Former Capitals defenseman Shaone Morrisonn reflected on his time in the NHL during an interview with the Cardiff Devils’ Oliver Hampson.
Morrisonn, who spent parts of six seasons with the Capitals from 2003 to 2010, had one of the best seats in the house for the Young Guns era in Washington and shared several stories of note about Alex Ovechkin. For instance, Morrisonn revealed that Ovi is not a napper.
Pre-game nap? Not for Alex Ovechkin.
— Cardiff Devils (@cardiffdevils) July 30, 2020
“He is one of the hardest working guys I’ve ever seen,” Morrisonn said of Ovechkin. “He likes his energy drinks. He’s full of energy. I’ve never seen a guy not take a nap after pregame skates. He would never rest or nap. He just had tons of energy. He could go all night. He was a wild man. He was amazing. He was an amazing teammate.”
“He’s one of those athletes that don’t come around very often,” Morrisonn said. “Semin, he was maybe even more skilled than Ovechkin, but Ovi was all around the ultimate power forward, leader. Wanted to win. You saw him in the playoffs when he had that run. He just took it over. Not too many guys can do that.”
Morrisonn also spoke about several legendary Ovechkin games, including a detail behind The Goal that makes it even more amazing.
“Ovi was so so exciting to be around. He’s just a specimen,” Morrisonn said. “He was flying around. He would take two-and-a-half-minute shifts. Never get tired. It was amazing to see. Every time when we went on the ice, he did something electric. I remember that goal in Phoenix that he scored on his back. The funny thing is, no one really knows, the night before we had a rookie party there. So that was our rookie party. It was in Phoenix. Then we had to play the next day against Coyotes. ”
Morrisonn was also on the ice for the Deuling Hat Tricks Game, where Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby both notched a hatty in the same postseason game.
“It was crazy,” Morrisonn said. “Every time we played Pittsburgh and Crosby, it was like they both took it to another level and we were just trying to keep up with both of them. The media hyped it up but they didn’t need to hype it up. Those guys are such competitors and always wanted to be the best. That game was one of the best games I’ve ever been a part of and it’s still a classic game. They still play it all the time. It’s so exciting. We weren’t surprised with what [Ovi] was doing. I just think they’re both such raw talents. Unfortunately, we didn’t win that series but it was a special series to be a part of.”
While Morrisonn enjoyed playing for Glen Hanlon, he believes that when he was replaced by Bruce Boudreau, the then-longtime AHL coach really unlocked the talents of the team’s talented stars.
“When Boudreau came in, he really opened up the game for those guys like Greener and Backy and Ovi,” Morrisonn said. “They were just let loose so they could really showcase their skill. I was there to basically cover Greenie and be back and be the defenseman there. It was an amazing time. We had some really good teams. We didn’t make that jump past the second round. It was great to see them finally do that. Those are some of the best teams I’ve ever been on and the fans were amazing. They were ecstatic in the playoffs. You couldn’t even hear the guy next to you with how loud it was in the building. It was fun. I played with some older guys that came in. Fedorov was there. Kozlov. Kolzig was there as a goalie. Just amazing players. They had amazing careers. It was a real special time for myself and my career there.”
He also added that Boudreau really connected with players because he acted like one himself.
“He was kind of like the ultimate players’ coach,” Morrisonn said. “He would come in like he was still playing. Most people don’t know. He was a really good player. He put up some big numbers, especially in the minors. He would come in. He was like one of the guys. He’d want to know what we’re doing on the weekends, what we had for dinner. He demanded us to work hard but he’d also reward us. And I think with the group that we had, with the young guys and some of the Russians we had, it really was a nice chemistry between him and players. Guys loved him. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t get to the third round or the Finals with him but he’ll land somewhere and get his Stanley Cup ring eventually.
“It was such a great group,” he said.
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