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What Can You Say About Alex?

by Staff Writer / Washington Capitals
What can you say about Alex Ovechkin?

“If I lived in Washington, I would pay whatever the season ticket was to watch this kid play. He's a special player, a unique player who comes around once every 10 years.”
-- Philadelphia Flyers head coach Ken Hitchcock, Nov. 2, 2005

“Ovechkin isn't the best player since Bobby Orr, obviously. Only the most exciting.”
– Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated, Feb. 26, 2006

“He can make chicken soup out of chicken (bleep). … I just think he’s got everything you could want. He’s a great skater, he’s a great stickhandler, good one-on-one and he’s got a really good work ethic.

“He’s the best player consistently. What he’s done with that team? To be able to put up those numbers … but I don’t think he’s all about the numbers, either.”
– Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Sun, March 12, 2006

 “He might be the best. He doesn't just score. He goes in the corners. He blocks shots. He skates hard. He does a little of everything.”
– Darius Kasparaitis, Toronto Sun, Feb. 23, 2006

“Well he’s got 42 goals. He’s a special hockey player for his age. He’s got a drive and a fire and plays with a passion that, when you combine it with his skill level, is quite a package. To have it at his age is another more remarkable step. He’s going to be around for as long as he wants to be, really. He’s going to put up some numbers that might be quite staggering.”
-- New York Islanders head coach Brad Shaw, March 6, 2006

“He is young, but he's already a great player. I think he's going to have a huge future. The way he skates, the way he throws the hits. He has size. He has power. What I really like about him: It doesn't matter what the score is. He goes out there and plays hard every shift.”
– Pavel Bure, Washington Post, Feb. 14, 2006

“Right now, there's no question he's the most exciting [player].”
– Wayne Gretzky, Feb. 22, 2006

“I love the kid. He's the only one I’ve coached against who has scored against me and blew me a kiss.”
– Wayne Gretzky, Feb. 22, 2006

 “I always felt like Ovechkin was a little bit like Gordie Howe. He can beat you physically and he can beat you with his skill. I always thought that Gordie was the player that he reminded of.”
– Philadelphia Flyers head coach Ken Hitchcock, Feb. 12, 2006

 “This guy is a tremendous player. He's got more moves, and you think you know one move and he pulls another one on you. We had a couple of defensemen that got beat one-on-one, just cleanly. And then you look at that shootout goal he scored, was just off his stick like a rocket.”
-- St. Louis Blues head coach Mike Kitchen, Jan. 19, 2006

 “You know, he's a phenomenal player, and he's been a tremendous influence in the game. It's great to see, because he is that good.”
-- Wayne Gretzky, Jan. 16, 2006

“We were in our OLN studio last night with our three analysts when word was passed down: ‘Wait until you see this highlight. It may be the best goal this year.’ Our jaws dropped. Oh my god. It’s one of the greatest goals of all time. We are starting to talk about him for the Hart Trophy.”
-- Bill Clement, Jan. 17, 2006

“He is an incredible talent. It’s great to see when a guy comes into the league and is so excited about everything, [you can see it] in his body language. He reminds me of when I played in my first year.”
-- NHL rookie goal and point record holder Teemu Selanne, in the Washington Post, Jan. 15, 2006

“It’s just amazing that this guy is so entertaining and I hear more and more players kind of talking about this guy like they’re fans of his.”
-- Detroit Red Wings forward Brendan Shanahan, Jan. 17, 2006

“He’s definitely one of the most talented kids I’ve ever seen. He’s an all-around player. He can score, he can pass, and he doesn’t shy away from the rough stuff, either. He’s the total package. He’s a shooter. A lot of guys come over from Russia and they’re more playmakers first than shooters. He’s a pure goal scorer. He likes to shoot. He looks to shoot all the time.”
-- Boston Bruins forward Sergei Samsonov, Dec. 27, 2005

 “Ovechkin’s off-the-chart likability factor will serve him well, to say nothing of his gotta-see-it goal celebrations.”
-- Mark Brender, The Hockey News, Jan. 24, 2006

