Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Ovechkin Makes Pre-Season Debut

R-r-r-r-rubber biscuit

After sitting out the first two pre-season games, Alexander Ovechkin made his NHL pre-season debut on Wednesday night, as the Washington Capitals were shutout by Buffalo before a very small crowd. (The Peerless Prognosticator gives a fairly detailed wrap-up.) Ovechkin played only a minor role in the game, drawing a holding penalty 26 seconds into the contest, but used a nifty move to score during the shoot-out after regulation.

Ovechkin later gave an interview to Sport Express (under the somewhat biased headline, "Dynamo is much stronger than Washington"), which I have done my best to translate here:

Now that you have your first impressions of the NHL, do you think it will be hard for you to become accustomed to this type of hockey?
I don't think so. I'm already almost there. However, this game returned to normal only in the third period. There was hardly any time to adjust to my team-mates, because in the first two periods there were constant substitutions.

But do you still feel the difference from the Russian league, and in what ways?
First, in the size of the (smaller NHL) rink. Because of this, the game is harder. The same hook, which the opponents were using on me, would have gone unnoticed in the Super League, but here it was an automatic penalty.

Does the level of your current team compare with Dynamo?
With last year's Dynamo team, certainly not. There were many more good players on that team, because of the NHL lockout. But it is useless to compare, because this is an entirely different situation. For example, in Russia, once you return a pass you can relax, but here it is not possible for you to lose your concentration for one second. I realized this after the first shift.

Glen Hanlon (the Capitals' coach) had you sit out until the home game. Are you disappointed to play before so few fans?
It is not up to me to be disappointed. Certainly, I have a desire to prove myself. I hope that I will be able to excite the fans once the season begins. This is only the preseason, and coaches use these games to evaluate all the players on their team, and sometimes the best players rest.

Will they always use you in the shoot-out?
I don't think so. When I played with Dynamo, they did not entrust me with that-- after the first two times, I was told never again.

But Hanlon doesn't know that. If you tell him that you regularly took part in the shoot-out, after today's game he will believe you.
I have a rule, to never tell the coaches what to do.


Blogger Brushback said...

Friday 9/30
Ovechkin scored a hat trick tonight in a pre-season game against the Penguins.

9/30/05, 10:31 PM


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