For­ward frustrated by his lack of scor­ing

Bu­rakovsky works through drought

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY TOMMY CHALK

To kick off the Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals’ sea­son, for­ward An­dre Bu­rakovsky scored two goals, hint­ing at the pos­si­bil­ity of a break­out third year from the 21-year-old for­ward.

Since that open­ing game, Bu­rakovsky has gone cold. In his last 24 games, Bu­rakovsky has zero goals on 39 shots.

The lack of pro­duc­tion has forced a coach­ing ad­just­ment from Barry Trotz. En­trusted as a sec­ond line player for the bet­ter part of the sea­son, Bu­rakovsky has dropped down to the third line.

“He knows that he needs to get his game go­ing a lit­tle bit,” Trotz said. “He’s a young player, he has to work through all that. Game 1, he was prob­a­bly our star of the game. But it’s been pretty dry. So he’s got to fig­ure that out.”

What’s frus­trat­ing for Bu­rakovsky is that he feels like he’s do­ing the right things with the puck on his stick. He said he feels com­fort­able and that he is play­ing well.

“I think I’ve been cre­at­ing chances,” Bu­rakovsky said. “I’ve been shoot­ing, I’ve been giv­ing good passes and all that. It just don’t want to go in.”

This isn’t the first time Bu­rakovsky has had dif­fi­cul­ties scor­ing. Last sea­son, he strung to­gether 25 games with­out a sin­gle goal. Dur­ing that stretch, he man­aged just three as­sists. Dur­ing this most re­cent drought, Bu­rakovsky has at least man­aged eight as­sists. He rec­og­nizes that there is a pos­i­tive this sea­son in com­par­i­son to last sea­son’s dif­fi­cul­ties.

“I re­mem­ber, at this point last year, I didn’t re­ally have any con­fi­dence in my­self. I didn’t be­lieve in my­self at all,” Bu­rakovsky said. “And I do [now]. I’m feel­ing good with the puck. I’m cre­at­ing, I’m skat­ing, I’m try­ing to do what I’m good at.”

“I think he’s got to trust his in­stincts,” Trotz said. “With An­dre, he gets in his own head a lit­tle bit, and he doesn’t need to. He’s just got to trust his in­stincts.

Bu­rakovsky said over­haul­ing his game isn’t an op­tion. In­stead, he’s fo­cused on play­ing what he knows is the right way to play.

“The only thing I can change is, maybe go a lit­tle harder to the net,” Bu­rakovsky said. “Stay in front of the

net, battle a lit­tle bit more in front of the net. Do all those grind things in front of the net, but the rest is there.”

Af­ter Tues­day’s morn­ing skate, Bu­rakovsky stayed on the ice. Many of his team­mates had been in the locker room, out of their pads and into the show­ers. Bu­rakovsky re­mained on the ice, get­ting a lit­tle bit more work in.

“You can make a lot of ex­cuses, or you can put your nose to the grind­stone and get work­ing and try to fig­ure that out on your own,” Trotz said. “I’m glad he stayed out there and worked on stuff.”

Bu­rakovsky isn’t the only player go­ing through a dif­fi­cult time. Line­mate Evgeny Kuznetsov, for ex­am­ple, has just two goals in his last 21 games. It’s just how the NHL works.

“Some­times, ev­ery­thing goes against you,” Bu­rakovsky said. “It’s just how it is. It’s a re­al­ity. Ev­ery game can’t be the way you want it to be. Then ev­ery game would be easy, right?”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.