Fedor saw this mammoth interview between Sport Express journalist Slava Malamud and Alex Ovechkin, which was done right before the Canadiens game last night. This is Part I of their interview translated. Part II will come tomorrow!
“My best goal was against Brodeur”
Slava Malamud – You’re still playing games in the NHL but Olympics are getting closer and closer. And very soon your friends and teammates will become rivals, rivals will become friends…
Alex Ovechkin – Yeah, pretty funny feelings. I look at the guys in the locker room and unintentionally think that we’ll play against each other soon. And we’ll play hard. And we’ll struggle against each other. Pretty strange, yes.
SM– How do you get yourself focused before the important games or tournaments?
AO – Nothing special. I go there and play. Goalies have some weird traditions, but goalies are not like the other people. But I like to listen to good music before the game. I put some good hip-hop and think about the game. But usually if you like some music, it will tune you in right. For example, it’s more fun to warm up with music than without it. That’s all.
SM – Are your feelings getting worked up? Even now, a few days before the Olympics?
AO – Sure I’m feeling that I will come to Vancouver very soon. I’ll represent my country and, obviously, I’ve been thinking about it.
SM – But what’s your thoughts? You have something to remember – Torino, Quebec…
AO – No, the last Olympiad is over. I never think about it. And not only because we didn’t have success there. We had some good games there. But why do we have to remember the past?
SM – To learn from it. For example, Pavel Datsyuk said that team was going limp psychologically after the win over Canada.
AO – I have another point of view, but it’s ok. Everyone can to have his own. I don’t want to remember it.
SM – But there were not only bad things, for example, you scored against Brodeur…
AO – Yeah, it was the best goal in my career. Number one!
SM – You put it higher than unbelievable goal against the Coyotes? Higher than pirouette goal against the Canadiens? Higher than all your hat-tricks?
AO – Sure. That was very important and then I played for my country.
SM – But do you have an ideal goal? Goal of your dreams?
AO – I don’t want to dream about an ideal goal. I will remember it better once I have scored it. But an ideal goal… how about an empty netter at the last second. It’s the easiest, and the win is guaranteed.
Keep reading: Alexander talks smack about Canada after the jump!
“Happiness is a win in Canada”
SM – What’s more important for you – to win in the Olympics or the Stanley Cup?
AO – Right now I have a chance to win an Olympiad and that is very important right now. What’s more important – I have no comments about it. I’m as professional as other players. We all fight for the win in every tournament.
SM – You know what it is like to win over Canada on Canadian ice. Please share your feelings.
AO – Over Canada in Canada? Especially in final! Especially in overtime! Especially trailing in the biggest part of the game! To pull out that hard win… What do you think? When I remember I have a goosebumps. This is happiness. This is unforgettable. This is what I’ll carry through the rest of my life.
SM – OK. Now imagine that this would happen in the Olympics.
AO – This would be a reason to jump off the 10th floor of a building and yell “We are the champions” falling. Life is not a waste of time after it.
SM – In my opinion, now it’s pretty clear to say that this is more important to you than the Stanley Cup.
AO – OK. Olympics and Stanley Cup are different tournaments by importance.
SM – Explain.
AO – When I play for the national team I represent all-all-all of my friends. All of my people, the whole country. When I play in Stanley Cup only 100 thousands of people root for me. I mean, root for the club, not for me personally.
SM – How would you evaluate the current Russian team?
AO – Team. I mean it’s a real team. You can’t play without it, even if you’re a superstar.
SM – Every team has its one face. And certainly it looks diferrent from the ice than from the seats on arena or TV. That’s the reason I’m asking you about it.
AO – Our main opponent is ourselves. If we’ll play the way we want, the way we can, the way we must, no one will be able to beat us.
SM – Let’s remember Quebec again. Canadians confessed that they thought you would stop coming at them so hard, but you never did. Why?
AO – There were many conditions which didn’t allow us to slow down. The main thing was that we were in good playing shape during end of the second period. We could play only three lines because of this. That was the rate required for the trailing team. Especially when emotions start overtaking you. In this situation you forget about fatigue, about the score – you’re just flying on the ice. And coaches give you a chance by playing three lines and you start to overtake the opponent. We just had a higher rate. And we overtook them. That’s first of all. And we were lucky then too…
SM – You’re telling it like it only happened once. But journalists and fans thought back then, that this is the new face of Russian team. Angry and furious. Like Ovechkin’s face where he’s on ice. [Ed Note: Or Like On Our T-shirt]
AO – Maybe. But the conditions were for us. We were more ready physically than the Canadians. It was noticable – they died at the end of the game. It’s confluence of circumstances too, isn’t it? In the first period referees gave us stupid penalties, but at the end they didn’t. It’s the circumstances as well. And I’m sure we’ll have to go through it in Vancouver, too. I think, we must ready ourselves that referees often won’t give us a chance to play our own game.
SM – Do you think NHL referees will help locals?
AO – I don’t know about locals but, understand, referees are unpredictable people and they can decide the outcome of any game. With one whistle. For example, to cancel a goal or call a bogus penalty. No one can change their decisions. And people will forget that play, but the result will be remembered. I just want to say that referees are big factor.
SM – What do you think about new rule – 1 referee from Europe + 1 referee from the NHL?
AO – I don’t think that will change anything. Someone will judge European way, someone – the North American Way, but referees will be referees.
Check back tomorrow for more translated intrigue!