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|5 сентября 2006
Superstar winger Ovechkin decides he's not ready yet for 'C' // Canadian Press
TORONTO (CP) - Alexander Ovechkin has told Washington he's not ready to captain the Capitals.
Both the Washington Post and Washington Times speculated in July that head coach Glen Hanlon was considering handing the captaincy to Ovechkin, chosen last season's top rookie in the NHL. Fellow phenom Sidney Crosby is reportedly a candidate for captain in Pittsburgh.
Ovechkin says it won't happen for him this season.
"This year I'm not ready because my English isn't good enough," the Russian superstar told The Canadian Press in an interview Tuesday.
He was quick to add that he's more than ready to be a leader, but feels a captain has to be able to communicate his feelings with teammates.
"If I need to say something to the team . . . it's hard," said Ovechkin. "The captain is very important, you must be a leader all the time."
Jeff Halpern was the Caps captain. He's now with Dallas.
Ovechkin, who turns 21 on Sept. 17, continues to improve his English at a remarkable rate since arriving in North America for his rookie NHL season last year. But it's still not quite at a level where he feels fully comfortable.
His ever-present smile often makes up for his struggles with the language. He has a tremendous sense of humour but can't always deliver his punch lines.
"Sometimes I want to joke but my English isn't perfect. Sometimes people are wondering what I'm talking about," he said with a laugh.
He was cracking jokes again Tuesday while at the Hockey Hall of Fame for a news conference to announce that he, along with Alexander Steen of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Andrew Ference of the Calgary Flames, were joining Right To Play, an athlete-driven international humanitarian organization that reaches out to underprivileged children around the world.
Ovechkin, a hot commodity as one of the game's rising stars, could have had his pick of any charity but chose Right To Play. It's all part of the maturing process as the Moscow native realizes just much he'll be wanted as a pitch man in years to come.
"I you have a chance to help people, you have to help. Because I know I'm lucky," he said of his decision to pick Right To Play.
He cites some of the poor children in his own native country who need help.
"They need clothes, equipment, they need everything," he said. "I want to help children in Russia, first of all, because Russia is my country and my home. I know lots of small children who don't have anything in Russia and I help them, give them my old skates, my old clothes."
Ovechkin will also help in Washington this season, donating eight tickets per game for underprivileged children to attend all 41 home dates.
"I love children," said Ovechkin.
Once his charitable work was out of the way, the conversation with reporters quickly shifted to Evgeni Malkin, who officially signed with Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Malkin and Ovechkin aren't considered close friends although they obviously know each other from being teammates at the Turin Olympics and past world junior championships.
"He was my roommate at the Olympics, he's a good guy and a good teammate. But if I meet him in the corner ...," Ovechkin smiled, hinting that he won't think twice knocking the Penguins rookie on his back.
Malkin's arrival, barring any legal blocking from his Russian club, means the already fired-up rivalry with Pittsburgh will be further spiced up. Ovechkin realizes that but hopes people realize there are other players on the ice.
"Last year was very hard. The games against Pittsburgh were always about Ovechkin against Crosby and who would win (the rookie of the year). Last year is gone now," said Ovechkin. "I hope Malkin has a good season but when we play against Pittsburgh, it's not Ovechkin against Crosby and Malkin, it's Washington against Pittsburgh."
Ovechkin has been in Toronto since Aug. 9 to step up his workouts. He also had his wisdom teeth pulled out, which he didn't like much.
"But I liked it when they put me out, that felt good," he said with a laugh.
"I spent a great summer in Moscow and also went to France, Cyprus and
Turkey," he added excitedly. "It was an unbelievable summer. But right
now I must work hard because this year will be very hard. I want to make
19 июля. Александр Овечкин: "Брашир-кабан, гора мышц,
но он нам так необходим" // "Спорт-Экспресс"
28 апреля. Александр Овечкин: "В Латвии зайду в гости
к Хэнлону" // "Спорт-Экспресс"
15 апреля. Форвард «Вашингтона» Александр Овечкин:
Рига меня ждет // "Советский Спорт"
25 марта. Ovechkin Returns With Vigor // Washington
19 июля. Александр Овечкин: "Брашир-кабан, гора мышц, но он нам так необходим" // "Спорт-Экспресс"
28 апреля. Александр Овечкин: "В Латвии зайду в гости к Хэнлону" // "Спорт-Экспресс"
15 апреля. Форвард «Вашингтона» Александр Овечкин: Рига меня ждет // "Советский Спорт"
25 марта. Ovechkin Returns With Vigor // Washington Post