Thursday, September 15, 2005 2:30 PM
The Washington Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin was online Thursday, Sept. 15, at 2:30 p.m. ET to talk about this year's hockey season and his experiences playing the sport.
The 6'2" Capitals' left wing was born Sept. 17, 1985 in Moscow, Russia. Ovechkin was the club's top overall pick in the 2004 Entry Draft. He played 152 games in four seasons with Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Super League. Representing Russia in international competition, Ovechkin appeared in three World Junior Championships (2003, 2004, 2005), two World Championships (2004, 2005) and the World Cup of Hockey (2004). His mother, Tatiana, won two Olympic gold medals in basketball (1976 and 1980) and his father, Mikhail, is a former professional soccer player.
From The Post: Ovechkin Signs A Three-Year Deal With Caps (Post, Sept. 1)
The transcript follows.
Alexander Ovechkin: Hello. I'm glad to speak with you.
Columbia Heights Caps Fan: First of all...welcome to D.C.! Have you adjusted to the change in weather? I was curious what you feel will be the number one thing you'll have to adjust to in preparing for the North American game. Are you worried at all about the vast differences in ice quality in NHL cities?
Alexander Ovechkin: Yes, I just enjoy the weather and time. I feel fine. The weather and time are comfortable. It's ice was smaller because in Russia we have big ice and this is small ice and it's a more physical game. Russia has more technicals and this has more speed and is a more physical game.
Washington, D.C.: Alex,
Welcome to Washington!! We are so excited to have you here.. I was wondering if you could talk about what you expect for yourself this year in the NHL and if there are any players on the Capitals that you are hoping to play with on the same line?
Alexander Ovechkin: I think I must play how I can, that's all. And if I play my best I'll be happy. It doesn't matter because this is the best league in the world and we have great players so whoever the coach puts me with is the best. The coach knows best.
Los Angeles, Calif.: I look forward to seeing you be a leader for the Caps for many years. Do you play left wing only, or can we also expect to see you playing center or RW some day?
Alexander Ovechkin: I play better left wing. I prefer left, but I can play center or right.
Rockville, Md.: I have heard that this training camp (while only a few days old) is very rigorous and the emphasis is on conditioning. Coach Hanlon has publicly said that this team will be in better physical shape than any other NHL team. Have you ever had a training camp like this before?
Alexander Ovechkin: It's more hard (in Russia), training camp, because here we have only 2 weeks, but in Russia it's two months. But this training camp is hard, too. My legs hurt.
Ashburn, Va.: Alexander, welcome to D.C., and an early Happy Birthday to you. I for one missed the NHL and look forward to seeing you guys back on the ice. In addition to having a good rookie year with the Caps, are you hoping to play for Russia in the Olympics over in Italy??
Alexander Ovechkin: Thanks. Yah, I want to play in the Olympic games because I represent my county, my home, so one of my dreams is to play in the Olympic games.
New York, N.Y.: Welcome to the Team. Having not played in the NHL before the rule changes do you think you will have more room to make plays and use your speed?
Alexander Ovechkin: Yes, because in Russia we don't have red lines and in the NHL there are no red lines and it's better for me. But, although there is an advantage, there are still things I must get used to.
Sterling, Va.: Your parents are basketball and soccer greats. What drew you to hockey and who has been a major influence to your progress and success?
Alexander Ovechkin: My older brother decided I should play hockey and that's how I started at age eight. My parents have been an influence.
Washington, D.C.: Alexander, welcome to D.C. and as a longtime Caps fan, I am very glad you're here! May I ask if you've had a chance to see any of the sights, and what you and your family think of our city so far?
Alexander Ovechkin: There are wonderful people and everyone's nice here. No, I haven't seen really too much of the sights yet - no time.
Annandale, Va.: There will be a lot of young players on the team this year, is that something you are comfortable with?
Alexander Ovechkin: Yes, I feel comfortable with a young team and we will work very hard and do the best that we can.
