Alexander Ovechkin gave an interview to Anna Nasekina of Sovetskiy Sport in Montreal where his Capitals faced the Canadiens. Ovechkin talked about being a caveman, not caring about what others think of him, the Olympics, girls, and a lot of other funny stuff.
RussianHockeyFans.com offers you a translation.
Anna Nasekina is a member of Russian Olympic Synchronized Swimming Team and a reporter for Sovetskiy Sport at the same time. Last week she was in Montreal when Ovechkin's Capitals came there to face the Canadiens.
Anna and Alexander met in a restaurant in the city centre. As soon as Anna entered the restaurant and approached Oveckhin he stood up and kissed her on a cheek. "Sanya", said Oveckin. "Anya", replied Anna.
Since the very first minute of their converstaion she felt as if she has known him for 10 years.
- What a great game it was yesterday.
- Yeah. Now go to hockey in Moscow and compare.
- I'll sure do. But is it that much different?
- Like heaven and earth. NHL is the best league. Everyone dreams to play here.
- Do the Capitals have good chances at winning the Stanley Cup this year?
- Well, we are leading the league now. But there are like 70 games ahead of us.
- It must be very hard to play so many games?
- No, it's good. You just have to not think about fatigue. Today we are in Montreal, tomorrow in Carolina and then again in Washington. It's my life and I'm used to it.
- Does your team fly on it's own plane?
- Yes. They make us wear suits. See, I've already put on mine (adjusts the tie). Every player got his own seat in the plane. I've got the second seat -- the trump!
- You've got the second seat in the bus too?
- No. In the bus I sit in the third row from the right. And after the games I always take the back seat. They are giving out beer there.
- How do you like Washington?
- It's a good, calm city.
- Do you visit Moscow often?
- I go there during my vacation. If we don't make it to the playoffs the vacation lasts for five months. If we do -- three. But usualy all players are injured so you spend the whole vacation trying to recover. Are you a Muscovite youself?
- Yes. And where do you live?
- Vodniy Stadion, the greenest region in Moscow. When I'm at home I go out to the the balcony, take a sip of beer, stretch myself and go to sleep. Now this is Paradise! That's how I relax.
A girl approaches Ovechkin for his autograph.
- There is no place in the world where they would leave you alone.
- Ah, come on! Sometimes I get recognized, sometimes not. It's not hard for me to give an autograph or make a photo. And actually I'm pofigist (the one who doesn't care). My popularity isn't really important for me.
- So you don't have the star syndrome?
- The star syndrome goes away the same way it comes.
- But it seems that the "caveman" reputation pleases you.
- I'm a "caveman" because I don't care what others think of me. I don't give a damn.
- If you didn't give a damn you wouldn't play the way you do.
- And maybe the only reason I do it is because I really don't care.
- Do you want to say that the manly bristle, the gap in teeth and yellow laces aren't part of your image?
- Wanna have some wine? (Ovechkin abruptly changes the topic and takes a sip of Californian Red)
- No, thanks. Does somebody work on your image in the NHL? There must be a lot of imagemakes.
- I'm an imagemaker for myself.
- Is fighting integral to hockey?
- I don't fight, I hit. If I don't hit them, they will hit me. You were in Beijing, right? (Ovechkin changes the topic once again)
- I was.
- Great, wasn't it?
- You don't say. That's the best thing in my life.
- I was in Beijing when our women won a gold medal in fencing. Now I'm looking forward to Vancouver. World Championships can't compare with the Olympics. We finished only 4th in Torino, this time we must fight harder.
- What's more important for you, the Olympics or the Stanley Cup?
- Right now it's the Olympics. I want to win the Olympics. Tell me, you are a synchronized swimmer, right? You must have great stretching.
- Of course I do.
- And I have a lack of flexibility, you know. I'm a forward, I have to be flexible to split the defencemen. Whenever I go to the gym I want to do some stretching but it never works out. Did I tell you my hands are small? I can't even grip my own wrist. But, I can grip yours (takes Anna by her wrist).
- Oh, come on, you can hold the stick after all! (It's Ann's turn to change the topic now). The other day I saw your photo on a magazine cover. You look great!
- At least you liked me there (smiles without a hint of ambivalence).
- Oh, please, don't tell me that girls don't like you.
- I don't care (indifferently again), I'm only 24. I still want to play the field. And you?