Washington Capitals prospect Alexander Alexeyev spoke to the media at the 2019 NHLPA Prospects Showcase at MedStar Capitals Iceplex on Sunday afternoon. He discussed captain Alex Ovechkin, his experience at the showcase, and more.
Alexeyev has gone through a lot of adversity in the past year, from family issues to a knee injury late last season but he insists that those kinds of things are nothing new for him, saying “That’s my way that I do hockey… that kind of stuff. Getting stronger mentally will help me more.” He added that his knee is feeling better and that he is not limited in summer workouts.
The 19-year old had great appreciation for his coach from the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels, Brent Sutter, describing him as “a great coach, a great guy, a long-time player.” Alexeyev said “Playing for him is difficult, so that’s helped me a lot. He taught me a lot of stuff.”
Alexeyev reflected on the moment after he was selected by the Capitals, when Ovechkin called him. He described that moment as “crazy” and “unbelievable.” “You know what it feels like. The first time he’s calling me and I’m some crazy guy calling him back,” Alexeyev said.
He said that Ovechkin meant “a lot” to hockey in Russia and added, “He’s like a dad for us. We’re just young players and he’s teaching us. I haven’t done it before so, it’s kind of cool.”
Alexeyev joked when asked about the day, saying that it was supposed to be the prospects’ day off. That said, he enjoyed his experience at the prospect showcase. “It’s pretty cool. I like it a lot. It’s supposed to be a day off but whatever, I guess. I got to take pictures. It’s fun actually, like I’m really happy,” he said.
Alexeyev discussed being with other prospects, saying “I’ve played with some of those guys. There’s one Russian guy (New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shestyorkin) and we get to play together whenever we want. It’s amazing that I’m here.”
He told the media that the biggest adjustment from the WHL to the AHL will be the physicallity. “[There’s] more hitting [and it’s] a lot harder, so it’s one player adjusting to those kinds of things and it’ll be good,” he said.
Alexeyev discussed the possibility of getting some time with the big club this season but was cautious about the idea, saying “Yeah, but you know they’re a lot smarter than me. It’s crazy, every practice I feel like I’m getting better.”
“The goal is to make the team. There’s a lot of skill over there and I want to be the best at it,” he responded when asked about his goal for the upcoming season.
By Harrison Brown