The interview with Ovechkin by Daniel Orlovsky, BaltInfo, March 1, 2010.
There's no other way in life, while the star is at the peak of the glory, he is worshiped. But one stumble, and he is instantly transformed into a pariah from the idol. Especially if you stumble at the Olympics. However, even the humiliating defeat from the Canadians will not lower the ratings of Washington's and the team Russia's forward Alexander Ovechkin because we are talking about the eternal, not temporary entities.
Bitter and hurt
Alexander, do you have an explanation of the catastrophe that occurred with the national team of Russia in Vancouver?
The catastrophe? You probably right, it was the catastrophe. I am well aware that in the game against the Canadians at the Olympics we destroyed all the good and even memorable that has been achieved by the national team of Russia in recent years. I think we just got burned before the quarterfinals. We wanted to win, of course, no less than an opponent. Believe me, we did everything we could. But we lost. It's a pity and all is left is bitterness. You just feel disgusted at heart.
The Canadians have surpassed you in all components of the game such as the speed, the physical play, the combinational game...
It's all true. We couldn't create anything in the front and we failing in defense. You can blame everyone, including myself. We were lacking in a lot of things, and in addition luck was not on our side.
And how often do you get luck on your side, in the casino, for example?
I have nothing against roulette. I can and try my luck sometimes, but I am not abusing the game. But if I am in, say, Vegas, I visit casino.
And do you have a desire right now to go on the ice and take a revenge on Canada?
I don't like to think virtually. What does it mean to take revenge on Canada? We lost in the Olympics. The next one will be held only in four years. So there won't be any early revenge. It's a long wait, but now there is no other way.
Was there someone from your family in Vancouver to support you?
Yes, my older brother Michael was there. He went to see our games and he was rooting for us.
What Michael is doing nowadays?
He is working in the basketball business as before, for the Washington's women's team. It is not surprising since we grew up in a basketball family. I am indebted to Michael. At one time it was he who helped me to start my hockey career.
Have you noticed that even at the Olympics you had a lot of personal fans, including those from Canada and the United States?
You mean the fans in jerseys with my name? Of course it was nice when even among the "others" are your fans. Olympics is a special tournament.
Well before the match with the Canadians began the excitement around your potential duel with Crosby. What do you think, did it happen?
It is only the journalists who invent a duel in the team's sport. How in principle could be a confrontation between one forward and the other? Two teams played, not two well-known hockey players. Although I got accustomed to comparisons of me with Crosby. The same passions were built up in the playoffs when we played against Pittsburgh. Although Crosby and I have normal relations with each other. We say hello to each other. Just like with the other "penguins". I was even asked how could I possibly find a common language with Malkin.
We even played on the same line at the world championships a little bit, so we had no problems here.
Physical play - a style
It seemed that you played in Vancouver not as physical as you usually play for the Capitals...
I think it only seemed. I don't change my style of play. I really try to play physical. Many people criticized me for it, but it's their problem.
They criticize when there are the consequences from your physical play!
I never wanted to inflict an injury on anyone as someone thinks. Just sometimes the opposite player turns away, and I already don't have time to stop. What can you do, hockey is a contact sport.
Will it be hard to get back playing in the NHL?
I'm a professional hockey player. I have a contract obligations with Washington. What do you mean "hard to get back"? You must play and now you will play for your club again.
Is there a must for the Washington to win the Stanley Cup?
In the NHL nobody is trying to make the global goals like it is in Russia. First of all you need to get into the playoffs, then to win, say, the Conference semi-finals, then the finals ... and then you can think about the Stanley Cup. But I must admit, I want to win.