On Monday, the Russian-language RBC-Sport released an exclusive interview between journalist Nikolay Chegorsky and Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin. The Great Eight’s comments with Chegorsky aren’t as juicy as they were with Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov, but Ovechkin still manages to talk about some intriguing stuff.
The 28-year-old Russian shares insight into his relationship with Evgeny Kuznetsov, his offseason training regime, and explains the story behind those Instagram push-ups.
RMNB’s Fedor Fedin has your translation below.
There’s been yet another coaching change in Washington. Replacing [Adam] Oates is Barry Trotz, who worked with the Nashville Predators for 15 years before that. What do you know about the new coach’s requirements?
Alex Ovechkin: We’ve talked at the Awards ceremony in Las Vegas. We talked one-on-one for about an hour, he told me what he expects from me and team in general. I think he’s met my teammates as well and has explained to them his vision.
Did you talk about your role on the team?
AO: We haven’t gotten there yet, we were talking about general things, getting to know each other. Trotz is a great man even though I know that he’s a stern coach. I don’t think I’ll have any problems with him.
Last year, the Capitals missed the playoffs for the first time in many years. Why did it happen?
AO: Bad luck and unsuccessful play, I doubt I can give a more detailed answer. We’ve kept the core of our team together plus become stronger by adding new players. We’ll see how it goes in training camp in mid-September.
Ilya Kovalchuk has been working out with personal trainer in Serebryany Bor [Ed. Note: a forest in Moscow] over the last few years. Have you started your own personal preparation for the season?
AO: Yeah, I’ve been working with a new trainer for a week. I can say that I will be training alone all summer using a program I used before, plus there will be some new methods so I will be fully ready to start the season.
There’s a new Russian player in Washington named Evgeny Kuznetsov, whom you took under your patronage. Is it a Russian tradition in the NHL for a rookie to live in the house of a veteran player?
AO: Zhenya is a great guy and decent player, I think he’ll keep developing. I don’t know about Swedes, Czechs, or Finns, but we do it because we want to help. I remember how hard it was for me in America early on. Now I want Zhenya to adapt to the US as quickly as possible.
Does the new generation of Russian players adapt to America faster than you, Malkin, or Kovalchuk?
AO: I think it is more or less the same. It’s quite easy to get used to living in the United States, and nothing has changed for sure when it comes to hockey. The hopes for the guys are high and each of them wants to show his best.
The entire world has watched your video where you are doing push-ups after losing to Kuznetsov in a video game.
AO: We tore the Internet apart with this video! We didn’t plan it, we just uploaded it on Instagram and the wave started from there. We like to joke around with him. He’s a very funny guy and likes jokes like this.