While the rest of the Capitals mulled Sunday night’s 5-1 loss to the Rangers on a late-night trek back to D.C. ahead of Monday morning’s practice, Alex Ovechkin remained in New York for a 7:45 am spot on the “Today Show” with Carson Daly. Certainly the timing of the Olympics preview segment might have been better — not in the midst of a five-game losing streak for the Capitals or hours after terrorists threatened the Sochi games, for example — and Ovechkin was absent for the team’s brief 11 a.m. skate at Kettler Ice Complex as he made his way back to Washington.
The spot itself was brief and followed a short piece on Ovechkin and his fame in Russia. Unfazed by a somewhat strange greeting from Daly (“Good to have you here, brother”), Ovechkin discussed the importance of a strong performance by the Russians in Sochi and his mother’s game-time superstition. Daly also asked the Russian star about security concerns in his home country, to which Ovechkin responded with an answer that will almost certainly allay any and all fears (“President Putin said we have some ‘secret stuff’ up there).
Check out the segment here, with a transcript below:
CD: Good to have you here, brother. Nice to see you. How are you feeling?
AO: Not bad.
We’ve known the Olympics would be in Russia since 2007 and here we are less than three weeks. How excited are you?
Very excited. It’s a big honor for me and my country. I’m very proud.
Let’s walk through the Olympics. This is your third there. Two thousand six — I don’t have to tell you, you remember all this — Russia lost the bronze game; 2010, Russia loses to the home ice team in Canada, they win the gold. How badly do you and your teammates want to medal on home ice ?
I think everybody wants to win gold medals, especially playing hometown, home advantage, so I’m sure every hockey player, every man, every fan in Russia wants us to win. But, you know, it’s going to be hard because every team have a strong team, so it’s going to battle.
Talk about the boss we saw in the piece, your mom. You’ve got Olympics in your blood. She won two golds in basketball. Why does she sit alone?
She’s superstitious. Since I was probably 14, she never sit with my dad. It’s the kind of situation when you just leave it alone.
Is that extra pressure? She’s an Olympian.
Yeah, she’s an Olympian, but, you know, we didn’t talk about it a lot. You know, back then, it was different.
In light of some of the news this morning, Alex, not surprising to you, some tourists are nervous about going to Sochi. What do you want them to know about your home country?
I don’t think it’s going to be dangerous. Because I think our President Putin said we have some secret stuff up there, but I’m sure everything’s going to be fine and everybody’s going to be healthy and everybody going to have a good time.
Well, good luck to you. So good to see you. And good luck to the Caps. Thank you very much.