July 28, 2008
There's that episode where Alex takes Jags door-to-door around D.C., trying to convince bitter Washington Capitals fans that Jaromir's really "cool beans." There's the one where they road trip up to Pittsburgh Penguins camp and play pranks on Evgeni Malkin. ("Knock knock." "Who's there?" "KGB ... grab sticks, you play KHL now, comrade.") Oh, and the season finale, in which Jagr and Ovie get hammered "AbFab" style at a casino, and Jaromir convinces Alex to put $124 million on one hand of blackjack.
In the meantime, we're left with small glimpses of their quirky relationship. Like this interview from Pavel Lysenkov of SovSport (.pdf), in which Ovechkin actually gets on the phone and begins peppering Jagr with questions over dinner. Translated by Tuvanhillbilly, here's Jagr's response to Ovie's question about how long he plans to play in Russia:
"Two years. And then I will return to the Czech republic. You have to understand, I cannot play anymore in the NHL anymore. You are so much better than me. What can I do in a league when Ovechkin gets 65 goals and I only can get 25? I was so bad, so like a real man I couldn't NOT leave." Jagr nearly falls from his chair from laughter. Sasha laughs together with him. "If you had hit only 40 goals, and I 30, then I might have thought about staying for one more year. But now I understand that there is nothing left for me to attain in the NHL. Ovechkin is there."
What's the Russian word for unmitigated sarcasm? Later, Jagr turns to Lysenkov and shares this about Ovechkin:
"This coming season Ovechkin is going to get probably 70 goals. How can you keep up with that? I just wonder where this guy gets all his energy. It can't all be from training. You have to be born with it. They broke his nose, and Ovechkin out of rage hammers in 4 goals against Montreal. How do you repeat that? He is a one of a kind."
More from Alex Ovetjkin here. And heed the words of Jaromir Jagr: Don't make Alexander Ovechkin angry. You won't like him when he's angry. Well, unless you're a Caps fan, or he's on your fantasy team.