Washington Capitals fans may remember Dmitrij Jaskin, who played for the Capitals during the 2018-19 season. After his days with the Capitals, Jaskin moved on to play for Moscow Dynamo of the KHL for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons and led the KHL in goals both seasons.
Jaskin returned to the NHL and the Arizona Coyotes for the 2021-22 season, but his season was cut short due to injury. Jaskin recently spoke with Russian media about a wide range of topics, including how he met Alex Ovechkin, vacationing with “The Great 8” and fighting Tom Wilson.
“When I came to play against them [Washington Capitals] with St. Louis. I already knew Zhenya [Evgeny] Kuznetsov, I always talked to him, and Sasha [Ovechkin] sometimes joined us. That’s how we met. But we began to communicate more when I moved to Washington.”
Photo: Sports Ru
Jaskin believes that Ovechkin’s personality is the same outside of the team environment and out of camera view.
“[He’s] The same fighting leader. Nothing changes for him. A leader, just like on the ice, and a very good person.”
Last summer Jaskin and his wife went on an extended vacation to Turkey with Ovechkin and his family.
“We rested, sunbathed, went in for sports, played cards. As much as we could, we had fun. Volleyball, ping-pong, football – whatever we did.”
Jaskin detailed reasons why he believes Ovechkin is such a great hockey player.
“Because he is a great master, he has the strongest scoring instinct of all hockey players. He just does his job with all his heart and soul, giving all his best. Therefore he is great. Talent is talent, but you need to know how to use it correctly, and he knows how. He has more desire now than when he was younger. It deserves respect.”
Jaskin recalled one particular practice involving Ovechkin. The team was working on the power play when Jaskin was assigned to practice with the penalty killers against the power play.
“When we practiced the power play in Washington, when I was defending, I always tried to dodge his shots. Although in practice he tries not to shoot so hard so as not to injure anyone.”
Photo: Sports Ru
Jaskin also revealed why he switched from the NHL to the KHL and joined Dynamo.
“I waited until the very end for an offer from the NHL, but nothing good happened. So I decided to try the KHL. Since Siber [HC Siber Novosibirsk] held my rights, they transferred the rights to Dynamo – and everything went well in the end.”
There were rumors that Ovechkin had recommended him to Dynamo, and might have pulled a few strings. Jaskin confirmed that Ovechkin put in a good word.
“He is an adviser at Dynamo, plus we played together at Washington. He probably talked to whomever he needed, they asked him about me.”
Jaskin’s had a very successful tenure in the KHL, scoring over 30 goals both seasons, leading the team in goals and second on the team in overall points. The 38 goals he scored during the 2020-21 season was the second best in KHL history, second only to Sergei Mozyakin, who scored 48 during the 2016-17 season.
“Several factors converged. In the first year, a lot was achieved, in the second, it was no longer necessary to get used to anything. Everyone knew their role on the team very well. I was required to deliver pucks for Vadik [Vadim Shipachev], who knew what to do with them.”
Photo: Sports Ru
Jaskin returned to the NHL for the 2021-22 season after signing a one-year contract with the Coyotes.
“The contract is still there, but it is too early to talk about the future. Now the main agreement is that I need to recover, first. Will this be enough to extend the contract? In theory, yes.”
Jaskin denied any contact talks with other teams, “I don’t talk to them. Maybe the agent talked to someone, but it seems to me that it is too early to discuss anything.”
Jaskin also denied holding a grudge towards Mark Borowiecki, whose knee-on-knee hit was responsible for his injury.
“I think a lot of guys are offended by him in this league. What’s the point of being offended by him? What happened, happened. It’s all on his conscience. There was no conversation with him after this situation.” After the injury, his line mate Antoine Roussel started a fight with Borowiecki.
Jaskin then discussed the one time he fought against a player who had “offended” him, none other than future teammate, Tom Wilson, during a preseason game before the 2017-18 season,
“Yes, I remember, such an incident was in the preseason, when I played for St. Louis. Got into a fight with Tom Wilson of Washington . True, the fight did not really work out, we were quickly separated. Then he stood up for Robert Thomas, who still plays for the Blues.”
The full text of his interview can be found here.
By Diane Doyle