OMG, another Pavel's "War and Peace", enough already, Pavel, I am exhausted. :-)
"Why are you standing here? Ovechkin just got in!" a joyful exclamation of a passerby pulled me out of whatever I was doing and I slid down the stairs from the second floor of the "Russia House". "The master! The master has arrived!," or something like this, that was the public reaction of the crowd.
Yes, Alexander Mikhailovich Ovechkin granted the "Russian House" a visit.
Those hour and a half of his evening were lined in a tight schedule, in the course of which the most valuable NHL player and Jagr's destroyer was supposed to give a dozen interviews to various TV companies in the world.
February 23, 2010 by Sochi 2014 Winter Games (H/t to Emily)
Your correspondent couldn't miss this chance and began to follow every Ovechkin's step.
The first interviewer was Jeremy Roenick, the famous American hockey player who now works as newscaster on NBC channel. I'm not surprised, even during his distinguished hockey career Roenick was known for his mouth.
He walked with Ovechkin on the waterfront near the "Russian House", then they sat down and he began torturing Ovechkin with the questions. They talked about everything, starting with the Olympics and ending with the Washington Capitals player Jason Chimera. Alexander was so actively waving his hands when he was talking about his teammate, that it became clear why he was elected Capitals captain.
Then Ovechkin led Roenick to the model of Sochi Olympics and began to explain how wonderful it would be there, "back in the USSR". He was showing where the facilities will be located and that the Olympics in Russia will be held at a highest level. Alexander did his job. After all, he is Sochi-2014 ambassador, and his duties include such educational functions.
February 23, 2010 by Sochi 2014 Winter Games (H/t to Emily)
Another interview and more questions:
Ovechkin again will play against Crosby in the quarterfinals of the Olympiad. Will your personal war, which started in the games between Washington and Pittsburgh, continue?Watching Ovechkin, I realized how hard it is for him. All interviewers were asking him the same questions. If it would be in the future, Alexander should probably send his biorobot-double for that to play to the public a worn-out record. But Ovechkin didn't flinch: Question? Answer.
No personal wars! This is not Ovechkin playing vs Crosby, it is Russia vs Canada. Two major hockey powers will meet in a duel. It will be interesting and exciting.
Will you be nervous?
No, I will try to enjoy hockey.
Who will win the gold?
We shall see.
The press attache of "BoscoSport" Julie Bordovskikh was horrified, "How do you survive that kind of pressure, Sasha?" "No worries, the usual thing," he replied.
The gold Palme d'Or for an interview with Ovechkin I would give to the Channel One [tj - Russian TV]. You can't ask boring questions like "what were you thinking when you hit Jagr?" in the language of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. In addition, the interviewer struck me very deeply because of what she knew, that Ovechkin was called a toad in his childhood, and Glenn Hall was throwing up before each game. The internet search reminded me that Hall was a goalkeeper who played for Detroit, Chicago and St. Louis in the 60's. How this charming girl from Channel One would know that? And Gerry Cheevers? I am shocked and crushed!
But judge by yourself:
Type into the search name "Ovechkin", and you immediately get the video of your hit on Jagr. How can you evaluate that episode?
It's a regular game episode. It's just because it was about two men who the whole world knows, that's why it was such a resonance. But you can see such hits in every game. It just happened automatically.
Did you realize it was defeated Jagr laying on the ice?
He hadn't been defeated yet. The Czechs had a chance to recoup. After the game I was in a great mood. I returned to the Olympic Village and immediately went online to look at the episode from the side.
So it was not just nothing for you, was it?
Of course not! I review the games to see what I could do even better. I liked the hit.
It is true that your older brother called you a toad when you were a kid?
Is this is an intimate question?
No. I was called by someone who loved me, of course. The childhood, a golden time... But I don't allow the media to get into it too far.
For so many years in the NHL have you become Americanized? Are you now Ovi or Ovechkin?
Of course I am Ovechkin! But most of the people call me Ovi. I can hear it all the time at any corner. Even the Russian guys call me Ovi.
Do you realize your fame when you go out on the street?
In Vancouver - yes, I feel it to the full extent. Sometimes you want to go quietly to eat sushi, but immediately you get the fan's crowd who gathers around, who want to take a picture with you or just to say "Hello.
Is this a story with positive or negative sign?
This is a story about how popular hockey is at the Olympics.
Can Russia win the gold?
