Alex Ovechkin held a press conference and conducted several interviews on Thursday during an annual youth hockey tournament in Moscow named after him, the Alexander Ovechkin Cup.
Beyond Ovechkin responding to Artemi Panarin’s controversial comments about President Vladimir Putin, the major headline coming out of these talks came from TASS: Washington Capitals’ captain Ovechkin says (he) may wrap up sports career after 2021. Think of TASS as basically the Russian equivalent and contemporary of the Associated Press.
That headline sounds like a big deal. But it’s a bit misleading.
In TASS’s English language story, Ovechkin’s quoted as saying the following.
“I have two more years to play, under my contract,” the 33-year-old Washington Capitals captain told a news conference hosted by TASS on Thursday. “Let us wait and see whether I will continue my career as everything depends on the health.”
“I would not want to have my limbs shattered as I would better spend my time running around with children,” he said.
In a transcript published in Russian by sport24.ru, Ovechkin is quoted as saying something slightly different. RMNB’s Igor Kleyner translated the dialogue.
Your contract with Washington runs out in two years. Do you have any plans for the future?
Alex Ovechkin: “Not yet. In a year we [may] have a lockout, then we shall see. Everything depends on my health, we will decide based on that.”
That quote is way more in line with what we would expect from Ovechkin. He’s not saying anything really, beyond, we have to wait and see what happens in the future – a non-juicy nothingburger.
“I do not want to be broken,” Ovechkin added as reported by Championat and translated by Kleyner. “After completing a career, you want to play with children and feel normal.”
Ovechkin has 11-month-old Sergei at home. Nastya, his wife, gave birth to Sergei last August.
And just to be completely thorough, Sports.ru quoted Ovechkin slightly different as well.
“I have two more years of contract. Next year, there may be a lockout, so let’s see where I’ll play. Everything will depend on my health, because I do not want to be broken. After completing a career, you want to play with children and feel normal.”
Ovechkin also admitted that going into politics isn’t out of the question when his career is over. “Will I become the Minister for Sports of Russia? Let’s see,” Ovechkin said, “it will be clear later.”
In March, Ovechkin spoke to Sport-Express Igor Rabiner during the Capitals’ west coast swing. Rabiner asked Ovechkin about his next contract.
“I won’t make any comments for now,” Ovechkin said. “I still have a contract, but I’ve been playing only for two teams in my life: Dynamo Moscow and the Caps. I don’t like too much to change teams.”
So in summary: if Ovechkin is not physically broken he’ll re-sign with the Capitals. Or go to Russia and play with Dynamo Moscow. Or retire and play with Sergei. Or maybe go into politics. Or build a rocketship, travel to the Ovechkin meteor, and build a house on it.
The point is, Ovechkin doesn’t really know what’s going to happen next at this point. We’ll just have to wait and see, just like Ovi, on what life presents him at the time.
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