It sure looked as if Alex Ovechkin was slowing down Anthony Miller Bears Jersey , at least by his standards. This time a year ago, Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals were limping away from another early playoff exit. His 16 even-strength goals in the regular season tied for the lowest of his career. Injuries limited him to five goals in 13 playoff games. Then a funny thing happened. Coach Barry Trotz took time from visiting his son in Russia to meet with Ovechkin and talk about changing and evolving his game at age 32. Time doesn’t stop, not even for the greatest goal-scorer of his generation. Trotz and general manager Brian MacLellan wanted more goals, better foot speed and for their cornerstone player to take care of his body to be able to handle more time on the ice. ”That’s just life: You have to change, you have to grow,” Trotz said. ”He was motivated to show everybody that he still is a great player in this league.” Ovechkin led the NHL with 49 goals in the regular season, 15 more in the playoffs as the Conn Smythe Trophy winner and showed in his 13th season he could lead his team to the Stanley Cup. Ordinarily a team would be running out the clock on the final three seasons of a 13-year deal with a player of his age, but now Ovechkin is a Stanley Cup champion and there is no telling how much more the big forward can do in his NHL career. ”Was tough time, but we fight through it and we get result,” Ovechkin said. ”It’s just something special. I don’t know. I’m just very excited and I’m very happy right now.” Hours after the Russian superstar lifted the Cup on the ice in Las Vegas Roquan Smith Jersey , President Donald Trump devoted his first tweet of the morning to Ovechkin and the Capitals. ”Congratulations to the Washington Capitals on their GREAT play and winning the Stanley Cup Championship,” Trump tweeted . ”Alex Ovechkin, the team captain, was spectacular – a true Superstar! D.C. is popping, in many ways. What a time!” Ovechkin likely hadn’t gone to sleep when the tweet was delivered at 4:12 a.m. Las Vegas time and he retweeted it. Next week, Ovechkin will be the star in a parade down Constitution Avenue six months after Trump on inauguration day and this summer will take the Cup back home to Moscow. After that, the next challenge starts. Ovechkin last summer adjusted his training methods in Russia, and he seemed rejuvenated when came back to the Washington area. Now he has to do it all over again with a happily shorter summer. ”As you’re getting older, we’re going to have to train a little different so you become the athlete you always have been, because these young kids can absolutely fly Donte Jackson Youth Jersey ,” Trotz said. Ovechkin looked like he was flying all season, from seven goals in his first two games to one on the power play Thursday night in the Cup clincher against the Vegas Golden Knights. But goal-scorers don’t typically keep up this pace – Ovechkin was already the oldest player to finish first in goals since Phil Esposito in 1974-75. ”He was very comfortable and he was very confident,” longtime teammate Nicklas Backstrom said. ”He was really calm. Everything was really good. It’s impressive the way he scores goals and the way he worked out there. He was just a machine there in the playoffs.” Owner Ted Leonsis said recently his only regret about signing Ovechkin to a $124 million, 13-year deal is that it wasn’t longer. With three years left at a salary-cap hit over $9.5 million, Ovechkin has already exceeded the expectations of that monster contract with three Hart Trophies, seven Maurice ”Rocket” Richard Trophies and now the playoff success that had long eluded him. ”We worked so hard through all the years and we were together,” Ovechkin said. ”It’s just like a dream.” — More Stanley Cup coverage: Yangervis Solarte provided power from both sides of the plate to help the Toronto Blue Jays end a record stretch of futility against left-handed pitchers. Solarte hit two home runs, Devon Travis also connected and the Blue Jays beat the Washington Nationals 6-5 on Friday night, their fifth straight home victory. Washington has lost five of seven on the road. Justin Smoak broke a 3-3 tie with a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning and Solarte, batting left-handed Cheap Da'Ron Payne Jersey , followed with a two-run shot off right-hander Justin Miller. Solarte was batting right-handed when he homered in Toronto’s three-run third, a solo blast off left-hander Gio Gonzalez (6-3). ”I was lucky enough that I had good opportunities and we took advantage of it,” Solarte said. The victory snapped Toronto’s team-worst 11-game losing streak against lefty starting pitchers. ”We’re better than that,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. ”That shouldn’t happen like that.” Solarte is the ninth player in Blue Jays history to homer from both sides of the plate. The last to do it was Kendrys Morales against Oakland on July 27, 2017. The homers were Solarte’s 13th and 14th of the season, extending his team lead and coming a year after his career high of 18. It’s the second time Solarte has achieved the feat, having done it also against Arizona on May 27, 2016 while with the San Diego Padres. ”It’s hard but it’s my job,” Solarte said. Travis hit a two-run home run in the third, his third. Seunghwan Oh (2-2) pitched one inning for the win and Ryan Tepera stranded the potential tying run at third base in the ninth to earn his fourth save in seven opportunities. Wilmer Difo hit a leadoff single in the ninth Vontaze Burfict Youth Jersey , then stole second and advanced on a fly ball. Tepera escaped by getting Adam Eaton to ground out and striking out Trea Turner. Gonzalez allowed season-worsts of five runs and nine hits in six-plus innings. The left-hander has allowed four or more earned runs in consecutive outings. Travis singled to begin the seventh and Teoscar Hernandez followed with a fly ball that right fielder Eaton lost in the twilight. ”I had it off the bat but as soon as it goes up, it’s a pretty helpless feeling,” Eaton said. After the ball dropped for a ground-rule double, Miller came on and surrendered Smoak’s sacrifice fly and Solarte’s two-run blast. ”We had one fly ball that we didn’t see that kind of changed things real quick,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. The homer was the first earned run allowed by Miller in nine appearances this season. ”I was trying to throw a fastball away and it just kind of cut on me,” Miller said. ”Hats off to him, he hit a good pitch.” Aaron Sanchez allowed three runs and six hits in six innings for Toronto. GREEN LIGHT The Blue Jays have hit an ML-leading six home runs on 3-0 counts this season. No other team had more than two entering play Friday. FIRST OF THE SEASON Washington’s Daniel Murphy singled in the eighth, snapping a 0-for-10 stretch since he returned from right knee surgery Tuesday. TRAINER’S ROOM Nationals: 1B Matt Adams took a pitch off his left hand while squaring to bunt in the second. Mark Reynolds replaced Adams on defense an inning later. ”I knew from the get-go it was bad,” Adams said. He is day to day. Murphy will DH against the Blue Jays this weekend and return to the infield Monday when Washington returns home to face the Yankees. Blue Jays: One week after he became eligible to be activated off the disabled list, 3B Josh Donaldson (left calf) has yet to run at full speed. Donaldson may play at least one minor league rehab game with Triple-A Buffalo before rejoining the Blue Jays. … RHP Marcus Stroman (shoulder) will make a second rehab start Monday M.J. Stewart Jersey , this time at Double-A New Hampshire. Stroman pitched 4 1/3 innings at Class-A Dunedin Wednesday. … OF Steve Pearce (oblique) will begin a rehab assignment at Buffalo Saturday. Pearce has not played since May 3. … RHP Deck McGuire was claimed off waivers by the Texas Rangers. UP NEXT Nationals RHP Max Scherzer (10-2, 2.00) faces Blue Jays RHP Marco Estrads (3-6, 5.09). Scherzer is 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA in eight career starts against Toronto. His June 10 loss against San Francisco snapped a streak of nine straight winning decisions. Estrada beat Baltimore on June 10, ending an eight-start winless stretch. — .