If we'll win three elimination games. It would be great not to look for excuses later, like, we tried, but something did not work. We must go out and play to win. And listen to no one. There is a lot of pressure on players and coaches. Everyone is expecting gold from us. The Olympics games are a great holiday for everyone worldwide. But we need to take a break in talking to media. Avoiding media saves you the energy. You must understand that you need to give yourself completely in every game, and not to leave your energy at the mixed-zones.
North American media complains that you almost never communicate with them.
This is exactly what I am talking about. We'll communicate a lot after the Olympics.
Can you tell us how you came up with the idea to draw a lamb on the blades of your skates?
Our team has a masseuse who also sharpens the skates, let's call him equipment manager, his name is Konstantin Rogatyn. His nickname is Yegorych. When I play for Russia I always do something for fun, paint the blades, put on some stickers. This time Yegorych prepared a surprise for me drawing such a figure on the skates. Unfortunately the part with which they are attached to the skates broke and I had to insert my old blades. But I'll sure keep these Ovechkin's blades in my collection, where I have some other interesting things: cups, medals, awards. After all, the blades were on the Olympics and worth of getting into my museum.
I know that Glenn Hall was throwing up before each game. Gerry Cheevers had a paragraph in his contract with the right to smoke a cigar during the break. Do you have a personal recipe of how to cope with the stress?
I try to distract myself from the game. Wrap the stick with the tape one more time. Check text messages on my phone. Listen to the music, play on the computer. I do everything possible not to think about the game too much. It couldn't be worse when you're sitting in the locker room and here comes the coach and begins to push more stepping on your last nerve. And it's all crazy around you. I try to avoid such things.
The hockey players complained about the food at the Olympic village. But it's important to keep your weight!
If you want to gain weight, you can go to McDonald's and eat for free. Eat five hamburgers and you will get a few extra pounds. Tretiak and the coaches made the right decision to feed us outside the village. The food gives us energy, allows us to achieve good results. You can't go too far with McDonald's, a kilometer at most.
Are you upset that Russia will play in Canada in the quarterfinals?
I don't care. It's you, the journalists should be upset. You raved about this in the finals. Slept and saw how Canada and Russia will play for the gold. For us as hockey players it's no difference which rival to beat. We still need to play here three more games. Perhaps most important games for Russia for the next four years. It is necessary to get everything together and play. And play our game, give it all.
Finally it was the turn of your correspondent. Ovechkin, who was already decently knackered and blushing from the lamp lights, gave the interview to Sovietsky sport:
Sasha, why it was decided to cancel team's training?
I think this is the correct decision by the coaching staff. We have injuries and just simply need to rest for a day from hockey.
What's with Zinoviev? They say he's gone to the rest of the season.
I can not talk about it. It's not in my credentials.
But if we play with 11 forwards, you will more load.
Here we must look at the situation, based on who is gone. If we play without a center, then the more responsibility will fall on the other centers.
Do you allow, at least for a second, the thought that Germany could beat Canada?
I'd like to see this, but I think there's no chance for that. The Germans have to excuse me, sorry ...
Are you going to watch the game?
You could look at Canadians.
Why? I already see them every day.
And do you watch other games or do you turn off the TV?
Personally I don't watch hockey. Although for the game for Canada vs the U.S. I made an exception. It was a very interesting game.
Did the Americans deserve the victory?
Their goalie Miller was standing on his head.
Is the formula of the tournament fair? We defeated the Czechs, ranked first in the group. We should've had an easy road to the gold. But in the quarterfinals we would get the Canadians. If we get to the semi-finals there will surely be the Swedes waiting for us...
Let it be hard, the sweeter the fruit will be. It's a trite phrase, but there are no weak teams in the Olympic playoffs. No need to cry about who we got. We must come out and play.
That is, when you learned about your quarterfinal opponent, didn't you had the thought, oh shoot, Canada, darn it.
And what about the Swedes? And the Finns? Or those Czechs or the Slovaks? It's all the same.
And do you remember the feeling in Turin, where you too, got the Canadians in the quarterfinals and then you've scored the winning goal?
No, I do not want to remember! We must come out and play. We must be united like fingers in the fist. As the guys in our locker room say, "fight, fight and fight again".
I just talked with Sidney Crosby in the mixed zone. He was asked a question about Russia and he ignored it. I asked him about the Ovechkin's hit against Jagr, he said he did not see it. What do you think, why Crosby doesn't want to talk about this?
He just lost to Americans! This is a big blow to the pride of not only Crosby, but all Canada. If at this time you ask him questions about Russia, Sydney will be a little enraged. But he won't show it. So you, journalists, too, are doing your work. You are playing your own quarterfinal with Canada.