Actions speak louder than words.
As a captain, if Alex Ovechkin is unable to inspire his troops with his words, then he must take matters into his own hands.
Or rather, his fists.
This strategy has worked in the past. On December 12, 2010, the Washington Capitals played the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Midway through the second period, with the Capitals already trailing 4-0, the Rangers attempted to clear their zone after Washington hit the post twice in the same sequence.
Alex Ovechkin laid a hard—but clean—hip check on New York defender Dan Girardi, who was caught off-guard by the hit and went down in a heap.
Girardi's teammate, Brandon Dubinsky, took exception to the hit and approached Ovechkin. The Capitals' captain immediately dropped his gloves and engaged Dubinsky. The two fought an entertaining but short bout before falling to the ice.
But prior to letting the referees escort him to the penalty box, Ovechkin skated just past center ice and yelled at his teammates while waving his arms, imploring them to battle.
Ovechkin's actions may have actually inspired his teammates. The 2010-11 Capitals went on to lose that game 7-0, which was their fifth straight loss. They lost the next two games as well, but both by only one goal—the first in a shootout and the second after trailing by three goals to start the game.
The Caps would then catch fire, winning five of the next six games, including the 2011 Winter Classic against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field. Washington would finish the season with a 48-23-11 record and 107 points, good for the first seed in the Eastern Conference.
Plus, they never had a losing streak of longer than three games once that seven-game streak was snapped in December.
Perhaps the Washington Capitals could use similar inspiration right now.