Barry Trotz Made Right Decision To Bench Alex Ovechkin


Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Barry Trotz made the bold decision to scratch Washington Capitals captain on Tuesday night after he missed practice that morning. It was the right decision.

Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz made it a point last year to show that everyone had to be held accountable. In case his team did not get the point last season, he pounded it into them last night by scratching Alex Ovechkin as punishment for missing practice. The team (including Trotz) initially said that Ovechkin had missed practice and the game due to “personal reasons”. It turns out that Ovechkin missed practice because he overslept. 

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"Alex Ovechkin missed Tuesday’s morning skate because he overslept after setting his alarm for 8:30 p.m. instead of 8:30 a.m. In accordance with team rules, Ovechkin was scratched for that night’s game against the San Jose Sharks.Ovechkin said he arrived to Kettler Capitals Iceplex late, and that’s when Coach Barry Trotz told him he wouldn’t play in the game.“I made mistakes, so that’s why,” Ovechkin said. – Washington Post"

Trotz was most notably hard on forward Jason Chimera last season, benching him after a particularly rough game. He was also strict with Nate Schmidt, Eric Fehr, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Andre Burakovsky. What Trotz is doing is installing and enforcing a culture of accountability. Part of that includes treating everyone the same. No one is above the rules. Not even the league’s reigning goal scorer. 

This culture of accountability that Barry Trotz has installed creates responsibility in the organization from top to bottom. Trotz said that he expects Ovechkin to play on Thursday when they face the Chicago Blackhawks. He refused to use not having Ovechkin as an excuse for losing 5-0 to the San Jose Sharks.

"“It’s personal and that’s why it’s called personal,” Trotz said. “But he will be on the ice and I expect him fully to be playing against the Chicago Blackhawks [on Thursday].“We could’ve used him tonight. He’s a great player. There’s no question about it. He’s our captain, he’s our leader, he can make us go offensively. But we didn’t have him today, and that’s no excuse. We’ve got to play way better. Our game didn’t stack up.” – Washington Post"

Ovechkin made an honest mistake. It’s one that most of us have made at one point during our lives. Trotz made sure that it won’t happen again.

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