Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/24/07 at 12:27 AM ET
Alexander Ovechkin, along with Segei Gonchar, Evgeni Malkin and a few other Russian hockey players met in St. Peterburg, Russia and went through a physical fitness camp.
SovSport (not translated) did an interview with them and I am going to highlight the Ovechkin conversation…
A big thanks to a new KK friend named Dmitry who translated the inteview.
Washington Forward Alex Ovechkin: We Live Here Like It’s a Pioneer Camp!
Ovechkin arrived in St Petersburg from Saransk, where he took part in the national “Shumbrat, Finno-Ugria” festival. Alex came to the gym fresh and upbeat even though he was coming straight from the airport.
Alex, what took you to Saransk?
I was invited to go there… My mom also came as did Alexei Nemov [Olympic champion - gymnastics]. We loved it! I gave a “master class” to kids, showed them a few hockey tricks. Two teams battled for a prize - my hockey stick. A new arena was built there, hockey is the republic [of Mordovia] is on the rise.
Do you follow the news from the NHL? Your friend Dainius Zubrus signed a contract with New Jersey not long ago.
Yes, I spoke with Zubie three days ago. It’s a shame that he was traded from Washington. But at the end of the day, Dainius got what he wanted. I am very happy for him.
What do you think about Yashin returning to the Superleague?
I don’t know all the details, although Yashin probably won’t lose anything in this situation. I think NHL clubs will still be interested in him. Alexei himself can play in Russia at [Alexei] Morozov’s level. Remember how great he played in the Superleague during the lockout.
This is the last year of your contract with Washington. Do you realize that you have to have an exceptional season to raise your earnings?
If I think only about money, nothing good will come of it… But I changed my preseason training schedule. I started [training] in the beginning of July, just like other guys from the Superleague. That’s about a month earlier than last season. My training [last year] did not go well. I went to Canada to train with my personal fitness trainer. The training load was OK but not “physical”, but weight lifting for various parts of the body. Most of the time not those [body parts] that a hockey player needs. That’s why during the last season sometimes I felt like I didn’t have enough strength.
But here in St Petersburg it is great! We all train together, help each other. We are hanging out like it’s a pioneers camp [boy scout camp]! Dmitry the coach is our team leader. Sergey Gonchar kept saying how good he trained here before the start of last season. He suggested I come here too. And I don’t regret it!
I was told that in the beginning Gonchar could hardly handle the new training system…
And I didn’t even finish my cross-country run the first time! My pulse was 210, but now it is 176. The progress is evident.
Do you run listening to music?
Yes, everybody has a player. I play Eminem. Because of it running is especially rhythmic.
Why did you decide to stay at the trainer’s house in St Petersburg?
There are always parties at his house. There are always a lot of beautiful girls, a dance floor. And in the bedroom there is a huge disco ball and a pole to all the way to the ceiling… [Ovechkin says it with a straight face and then can’t hold it any longer and bursts out laughing.
Our Canadian colleagues [guys from CBC traveling with Sovetsky Sport] were amazed: if Sydney Crosby went to an ordinary city gym in the States he would be torn apart for souvenirs. A you just come here and train with ordinary people.
That doesn’t bother me. Yes, I do see that people recognize me. But this is the difference in Russia that no one throws themself at me and don’t disturb my personal space.
Crosby has already signed his extension with Pittsburgh. How are your negotiations with Washington going?
I don’t want to talk about it. The fact that Crosby signed his new contract and I have not doesn’t make my pulse rush.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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