Wikipedia...King Sisyphus was made to roll a huge boulder up a steep hill. Before he could reach the top, however, the massive stone would always roll back down, forcing him to begin again.Great Pavel Lysenkov finally got his wish of the last couple of years, another epic "War and Peace" size interview with Alex Ovechkin. Here we go...
The fans think that Washington Capitals are like a King Sisyphus, who would roll a boulder up the mountain, but the boulder would always roll back down. Alexander, can you name just one good reason why the Capitals can win the Stanley Cup this year.
Because we have a team that wasn't built in a day. We have the backbone of the team. Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green and others are at the prime of their career. The Capitals are constantly thinking about how to improve the team. Here, we got Misha Grabovsky. We work with the youth who learn from our experience. And finally we have a team that can succeed.
You came to the club in 2005. From that roster only you and Brooks Laich are left. How it feels to be a veteran of the Washington Capitals at the age of 28?
That's right, it is Laich and me. I feel a great responsibility. And it's not about who is Caps captain. The leaders are needed to make an impact. Right here and right now.
How do you prepare for the season when you have the Olympics in February? How to maintain the freshness?
The main thing is to avoid an injury. You have to be totally prepared for each NHL game. Then there will be no distortions, and you will be ready for Sochi.
The fact that you are now playing in the same division with Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Rangers, is it good?
You bet! These teams are always in the center of attention for the media and fans. That means that every game will be like a hot cake.
Where are you more comfortable to play, on the right or on the left? And are you ready to play on the right for the national team, as you do in Washington?
I've spent half a season on the right side. I am already got used to it and I think our coach Adam Oates will not change my position again. In general, don't worry too much about it. This is just a position change. I haven't talked about this with Zinetula Bilyaletdinov. But this the head coach's decision, I will play wherever he wants.
You won the Hart Trophy as the most valuable player of last season. Can you now admit that Mike Milbury, the sharp-tongued analyst, was the strongest motivator for you?
Oh come on... I was not listening to him at all! I've heard some quotes that drifted through. But if you start reading all the praise and negative articles about yourself, then you can go crazy. You should immediately make an appointment with the neurologist if you start taking all this very close to your heart.
Have you had a "talk" with Yevgeny Kuznetsov; that he should come to play for Washington Capitals?
Let it be his decision. And I gave my advice two years ago. In my opinion he should have left to NHL even back then. He could play for Washington Capitals, grew up as a player and he would have more chances to get to Sochi. It's no secret that all coaches of all teams at the Olympics will bet on the players from overseas. And playing in the NHL gives you an invaluable experience.
Who would you consider the iron man in the NHL or in real life ?
There are a lot of people. Look at Fedor Emelianenko, who was awesome in the fights without rules. Yes, and I still admire him. In our sport it is Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara... In general every hockey player is a man with a core of steel. You saw how people play with broken hands, legs, punctured lungs, horrific injuries. And no one complains. Then they lay down for a surgery, but in the off-season, to get back to the ice again. In my career I've seen many times that the greatest achievements come only to those who have a character of steel.
It seems to be the motto of "Gillette", and you are the face of "Gillette".
I think it depends on the inner core, what you will bring home from the Olympics, gold or silver. We will be able to win in Sochi only if we will activate all our physical and mental strength at the right time. "Gillette" shares my desire to be the best. We have a joint project devoted to the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
I want to ask about advertising. Maria Sharapova wanted to change her last name to Shugarpova before US Open, to promote her candy. Could you do that?
Change Ovechkin to Shuravechkin? Even if they call me sometimes Shura, [Sh-oo-ra - another nickname for Alexander in Russian -tj] I don't want to! I'm proud of my last name, I got it from my parents.
Any plans to register "Ovechkin" as a trademark?
No. I might think about it when I finish playing. Now it doesn't make sense.
When did you stop seeing the game vs. Canada in Vancouver in your nightmares?
If you haven't told me I would not even think about it. Thank you very much. Tonight I will definitely have nightmares.
Is it true that when you came to the arena, the environment itself was a shocker? That how much the audience was rooting for Canadians.
It was exactly that. We were like in the crater of the active volcano.
Can there be such an atmosphere in Sochi? Still, it's not a hockey town like Vancouver.
I think that when we go to the ice there, it will be a full house at Olympic stadium. And our fans are the guys. They won't eat popcorn. They will push us forward so that the walls will begin to sway. And the atmosphere in Sochi will be like in Canada. Our fans are no worse than in North America. And even better because they are ours.
Will you have some kind of chip at the Olympics? Colored laces, image of lamb on the skates...
Come to think of it. I will talk with the equipment manufacturer. But first I still need to get to Sochi, be alive and well, in a good shape. And then I can spend time in such details as the yellow laces.
Did Mom tell you about how she won her two Olympic medals?
This subject has not been raised for a long time. But when my mother will come to Washington before Sochi, we'll reminisce those good times for sure.
Did you get disappointed in Bilyaletdinov's 'schemes' after we've got destroyed 3:8 by American students at the last World Cup?
If you look at the rosters, you can say that we were playing against the guys from the street, juniors, yesterday's students. But at the same time those were good professionals, future NHL players. They fought to prove themselves. Our 'schemes' are working. We have won the gold in 2012. But if you rewind the video about that quarterfinal, you'll see a wild, incredible amount of unforced errors. We lost to ourselves. It is silly to dump all the blame on the tactics and the coach. Everyone just needs to look in the mirror and think about how he can improve. And it's great that we flopped at the World Cup. There is a time to work on the errors before Sochi.
