits prospect practice

Sunday, 09.11.2011 / 6:51 PM / Prospects

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Ovi returns to rookie days, visits prospect practice
Alex Ovechkin did the rookie thing a while ago, yet there he  was on Sunday, skating with a bunch of teenagers at Capitals' rookie camp.
Well, it appears you can, indeed, go back in time.

Alex Ovechkin did the rookie thing quite a few years ago. Today, he is one of the game's biggest stars as he enters into the prime of his career. Yet, there was the 25-year on Sunday, skating with a bunch of teenagers at Kettler Capitals Iceplaex.

Just like those players, Ovechkin had on a plain practice jersey -- his was black -- and a simple, slapped on nameplate across the back of his shoulders.


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"If I'm one of the young guys and I'm seeing Alex Ovechkin and I haven't skated with him and you see a man that's like that on the ice, it's a pretty big 'wow' factor," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "And seeing a guy take direction like he did and do what he was supposed to be doing and not have any errors about him, I think it might have something to do with how hard they worked."

Ovechkin has been knocked by some in the past for not being the most hands-on captain in the League, but Sunday's actions certainly sent a different message.

"I think all the guys appreciate that, and everyone looks at him and sees what he does," center Mattias Sjogren told the team's website. "He's that kind of player, that kind of scorer in the League, so it's fun to have him around."

Ovechkin spent Thursday and Friday in New York City as part of the League's Player Media Tour. He had ice available to him while he was in the Manhattan area, but told Boudreau he wanted to hit the ice Sunday and asked if he could join the rookies in their first official day on the ice.

Before Ovechkin's day there was complete, he had run through about half the drills in what proved to be a very intense practice.

Boudreau was impressed by not only Ovechkin's conditioning -- another topic of discussion among critics this summer -- as well as his presence with the younger players.

It was the latter that sent Boudreau down memory road, in fact.

When Boudreau was in junior hockey, he got the opportunity to work with the legendary Bobby Orr. Then, in his first training camp, with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he shared the ice with Darryl Sittler.

"I was pretty in awe," he said of those experiences

Sunday was a day when many of the Caps' prospects were in awe.

Quote of the Day

Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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