Spencer Carbery was announced as the new head coach of the Washington Capitals last week and since then he’s done the usual DC media rounds.
On Monday, Carbery did a radio hit with Elliot In The Morning and talked more about his new role, specifically addressing his first conversation with Caps captain Alex Ovechkin since becoming Ovi’s eighth bench boss in DC.
“It was great,” Carbery said. “I know him, obviously have a relationship going back a few years from being around camps. It was a good conversation. He’s back home. He sorta laid out his plans for the offseason, and what sticks out right away is that he’s a competitor and he wants to win.”
Ovi and his family returned to Russia in late April after the Caps ran out their regular season schedule and did not qualify for the 2023 postseason. That failure helped lead to Peter Laviolette and the Caps parting ways, paving the way for Carbery coming on as head coach.
The Great Eight said in May that his plans are to rest for now and then start to ramp up his training in July, “as usual.”
“When we talk, everything is team-centric stuff,” Carbery continued. “You’d think a lot of the conversation leads to goals and achieving something really, really special and it’s the opposite. It leads towards team stuff and how we’re going to win. That’s a pretty special quality about Alex and what makes him such a great leader and such a great individual athlete.”
Carbery joins the team as Ovi chases Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goals mark. Ovi will start the season just 72 goals away from matching Greztky’s career total of 894.
While Carbery pointed out the selfless nature of his captain with Elliot, he also remarked last Thursday that he will take Ovi’s chase of The Great One very seriously.
“It’s a huge responsibility for me as a head coach,” Carbery said then. “I’ve watched and seen his greatness up close indirectly. It’s my job as a head coach to put him in situations where he can be successful and that’s what my challenge is and I don’t take that lightly at all. That’ll work into how we play as a group. One of my focuses is how we put him in situations to succeed.”
In that regard, Elliot asked Carbery about his plans to help elevate the Caps’ power play to its former glory. Ovechkin’s 14 power play goals during the 2022-23 campaign was his lowest single-season (82 games) total since the 2011-12 season where he scored 13 times a man to the good.
Carbery again made it clear, as he did in his introductory press conference, that he wants to hire an assistant whose only job is to shape and monitor the man-advantage unit.
“That’s going to be an important role that we fill on our staff,” Carbery said. “That’s the plan right now. Have someone come in and work with those guys and run our power play. I do have some ideas and thoughts and foundational things that I think we can incorporate here.
“As we fill out the staff that’s what I’ll be digging into, those fundamental things. That person is going to need to have some of those ideas. I’ll be keying in on trying to do the best possible job to find the right fit there.”
Given that now-consistent answer, Elliot pondered why Carbery doesn’t just handle those duties himself.
“I think, because I’ve seen it and done it the last two years, it takes a ton of time, effort, nurturing, ideas, watching different things,” Carbery replied. “Thousands of hours to give it the necessary care and time and detail that it deserves. If I step into that, I’m not giving those guys what they deserve. They need someone that’s able to dig right in, their focus is there, they’re dedicated. They’re giving it the attention it deserves and it’s not being done at 75 percent.”
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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