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октября 2008 года.
Ovechkin has motor to match his mouth; But Caps superstar shows little pop in slow start to season // The Gazette. Montreal, Que
The heavy toque - with his jersey number, in shiny red leather, stitched onto the front - is tugged down low.
The dress shirt, undone a button or three, reveals a strand of No. 8-themed bling.
That front tooth is still missing, that mop of hair is still everywhere. A week's worth of stubble barbs his cheeks.
And being cradled in one of his immensely talented hands? Why, an ice-cream cone, of course.
Yes, you could say that Alex Ovechkin is a different cat.
Admittedly tired after the cross-continental flight Monday to Calgary, the Washington Capitals superstar nevertheless delivered the goods when trotted in front of local notepads at a downtown hotel.
The Russian's spirit is undeniable.
"A ball of energy, that guy," Capitals defenceman Mike Green said. "The way he is on the ice, the way he is with the media, is the way he's with us in the dressing room. What you see is what you get."
Which, on Sunday, happened to be Ovechkin, with a few of his puck-chasing pals, wearing ridiculous hats and having a blast at the National Football League game between the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns.
When asked about it, he beamed.
"Right now, I'm a Redskins fan," said Ovechkin, 23. "That was my third game and I'm trying to learn more of the rules, the style of game. I've met a couple of the players. It's a pretty exciting game."
Given Ovechkin's aggressive nature and hearty dimensions - 6-foot-2, 220 pounds - maybe he picked the wrong sport to play.
"I'm not a physical guy. They're big and strong. I'm a little kid," he said.
Little kid? Not the other night.
Against the Pittsburgh Penguins, an incensed/obsessed Ovechkin charged around the ice trying to punish countryman Evgeni Malkin.
Spat? What spat?
"It's nothing special. Nothing personal," said Ovechkin, managing to maintain a straight face. "I like him. He's my friend. But when we go to the ice, we're not friends. We're rivals."
Ovechkin, though, brightened when discussing the aftermath of their tiff - namely, surfing for chat-board give and take.
"I like this stuff, you know," he said, smiling. "I always go to the Caps' message board and read what they say about our game, about my game. Right now, it's pretty funny."
Speaking of feuds, Ovechkin was asked to weigh in on the subject of Jarome Iginla and Sean Avery - specifically, the latter claiming that the former is a boring dud.
To make his point, Ovechkin held his (non-ice-cream) hand at two heights, high and low.
"They're different level players," he said with a wink.
"I think that's why (Avery is) talking so much right now."
Ovechkin, too, talks. But his mouth isn't the only thing motoring.
Ask the Flames.
At Washington last winter, Ovechkin scored twice in a 3-2 triumph. In his first appearance against the Flames, Oct. 30, 2006, at the Saddledome, Ovechkin set up two goals, recorded nine shots and knocked down Dion Phaneuf.
"It's always fun to come to different towns and see different teams, different players, and especially to play against great players," Ovechkin said. "It's Canada and I like playing in Canada - a sick atmosphere. Fans are crazy."
Noteworthy, though, is Ovechkin's opening couple of weeks - a paltry three points heading into last night's game against the Flames.
Not great - and the guy doesn't dispute it.
"My start is no good - I don't know what I can say," Ovechkin said. "But if I have 20 points in five games and we lost five games, it would be no good. Of course, I try. Of course, I think about what I have to do better. But it's coming.
"Don't worry. You'll see."
A pause. Then, grinning, he teased.
"By the way, your hockey pools - how are they going?"