August 21, 2009
(The following is loosely translated from a SovSport article from tomorrow's paper. The interview is an excerpt.)
Last year, Alexander Ovechkin(notes) of the Washington Capitals launched his clothing line in North America. It took another year for Ovechkin's fashion to make its way to Russia. The party for the occasion took place yesterday.
Ovechkin arrived at the event in a double-decker Hummer limo. The door opened upward like a DeLorean and an army of blondes and brunettes poured out. The organizers explained that the girls were models and singers from a couple of popular Russian pop bands.
Ovechkin was the last to get out of the car and took the "army" inside the stadium where the event was taking place, explaining the girls would be playing field hockey.
Ovechkin the coach held a "master class" session for the ladies explaining how to use hockey sticks and helmets. Alex also put in a lot of time to explain how to score with a wrister.
Then the game started, and the media witnessed a dozen glamorous models running around the field chasing an orange ball and hitting each other with sticks with helmets over their eyes. Ovechkin did a play-by-play and once even played a team doctor when he came out on the field when one of the girls was hit in the face with the ball. Ovechkin gave her a hug and wiped off her tears.
No one actually knows who won the game, but the girls had fun. After the game Ovechkin participated in a tournament: Whoever dressed one of the models in Ovechkin's gear first, won. Dressed, not stripped.
After that Ovechkin played some soccer with the media and played as a goalie taking penalties.
After the festivities were over, Ovechkin spoke with the media about his clothing line and then talked with Sovetsky Sport's Pavel Lysenkov about his recent trip to Krasnoyarsk to visit his buddy Alexander Semin(notes). Here is a loose translation:
Q. The Olympic camp starts on August 30th. Who do you miss the most - Semin or Fedorov?
OVECHKIN: Definitely not Sema. Not long ago I visited Krasnoyarsk where Sasha lives. He invited me and I went over for five days.
How did it go?
I had a lot of fun! It's a great city, wonderful people. Something really awesome happened to me there. We went yachting with Semin. It takes about an hour sailing through the woods to get to the peer on Enisei river where we wanted to go. So we stopped at this small village to go to the local store. And imagine that - we're in the heart of Siberia in an ordinary store. There was this woman behind the counter cutting some fish. I came in and asked for water, chocolates and sandwiches. And she looked at me kind of strange and asked me: "Is it you or not?" I replied: "Of course it's me." She said: "Give me a smile."
So she recognized you by a missing tooth?
Can you imagine that? It was in the middle of nowhere! Washington is on the other side of the globe, Moscow is really far away. And people knew me there. I played a lot for the national team and know what patriotism is.
The gold medal from Quebec is my most treasured trophy. But I couldn't catch my breath there [in that store]. I just felt what Russia is about, how dear and big it is and how we -- hockey players and the national team -- are loved here. When you think of people like those you want to win the Olympics twice as much. It was awesome in Krasnoyarsk! I will definitely go there next year.
Is it true that you will open [the ceremony] at the opening game of the new Russian Junior Hockey League?
Yes, that's right. I don't know who is doing it with me. They say that it will be Evgeni Malkin(notes). But I really want the Junior League to be a successful project. I have already met Alex Avtsin [Russian experts claim he is Ovechkin#2], who is the face of Dynamo in the Junior League. I want young players to have more playing experience.
What do you think about the case of Shirokov?
I don't want to go into these legal matters. I think simple - every person has the right to choose. Shirokov was a free agent. And he decided to continue his career in the NHL. I think this is a normal situation.
Once again, no in-depth comments. I just want to mention that any public person can end up in a scandal. No one is insured against it. I could end up in a similar situation, but God keeps me away [from it].
Do you wish Kane to avoid jail time?
I am sure that this won't happen. Patrick is a good guy. If he did something, it's not because [he is bad].
(After the conversation was over, a journalist from Russia's NTV-Plus TV channel asked Alex a few questions.)
How much money do you spend per day?
Your most expensive purchase?
A condo in Moscow.
Blondes or brunettes?
An English word you say the most?
It starts with the letter "F".
Maybe it's "football"... What's the funniest question media asked you?
Yours, man. About the letter "F".