Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin told reporters on a Zoom call on Monday that he is “not even thinking about [his contract] yet.” The 34-year-old will be able to sign a contract extension after this season. The team opened training camp on Monday in preparations for their round-robin opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, August 3 in Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Ovechkin said that the same rules apply on the ice, but a lot has changed with the COVID-19 global pandemic, and the team will have to be careful when they are not in practice. “[We’re] not sure what [we] can’t do,” he told the media.
— NBC4 Sports (@NBC4Sports) July 13, 2020
Ovechkin acknowledged that the extra rest helped as the Capitals were 19-16-3 after a 22-4-5 start and are getting older as a team but said that they still “have to follow [the] rules” when they are in the bubble in Toronto.
He said that every team “wants to play for a Cup!” and that he believes in his team to do it again after getting a first taste of winning a Stanley Cup championship in 2018.
“[It’s] very good time for us,” Ovechkin said about getting back together with his Capitals teammates. He told the media that he and his teammates cannot wait to play games together again. The team’s opener against the Lightning is the first of three round-robin games before the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs officially starts. They will also participate in one exhibition game sometime between Tuesday, July 28, and Thursday, July 30.
Ovechkin said that the experience inside the bubble will be a “great” one, but it will tough without any fans in the stands. However, he acknowledged that the “most important thing is to play hockey.”
On his Tik-Tok video with goaltender Ilya Samsonov, center Evgeny Kuznetsov and his daughter, and defenseman Dmitry Orlov released on Sunday, Ovechkin said that “[Samsonov’s] a great dancer. It was just a short video!”
Ovechkin said that no one on the Capitals is “really” or “worried or talking about” safety as all of the teams will be in a bubble with restaurants, activities, the arena, and hotel that the NHL is planning in Edmonton and Toronto.
Ovechkin told the media that it was obviously crucial for his team to be safe. But his wife supports his decision to return despite having young kids, including a baby, at home. “I miss hockey!” he said.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) July 13, 2020
By Harrison Brown