Suitland, Md.: Who were your favorite players growing up in Russia? Fedorov, Bure, Mogilny, Larionov, Fetisov?
Alexander Ovechkin: Larionov.
Ocean City, Md.: What are your favorite foods to eat to get ready for games or practice?
Alexander Ovechkin: Spaghetti.
Sterling, Va.: Welcome to the Caps. Are there any particular teams and/or players in the NHL that you look forward to competing against?
Alexander Ovechkin: No particular player, but playing against Toronto is a game that I'm looking forward to.
Odenton, Md.: Welcome to Washington, Alexander! I'm really looking forward to seeing you play this season. How has it been for you adjusting to a more "international" team as opposed to a team composed mainly of your countrymen? Wish you much success.
Alexander Ovechkin: It was an easy transition and all the guys are really nice on the team.
Oromocto, New Brunswick: Are you excited to play against Crosby? You both offer a lot of new and wonderful talent to the league and forsee a rivalry existing between you two. Any comments on that?
Alexander Ovechkin: Yes, I'm looking forward to playing against Crosby as much as I am looking forward to playing against all of the other players in the NHL. And there is no rivalry.
Springfield, Va.: Welcome to D.C.! I'm curious, what are the hardest things about adjusting from the Russian league to the NHL, and about adjusting from life in Russia to life in the U.S.?
Alexander Ovechkin: That's a hard question to answer at this time as I'm still in the process of transitioning both in hockey and in culture.
Silver Spring, Md.: Hi Alexander. Who do you think your style of play most resembles in the NHL? In terms of production (goals, assists) what are your personal goals or expectations for this upcoming year. Thanks, and best of luck.
Alexander Ovechkin: My style is unique and it's my own. I do not try to copy or imitate anybody.
Syracuse, N.Y.: Did you ever play basketball or soccer, any sports that helped you become a better hockey player or passer? I know your mother played basketball in the Olympics. Did she give you any pointers when you were a kid?
Alexander Ovechkin: Yes I played basketball and soccer but they are very different games, obviously. However, playing any kind of sport always helps you develop physically.
Takoma Park, Md.: What is a typical day in the life of Alexander Ovechkin?
I would assume that you wake up early to get to the rink, practice until the afternoon, and then what? Do you get opportunities to socialize, away from the rink, with your other teammates?
Alexander Ovechkin: A typical day is wake up, have breakfast, train on ice, and then train in the gym. Yes, sometimes. We went to a movie once and went fishing with the guys on the team.
Suitland, Md.: How many hockey sticks did you bring from Russia?
Alexander Ovechkin: Three sticks from Russia.
Baltimore, Md.: Alexander, all of us were really happy when you chose to play with Washington vs. staying in Russia and making more money. My question is - why did you make that choice?
Alexander Ovechkin: Because this is the best league in the world and I feel that I should play in the best league in the world. Money's not an issue and you cannot buy happiness.
Kingstowne, Va.: Just wanted to say welcome to the Caps--we are thrilled to have you here.
Alexander Ovechkin: Thank you.
Suitland, Md.: Your English is great! How long have you studied English?
Alexander Ovechkin: I studied English for one year in Russia.
Washington, D.C.: Who would you like to skate with on your offensive line?
What young defender has impressed you most in cap so far?
Alexander Ovechkin: It's not really my place to decide who I should play with on a line. That's up to the head coach and the best young defenseman is Steve Eminger.
Washington, D.C.: In your opinion, what is the difference between a talented team and a championship team?
Alexander Ovechkin: A championship team wins because it already has established players, while a talented team is just beginning to establish players.
Burke, Va. Caps Fan here: Alex,
I play hockey as well and I am wondering what brand of stick do you like to use? I use the Easton Synthesis but I am curious as to what you prefer...
Alexander Ovechkin: I use CCM-Vector.
Alexander Ovechkin: Good-bye and thank you for your time. All the best.
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