Back Talk | Alex Ovechkin
Dec 08, 2010 11:12PM ● Published by Anonymous
The six-foot, two-inch, 233-pound Russian has racked up some impressive numbers (219 goals, 201 assists) in his first four professional seasons, making him a virtual shoo-in for the Hockey Hall of Fame. His best season came during the 2007–2008 season, when he scored 65 goals—the most by any NHL player in 11 years.
Despite his success on the ice the 24-year-old Ovechkin—who is single—lives in a modest three-bedroom house in Arlington, Virginia. Ovechkin, whose English is growing more fluent every year, has a real fondness for Washington, D.C, but he still maintains ties to Russia. He spends most of the off-season at his house in Moscow and one he owns in a suburb of that city.
What’s Up?: How long were you back in Moscow this summer?
Alex Ovechkin: Probably three months. It’s every off-season.
WU: Have you thought back to last season, when you went through a long scoring drought? If not for the slump, you probably could have scored 60 or 70 goals and won a coveted scoring title.
AO: I didn’t make a point in like 10 or 12 games. If you look at the end of last season, I was three points behind [Pittsburgh’s Evgeni] Malkin [for the scoring title]. Of course if I make some more points maybe I win it. But it’s okay. It happens. I am glad I played well last year. I don’t want to stop. I want to be the best. This year I want to be better. And next year I want to be even better.
WU: How important was it to you to win your second consecutive MVP, this past June?
AO: It means a lot. It’s good when you win something. I win MVP two times, but it’s not me. It’s all my buddies and this organization. They give me an opportunity and chance to win it. I hope it’s not the last one.
WU: Where do you see the Capitals this year compared to the rest of the teams in the league?
AO: On top. On top of everybody. Right now Pittsburgh is the Stanley Cup champion. They have a great team, but I don’t think we lost anyone. We have the same guys, maybe better. It’s our time. It doesn’t matter who wins last year. It matters who wins this year.
WU: Is the team closer to winning a Stanley Cup after coming within one win of the Eastern Conference finals last season?
AO: It’s time for us. The organization has done well and the guys understand if we [just] make the playoffs it’s not good. We have to move it forward and keep it going. We play for the Stanley Cup.
WU: Are you excited about playing in the Olympics in Vancouver in February?
AO: I am really looking forward to it. I will be representing my country and it will be a great time for everybody. The best players are going to play over there from all the different countries. Everybody wants to play over there, and me too. When you have a chance to win the Olympics and the Stanley Cup it is really cool.
WU: The Capitals expect to sell out every game this year after a club-record 29 sellouts last season. Are you excited about that?
AO: Yeah. Nobody can get tickets for the games. It’s like Canada. This is a hockey town right now. Everywhere we go we see people wearing Caps hats and Caps jerseys. They recognize us. They are so excited like we are.
WU: You are the big reason for all the sellouts. You know that?
AO: I don’t think it’s me. I think it’s our team and our organization. We have great players, but we have a great organization, too. You can see it.
WU: This is your fifth season in Washington. You appear to have acquired a passion for D.C.
AO: I love this place. It’s a great place to live and a great place to play hockey. You move forward. You grow up as a player and person here.
WU: Would you like to one day break Wayne Gretzky’s single-season record of 92 goals?
AO: Why not? It’s going to be hard, but I have one goal: win the Stanley Cup.