By Ian Oland
After spending the last week in Russia, Alex Ovechkin went straight from the airport to the rink on Wednesday. Ovechkin was in his home country due to the death of his father Mikhail.
The Capitals captain took the ice during the team’s optional skate and afterward, he spoke to the media.
“He give me everything,” Ovechkin said of his dad. “All his health, all his time. He travel with me all over the world and been at every practice when he have a chance.”
Ovechkin called the last week of his life “the toughest situation I’ve been through all NHL career.”
Ovechkin also revealed that his mom Tatyana and his brother Mikhail would come to America next month so that his family could support them.
Alex Ovechkin meets with the media following today’s practice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex.#ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/OrnlqkRG5i
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 22, 2023
How are you feeling physically and mentally after such a tough week?
Alex Ovechkin: We just landed a couple hours ago and I tried to come back on the ice as soon as I can. I skate only one time. It is what it is. It’s life. Obviously, it was a hard week mentally, physically. Thanks for everybody’s support. Fans, the organization. I saw they put [my dad] on the jumbotron. It means a lot. It’s special. All my teammates. I have full support.
Can it be helpful to be around your teammates when you’re going through something like this?
Alex Ovechkin: Of course. We try support everybody. How I said, it was probably the toughest situation I’ve been through all NHL career. It’s life. We move on. Thanks for everybody for support back home, here.
How’s your family doing?
Alex Ovechkin: Guess how they feeling. My mom probably going to come here with my brother next month. They going to stay with me and my family. We tried to do the best we can to be together in that hard moment.
How did you feel out on the ice?
Alex Ovechkin: [cracks wry smile] It was tough. Feels like a train came out there. I skate only once. It was not that intense in drills. Not that kind of practice. You can say it’s practice but I just went out skate, feel the puck, and feel the ice.
How will it feel to get back in a game?
Alex Ovechkin: I didn’t talk to Lavy yet. We’ll see. I just want to come back right away. Put my line in different position. We’re struggling right now. Try to do my best to bring energy, bring something to the team.
When other athletes go through something like this they say that getting back “on the field” gives them relief because they don’t have to think about what they’re going through and are just out there doing their thing.
Alex Ovechkin: Yeah, obviously it’s hard situation for my family. Right now, I’m happy I’m back. See all the guys. Smiles. It’s kinda like different atmosphere than what was last couple days.
What will you remember most about your father?
Alex Ovechkin: A lot. Talk to him. It’s good thing right now we have video [chat]. Lots of my friends who have lost their fathers didn’t have cellphones back then. Memory. But, right now we have it and that’s a good thing.
How much of an influence on your hockey career did he have?
Alex Ovechkin: He give me everything. All his health, all his time. He travel with me all over the world and been at every practice when he have a chance.
What did it mean to bring him the Cup?
Alex Ovechkin: Yeah, it was cool moment. Best moment of my life with him other than kids and family-wise. I think the job that he did and the time and health it was kinda his Cup as well.
Nicklas Backstrom mentioned his memory of him was that he was always smiling. What does it mean to be able to share that with guys who you have been with since the beginning?
Alex Ovechkin: He always have a great sense of humor. Even when he don’t understand people he always try to ask something. People who know him they’re going miss his smile, they’re going to miss his energy.
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