There may be no more encouraging sign for the Washington Capitals as they prepare to resume their season than that of an upbeat Alex Ovechkin.
The star right wing seemed to be in good spirits Tuesday following his first practice back with his teammates in Arlington, despite having his time as the face of the Winter Olympics in Sochi turn nightmarish.
Last week, Ovechkin and Russia were eliminated from the tournament by Finland in the quarterfinals in what was a national disgrace for the host country. Ovechkin recorded only one goal in the tournament and has been singled out by everyone from the Russian coach to NBC pundits for the lack of offensive production, but he didn’t seem fazed.
“I want to say sorry to the fans because it’s once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent your country in the Olympics and you didn’t get the results you didn’t get any medal,” Ovechkin said. “Of course the fans, the media and the people who support Russia, family, was upset but life goes on. Right now we here and we’re going to do our best to take a playoff spot and try to win the Cup.”
On the heels of that loss Ovechkin was informed that his father Mikhail had suffered a heart attack and underwent heart surgery in Sochi days earlier. Mikhail Ovechkin, 62, was able to travel home to Moscow with Ovechkin’s mother and brother Tuesday.
“Soon as I found out that he’s in hospital and he’s feeling not that good and he could be dying, I just forget the game that we lose against Finland,” Ovechkin said. “He’s fine. Just talked to him this morning. He’s getting better and that’s probably most thing I worry about.”
With his father’s health improving and Russia’s elimination nearly a week in the past, Ovechkin made it clear that while he wasn’t pleased with his results in Sochi he’s determined to not let it affect his play in the NHL.
“This is my third Olympics that we didn’t get success. In Vancouver [in 2010] it was tough loss and this is a very tough loss for me and for Russia, but I’m almost 30. I have to handle it. I have to fight through it,” Ovechkin said. “The coaching staff, my family and my teammates I’m pretty sure they’re going to support me and I’m going to support them. That’s why we play in a team sport not an individual sport.”