Pavel Datsyuk, the winner of Kharlamov Trophy-2013, gave F to the condition and skills of young hockey players in Yekaterinburg. It speaks about how our children are taught in Russian sports schools. What can you say?
You know, I've never been in a children's sports school. I am very busy, training twice a day. So I can not assess the readiness of children. But if a guy like Datsyuk says it, I believe him.
Do you want to spend time for a hockey clinic for the children, like Datsyuk or Bryzgalov ?
In the future. You need to think things through, how to organize it. Find a place for it. Only one problem, you need to balance the time in the off-season; have enough time for yourself and for kids who would go to my school. They need to be treated seriously, not like this, "Hi - Bye."
Why America is a sporting nation, and Russia is not?
Have you looked out of the window? Compare the area where I live in Moscow and in Washington. There, in America, around my house, there are eight stadiums that are designed just for kids and sports fans. Come over, work out. And in my area in Russia, there is just one area. Yes, and it is gated, you can't just get there. That's the difference. On the other hand, if you open that area, "good" people will show up and mess it up and break everything. So it all comes from psychology. After all, we and Americans are different.
Could you become a politician after your career? Can you imagine yourself passing the laws at the State Duma ?
I am still playing hockey. And when I'll finish, there will be thinking.
Do you hate it when the reporters initially set your wedding date with Maria Kirilenko, and then cancel it?
It is how the journalists are joking. Their bread is to find something sensational. But in general it is the most ridiculous rumor I've heard about myself, that Ovechkin cancelled the wedding with Kirilenko. How inventive! You'll be the first to know the whole truth about the [wedding] date. I personally call you and tell you!
Is it you who write in your twitter?
Of course it is me! Or do you think I travel with a secretary everywhere?
Why are there so many "ha ha ha"?
This is my style. Now people are copying me, putting the "ha ha ha" too. What, you don't like that I'm so funny? ['I'm so gay' was Google translation :) That's why you need tj]
Who do you play with on the play-station? After all, your best buddy Alexander Semin is gone.
I have friends in Washington. The guys come to my house and we have fun.
Describe the perfect day of Ovechkin's summer.
To wake up without an alarm clock, to meet with the boys and chill all day. There are no plans whatsoever to execute. Just go with the flow.
Do you already give Maria Kirilenko some valuable tips on tennis? No kidding, because you do know how to work on fitness.
Yes, I give hints. But you should ask Masha if she listens to them.
Is it possible that one day Kirilenko will beat Serena Williams ?
And why not?
Because Williams is a machine.
Even robots have problems in their systems. The main thing is, do not give up. We need to find weaknesses and make them your own trump cards.
The fans write Maria in twitter, "Stop playing tennis already! The country needs Ovechkins!" Do you agree?
Haha, it's hard to discuss this topic. Wait and see!
Are you going to replace the tooth after your hockey career?
Yes, I promise. Once I am done with hockey. Or a bit earlier.
And why not now?
I'm afraid it will be knocked again. There are many examples. Here one of my friends just went to the dentist. Started to eat meat and broke a tooth. It is exactly the same as mine. Can you imagine? What a bummer.
Would you like to play in a movie? Here's Ilya Kovalchuk and Evgeni Malkin have already appeared on the big screen.
I have already acted in a movie "Shadow Boxing".
Somehow I do not remember you.
There's a little piece. But to act in the movie you need to find the time, which I am sorely lacking.
Not so long ago you replaced the big house in Washington to a very big one. What to do on a thousand square meters? Play soccer?
It is so cool there that you do not want to leave! A lot of space, light, very comfortable.
Do you have pets?
I have three dogs in Russia. Two boys, Chuck and Roy. And the girl, Ghera. Soon she will be a mother.
Do you read reviews by fans online?
Of course. I go to the site where they gather. I study people's opinions. Sometimes it's very funny how they are arguing about me and what they say.
Pavel Datsyuk invests in construction in Yekaterinburg. And where do you invest?
Everything depends on where do you see yourself after hockey. I have not yet decided. And I can not reveal where my investments are. This is a purely personal.
Is it true that you are willing to get a haircut in a china town barbershop for $8?
I try to spend money wisely. Although sometimes I make the purchase and grab my head, "Damn, why?"
Then name the stupidest waste of money you have done lately.
It's so stupid that I am very ashamed! If you tell to a newspaper people might think that I'm crazy. But I will always remember the time when in the early 90's my dad used a car to feed the family, and we were very short of money back then. I don't have a feeling that life is good and I am in the chocolate.
Sergei Fedorov once lost $60 million to a con man. Can it happen to any hockey player?
In principle, yes. Nothing is safe. Too many people are orbiting around famous athletes.
And does everyone need something? You have hard filtered your circle as the time went by.
You get older and with age, you understand who is nice and who is trying to do something bad. Here's an example: I knew that person well and for a long time. And then he says, "Pay me such sum per week. You're a millionaire, you can afford it."
And how did you react ?
I told him to go eff himself, of course. I know how hard it is to get the money. And I am not just going to waste it.
Some athletes at major tournaments sometimes say, "We don't owe anything to anybody." Do you agree?
We must fight and show the result that is expected from us. Why then the person is chosen to team Russia? After all we represent the country. And then what shall we say? "Well, I'm sorry, I do not owe anything to anyone." I think it's stupid.
Whew, thank you Pasha Lysenkov :)
Follow @OvetjkinBlog on Twitter