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Author: Slava Malamud (Sport Express Newspaper)
Translated By: Sergei Chveitser
Date: 02/02/2006
Alexander Ovechkin: Don’t Worry, Russia! (Washington Capitals NHL)

2006 IIHF Winter Olympics

Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals) at the 2005 U20 WJC press conference (Photo Source: RussianProspects Exclusive)
Sport Express' North American journalist was able to get the latest information about Alexander Ovechkin's injury right from Ovechkin himself. He met the Washington Capitals and team Russia forward on the street as he was doing shopping in Arlington, a town near the US' capital city.

First and most important question, how are you feeling?
A. Ovechkin: Everything is ok. Since morning, I've been getting bombarded with phone calls from people including Pavel Bure. I told everyone that everything is ok and that there is nothing to worry about as well as thanked for all the concerns about me.

What exactly happened in Long Island yesterday?
A. Ovechkin: We discovered a groin injury and decided that it's better for me not to play against the Islanders. Doctors recommended for me to rest to avoid aggravating my injury.

What caused the injury? Did something happen in practice?
A. Ovechkin: No, it happened in the previous game against Tampa Bay. At the end of the game, I got hit in a collision near the boards and pulled a muscle.

Is this why you didn't go on the ice during the last minutes of that game?
A. Ovechkin: Yes. I was just about to go for a line change, but there was a battle for the puck near the bench and I had to get involved in it. I got the puck and made a cross-ice pass which resulted in a game winning goal. Once I got to the bench, coach didn't let me on the ice anymore.

Did you ask him yourself about it?
A. Ovechkin: Yeah, I felt pain right away.

From what I remember, you've been having groin problems for about a month now. Maybe everything began with Chara's hit on you in the game against Ottawa? Or could this be because of all the little bruises that built up during the course of the season?
A. Ovechkin: The hit did happen, but this injury has nothing to do with it. It's just a consequence of that collision in the game against Tampa, and it's been long since I've gotten rid of all the other bruises.

How serious was the pain?
A. Ovechkin: It made it harder to skate for me.

Today is a day off on your team. Will you be practicing tomorrow?
A. Ovechkin: Definitely. The injury doesn't bother me any more.

Everything healed so quickly? But in the evening you were scratched for the game!
A. Ovechkin: I went for the morning skate and felt that it's better for me not to play and the doctors agreed with me. I went through all the necessary procedures: massage and that kind of stuff. Here, any medical assistance is available right away.

Did you do any x-rays to make sure there aren't any torn muscles?
A. Ovechkin: I did ultrasound and there were no tears. Just a small pull, but everything is healed now. I'm going to go do grocery shopping now, then home for a nap. Tomorrow I'm definitely practicing and then I'll be off to the game in Toronto on Friday.

Even like that?
A. Ovechkin: Exactly like that. They shouldn't worry in Russia.

P.S. Yesterday, when it was a late night in Moscow already, the NHL awarded Ovechkin with not one, but two prestigious titles: Offensive Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month. In the last 22 years, the Russian forward became just a 3rd NHL player to get both awards at the same time.

Vladimir Krikunov, team Russia head coach:
All I know right now is that Ovechkin on gameday, Ovechkin came out on the ice and couldn't continue the practice. That is what I was told when I came into the Hockey Federation office. I will definitely try to reach him by phone and find out how he's feeling. I think that his injury is probably not serious though because from what I know, he was going to dress for the game that day. That's why I believe that everything is fine and he will be able to help us in Turin. I hope he doesn't rush anything now so that he is fully healed by mid-february. God can't leave Alexander without the Olympics!

Written By: Slava Malamud (SportExpress)
Translated By: Sergei Chveitser (RussianProspects.com)

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