By Igor Kleyner
Photo credit: @wyshynski
As the Washington Capitals training camp opened to the public on Thursday, captain Alex Ovechkin had a pep in his step. “I feel great,” Ovechkin said. “Everybody is glad to be back on the ice. The first practice is fast and short. A couple of exercises, some endurance training. All you need is to feel the ice, get used to the puck again, things like that.”
Later, speaking exclusively to Slava Malamud of Sport Express, Ovi went on about his good health and what it would take to be a part of the Olympic torch ceremony, but he seems to be pretty much done discussing comments made by Dynamo’s General Director Andrei Safronov.
How is your foot?
Everything is great.
To play in the Stanley Cup and Worlds playoffs with a fracture – that’s not something you can just dismiss.
It wasn’t even a fracture – just a bruise. I didn’t even know what kind of injury it was. Got the X-rays only after the Worlds. But it’s no big deal. It’s a good thing the puck didn’t hit that spot for the second time. If it did – there would be a fracture, maybe even an open one. I would be limping around in a cast now. As it is, I feel 100%.
Are you going to the Olympic Torch lighting ceremony?
Of course. Just need to resolve a couple of small questions.
Do you mean missing Washington’s preseason games?
No, something else. Need to find a plane to take me there and back. I already settled this with Washington’s management – everything is all right there.
Russia should find a plane for you.
God willing! I really want to go there.
Speaking of Russia. Did you see the season opening? Ilya Kovalchuk at SKA, a “brilliant” trip to Croatia by CSKA.
I only follow Dynamo. I am glad they are winning. The other teams, honestly, I don’t have any interest at all.
So what do you think about Dynamo’s General Director Andrei Safronov regarding your future?
I already have said everything on this issue. Write that [Caps PR people] get really nervous when I am asked such questions. [Slava note: The Capitals PR, in fact, became very nervous at this moment.]
Are you happy about Mikhail Grabovski joining the team?
Of course! I am glad we are getting another Russian! Unfortunately he is not here yet. I hope his visa problem is resolved soon.
You really shone in a new light on the right wing last season. Adam Oates even said that you should be playing this position for Sbornaya.
That’s a question for Zinetulla Khaidarovich [Bilyaletdinov]. Whichever lineup he envisions is up to him. I think I can play both on the left and on the right now. So if anything happens, god forbid, I can always be moved to the other wing.
How different will this season be for you from any other? Even in comparison to Vancouver.
Well, before the Olympics there is always… not pressure, but… You constantly feel that the most important tournament is coming up. You really want to stay healthy in order to help your team win. You have to be in good form. And Vancouver, in my opinion, is something we should forget already. Just like we forgot about Turin before Vancouver. I hope this year we will be only talking about Sochi. Obviously, a defeat by Canadians, especially given what the final score was, is something very unpleasant for us, but what can we do about it now.
In Sochi, the score won’t matter if you lose. You have to win on the home ice.
Oh well, now you have answered all of your own questions. As always (smiling).
How was it to follow Maria Kirilenko all summer long?
Great! We spent so much time together – at her tennis tournaments, on vacation. It doesn’t matter to me, as long as I am with her. Sometimes I had to get up early and carry her bags. Great – I learned a new job. Maybe sometime I will be doing it for a living.
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