Here is an interview between Dmitri Chesnokov and Alex Ovechkin that was published today on Sovetsky Sport’s Website and translated by Fedor Fedin. In this article, Alex Ovechkin addresses the Olympics, the Kovalchuk-to-DC rumors and his plans for the New Year. Take a look below. It’s a great read!
“Hockey boom will happen in Vancouver”
Alex Ovechkin: Happy new year for all!!
Dmitri Chesnokov: How was your 2009?
AO: It was a good year. I gained experience, achieved some goals. And above all – all are safe and sound. Rest is secondary.
DC: The Year of the Tiger begins with very important event in your life – The Olympic Games. A while ago you visited Vancouver as a Capitals player. What is the situation there now?
AO: It’s a hockey town. I was amazed by how many people came to the game and events I took part in! It’s hard to imagine what it will be like for the Olympic Games. It will be a Hockey Boom there!
DC: What were the events you took part in?
AO: Signed Russian national team jerseys. The Organizing committee of Games arranged that. Yes, it’s a hockey town, but I can’t imagine how it’ll be when the Olympics will be there. Let’s wait until February.
DC: Were you excited for the Russian Olympic roster announcement?
AO: Of course. A roster spot wasn’t guaranteed for anyone. I understand the feelings of guys who didn’t find their names on the list. It happens to everyone. But no one will go to Vancouver for past services. And no one will go there for friendships with somebody (referring to Semyon Varlamov). It’s not amateur hockey. The Olympics are a very serious tournament.
DC: Why did organizers demand the roster now? And coaches will not be able to make changes as Games go…
AO: I do not deal with this issue. These are the rules by [the Olympic Game] organizers. I don’t think about it. My goal was to be on the “23 Man Roster”. I held it down. Next goal – to be in the best shape of my life for February.
“I’ll not reduce speed”
DC: “Soviet Sport” reported a few days ago that “The Hockey News” named you the second influential man in world hockey…
AO: I knew about it!
DC: Probably because you were second this year, too. Why weren’t you first?
AO: It means that I don’t deserve it. Very deserving people go ahead of me.
DC: More specifically, one man: Gary Bettman. Let’s leave him unaccounted for. He’s the NHL commissioner. What are your feelings about being the coolest player in the NHL, Alex?
AO: I’m cool?! Oh, you really are nice, guys… Let’s say it this way, I’m very glad to be on top of the list. Thanks for my dad and my mom. They brought me up right. Thanks for all the coaches that worked with me. Especially for Semenov and Bilyaletdinov, who were busy with me. Without Bilyaletdinov it would be hard to build my life. He put me on the right track.
DC: What do you think about the talks that you have to give up your power style of play. They say It’s dangerous and Alex won’t able to do so for a long time in NHL, a very hard league.
AO: Why should i have to change something that’s working? If I made some mistakes it is not a reason to ruin yourself and go back to the start. For example: you’re driving a car at full speed. You had some kind of road accident. It’s life, everything may happen. But you won’t stop driving and ride a bike, right? Or you can ride roller skates very slow. But who is interested in that?
DC: Not long ago we saw your photoshoot in glossy. You’re on the “Harley”. And you say that you’re not cool.
AO: One russian magazine asked that. All right…
DC: In another town you were photographed with a very nice girl…
AO:It was in the US. I have very good friend who occupies himself with my press relations. Probably, you know him – Arik Zakaryan, agent of figure skater Pluschenko. He organized my date with the bike…
DC: Who organized your date with the girl?
AO: Other people helped.
DC: Do not sidestep the question! Did you choose the girl for the photos?
AO: Not at all. I didn’t think too much about it. I don’t worry about what’s in the paper. Ovechkin is Ovechkin. Organic man. Why I need to copy someone?
“Mora is our captain”
DC: Your teammate on the Olympic team Ilya Kovalchuk is at a crossroads. He’s going to become a Free Agent in the summer. According to rumors he may go to DC.
AO: I doubt whether he will play for the Caps. But if it will happen, Washington will become a killing team!
DC: Can you give advice for a friend?
AO: I don’t think Ilya needs any. He’s an experienced guy. He has an alternative. He may quietly play for the rest of the season, go to the market and find a team he wants. There is no sense to advise him on this. I will be happy for him in any case. He decides a great deal. He’s the leader of his team.
DC: You’re right about Kovalchuk’s leadership. What do you think, can he become a captain of the Russian Olympic team?
AO: You should ask the coaches about it. But we have a captain – Alexey Morozov. Every one of our players is a leader in the locker room. Everyone can scold if something is wrong. In terms of it, the “C” on a jersey it’s only a formality. But it’s not right. You should deserve it. Mora deserve it, like nobody’s business.
DC: How will you see the New Year in?
AO: We’ll fly out to LA with the team. We’ll find something. We’ll decorate a New Year’s Palm, ::laughing Ovechkin::
DC: We suggest you say a humorous greeting for our readers. Imagine yourself in Santa’s role.
AO: Joking apart! Health is the first. You have nothing without it. Let’s see, how many great people died this year? It’s not important how much money you have – 100 rubles or 100 of millions. I wish you health. Robust health. And love – it’s obligatory, too. And be happy! We will be at pains for you to be so at the end of February.