“Um, well, it’s a lot better than it was,” McPhee answered. “He’s in terrific shape right now. And guys do different things in the summer. Ovi’s usually gotten by by just being a great athlete. Show up and play. And we’ve talked to him, that doesn’t happen in this league. At some point it has to kick in, you have to train, and he’s at 224 right now. And he hasn’t been at 224 in a few years.”
... "Bruce always thought he was a better player at about 227."
The Future of the Caps
Finally, McPhee was asked if there would be big changes should the Caps miss the playoffs.
“I wouldn’t make big changes,” he answered. “You know, if we didn’t have these injuries to two really important players, then I’d say boy this team isn’t good enough.
For the first time ever, the debutante Sarge is a candidate for working hard. Seriously. watch him tonight. You can't make this stuff up.
Ward may be playing harder but it may be the "treat this game as a playoff" requests.
Johnson, who usually leads the extra skates after practices and morning skates, said Thursday that his primary focus when working with Schultz was to work on his footwork, particularly his transition from skating forward to backward to better close the gap between him and his defensive assignment. The other aspect of Schultz’s game that Johnson worked on was his physicality, something that Hunter praised Thursday when asked about any differences he has seen in Schultz’s game since his return. “He’s been physical,” Hunter said. “He’s been hitting people. He’s been physical when he has to be, which is good for [Schultz].”
Johnson has also noticed a change in Schultz’s aggression, so much so that referees have had to let him know about it.
“[We wanted Schultz to] play with a little more grit and he’s done that now to the point where the official came over and told him to relax on guys,” Johnson said. “He’s just gotta play more aggressive like he is. It’s hard work, but he stayed with it and waited for his opportunity and he’s performed well and now his minutes have increased.”
Capitals have gone through adversity. That Montreal fiasco. Everyone dumping on OV. Green getting creamed at every opportunity and the league not doing anything about it. Wideman needing 6 surgeries that took him out of play last play offs when we needed him vs Tampa Bay. Backstrom one of the best and cleanest players getting concussed and taken out of play. Having to call up Aucoin an AHL Hall of Famer giving him a chance. Hamerlik an elder stateman of the game nearing the end of his game. Vokoun coming to Washington with playing so many years on a Florida team and finally getting his chance. Being on the bubble of even making the play offs. I think we are a Cinderella story in the making.