Ivan Miroshnichenko was noticeable and impressive in his NHL preseason debut, notching two assists, three shots, and three hits for the Capitals in 16:23 of ice time against the Detroit Red Wings.
But what held special significance for Miroshnichenko was being placed on the same line as Capitals’ legends Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom in the 4-3 victory.
After being named second star of the night, Miroshnichenko spoke with Capitals’ media in the locker room using Ovechkin as an interpreter.
It was magic as you might expect.
“It’s pretty special moment,” Ovechkin said speaking for Miroshnichenko. “He watching us on TV (as a kid) and it’s a dream come true.”
While Miro and Ovi chatted back and forth, they both shared a laugh. Ovechkin explained why. “I was drafted (by the Capitals) when he was one. Jesus, I’m old.”
“I was drafted when he was one… Jesus, I’m old.”😂
Alex Ovechkin served as the team interpreter for Ivan Miroshnichenko tonight after the Russian duo played on the Capitals’ top line together in their preseason win over Detroit. pic.twitter.com/26xkAmjnDx
— Matt Weyrich (@ByMattWeyrich) September 29, 2023
Ovechkin might feel even older if he looks up the exact dates. Ovi was selected first overall by the Capitals in the 2004 NHL Draft which was held on June 6 at RBC Center in Raleigh. Miroshnichenko was born in Russia on February 4, 2004, meaning Miro was four months and two days old at that point.
During the interview, Ovechkin occasionally translated and sometimes spoke for Ivan while inserting his own opinions.
“Two assists, he have pretty good chances,” Ovechkin said. “First period was emotional for him, but the second one and third I think he realize what’s happening and I think he played a good game.
“It’s great to see,” Ovechkin added of Miro and Andrew Cristall’s play in the game. “The boys coming up, ready for camp. I think for them it’s very important to get that experience – with me, Oshie, Backy. It’s good lesson, but little step forward.”
"It's a pretty special moment. I was drafted when [Miro] was born … he watched us on TV and it was kind of a dream come true."
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) September 29, 2023
While he was full of praise, Ovechkin did have some disappointment. He pointed out that he tried to get Miro a goal tonight. “Yeah, but he didn’t score.”
He also revealed that he recently had the prospect over at his house to have dinner, a routine he hopes continues in the future.
“Yeah, because I was in the same position when the boys helped me out my first year and I will never forget,” Ovechkin said. “I hope when they going to be old and the young guys gonna come here, they gonna help them out as well.”
With off-ice chemistry like this, I don’t want to imagine a world where Miroshnichenko does not start the season in Washington. This is fun.
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