Saturday was the conclusion of Alex Ovechkin’s annual “OviCup” youth hockey tournament held at the Vladimir Petrov Arena in Moscow. Ovechkin also hosted his inaugural “OviCyberCup” at the Festival Square of the Luzhniki Olympic Complex on Saturday.
While hosting the gaming tournament, Ovechkin sat with MatchTV for possibly his final long-form interview before he returns to Washington for the 2022-23 season. Ovechkin has yet to pinpoint a specific day for his return, but expects it to possibly be in the next three to four weeks.
“Do not know yet. Most likely in early September or late August.”
Ovechkin was asked about the status of good friend and longtime center for the Washington Capitals, Nicklas Backstrom, who had hip surgery back in June. He said he hasn’t spoke to Backstrom about the surgery, but hopes he can return to play again at some point.
“He recently had a wedding, I want to congratulate him and Liza. I didn’t talk to him about this (surgery). I think he already has enough current problems that drag on from last season. I hope he comes out and continues his wonderful career. Backstrom is one of the best center forwards in the NHL. The league and the game itself will lose a lot if he does not continue to play.”
It seems like Ovechkin is always asked about two topics: breaking Gretzky’s record and the equipment he uses. On Saturday Ovechkin spoke about the stick he currently uses, and if it is specifically designed for his world-renowned shot from the office.
“All the companies with whom I have worked with and which send me sticks are well aware of the rigidity, bend, and balance required by me. And in general, they even know such nuances, in which place the stick should be harder, and where – softer.
Ovechkin also spoke for the first time about the departure of friend and fellow Russian Ilya Samsonov, who signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs this summer.
“First of all, it was emotional. Secondly, it is a pity that he did not manage to gain a foothold with the squad. I believe that Ilya will be fine. He is a wonderful talented guy. But I’m not a general manager, and I can’t solve any problems in terms of composition.”
Capitals teammate T.J. Oshie recently spoke about Ovechkin’s back-of-the-bus singing habits in a recent interview with the Rink Live podcast. He said that The Great 8 would even bust out bellowing Brittney Spears on occasion.
“Well, sometimes it happens. What must happen for this to happen? We won and I’m in a good mood.”
The Capitals are expected to open training camp for the 2022-23 season sometime around the third week of September. They open the season on October 12th hosting the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena.
By Jon Sorensen