 “The next morning in Columbus, as I got out of bed to answer the wakeup call, the left side of my body was bruised and sore like I had been in a car crash. I guess you could say I was ‘Ovechkinned.’”
-- St. Louis Blues defenseman Eric Weinrich, on, Jan. 22, 2006

 “Is Alex Ovechkin the most outstanding player you’ve seen in the NHL this season? By a mile for me.”
-- TSN’s Dave Hodge, Jan. 22, 2006

 “He’s a star, there’s no question. He’s quick, he’s dangerous. We really had to pay attention to him all night. We tried to get Chara and Phillips against him as often as we could. He’s an exciting player. There should be more people coming to the building to watch this guy play, because he is a star.”
-- Ottawa Senators head coach Bryan Murray, Jan. 4, 2006

“Those are things you don't teach. Those are the kind of things that are in the belly of a guy. That’s what makes him special. When he scores, look at his facial expressions. That comes from inside and that’s why he’s a special player. He has great skill and is really determined.”
-- Florida Panthers head coach Jacques Martin, Miami Herald, Dec. 1, 2005

“He has size, strength, vision and speed – and he shoots the puck dead-on. He’s only 20 years old and he’s a major force. When he matures, he’ll be dominating.”
-- Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Bob Clarke, Baltimore Sun, Nov. 30, 2005

“I’ve never seen anything or anyone like him. The whole Washington organization and the whole city should thank, I don’t know, somebody. Because guys like Alex don’t come around often. He’s incredible.”
-- Center Dainius Zubrus in the Washington Post, Jan. 14, 2006

 “He was a force out there. I think at times we stood around and were in awe of him.”
-- Anaheim head coach Randy Carlyle, Jan. 13, 2006

“I was pretty impressed by him. I think I had a different perception of the player he is. He sure works hard. Maybe I expected something different, just flash and strictly an offensive guy.”
-- Anaheim forward Joffrey Lupul in the Los Angeles Times, Jan. 14, 2006

 “There’s a hunger and a passion that you can see from the press box. In a lot of ways he reminds me of a young Peter Forsberg. He likes to put a hit on people and he isn’t about to let anybody take any physical liberties with him. If you hit him, he’s probably not going to go down and you better keep your head up because he’s coming right back at you.

“It seems like many nights he’s just picking the team up on his shoulders and carrying them, often to victory. He’s scoring big goals. The magnitude of what he’s accomplished isn’t just in the fact that he’s scoring lots of goals, he’s scoring goal-scorer’s goals in the best league in the world.”
-- Phoenix general manager Mike Barnett in the Arizona Republic, Jan. 16, 2006

 “Have you seen some of Ovechkin's on-ice moves? He's so electric, you'd swear he was abandoned as a baby and raised by a pack of Solid Gold Dancers. The NHL is lucky to have his skills, and luckier to have his swagger.”
-- Adam Proteau, The Hockey News, Dec. 14, 2005

“Ovechkin is a truly magical player on the ice, a creative, thoughtful individual who cannot wait to share his triumphs with teammates, a player who seems destined to lead his club to lofty heights with his passion for the game and devotion to it.”
-- Dave Fay, The Hockey News, Oct. 4, 2005

 “He has every skill imaginable, none more pronounced than the true goal-scorer’s sense of what’s possible and what can be made that way. Imagination.”
-- Mike Ulmer, Toronto Sun, Oct. 27, 2005

“His NHL-high five shootout goals were delivered with his signature lifting of his left leg as he barrels toward the net. (He’s the dog, you’re the hydrant.)”
-- Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated, Jan. 9, 2006

 “If you can't get to the arena, take note for when an Ovechkin will be on your TV and take some time -- even if it's just a period. Truly, you won't regret it and he will give you at least one moment to remember.”
-- Kara Yorio, The Sporting News, Nov. 14, 2005

“My first impression of him? Wow! He was one of those rare, spectacular players who does everything. The thing that stuck out immediately was his commitment to play both ends of the ice. He wasn’t just a young player who was good offensively. He worked just as hard on defense, and that’s rare.

