Alex Ovechkin certainly can talk the talk, from his "All series, baby" jab aimed at Henrik Lundqvist during Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal, to his assertion that the Washington Capitals will eliminate the New York Rangers in Game 7.
And coach Barry Trotz is absolutely fine with his captain's bravado.
"His whole career, he's said stuff," Trotz said Monday. "Every year, he says stuff that [is] bold — and he backs it up, usually."
After New York beat Washington 4-3 Sunday night to force a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, Ovechkin said: "We're going to come back and win this series."
The three-time NHL MVP added: "We're going to play our game and we're going to come back and we're going to play Montreal or Tampa," a reference to the possible opponents in the conference final.
"That's what leaders do," Trotz said. "I think leaders say, 'This is what we need to do. This is what we're going to do.' I have a lot more respect for someone who will be bold enough to say, 'I'm the leader of the hockey team. We're going to go there and give our best game and we're going to win the hockey game.'
"I mean, come on. What do you expect a player to say? I love that. I love that a player has got the wherewithal to say, 'Hey, we're going to go there and we're going to go after them and we're going to leave it out there.' ... That's the mindset you need to have. If you don't have that, you might as well pack your bags."
Callahan out Game 6
Tampa Bay right wing Ryan Callahan will miss Game 6 of the Lightning's series against the Canadiens after undergoing an emergency appendectomy.
The team said Monday night that Callahan, who has no goals and three assists in 12 postseason games, was sent to Tampa General Hospital after experiencing abdominal pain earlier in the day.