NEW YORK -- Alex Ovechkin expects to again be the target of another unfriendly embrace from the Madison Square Garden fans in Game 5 Monday.
"Yeah, I can't wait," Ovechkin said while flashing is famous gap-tooth smile Monday morning.
Taking a page out of the Ottawa playbook, where the fans at Scotiabank Place count down from 11:11 every period before chanting in favor of captain Daniel Alfredsson, the folks at MSG have taken to counting down from the 8:08 every period before chanting something that isn't all that kind to Ovechkin.
It includes his nickname, Ovi, but you can pretty much guess what the following word is.
Ovechkin doesn't mind it at all.
"I want to laugh, but I can't," he said.
Ovechkin looks at it as a sign of respect.
"It's always nice to hear from the fans, if they're booing you or cheering you," he said. "You're still out there and you still get some respect."
I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.
— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the 2015 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic, the second one of his career after 2011 in Pittsburgh