Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin told the media that he did not see GM Brian MacLellan today “but plenty of time” is left to negotiate a contract extension. The 35-year-old can become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. Ovechkin added that he is “not in a rush” to sign and “whenever it’s done, it’s done.”
On the Capitals’ signing of former Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, Ovechkin said that he would have asked “are you guys crazy?” years ago if he was told that the two would be on the same team. Ovechkin did not know what to expect over the offseason with COVID-19 spreading but he is “looking forward” to playing with him. “Obviously, he’s a legend,” he continued, “His experience, he’s a winner, he wants to play, he’s strong, and he’s going to help our [defense] too. He’s going to work hard and bring energy.”
Ovechkin said he did not know when the Capitals were going to play again. “[The] first couple of games are going to be hard ones because you have to get back to game speed,” he told the media. He thinks that the Capitals will have to get up to speed as quickly as possible.
When asked about the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols, Ovechkin feels like “we’re protected enough” and said that the players get tested for the virus every day. “NHL [and staff did] a pretty good job,” Ovechkin said.
Ovechkin said that “the most important thing is to play the game right now,” after reports surfaced that he is planning to retire with the KHL’s Moscow Dynamo, his hometown team.
This offseason was especially hard on the Great Eight as he usually plans his offseason training based on the start date of the season opener, which made training harder this offseason since that was unknown until December. “Obviously, it was a hard summer because no one knows what to expect,” he said.
On playing just seven teams eight times this season, Ovechkin thinks “it’s going to be small [Stanley Cup] Playoff series. … The most important thing is to go out and play. [The] first couple of games [are] going to be very emotional.”
When asked about his first impressions of new Capitals’ head coach Peter Laviolette, Ovechkin said that Monday was a “very emotional day [for all of us], just seeing new players and new coaches. … We’ve been waiting for this day for so long. … [Laviolette and he] had lunch together. It was a good conversation. … It was a very good talk.”
By Harrison Brown