Ovi has goal of winning Gold medal and Stanley Cup
A very pleasant Alex Ovechkin met with reporters on Tuesday and shared his thoughts on everything from playing for Russia in the 2014 Winter Olympics to playing another season on the right wing and the Caps’ chances of winning the Stanley Cup.
In the first of a three-part series, Ovechkin discusses the Olympics and his invitation to carry the torch Sept. 29 in Olympia, Greece. Check back at www.CSNWashington.com later today for Parts 2 and 3:
On ranking the importance of the Olympics compared to the NHL season:
It's two biggest thing. Olympics, it's huge and I'm looking forward to that. And of course, NHL season and it's going to be playoffs and, you know, we have to make a step, step forward.
On being asked by the Russian Olympic Organizing Committee to be a torch bearer in Greece later this month:
It's a huge honor for me. I'm really proud the Russian Federation asked me to do it. I talked to Caps organization, I talked to my teammates and I explained everything. It's only once in your life opportunity to carry the torch and represent your country. Everybody say, 'We're happy for you. We going to do the same if we have invitation to that.’ I just have to work, my agent have to work with Russian Federation to figure out how I can do it best. I hope it's going to work, because I really want to do it.
On the logistics of getting from Washington to Greece in the span of two days in time for the Caps’ season opener Oct. 1 in Chicago:
Yeah, that's the most important thing. I don't want to miss the games or something like that. … We just have to find a plane and, you know, I don't think the time is going to matter. Of course time matters, but I think we're going to have the day off Sunday [Sept. 29]. So the team is going to have [Sunday] off and just fly to Greece and fly back.
On whether he’s able to sleep on planes:
Yeah, it's no problem. Take some medicine.
On the benefits of having a full training camp under second-year coach Adam Oates:
Last year, we have only like half a season. We can see success what we have at the end. Of course, last year, we had injuries to our lines. Brooks [Laich] was not healthy, Marty [Erat] gets hurt, and of course, it's big players to us. They can help us. Everybody I think looking forward to this year.
On his expectations for the Capitals this season:
Every year, we're talking about it. And every year, it's gonna be the same question. We just have to play better, especially at the start to feel confidence. Of course, if you remember last year when we start, we was last in the whole league and then we figure out the system, figure out how we have to play. Everybody knows their roles and we bounce back and then we make the playoffs. …Next step is always harder step. If you take one step, you have to make two steps to get success. It's not about me, it's all about coaching staff, it's all about my teammates and myself. We just have to get big step forward to get success.
On what he wants to improve upon this season:
Just do the same, do my best, try to create space for my partners and get them better. We have to play for each other. We have to be a team.
On if there is a lot more for him to learn as a right winger:
Yeah, of course. When you didn't play almost three months, you come back on the right side and you feel like, 'OK, here we go again. I need some time.' But I don't think it's gonna be big problem. It's gonna be much easier.