Alexander Ovechkin eats this stuff up like some fine borscht.
The Washington Capitals’ Russian sensation loves it when the attention focuses on him, and without Sidney Crosby in town this weekend for the NHL All-Star Game, no one is on a higher pedestal than the world’s newest $124 million man.
“I’m always liking the attention and the energy,” Ovechkin, in his vastly improved English, told NHL.com Saturday morning. “Here you feel it, this energy. I always want to be in this situation, the energy situation.”
He came to the right place.
The energy tonight in Philips Arena for the 56th annual NHL All-Star Game (6 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS, NHL Radio) could blow the meters, and Ovechkin hopes to put on quite a show. In a game filled with stars like Jarome Iginla, Vinny Lecavalier, Ilya Kovalchuk and Joe Thornton, it’s Ovechkin who has a gravitational pull on the hockey world.
He’s personable, outgoing. He’s unique. And, because he’s gotten so much better in speaking the English language, he’s even more comfortable this year than ever, if that’s possible.
“At home (in Russia) we have a similar game, but it’s not like this. This experience” is wild, Ovechkin said. “It will be a great day for everybody, for fans and hockey players. It’s unbelievable when you see people excited to see the great players around.”
Ovechkin comes to this game fresh off of making the biggest off-ice news of the season’s first half. Crosby’s high ankle sprain injury probably garnered the most headlines, but Ovechkin’s remarkable 13-year, $124 million contract played a close second.
Even better, he orchestrated the most lucrative deal in League history himself. That’s bad news for agents everywhere.
“Because I have a good relationship with (Capitals GM) George (McPhee) and we can just talk to each other,” Ovechkin told NHL.com as to why he could act as his own agent. “It was pretty easy because we have a good relationship.”
Ovechkin seemingly has a good relationship with just about everybody here. It’s hard not to like him. He is, as he claims to be, all about fun. That’s why this weekend could very well belong to him, even if Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa are the hosts.
“This is all about that, fun,” Ovechkin said. “This is a great time for me and a great time for different players. It’s a great time to be here. Everybody wants to show something. If you score a beautiful goal, you’ll look good.”
Contact Dan Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org