Video & Interview via Sovetsky Sport/Pavel Lysenkov
Alexander, you had some disciplinary problems at the World Championships in Cologne (2010) and Bratislava (2011). Now can we expect that everything will be fine?
I don't think there were such problems there. But every man has his own head on his shoulders. Now it's not the time or place to break the rules.
Do you understand that with Zinetula Bilyaletdinov you will not get that much of a freedom like with Vyacheslav Bykov?
We have never had a total freedom. It's just that our relationship was built on trust. I don't know how it will be now. We will be having a team dinner soon. I'll get into details later. And now I can't say much about it.
Have you seen the national team's games? Your playoff run with Washington was very intense.
I saw only a few replays. Talked to Nikula once (Ilya Nikulin, captain and longtime friend of Ovechkin - Ed.). But I haven't seen the games from start to finish. Although I went on Internet, read the news. I knew that the Russian team was playing well. Hopefully, our arrival with Syoma will not worsen the team's game. Just the opposite, we can only help.
A year ago, you've sent a text to Ilya Nikulin, "I'm coming, prepare the bed!" Did you call Bilyaletdinov this time as soon as Washington lost the series vs. Rangers?
I received a text from Igor Kravchuk (Team Russia's scout in North America - Ed.). I got on the bus and replied that I would call back; still had to give an interview, collect things. Later we caught up, and Kravchuk asked, "Do you have any desire to go to the World Cup?" I instantly replied: "Of course I do!" Then Zinetula Haydyarovich called. We talked, and I immediately agreed. And two days later I flew to Stockholm.
You had a long season behind you in the NHL. Do you still have any energy left?
Of course I do! Compared to previous seasons I was getting less ice time. But I was giving it all when I was let out on the ice. I do have energy both physically and emotionally left.
Are you not afraid that with the national team you won't get much of playing time?
I'm already playing less. It used to be 20-25 minutes per game and now it is 10-12 minutes.
Do you mean your club or the national team? Former head coach Vyacheslav Bykov had you on he third or fourth line.
Who cares about the line numbers? The priorities with the national team are different. Everything is done in order to win the world championship. This is not a long NHL season where you can make changes in line combinations. Here, at the World Cup, there are just three games left. You must immediately team up and play at full strength.
Your head coach Dale Hunter has retired. They say the contract with Semin won't be renewed... Who said that Syoma's contract won't be renewed?
It was ESPN, serious guys.
Well, serious guys can sometimes make mistakes too. Let's watch how this situation will develop. The Washington Capitals just ended the season this Saturday. It is too early to talk about with whom the contracts will be extended. Hunter left because of the personal matters, family related. But you have to go out and play for any coach. The team is above all. Everybody understands it. If you're going to think while playing, "Damn, I don't want to play for this man," it won't do any good. All the guys are out there blocking and fighting. And if you say something like that, they will look askance at you.
You've had a mixed year. If the Russian national team will win the gold, would you say, "The season was great!"?
It is necessary to finish the year on a good note. If I have had any health problems or lost the desire, I would not come here. I would not spoil the atmosphere and make the team worse. I know that I am ready and that I can help the team.
And do not spoil anything.
Of course. Because you write in the newspapers that Ovechkin ram-shackled the team (smiled).
Why you didn't talk to the Russian media for entire season?
But I am talking now.
But back then, you didn't.
There was a reason for that.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012