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Ovechkin: Our time has come

by Dan Rosen
Forget about it, Alex Ovechkin says. History, after all, isn't his favorite subject.

"You have to live in this day," Ovechkin told

That's why, according to the Capitals' super sniper, Washington's 6-2 loss in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal to the Pittsburgh Penguins is a distant memory. The devastation he won't forget, but he won't talk about it or use it as motivation either.

There's no need to when you firmly believe your team is going to win the Stanley Cup this season.

"It's a new era in my career and I know we can play better," No. 8 said. "I know we can win."

Heading into his fifth season in the U.S. capital, Ovechkin believes the time couldn't be better for his Capitals to go the distance. They have enough playoff experience (and heartache) that they are no longer the happy-go-lucky team out of the Southeast Division that puts a smile on everyone's face.

Anything short of hoisting the Cup and Ovechkin will consider the season to be a bust, a complete washout.

"It's time to win some team trophies," said Ovechkin, the back-to-back Hart Trophy winner.

Ovechkin feels he stands on firm ground in saying the Caps are ready to take home the hardware even though the Pittsburgh Penguins will again be standing in their way.

The core -- himself, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green -- are all a year older and presumably better. The goaltending situation, as muddied as it may appear with Jose Theodore doing all he can to hold off last year's playoff hero, Semyon Varlamov, and fellow rookie Michal Neuvirth, could easily turn into a strong point.

And, while Ovechkin admits he'll miss Sergei Fedorov, who bolted for the KHL, he likes the moves the Caps made this summer. GM George McPhee brought in center Brendan Morrison and, most importantly, underrated winger Mike Knuble, who scored 114 goals for Philadelphia over the last four seasons by planting himself in front of the net.

"I think he's going to help us a lot," Ovechkin said of Knuble. "We need a guy like that to play in front of the net that is big and strong. He's got great experience there. Maybe (it was missing last year), but I don't know."

As for No. 8, amazingly after scoring 65 goals in 2007-08 and 56 more last season he thinks there is room for improvement. His upper body is noticeably bigger and his hunger for success may be greater than ever.

"I know what I have to do," Ovechkin said. "It's hard to be on top, but it's doubly hard to stay on top."

"It's time to win some team trophies."  -- Alex Ovechkin

"We'll take what he did last year and run with it, but I'm sure Alex wants to improve every time he steps on the ice," Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Sept. 12, the first day of training camp. "This year's no different."

Well, except for the fact that this season, Ovechkin is all but demanding a Stanley Cup.

"We're not rookies right now," he said. "We know how to win in the playoffs. It's all about us."

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