Alex Ovechkin spoke to reporters a day ahead of the Washington Capitals’ season and home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Ovechkin has not spoken much on retirement during his many interviews with the press, but on the eve of his 19th season in the NHL, the Russian superstar brought up the topic himself when asked what keeps him motivated this deep into his career.
The question was posed by Monumental Sports Network’s Tarik El-Bashir.
“After 19 years, Alex, it’d be easy to get bored, or get complacent, or comfortable,” El-Bashir said. “You seem like you’re the same old guy determined to score goals and help the team win. What keeps you motivated? What keeps you driven?”
At first, a grinning Ovechkin was singularly focused on correcting a word El-Bashir used in his question.
“Same, but not old, you know?” the 38-year-old said.
Ovechkin then turned serious. “Still enjoy it. As soon as I’m not going to enjoy it, it’s probably not right for me to stay here and play the game the way I wanted to play.”
From past interviews, we know that the Capitals captain is still motivated by The Gr8 Chase. Ovechkin will give it an honest try to catch Wayne Gretzky’s once-thought-to-be unbreakable goals record of 894 (though he still doubts it’s possible). Ovi would also love to feel the thrill of winning another championship with the Capitals.
“For the rest of my career, my goal is to win the Stanley Cup again,” Ovechkin said in 2022 while back in Russia. “I would like to do just that. And our personal records, including [the goals record], we will try. I’ll try to score, and then we’ll see.”
Ovechkin would like to still win a gold medal in the Olympics like his mother did twice with the USSR’s women’s basketball team.
“I still don’t have the Olympic gold,” Ovechkin observed when an interviewer said he had accomplished everything in his career.
He likely has one opportunity left — the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.
“An Olympic medal is one of the main goals of my life, has been and will be,” Ovechkin said to Sport24 in August and Google Translated. “But I don’t know about (getting it) coaching.”
He added that he’s “not exactly resigned” about his chances as a player of winning gold in 2026 (he may have to participate as a neutral athlete), but called it “a shame” that Russian athletes have been punished for the acts of his country.
“Both the doping one and the one that is happening now,” Ovechkin said. “They just put us (the athletes) aside and don’t let us (compete). Although they say that sport is outside of politics, it turned out that the opposite is true.”
Ovechkin may also play an extra year or two to finish his career where it started, with his hometown KHL team, Dynamo Moscow.
“There is a chance to win the Stanley Cup, we will work hard for it,” Ovechkin said after signing his likely final contract with the Capitals. “Does it mean I will end my career with the Capitals? Let’s talk in five years. I would like to play for Dynamo, but let’s talk in five years.”
Ovechkin has three seasons remaining on that five-year deal he signed in 2021. While he said today that he’ll likely step away from the sport when his love for it dies, perhaps another thing might cause him to hang up his skates early, too.
“You probably never gonna see me on the ice again,” Ovechkin said to ESPN’s Linda Cohn in 2019, proposing an instant retirement if he gets Gretzky’s goals record. “Yeah, right away. See ya!” [Does salute]
Headline photo: Katie Adler/RMNB
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.