By Ian Oland
Alex Ovechkin spoke to Capitals media on the first day of training camp Monday. The Russian machine reflected on his upcoming contract negotiations and shared his thoughts on the Capitals’ shocking signing of 43-year-old Zdeno Chara to a one-year deal last week.
“Obviously, you know if someone tell me two or three years ago I’m gonna play with Lundqvist on one team and Chara on another team, I would say, ‘Are you guys crazy?'” Ovechkin said laughing.
Chara is a Norris Trophy winner, a six-time All-Star, and a Stanley Cup champion. Known for his tenacious work ethic, the former Bruins captain is the tallest hockey player of all-time and has the hardest shot ever recorded in NHL history (108.8 MPH).
“I think he’s experienced you know? He’s a winner. I think he’s a really competitive guy. He wants to play. He wants to win. He’s still big strong,” Ovechkin said. “He’s going to help our D to learn a lot. He’s here to help us not ‘Okay, we sign Chara. Everything’s all in all…’ He’s going to come here. He’s going to work hard. He’s going to bring some energy. He’s going to bring some new experience to our team. I think it’s going to help us.”
Chara has played 22 seasons in the NHL and it was unclear over the offseason if he’d play again or retire. Most NHL analysts assumed Chara would re-sign with the Bruins if he didn’t choose to hang up his skates. But after hearing about his future role with the club, Chara opted to test the free agency waters and chose Washington.
“It’s part of the business of hockey. Everybody don’t know what to expect this offseason because of COVID and salary cap,” Ovechkin said. “It’s interesting thing. I’m looking forward to see him, talk to him, play with him. Obviously, he’s a legend and it’s great for our team.”
Chara revealed in his first press conference as a Capital that his love for the game and working out never changed over the offseason. He still “has lots of gas left” in the tank.
Other Capitals on Tuesday shared their excitement about the signing as well. A giddy Brenden Dillon called himself “lucky” to be able to play with another legend like The Big Z. TJ Oshie was “looking forward to seeing the type of intimidation he brings when he’s on the ice. It’s always fun to have a teammate who plays the right way.”
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