Holtby and Backstrom have high hopes this season
Earlier this month Alex Ovechkin turned 28 years old. On Tuesday night in Chicago he will begin his ninth season with the Capitals and his fifth as team captain. In an interview with reporters this week, Ovechkin discussed his relationships with coaches Bruce Boudreau, Dale Hunter and Adam Oates and how he feels about chasing an elusive Stanley Cup.
On turning 28:
Time move fast, that’s all I can say. I just feel like I come in here a year ago, maybe two year ago, but not like eight years ago. Of course it’s hard. I realize I’m getting older. It would be good to be 23, 24 years old but it’s impossible, so you just move on.
On what he’s learned most in his eight years in America:
The language; the culture, some rules of what I have to do besides play hockey. I’ve learned what people expect from me. It’s OK with me.
On where hockey fits in with those demands:
Hockey is my favorite thing, what I love to do. But my lifestyle changed, going from one city to another city.
On how Washington is different than Moscow:
Two different cities. Different nationalities. Of course it’s very hard to compare. In Moscow I like my hometown, my friends are there, the language is different and different rules of living. Here it’s the same way. I like to speak English with my boys. Sometimes everybody laugh at me because I still can’t say something that I want to say. Of course, I have friends here as well. But when you grow up in one place you always say, ‘OK, I’m from Moscow.’ If you’re from New Jersey you say, ‘I’m a Jersey boy.’ Like, it’s the same stuff.
On his mood going into the season:
I’m in good spot in my life. Since I was here all the moments when I go up or go down, you realize it can’t go up all the time. Sometimes it has to go down. And that’s what’s been happening.
On being accustomed to right wing:
Well, I’m already a right winger, so I think we can stop talking about it. We’ll see how it goes this year, but I don’t think it’s going to be some problem or some issue.
On if he’ll ask to play right wing for Team Russia in the Olympics:
Be honest with you I never tell my coach where I play. Of course, if it’s not working I will say it. But it’s up to my coach where he wants to play me and how he wants to use me.
On what Adam Oates’ visit to Russia meant to him:
It means a lot. I don’t think any coach can fly 12 hours to see you for one day, one guy. It shows he care about me, he care about my workout, and he care about my personal life. Like I said, I never had that kind of situation before in all my career. I have great relationship. Like if something wrong I can go to my coach. To be honest with you, what happened with Bruce [Boudreau] it was only like hockey stuff. The last year before he got fired I think we lost connections and there were little different things. With [Dale] Hunter I didn’t talk at all and everybody knows it. But with Oatesy everything is good.
On if Oates understands him better after visiting him:
Of course. Probably that’s why he wants to see my place, see how I live there and all the little details. It’s going to help me for now and in the future.
On winning a third Hart Trophy:
Actually, it’s a big deal. When you just came here first time you never think like you’re going to be that kind of guy who gonna stay close to the great ones. Winning three of them, that’s a big honor for me. It kind of make you think you want to win more and more. But it’s individual stuff. If we don’t want to be a team that just keeps winning division champions we have to move forward as a group and as individuals and grow.
On if he’s concerned the support from fans will wane if the Caps don’t win a championship during his time in D.C:
To be honest with you I’m not worried about our fan base because people love hockey right now. People like this team. Of course we try to do our best to move forward every year, but most important thing for us is just playing. If somebody don’t want to go see hockey, don’t go. We never going to say, ‘OK, guys. You have to come see us.’
On getting excited before each season:
To be honest with you I’m ready to start the season right now. It’s going to be a great year for us and I hope every year we’re going to move forward.
On what would make a successful season:
Again, you can’t say, like, we’re going to win the Stanley Cup. You know, of course we would love to win the Stanley Cup and we’re gonna do it – we’re gonna try to do it – but we just have to play every game like it’s our last game. Everybody is going to be happy if you exhausted and win the game.