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Capitals' Ovechkin moving back to left wing

by NHL.com Staff

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will be back at left wing to start the 2014-15 season.

That's the decision new Capitals coach Barry Trotz made Friday.

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"He's better on the right side a little bit defensively, but his talent is on the left side," Trotz told the Capitals website. "And so if I'm going to maximize his talent, I need to get him on the left side. Now if he doesn't want to adjust defensively playing the left side, then we'll talk about maybe moving him back to the right.

"The stuff that he does on the left side, there's no coach on the planet who can teach [it]. If he's willing to learn, I can teach him the other stuff."

Former Capitals coach Adam Oates shifted Ovechkin to right wing the past two seasons. Ovechkin led the NHL in goals the past two seasons and won the Hart Trophy in 2013. He scored 51 goals last season; 24 came on the power play. Ovechkin scored one even-strength goal in the final 22 games of the season and he had a minus-35 rating.

Oates was fired after the season when the Capitals missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Ovechkin, entering his 10th NHL season, said he'll play whatever side the coaching staff wants.

"I can play both [wings]," Ovechkin said. "Oates taught me how to play on the right side and right now me and Barry talked and he said old position and I agree. If he wants me to play on the right side I will, if he wants me to play on the left side I will."

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