Here we go, another interview with Ovechkin by Pro Sport magazine. Enjoy it and have a very Merry Christmas!
While you are in Russia, how often do you receive calls from the United States?
I periodically talk to friends.
Are they the hockey players?
No. Someone owns car tuning business, someone - a bar and restaurant, someone - a night club.
How many missed calls your phone can collect?
I usually answer, but don't answer to unknown numbers.
They start calling and asking about meetings and autographs.
Some people saw you at the fast food while on vacation.
I go to McDonald's with pleasure. Yesterday, for example, we were at the "Mac" on Leningrad highway, where I live nearby. And in America I go too sometimes.
Sergei Fedorov said that if there won't be any other food, he would remove the bread from the burger and eat only the meat.
Well, no, I don't take out the bread. Conversely, I would only eat with the bread.
How long can you live without exercise?
Three or four weeks. Immediately after the World Cup I took a break, only played tennis. When I was at Roland Garros, I was at the court for an hour and a half. Otherwise I rest. And then you start to run, skate a bit. When you don't train you realize that you are getting out of the form, and you start thinking what to do to get to sweat. Every day without training feels worse and you understand that it will be even more difficult to start training. Your body is relaxing, you are getting out of shape, and you can't put off for long a day when you'll start training.
Who is the best hockey player in the world?
A year ago?
Then it was hard to say so unequivocally.
And were you the best hockey player in the world?
I'm one of the best players in the world now.
What about "the best"?
I was. I won the title of MVP, which is awarded by the players vote, that's why it is very objective. I had it for three years in a row.
You are an advisor to Dynamo president. What do you advise?
I advised to Znarok to take one player to our second team. This player was drafted by the NHL, but he didn't play for the year because he was injured. I know this guy and his potential. And on the first team I was asked how to implement the power play, it was a year ago. I advised on one PP set-up.
You were at Evgeny Kuznetsov's wedding in Chelyabinsk. Did he try to scare you with his neighborhood? (Apparently Kuznetsov grew up in rough neighborhood - tj)
We were out of town.
Didn't you try to persuade him to go to the NHL, to your Washington Capitals team?
What does it mean to persuade? I just told him that it would be better to go to the NHL. That the team is waiting for him. And that his level of skill there will get better faster than here.
Did you understand his choice to stay with Tractor?
Did you tell him that?
I think he knows.
Have you talked to him since?
Of course. I told him how I see the situation. It's his choice, he and I have a good friendly relationship, but, again, I did not understand his choice. I think he's outgrown the KHL and he needs to move on.
Was Ilya Bryzgalov right when he called Kuznetsov's choice in favor of KHL, a young hockey player trade of sporting ambitions for the money?
He is right in something, he is wrong in something. All cases are different. As for Kuzya, he should've choose America. Even if something suddenly could not work out, he could quietly return to Russia and would be on the same role and money that he has now. I think he will get aware of it in a year. He will realize that he needs to go to the NHL, but he will have to stay another year because he would still be under the contract with Tractor.
Will one year be enough to understand?
Perhaps it will even happen before that.
In 2005 you were close to sign a contract with Avanguard. Could this slow down to your development?
I signed the contract with Omsk and could stay there for two years, could make a lot of money. But I took the risk, and not knowing what kind of team Washington Capitals was, went there.This is how I got all that I have now. It was a good move on my part. My relatives wanted me to stay in Russia. Of course, money is a huge factor. But I decided to go. And I listened to no one, neither parents nor the agents or coaches.
In general I can understand Kuznetsov. For 20 years old he has a alot of injuries. He hasn't earned anything in particularly by playing hockey. And why would he risk going to the NHL? Now in Russia he signed his first contract, which will provide enough money for his family for many years.
I do not deny it, going to the NHL has some risk involved.
Did you have the same situation?
Yes. It's just if you want to go forward, if you want to be known all over the world, of course you must go. There you have to work hard to earn a contract.
Could you get the money in Omsk that would ensure your family?
Even in Dynamo I already earned at that time the money that could provide me for many years. Omsk offered me even more money, this is no secret, but I went to the NHL.
When was the last time you were approached by a stranger with the business proposal?
Did you deny the proposal?
I don't know. I'll have to meet again. In fact it I know this person, but not very close. I know him, say, like a photographer who took my pictures. We've just met before.
60% of NBA players after their career is over get bankrupt. Do you think it's in part because of such business proposals?
I think they get bankrupt because they buy 45 cars, 55 homes, have 12 wives and 44 children. If after that they still have money, they invest it in the wrong places.
Where will you live after you finish your career?
It will all depend on the family. I'm comfortable there, I'm comfortable here. Over there everything is calm and balanced. But I always think about home. Russia is the first place where I want to live. But when I look at my friends, hockey players, I see that their families, their children live in America. Because there it is much safer for children.
Do you feel that here is less safe?
For me it's all right. But for the children... When you see people accelerate to 120 km/h in 10 meters, and then start to break, this is very dangerous. This happens at the corners, in the alleys. There are a lot of drunk people on the streets, I've never seen this in America. It is dangerous. I drive up to the house, park the car, and in close a drunken company rings their bottles. And you never know what they might decide to do.
Photos by Vasily Vasilchikov.
Journal PROsport, № 23-24 (210 - 211)