ovechkin-official

Not sure. (Photo: championat.com)

Before getting injured on Sunday by German enforcer Markus Kink, Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin was having a splendid World Championships. Team Russia, for whom he is captain, is undefeated in six games with a plus-23 goal differential — the highest in the tournament. Ovechkin ranks second in points in the tournament. Plus, he got to ride a tank and shoot off guns and stuff.

Speaking to reporters for twenty minutes on Friday, Ovechkin spoke about a wide range of fun topics. He talked about his duties as captain for Team Russia, his on- and off-again relationship with Evgeni Malkin, and if he’d ever leave for the KHL. Ovechkin also was asked about his upcoming wedding (which, c’mon, that’s inevitable) and his ideal linemates. He really misses Sasha Minor and Sergei.

RMNB’s Igor Kleyner has translated most of the press conference, transcribed by Sport-Express, below.

There are rumors that you may follow Kovalchuk’s footsteps and leave the NHL.

Alex Ovechkin: They are speculations, first and foremost, by the journalists.

Dot the ‘i’s please. Was there a conflict with Malkin in Sochi?

AO: Everything is all right. We have a good relationship. He is going to come here and help us.

Do you interact with him during the NHL season?

AO: No. Everybody has their own schedule. But whenever Pittsburgh comes to Washington or the other way around, we get together, talk.

You were in a bad mood in Sochi. Has it changed here in Minsk?

AO: Why was the mood bad in Sochi?

You were losing; your play wasn’t coming together…

AO: You can’t compare the Olympics and Worlds. It’s a different level. Everything is different in Sbornaya now. The coaches, the game. And the mood… it was good there and here. Although there have been moments in my career when I wanted to end it. The Olympic defeat, in the playoffs, nothing was working. There was a huge psychological pressure on me. But then time goes by and you realize you need to put all the negatives aside.

Last year you were in the same situation as Malkin. Like him, you were knocked out of the playoffs and came to the Worlds in a bad mood. Can you find any words of comfort for him?

AO: Of course it’s not pleasant to lose in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but I don’t think Evgeny needs to be comforted. He wants to end the season on a victorious note. That’s why he is coming to Minsk.

As a captain, do you work with the team’s young players?

AO: It’s very important to communicate. During the game, and especially before the game. I give them advice on where to go. And they give me advice as well. Because we are a team of 25 people. When — 10 years ago — I had my Worlds debut, there were experienced veterans on that team – Yashin, Tverdovsky, even Kovalchuk had already played in a few tournaments. I paid attention to what they said. I remember how Viktor Tikhonov invited me to Sbornaya when I was 16. I entered the locker room and got nervous. I remember my first goal for Sbornaya. I scored on an empty net.

Do you get out in the city in Minsk? What do you do in free time?

AO: We are mostly sitting in our hotel rooms like little mice. No time to go to a casino. We play PlayStation; Kuzya sneaked in his console.

During the tour of Stalin Line, it appears you and Kuznetsov are of similar temperament.

AO: Yes, we interact constantly when we are in Washington. He lived at my house for a while. We also have a great relationship with Dima Orlov.

And what about Belarussian Grabovski? Is he a part of your group?

AO: Mishanya? Of course. But he is from a different sbornaya.

Are you going to the World Cup in Brazil?

AO: That’s the plan. I want to go to Brazil, watch our team and the others as well. But I don’t know if it’ll work out.

When is your wedding with Maria Kirilenko?

AO: We are getting there. There is no date yet.

Why not in exotic Brazil?

AO: Because she can’t come there, she has tournaments.

Do you agree that Russian players are treated with prejudice in North America? Pittsburgh lost in the playoffs, and they are screaming “Trade Malkin!” you scored 51 goals during the regular season, but the talk is the same: “Let’s trade Ovechkin!”

AO: Everybody– a coach, an expert, a journalist, or a fan– wishes the best for his team. That’s the reason you may hear such a call for a trade.

Is there a player you dream about playing with?

AO: [Sergei] Fedorov. I would put him at center. On the right– Sema [Alex Semin’s nickname].

ovechkin-crazy-hair

Ovechkin’s crazy hair from the press conference. (Photo: @boogaard1975)

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Ovi + Semin: 56.7% corsi-for
    Ovi + Fedorov: 62.1% corsi-for.

  • MarkGreenway

    Ovi + Fedorov + Semin : 118.8% corsi for ? That’s how it works right. That means that the caps are shooting at their own net 18% of the time. (should I not be making jokes on the high fancy stats holiday of Neil Greenberg’s birthday?)

  • Sarah

    I dream of playing with Sergei Fedorov too.

