'He's just here and always will be here': Capitals react to Ovechkin's extension

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Ovechkin 'happy' he's staying in D.C., and so are his teammates originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

When Alex Ovechkin signed his five-year, $47.5 million extension to remain with the Capitals through his age-40 season back in July, he did so with both the end of his career and the chase for Wayne Gretzky's all-time scoring record in mind. 

"Obviously, my family loves D.C., I love D.C.," Ovechkin said at the Capitals media day Thursday. "I spent my entire career here. It was extremely important for me, for this organization, and the fans obviously to sign a deal and I think we're all happy."

Perhaps the happiest of the bunch are Ovechkin's teammates, who get to spend more time on the ice with one of the most gifted goal-scorers the sport has ever produced. For Dmitry Orlov, one of Ovechkin's best friends off the ice since he arrived on the team in 2011, getting that five more years with the "Great 8" means more than the added value to the Caps' win/loss columns.  

"Yeah, I think it's good for us...He's going to play his full career in the one team. I think it's amazing," Orlov said. "And it's great for his family. You know, I think it's most important for them. They always support him, always around. And, you know, a lot of memories, so it's obviously great."

For the hard-hitting enforcer Tom Wilson, who like many fans never truly considered the possibility of Ovechkin entertaining free agency this past offseason, Ovechkin's extension was inevitable.

"I was like around him for like a day or two here, and I like totally forgot to congratulate him in person because in the back of my head, he's just here and always will be here," Wilson said. "There was just no question, you know. Like every day I've been here, he's been here and he's been the guy and such a great leader." 

Since Wilson was taken with the 16th pick in the 2012 NHL draft, Ovechkin's reliability and leadership has been a constant inside Washington's locker room. No matter if it was under Adam Oates, Barry Trotz, Todd Rierden or now Peter Laviolette, Ovechkin will always be the main man around town. 

So when Wilson got back to training camp with Ovi and the rest of the team, it made sense that it felt like business per usual at the MedStar Iceplex. 

"So, I think it was like day two or three. I was like, 'Oh, like, congrats,'" Wilson said. "Like, I totally forgot, you know? So, I mean, it's so deserving. He's the superstar. He's the guy who does it every night. He's done it year in, year out, and that's no easy feat. He's just a special guy, special player. So pretty excited for him and his family to stick around for the foreseeable future."

From witnessing Ovechkin hit the 400-goal milestone in December of his rookie season to climbing up to sixth on the all-time goals list this past season, Wilson said he's enjoyed having a front seat to it all.

RELATED: How many goals will Alex Ovechkin score in 2021-22?

"It seems like every couple of weeks he's breaking a record," Wilson said. "So it's going to be fun. He's a crazy good and probably best goal scorer of this generation for sure. And it'll be exciting. It's going to be some pressure on his linemates to get him the puck, because when he shoots it, he's going to score. So, we'll keep pushing forward."

Needing 36 tallies to leapfrog into third all-time, Ovechkin isn't looking past any parts of the process that need to come first. 

"Let's not look too far," Ovechkin said. "Game by game, step by step." 

His teammates, however, are plenty happy to talk about the prospects of helping Ovechkin continue to write his legacy, both with individual and team success.

"I hope he gonna get the record, you know, and hopefully going to get another chance to win the Cup," Orlov said. "So it's going to be fun five years for him and a lot of challenges for him. And as a team, we are going to try to help and be a good team and there a lot of things to do still, you know, the most older team in the NHL, but I think we're still hungry for the winning."

The Capitals have stated time and again their frustration with the way last season's 4-1 first-round exit against the Bruins went. Three straight first-round playoff exits have followed their 2018 Stanley Cup title, but their fearless leader is ready for a clean slate in a more normal 2021-22 campaign. 

"We just move forward. A year ago, two years ago, you can change it right?" Ovechkin said. "So you just move on and try to get better next year."