Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was on a conference call with New York Islanders captain Anders Lee, New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban, Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno, and reporters on Thursday for his first media availability session since the NHL paused the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus outbreak. Here are some highlights from the call:
“[The] first week was kind of good thing, we [were] relaxing and chilling … now, it is kind of getting boring now,” Ovechkin said. The NHL has been on pause for two weeks now and with the CDC recommending against mass gatherings of at least 50 people, expect the 34-year-old to get even more bored.
Subban wished Ovechkin well with his second child due in a few months. “It’s cool to see [Ovechkin’s] kid taking slap shots and stuff,” Subban said.
Much of the talk of this conference call is about how much the other players enjoy watching Sergei
— JJ Regan (@JJReganNBCS) March 26, 2020
On the uncertainty of when the league is coming back and how that impacts his training, Ovechkin said: “It’s kind of hard, to be honest with you.”
Ovechkin told reporters that says he is still at his house in McLean, Virginia, with his wife, Nastya, and son, Sergei. He said that he has been chillin’, spending time with his family, training, and doing housework.
Alex Ovechkin says his go-to TV show is “Deal or No Deal.”
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) March 26, 2020
He said that he has worked with this trainer from Russia prior to the Stanley Cup Playoffs during the last few years and felt lucky that his trainer was here already, so the two can work together easily.
Alex Ovechkin is working out with a personal trainer in his home gym. Big self-quarantine flex.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 26, 2020
Despite the fact that the Capitals went into the pause 19-16-3 in their last 38 games and 6-8-3 in their last 17, the second-worst in the NHL over that span (ahead of only the league-worst Detroit Red Wings: 5-13-1), Ovechkin thinks that it would be best to jump right into the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs when the league returns to action, saying “For us, it is better for [the Stanley Cup] playoffs to start right now. We don’t want to play extra games. … I would rather start [the Stanley Cup] playoffs right away. Sorry, guys.” If the tournament started today, Lee’s Islanders and Subban’s Devils would both be out of it.
On sitting at 48 goals before the pause and sitting just two shy of his ninth career 50-goal season, Ovechkin said: “Of course you want to score 50 but right now but like everybody [is] saying, [the] most important thing is to be safe and to get this thing done. … My mind [is] not on scoring 50 goals or catching Great One (Wayne Gretzky) or anybody else.”
Subban chimed in and said that if the Capitals’ remaining games were against the Devils, Ovechkin would score 20 goals. In four games against them this season, the Great Eight has notched five goals and six points, including a hat trick in a 5-2 win on January 16 and his 700th career NHL goal in a 3-2 loss on February 22. Subban told the media that it would be good for the game if Ovechkin caught Gretzky, who is currently 188 goals ahead of him for the NHL record.
Ovechkin responded to Subban, saying that he doesn’t like playing against him because he always slashes, especially on the hands, and complains to the referees. “It drives me crazy,” he said.
Lee started to praise Ovechkin when asked about his thoughts about Ovechkin’s chances to catch Gretzky before Ovechkin cut him off and wanted to move on.
Ovechkin was asked what would be the one show he would watch or artist he would listen to if he was stuck on a deserted island. He replied with “Deal or no Deal” and any one of Eminem’s album. Subban recommended watching “Tiger King” to Ovechkin, Lee, and Foligno. Lee joked that Ovechkin probably has tigers at his house.
“The most important thing is to take care of yourself, take care of your family [and] friends. Help each other. Just be safe. Right now it is a hard time. We all miss you … right now we are together and we have to fight through it together,” Ovechkin responded when asked about what his message to fans would be.
By Harrison Brown