  • OlietheGoalie

    “We play PlayStation; Kuzya sneaked in his console.”

    Ha. Just another reason why I love Kuzzy. I wonder if they play NHL 14? ’94? Mutant League Hockey?

  • OlietheGoalie

    “winky”?

  • Sarah

    Oh come on, I’m a troll, not a house elf.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett
  • Shaun Phillips

    MLH was awesome.

  • JH

    Best part of the interview

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland
  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland
  • Sjomin

    They play a lot of Fifa14 and probably NHL14 as well.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Maybe most importantly: Ovi says Semin would be on the right, which means Ovi still thinks of himself as a left winger.

  • Tadd

    Which is why I think you’re spot on with the MJ90-trading chip.

  • Yo8

    Sasha where are you?! Ovi needs you!!!!!!!!!! T-T

    http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ma7bjwxkJC1qz53j7.gif

  • themav80
  • Lawrence

    Oh how I miss those days. Never realized those days would come to end, especially so fast. Wish we could go back to that Federov year and do it again. Somewhere Sasha is sitting at home, reading this RMNB article with this face,

    http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/alex-semin-thinks.jpg

  • Barrett

    Dear George McPhee, I still hate you for letting Alexander Semin leave Washington.

  • Igor Kleyner

    KHL Pres Medvedev did a lot of talking today – and reiterated his desire to see Ovi play in the KHL. Said it is “legally possible”, points to Kovalchuk, says it’s all up to Ovi.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Wow. I didn’t even think about that – good catch.

  • stacyh13

    That really was a dumb move. . .

  • Larry E. Ramey

    @7million/year? I’ll pass on that thanks. I like Sema, but not 7mil worth.

  • Sarah

    Yes, probably at least that many people agree. Sigh…

  • Diller M

    good pull, MLH hahahahahahahahahaha sick)))))))

  • Dark Stranger

    Don’t know if Sasha Minor’s reading this blog but he’s sitting at home with a cast on his right arm — from wrist surgery. Injured wrist in training camp before this past season and wrist was not right all year. That, combined with history of tendinitis.

  • Phil Owen

    Best

  • CapsKel

    He didn’t leave for the money, though; he left because he was tired of one-year contracts even in 60+ point seasons. Bet you anything he would have taken a paycut if we’d offered him security.

  • CapsKel

    Plus two concussions in 6 months, and he missed almost 20 games… yet still had a 40+ point season. He’s a trooper.

  • Larry E. Ramey

    Because GMGM was the worst GM ever and constantly let good players walk away for nothing when they in fact wanted reasonable salaries. (See Riberio’s totally reasonable demands for what is now a 4th line center)

    Oh wait… he actually didn’t do that.

    I liked Sasha #2, but I’m also ok with him leaving.

  • CapsKel

    Uh, I didn’t say anything about GMGM being a horrible GM? I said that we were continually offering him expensive 1-year contracts and he was (as stated in interviews) unhappy with the lack of security, and that he would have taken less money for a multi-year deal. That’s the case with most players.

  • Larry E. Ramey

    The assumption is that GMGM didn’t offer him exactly what you are proposing.

    GMGM was not so dumb that he would just go, “OH!!! Term for less money? I never thought of that”

    OK… Erskine and Laich contracts are dumb… I can’t figure those out… but for the most part, GMGM was pretty smart.

  • CapsKel

    But that’s a fact. It’s been a while, so I don’t have the old articles in front of me, but the reason that he was considering going back to the KHL was that the Caps kept giving him one-year contracts and he was tired of operating on the hockey equivalent of a month-to-month lease. I get that management’s rationale was that he was inconsistent (I’ve always laughed at 60+ points being “inconsistent,” but whatever) and I guess that the state of the team was somewhat in flux, which is fine.

    That’s their call, and I’m not calling GMGM names over it. But they didn’t offer him a multi-year deal. I’m absolutely positive of that, I remember the press conferences, I remember the (English and Russian) articles, I remember the agent statements.

    After one excellent season (in which he had the abbreviated equivalent of an 80-point year), the Hurricanes offered him a multi-year deal. Is he overpaid? Yes, but that’s the Hurricanes for you; they overpay everyone. Eric Staal is getting paid 9.25 million dollars a year, ffs. That’s THEIR management problem… But there’s no doubt in my mind that Sasha would have stayed in D.C. for less if a serious multi-year deal had been on the cards.

    Would that price have been low enough for you? I don’t know. I’m not even saying that he should have been re-signed.

    I’m just saying that he would have, in all likelihood, taken a pay cut for a multi-year deal, since a multi-year deal was what he wanted, and what the Caps had consistently denied him even when he was a top 15 point producer.