“I just know what I saw when I scouted him, but I still don’t know how to describe it. He’s like a Jaromir Jagr who likes to play defense. I’d watch this kid take every stride he could to get back into a play. There are a lot of kids with talent, and this kid’s talent level is well above almost everybody else. But there are very few of them committed to play the complete game.

“Yeah, no question he’s the best player I ever scouted in 25 years.”
-- Rick Dudley in the Washington Times, Oct. 5, 2005

“What makes him so special is the fact that he’s a great team player. He works hard. He makes hits. He blocks shots. He gives pep talks to his teammates. And on top of all that, he’s an awesomely skilled player. He has great speed and hands. He’s a big guy who can stand his ground. He knows how to play every aspect of the game.”
-- Chicago Blackhawks scout Sakari Pietila in the Washington Times, Oct. 5, 2005

“I played against him in the World Championships the past few years, and he’s one who wants to score every single shift. He’s a very dangerous player, and from what I’ve been told he’s a very hard-working guy. As good as he is, he’s not cocky and that’s good from a young guy. The scary thing? He's only going to get better.”
-- Florida Panthers captain Olli Jokinen, Miami Herald, Dec. 1, 2005

“It's not just that Ovechkin is supremely skilled, which he is. It's not just that he seems, eerily, to be where the puck is an instant before it arrives. The kid may be only 20 but he's also a showman, demonstrative without being obnoxious. Only seconds into his first game, on his very first shift, he delivered a big hit, a KO that made you go, ‘Ooooh.’ He skates away from defensemen, hits like a freight train, finishes scoring chances. Well, there was that breakaway goal he let slip away on a deke, but let's not get picky.”
-- Michael Wilbon, Oct. 6, 2005

“I think [the Caps] are approaching it the right way. You can see them coming together as a team. To start becoming successful you need to do it as a team. Even the young kid [Alex Ovechkin], some guys may think he just goes it about his own way, [but] you can see him buying into the team concept. That's the key.”
-- Tampa Bay head coach John Tortorella, Oct. 28, 2005

“He's a player of the future if you look at the strength and speed he has. He has good mobility. He has size. He's the complete player.”
-- Eric Desjardins in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Bucks County Courier Times, Nov. 3, 2005

“He has electric speed. He is very shifty. His speed is very noticeable. He will be a great player in the league.”
-- Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Therien in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 3, 2005

“He’s as good of a one-on-one player as I’ve ever seen. He has a little Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexei Kovalev in him, but [Ovechkin] is feisty. He’ll run you. He finishes his checks. He’s not afraid to use his energy to be physical, and you don’t often see that from offensively talented players like him.”
-- Carolina Hurricanes forward Kevyn Adams, The Globe and Mail, Nov. 5, 2005

“This kid is a cannon. Almost every night Ovechkin puts the proverbial biscuit in the basket, eh? Automatic Alex has 14 goals in 18 games.”
-- Tony Kornheiser, Washington Post, Nov. 17, 2005

“Right now he looks like the whole package. Personally, he’s the best rookie in the league right now.”
-- San Jose Sharks head coach Ron Wilson, San Jose Mercury News, Dec. 15, 2005

“The new offensive-friendlier rules can turn this around, if only the NHL seizes the opportunity. Already, a dozen players are on pace to score at least 100 points this season. The group includes Alexander Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals brilliant rookie — think Reggie Bush on ice — who has scored one more point than Forsberg.”
-- Jay Hart, Allentown Morning Call

 “Ovie is a punishing, [physical] guy. Everything he says in the media, everything he says to his teammates is about winning, the team. He gets the puck, goes hard; and when he doesn’t have the puck, it’s forechecking, bang, crash. He’s come to us as close to perfect as there is.”
-- Head coach Glen Hanlon, Star Tribune, Dec. 11, 2005
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