Stanley Cup Champion and new dad Alex Ovechkin sat down with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on Saturday. While the focus of their interview was on the summer of celebration, they also talked about Ovechkin’s marriage.
Ovechkin said he was lucky to have such an “unbelievable wife,” and that he hoped the interview would be short so that he could return to her and their young son Sergei.
“I hope this interview gonna be short so I can go home,” Ovechkin said smiling. He was also super serious.
Elliotte Friedman: I want to show you something. We’ve prepared something for you.
Alex Ovechkin: Okay.
[Ovi watches video compilation plays of him celebrating the Capitals’ Stanley Cup win.]
Elliotte Friedman: Just something I thought, you know, you might wanna take [a look at].
Alex Ovechkin: Yeah this is crazy time. Fun, crazy. I think we deserve it.
Elliotte Friedman: That’s one of the things, Alex, that really stood out to me was when you guys won, there were a lot of your peers in the league who looked at you and looked at the Capitals and everything you guys have been through and said, ‘You guys deserve it.’ And they were really happy for you. And I wondered if you noticed that too.
Alex Ovechkin: Yeah I think, you know, for this organization and since my day one, that our goal was to bring Cup to Washington right? Of course, it was ups and downs all the time, you know? Sometimes we play unbelievable. In the regular year we was dominate everybody. It was something happen in the playoffs and I think took us 13 years to realize what we have to do. And finally we passed the second round and get a Stanley Cup Final and won the Cup.
Elliotte Friedman: Brian MacLellan said it was like when you guys beat Pittsburgh, you changed. It was like you saw it. Like, ‘We got this now, we can do this now.’ Is that true?
Alex Ovechkin: I don’t know. I just feel, ‘Finally we beat the Penguins.’ It just give you so much confidence, so much energy, you just want to play more and more.
Elliotte Friedman: After you won a Cup, is there a moment that stood out?
Alex Ovechkin: Obviously parade was unbelievable moment. Everybody was wearing their red, celebrating, so much fun. Since we won, with me, with my teammates, with my family, with my friends, it’s something special, it’s unbelievable.
Elliotte Friedman: Seeing you with the Cup, seeing you give it to Backstrom, those are powerful moments. Like a lot of other players in the League said watching you give it to Backstrom was special for them for everything you guys have been through and for everything you guys represented to the Capitals.
Alex Ovechkin: Yeah, me and him been together a long time. Lots of different moments happen between us and this organization, but I respect that friendship. I tell him right away when we hugging each other and everybody was celebrating, I tell him like, ‘You the next guy after me, I give it to you, I give you the Cup.’ It’s no other person I would give.
Elliotte Friedman: You know Alex, one of the things people have talked about, and we all go through it as we get older, is how marriage changes you. And how has your wife helped you, how did marriage change you as a player, as a person?
Alex Ovechkin: To be honest with you, I got lucky. I have unbelievable wife. I want to go home and I want to spend time with her, especially right now, we have a kid. That’s something special. [Smiles] I hope this interview gonna be short so I can go home.
Elliotte Friedman: [Laughs] I’ve got a few more, Alex, I’m sorry.
Alex Ovechkin: [Laughs]
Elliotte Friedman: Is the team still hungry, are you still hungry?
Alex Ovechkin: Yeah. Soon as you taste it, you don’t wanna let it go. You know, that moments, what we had, we’ll never forget it. Soon as you start talking about it, you’re just like, ‘we have to do it again, we have to repeat it.’ Because that time was something special.
Elliotte Friedman: I was born in 1970, Alex, so the Cold War was still very much–when I was a teenager. And its amazing and incredible for me to see the Stanley Cup in Moscow and in Russia. Like, when I was born, [and as] a teenager, we never thought we would see that. So if it’s incredible for me to see you have that great celebration there, what does it mean for you?
Alex Ovechkin: When I bring Stanley Cup back to Moscow, I was thinking where I should present the Cup? The only thing that comes to my mind: we have to share the Cup with fans. People who, in Moscow, fan base, you know and we brought the Cup to [World Cup] Fan Zone. I don’t know how many people was there, but we spent 4 hours, we just like ‘quick, quick, quick’ because it was line, I don’t know, maybe 10,000 people was there. And then I bring the Cup to my hockey school in Dynamo. You know, because I start playing over there. To bring the Cup to all the people who help me out when I was little guy, a little kid. You know, that was something special, again.
Elliotte Friedman: Mike Vogel said that when you had the party, you were cradling [the Stanley Cup]. You didn’t want to let it go. And we’ve seen online where you- ‘Good night sweet prince, sleep well’. It’s special to watch.
Alex Ovechkin: Yeah, it’s like I said, I was waiting this moment a long time. I’m lucky I had a chance to touch it, kiss it. It’s something special, as soon as like my day is gone, was like, ‘Okay give us a couple more minutes,’ or ‘Give me one more hour today.’ Because in that moment you just want to spend more and more time with it. And you don’t want to let it go.
Elliotte Friedman: The best thing about this, not only the win, but you never have to answer a question again–
Alex Ovechkin: No. [Smiles]
Elliotte Friedman: –not about leadership, not about Penguins, nothing. You don’t have to answer that ever again.
Alex Ovechkin: Well you have to figure out what’s the next question. You know, what’s the next question for me?
Elliotte Friedman: You know what, the next question is, I guess, can you repeat?
Alex Ovechkin: We’re going to try. Of course we lost a couple guys but the core group of guys who been in hard position, hard situation, championship team, we still have it. And I think we’re ready and we want to repeat.
Elliotte Friedman: But, I do want to follow up, are you happy that’s all gone? No more of that.
Alex Ovechkin: Yeah, of course. Of course I’m happy. Of course I’m happy for myself, I’m happy for ownership, for fans most important thing. For those guys, for my teammates, we’ve been in total different situations, total different positions, now everything is quiet, everything is so good. You know, we want to enjoy it. Now we can enjoy it and we can play hockey and don’t think about what’s going to happen.
Elliotte Friedman: Last question, Alex. Was there any message you got, whether it was text, email, somebody walking up to you, that you particularly said, ‘Wow, that’s a great message to get?’
Alex Ovechkin: Lots of people texted me. Wayne Gretzky text me too, it’s something special of course. I think most important thing what I got, it was from my parents. They called me right away and said, ‘We’re really proud of you.’ Not [just] parents, but all the family. They proud of me and they very happy. That’s the most important thing.
Transcription by Elizabeth Kong.
Headline photo: Sportsnet
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