Alex Ovechkin is coming off another disappointing playoff exit at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and earlier this offseason GM Brian MacLellan said that his superstar forward would need to train differently this offseason to make sure the speed of the game didn’t leave him behind. Ovechkin scored fewer than 50 goals in a full season for the first time since 2011-12, posting just 33 markers all year. It seems he’s taken it to heart, as a report from Tom Gulitti of NHL.com has Ovechkin showing up to optional workouts in Washington markedly thinner.
Ovechkin played last season at 239, but teammates are saying he’s definitely leaner this year which hopefully will translate into more success on the ice. It’s important to note that even though Ovechkin’s goal total dropped, he still posted 69 points due to a big jump in assists. The Capitals will begin the season on Thursday, October 5th when they take on the Ottawa Senators.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs have reached a landmark agreement with Scotiabank for the naming rights to their arena. According to Rick Westhead of TSN the bank will pay $800MM (CAD) for the 20-year agreement that will change the name from the Air Canada Centre to Scotiabank Arena on July 1, 2018. The deal is the biggest naming sponsorship in North American sports history, and will make the incredibly wealthy Maple Leafs franchise worth even more. It marks the second NHL building named after the Canadian bank, following Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome. The Ottawa Senators’ Scotiabank Place was renamed the Canadian Tire Centre in 2013.
- Any fans who bought a Viktor Arvidsson jersey during his breakout season last year will be disappointed today, as the team announced that he’ll be changing to #33 for next season. Frederick Gaudreau and Vladislav Kamenev will also change, claiming #89 and #91 respectively. Kamanev’s change is the most interesting, after he played just two games with the Predators last season. Though he was expected to press for a roster spot after another big AHL season, this actually may be more evidence that he’ll be given a chance with the NHL club at some point this year.