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Author: Vladimir Yurin (Sport Express Newspaper)
Translated By: Alexei Belousenko
Date: 08/19/2005
Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals): By the end of August I'll be in Washington

2006 Russian Super LeagueWritten By: Vladimir Yurin (Sport Express)
Translated By:
Alexei Belousenko (RussianProspects.com and RusHockey.com)

OVECHKIN IS PRACTICING WITH CSKA-2

The first overall number of the NHL draft 2004 ex-forward of Dynamo (Moscow) Alexander Ovechkin is getting ready for his first NHL season. Instead of Dynamo’s training camp, Alexander practices with the CSKA youth (born 1990) team. After one of the practices Ovechkin answered the Sport Express correspondent’s questions.

You started your preseason training pretty late comparing to others. Why do you practice with CSKA, and not in your own Dynamo?
A. Ovechkin
: Actually, I started my preseason training by the time I was at my vacation in Cyprus. I was jogging, went to the gym. Then, as you may know, I spent some time in Omsk. Later, after I returned to Moscow, started going to the gym regularly. In order to get some ice-time, I called the CSKA management. They don’t have any problems with that. So, I’m skating on the CSKA training ice the second week already.

Seems, that you called the CSKA management not accidentally. A few years ago you could move to this team.
A. Ovechkin
: Yes, that’s true. All of the details of my transfer were negotiated; I even started practicing with CSKA, but at the last minute the Dynamo’s head coach Vladimir Semenov called me and persuaded me to stay.

Oleg Kvasha and Oleg Saprykin are practicing with the youth team of CSKA, as well. I assume they are the most useful people for you right now in order to find out a lot of things about NHL.
A. Ovechkin
: You are right. I talk to them all the time about NHL. Both Olegs are telling me not to worry about my future in Washington. They said that Capitals is a perspective team where I’ll get much ice-time.

It's not a secret that Washington will be building the team around you this coming season. It’s obvious that the NHL broadcasts and fans will follow every your step, and will distinguish you through the microscope. Are you ready for such huge psychological pressure?
A. Ovechkin
: I’m not afraid of a higher attention to my person. What’s the reason to go to the NHL if I was afraid? If I ended up in the strongest league in the world, than I should play and try to be the best.

When are you planning to go to Washington?
A. Ovechkin
: By the end of August. First, I will go to Toronto, where I have to solve some questions and see my agent. There I’ll get an American visa, pick up the hockey equipment and then I’ll go to Washington.

Have you met already the head coach of Washington Glen Hanlon?
A. Ovechkin
: Not yet. Though, I’ve already talked to GM George McPhee. He told me that they are waiting for me in the team.

Do you know anyone of your new teammates?
A. Ovechkin
: Semin and Zubrus. I’ll get a chance later to get familiar with everybody.

Due to your move overseas, will you have any problems to attend the national Russian team?
A. Ovechkin
: I already said several times that the national team is my first priority, and if they invite me, than I’d definitely come over.

Did you talked to Vladimir Krikunov after you left Dynamo?
A. Ovechkin
: We didn’t have a detail conversation. We just had a little talking after the recent preseason game Dynamo-CSKA.

As everyone knows, Russia refused to ratify the NHL agreement. Wouldn’t it create any difficulties for you to attend the national team?
A. Ovechkin
: Well, I have a special term in my contract: upon the invitation from the national team, Washington’s management is required to let me go.

How would you estimate the position Super League clubs’ managers?
A. Ovechkin
: That is their opinion, and everyone has to respect it. Though, I thought, NHL proposed the good money for the first draft players. I think the amount of 2 million dollars that clubs spend for the players’ preparation is too high. For instance, I bought my own hockey equipment because I didn’t like the one that the team provided. However, this is not right if the teams that brought me up or Malkin, for example, wouldn’t get any compensation. Anyway, I would feel discomfortably knowing that coaches that made of me a hockey player, wouldn’t get a penny.

Do you know about the negotiations between Dynamo and Washington regarding your move?
A. Ovechkin
: I don’t know. I find out all of the news from the newspapers.

Is the Dynamo’s page of your life-book closed forever?
A. Ovechkin
: I’ve already talked about it a lot. I wouldn’t like to keep attention to it. Dynamo is my first team, and it’s not my fault that I was enforced to leave it.

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