Ovie’s Finger is on the Pulse of the Disco Ball … and Dishes
My good friend Dmitry Chesnokov has once again spanned the globe to bring news from Russia. Moments ago, he sent the transcript of a conversation between Sovetksy Sport reporter Pavel Lysnekov (whom we had the pleasure of meeting while we were in Moscow earlier this year) and the Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin. Also contained in the missive is a chat between Pavel and the man who is training these Russian NHLers this summer in St. Petersburg, Dmitry Kapitonov.
Washington Forward Alex Ovechkin: We Live Here Like It’s a Pioneer Camp! [full article]
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 in 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. Sergei 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 Sidney Crosby went to an ordinary city gym in the States he would be torn apart for souvenirs. And 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.
Windy City – 2 [excerpt from the article]
These days Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar and other Russian NHL players are sweating at their training camp in St Petersburg. Sovetsky Sport decided to pay the guys a visit.
It is quite rare to see a dozen [Russian] NHL players live and train together. Last time such a training camp was set up in Chicago last year by Vladislav Tretyak. He thought that such informal setting and “togetherness” would help the players better prepare for the World Championships in Moscow. But now there is no need to go so far to the Windy City. St Petersburg is closer. And there is plenty of wind.
Nashville forward Alexander Radulov is the first to arrive. Alexei Semenov is next followed by Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin who stays with Gonchar even in St Petersburg.
– Dmitry , how many [Russian] NHL players are attending your training camp this year?
– Let’s see. Ovechkin, Gonchar, Malkin, Semenov, Radulov. Viktor Kozlov is coming over tomorrow, and Sasha [Alexander] Semin is coming on Sunday. Andrei Taratukhin is also here. Andrei Nikolishin also came over but had to go back to Moscow.
– What is so new about your training routine?
– There was nothing new invented in the last 100 years. I used to work with figure skaters before – Olympic champions Tatyana Navka and Roman Kostomarov. Then I switched to hockey players.
– What kind of shape is Nikolishin in? Would he be able to cut it in the NHL?
– By the way, he is in the best physical shape [comparing to others]. His major flaw is that he doesn’t know when to stop. This is the Dynamo Moscow school. But one needs to rest as well to let the muscles repair.
– Do you have Ovechkin do a lot of weight lifting?
– No, he is working with a fourth of his load. It is enough. This is because a hockey player doesn’t need to be beefed up like an elephant, but needs to be flexible and have great endurance.
– Is he staying with you?
– Yes, it is more convenient. And more useful. For example, I taught him how to wash dishes after himself.
Ovechkin yells: “I knew how to wash the dishes!” Ovechkin is on the treadmill, then working with weights. In between he asks about the news.
– I read in Sovetsky Sport that Dynamo Moscow wants to get Jeff O’Neill [to play in Russia]. Is it so? [It should be noted that Alex always follows his former team in Russia.]
– Not exactly. Dynamo President said that they are talking with a Canadian player who was a first round pick. Eric Lindros and Jeff Friesen also fit that description.
– No, these two won’t come. I heard that Lindros was going to retire. And I talked with Friesen when he played in Washington. I suggested he tried tp play in the Superleague. But he thinks that wild bears roam the streets in Russia. He said that he could find a team in the NHL.
– How do you have fun here?
– We go to the movies. Not long ago Malkin, Radulov and I went to see The Transformers. Alright, I have to go train some more.
– You don’t spare yourself, Alex.
– Enough rest! The new season is almost here!