By Donya Abramo
Aside from giving his prediction for how much longer Alex Ovechkin will play hockey, the major focus of Nicklas Backstrom’s media day was on his expiring contract. With his 10-year deal ending when the 2019-20 season comes to a close, the press wanted to know whether or not conversations had already begun on signing an extension.
Backstrom, in a playful mood, teased the media about his contract situation. “I don’t know. What are you talking about? I was just telling you guys out there, I just signed a 10-year deal. But that was a while ago,” he said. “It felt like it was yesterday, though. Nah, nothing yet. We’ll see what happens.”
When pressed for more details, Backstrom insisted he was just going to focus on having a good Training Camp, and wasn’t worried about having an agreement locked up before the season begins. “It’d be nice, but at the same time, I mean, I don’t even know if they want to extend me. We’ll see what happens. So we’ll take it day by day. I’ll just make sure I do a good Camp and go from there.”
Regardless of what happens, Backstrom doesn’t foresee his expiring contract as a distraction.
“I’m honestly just going to focus on hockey. I’m not going to think about the other thing,” he said. “If it happens, it happens. But I’m just going to try and focus on doing as good a season as I can. Win games, and hopefully reach for the top again.”
With all of the contract talk out of the way, the conversation turned to more amusing avenues. Such as Ovi now being the oldest member of the Capitals, with Brooks Orpik retiring.
Asked if he could believe Ovi was the oldest, he laughed and said, “Yeah, I can.”
But there was a more pressing conversation topic that Backstrom wanted to discuss: Ovechkin’s new cereal, Ovi O’s.
“I just think it’s so cool that he got his own cereal,” he said. “I haven’t tried it. But I asked him will you bring some, because my kids want some. So, hopefully, I’ll get it for free.”
The joking didn’t end there, as Backstrom was asked just how much Ovi’s friendship has meant to him throughout the years, but it also took a turn for the touching and heartstring-tugging between quips.
“It means a lot. I think he meant a lot for me, especially the first couple of years. Took me under his wing. Then when we got older I took him under my wing,” he said. “No, it means a lot. He’s a great guy. And he’s so funny, I think. There’s never a boring day around that guy. He’s just the way he is.”
That taking of Ovi under his wing extends to mother-henning, somewhat, as Backstrom revealed what he said as soon as he found out that Ovi had been in a bicycle accident. “First thing I asked him, ‘did you wear a helmet?'” And he said, ‘yeah.’ So, that’s Ovi. Summer with Ovi,” Backstrom said. “I think that was the worst I’ve seen him. He’s gotta be careful. Should maybe just stick to hockey, right?”
We’re certain that most Caps fans would agree.
Headline photo: @Capitals
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