UPDATE: Ovechkin was very upbeat during his interview with the media. He was very happy he had a chance to spend some time with his grandfather, who has not passed away -- contrary to a report from a Russian website.
Ovechkin said he skated a couple of times with some young kids from the Dynamo system and met with his personal coach, so he isn't worried about his conditioning. He also said he tried to keep his sleeping pattern as if he was still in the Eastern time zone. Boudreau was also pretty emphatic about having no concerns about No. 8.
The dressing room had a decidedly different vibe today -- part of it was having Ovechkin back and injecting some playful energy, but it was also probably because today's workout was significantly easier than yesterday's.
The subject of his buddy Alexander Semin's comments while he was away also came up. Ovechkin laughed and said that maybe the translation was bad.
In other news, Boudreau said John Erskine was excused from practice and could still play tomorrow. Shaone Morrisonn said he is good to go and ready to play. He said he coughed up some blood after taking a shot in the side late in the first period, but the CT scan was negative and there was no serious problems.
Boudreau said he has "no idea" what the lines and d-pairings will look like tomorrow morning. Brent Johnson did say that he is starting against the Senators.
Finally, Chris Clark was diplomatic about being dropped to the fourth line. Boudreau said he is not trying to send a message to his captain. He said the "will and the want" has not been a problem for Clark, but the results have not been there.
I've updated my previous post called "LIFE.RU reports that Ovechkin's grandfather passed away" this morning:
Update Nov. 3, 2008:So far nobody confirmed the obituary published by LIFE.RU. We'll know for sure in a few hours when Alex Ovechkin will come to a morning skate. But all indications are that it was a fake. My opinion about Russian press hit a new low. Believe me I see a lot of crap out there that I just skip. If I see something fishy I ignore it. But I could never imagine someone could write a fake obituary, it's not a some rumor to play with, it's a tragedy.
And I can guarantee that there will be no posts from LIFE.RU here anymore.
*Alex Ovechkin is back as I mentioned in a previous post. And so is his infectious enthusiasm. One day after the Caps were put through a brutal practice, and two days after they suffered their worst loss since March, Ovechkin was at KCI celebrating goals and joking with teammates loudly in the dressing room.
"I feel good and I feel bad," he said. "I feel good I saw my grandpa, but I feel bad I didn't play and couldn't help my teammates win the game."
He went out of his way to point out that his grandfather is still alive, which is contrary to a report out of Russia that said he had passed.
"Can you imagine, I go home and my fiends call me and say, 'I'm so sorry your grandfather died," Ovechkin said.
Where did that come from?
"I don't know. Some idiot," he said.
Ovechkin said he skated a few times with Moscow Dynamo's bantam team while he was in Russia last week. He also avoided becoming jetlagged by living "on American time," saying he slept while everyone else was awake and was awake when everyone else was sleep.
Ovechkin said he found out that his grandfather was not doing well from his father, who called him before the Dallas game.
"My mind was already back in Moscow," he said. "I called George [McPhee] and said, 'George I need to go back to Russia and see my grandpa because I don't know when he is going to die. Thanks to the Capitals. They said go there and be with your family. It helped me a lot."
I asked Ovechkin what was wrong with his grandfather and he said, "He's 83, just old."
He also said his grandfather had a serious operation eight years ago and was told by doctors that he had only two years to live. So the Ovechkin family feels blessed to have him around.
"He didn't open his eyes, but it helped me [to be there]," Ovechkin said. "Thank God he's still alive. Of course, when you know [someone in] your family feels no good, you don't feel [good] about the game. But when you go to the game, you concentrate about the game."
Ovechkin wasn't really pressed to open up, but he did anyway. He seemed to feel unburdened a bit by talking about his grandfather.
"When my mom was coaching the women's basketball team," he said. "I live all the time with him and he live me when I was growing up, so he's very close to me."
Let's say there were a bunch of idiots from LIFE.RU and one idiot who translated it. :-) The bottom line is Ovechkin's grandpa is ALIVE! Hip,hip, hooray!
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