[Our good friend Slava Malamud over at Sport Express recently caught up with Alex Ovechkin and got his thoughts on the last few games and how he feels going into the playoffs.]
"There Just Wasn't Any Motivation to Play Hockey the Last Few Weeks"
How do you feel about your first round opponent? What are their particular characteristics? -- is the question directed to Washington forward Alexander Ovechkin.
"Yeah, I really don't have any particular feelings, and they don't have any particular characteristics."
The statistics show that the Rangers can be a pretty uncomfortable team for you to play against.
"But those are regular season statistics, and the playoffs are something else entirely, so it's really difficult to draw conclusions from those."
The Rangers are a strong defensive team with an outstanding goalkeeper. They have the well-known Sean Avery, who definitely is going to make you his primary target. How are you personally preparing for the series?
"I'm not preparing at all right now. I'm sitting at the computer and reading about Kazan winning the Gagarin Cup. As far as Avery, well I generally don't think about him. The main lesson I took from last year's playoffs is that you have to play the best you can, and under no circumstance do you think about what might happen. Let the coaches think about who and where we're gonna play."
You said that before the playoffs it's very important to get into the right rhythm. Have you gotten into it?
"You could say that we forced our way through the last few games of the regular season. It wasn't interesting, there wasn't any motivation to play hockey. All of our thoughts were on the playoffs."
Are you ready to guarantee the Washington fans a victory in the first round?
"No, I'm not going to do that."