"In the evening smog tends to disappear, but it's getting worse in the morning. Even inside air conditioned arena you can smell the smoke. It's not as bad as outside, but still the smoke is everywhere. There are no other options anyway. I am training with Ovechkin, Kovalchuk will join, Suglobov, Zevakin."
Ovi & Co. started on-ice pre-season training at the rink on Rublevsky highway. A lot of fans came to see the world hockey stars and have surrounded the glass fencing all over the perimeter.
The skill of the players evoked strong emotions in the audience. One could hear a loud sigh, then applause and the admiring whispers.
The most interesting was the final part of training. The hockey players, divided into two teams, staged a thrilling shootout competition.
Not surprisingly the most accurate was Ovechkin. The forward not only scored more often than others, but also showed the skill or evoked laughter with silly antics.
When Ovie would miss, he'd toss the stick in the air that would crash on the ice before being picked up by the owner.
Sasha didn't score just a couple of times, unlike his fellow teammates who missed more often. Zherdev, after he missed several times, got frustrated and went to the bench not concealing his fatigue. The new Philadelphia Flyers player Nikolai Zherdev could not avoid the criticism from Alexander Ovechkin.
"Nicky, come on, come on out to shoot! Let's play one more time!" called Alex Ovechkin tired Zherdev with a cheerful voice.
"Well, I want to eat! I've had enough of shootouts!" mumbled in response disgruntled Nicholai, but still came back to the ice.
The irrepressible Ovechkin, in contrast to Nicholai, could not wait quietly for his turn. Alex was always finding things to do in the middle of the rink, he'd perform some plain stretching exercises, then just lay on the ice, then was trying to saddle the stick or cursed loudly while giving an advice to less experienced players.