Ovechkin, as interviewed by P. Lysenkov of Sovetsky Sport
<<UNCLE BORYA WAS A CLASSY GUY>>
It’s great that the guys picked me as the best Russian in the NHL, - says Alexander Ovechkin. It’s a great honor. Especially since they trophy is named after Valery Kharlamov. Earlier this year his father died. Uncle Borya was a classy guy. I was very upset when I found out. Sometimes, life can be cruel.
- Why did you choose Ilya Bryzgalov as the top in your best three?
- Did you see what he did with Phoenix? Singlehandedly dragged that team to the fourth spot in the West. I think Bryzgalov should get Vezina Trophy as the best goalie.
- According to our sources, the three nominees for the Hart Trophy are Bryzgalov, Crosby, and either Ovechkin or Sedin. What do you think about Ilya’s chances to get the Hart?
- That I don’t know. Wait for the summer and go to Las Vegas, where they award ceremony takes place. Then we will see with our own eyes.
- And what do you think about Washington’s play during the regular season?
- We have done well. Went through the season on a single breath. We were the best, got the Presidents’ Trophy. But the main and important games are for the Stanly Cup.
- You didn’t even touch the Presidents’ Trophy, when NHL vice-president Bill Daly handed it to you.
- Didn’t touch, and didn’t even look in that direction. Bad omen. We are chasing a different prize.
- I understand individual awards, like Art Ross and Richard are no longer appealing.
- I had a chance. Needed three points in the last game against Boston. I don’t want to say I did not try to win. But it did not work out. I am not going to cry over it. I have won those trophies before. Can’t win them all. Let others get a taste of what it’s like. I am not greedy. The most important thing – to have Stanly Cup come to us.
- So your heart did not skip a beat when Crosby and Stamkos scored their 51st goals and moved ahead of you in the scoring race?
- I was upset a little bit, but not for long. I am aiming for what Zhenya Malkin did last season. He got the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe. That’s what I am talking about.
<<THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH MASSAGE >>
- What have you been doing during the four days before the Montreal series?
- Nothing much. Needed to heal some little aches and pains, prepare for the playoffs. So that I can pour out all my energy and emotions, show my best. Also, my personal trainer Dima Kapitonov came to Washington. He will do massage, help me recuperate, give me advice.
- Washington doesn’t have their own massage specialists?
- They do. But now I’ll have twice as much massage.
- The previous two seasons in the NHL were dubbed “Russian”. Last year all three Hart nominees were ours – Ovechkin, Malkin, Datsyuk. Why is there a decline this year?
- I don’t think it’s a decline. Just a different year. And we shouldn’t be greedy. Plus, the Olympics, which cut the season in two. It left an unpleasant taste.
- Yes, Vancouver for our NHLers was a big shock. Have you recovered?
- Emotionally, I got over it. Now we have to give it all in the playoffs. Great victories heal emotional wounds.
- Are you following Gagarin Cup?
- When I have a chance. I was surprised when Dinamo lost in the first round. I was impressed with HK MVD. I am somewhat used to the same teams always winning in Russian hockey. But it’s for the better. A certain variety for the fans.
<<LOVE TO PLAY IN MONTREAL>>
- Is this team the strongest you have ever played for?
- We must win the Stanley Cup before making conclusions like this. If we succeed, I will say yes. During the regular season we sometimes were playing so well, we felt confident that we can defeat anybody. But we need to finish the season the same way.
- You scored your 50th goal against Atlanta. And Backstrom got his 100th point with assist on that goal. How are you going to split this souvenir?
- We agreed to saw it in half. Backis will be standing over me and saying, like [Panikovsky did] in Zolotoy Telyonok [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Golden_Calf] : “Keep sawing, Shura, keep sawing…” We both deserved a souvenir.
- What can you say about your opposition - Montreal?
- Usually we try to keep our mouth shut before a series begins. Any word can be misinterpreted. And it becomes additional motivation for the opponents. One shouldn’t talk, but do.
- One of the best games in your career was against Montreal, when you broke your nose and score four goals..
- I remember that game. It was in Washington. If it was in Montreal, maybe I would have scored even more. I love playing in the city wher they go crazy over their hockey. I love the atmosphere, it turns me on.
- It was reported in the media that you bought yourself a new Mercedes.
- Wrong. I have had this car for a year. Don’t want you to think that I was trying to improve my mood after the Olympics. Again, in a situation like that, only winning helps, shopping does not.
- You probably will not participate in the Worlds. What would you like to wish Team Russia in Germany?
To determine the winner of Kharlamov Trophy, each Russian NHL player voted for three best compatriots, with first choice getting 3 points, 2 points for the second, and 1 point for the third. The full list is long and, frankly, somewhat boringly predictable, so here are just a few more or less notable picks…
Markov: 1) Bryzgalov 2) Ovechkin 3) Gonchar
Varlamov: 1) Ovechkin 2) Bryzgalov 3) Semin
Semin: 1) Ovechkin 2) Datsyuk, 3) Malkin
Ovechkin: 1) Bryzgalov 2) Semin 3) Kovalchuk
Nabokov: 1) Bryzgalov 2) Varlamov 3) Khabibulin