"Young Russian players come over and it's a tough sled for them," says Heward. "It's tough for them to start out their NHL careers in a different culture, not being able to speak English and going to a struggling team.
But Alexander Ovechkin is an anomaly.
He came in and just wanted to be one of the guys. He wanted to learn English. He wanted to go out and have dinner with the guys. He wanted to be around hockey 24 hours per day and that's pretty impressive for a young kid. As long as the team can keep him grounded, Alex is going to be a fantastic player for many seasons in this league. He is going to be a dynamic marketing tool for the NHL and the Washington Capitals for a long time."
If there's a stereotype of a Russian (player), Alex doesn't fit in at all.
As of Semin, he is another Kovalev... unless Alex will change him.