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Ovi believes Bauer switch is necessary move

by Corey Masisak
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Alex Ovechkin made some changes to his offseason workout program in part to help him rebound from the worst statistical campaign of his career.

The Washington Capitals captain also is switching equipment companies, and will be adorned in all things Bauer for the foreseeable future after agreeing to a long-term contract with the company that formally was announced Tuesday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

"I think this is an exciting day for me and for everybody," Ovechkin said. "I'm happy to be back. It was a long summer. I'm happy to be with Bauer. It is a good day for me. I hope everybody will enjoy it, and my results and the team results will be better this year than last year."

Ovechkin had been with CCM, but had trouble at times finding the perfect fit with his sticks. He has scored 301 goals in his six-year career, but managed only 32 last season -- 14 fewer than he had in any other campaign.

Part of his process in hopes of improving those totals was to begin his offseason training regimen earlier, but he also wanted a fresh start with his equipment.

"I think CCM treated me well. They helped me a lot," Ovechkin said. "Without their project I couldn't have scored 65 goals. In this kind of situation now, Bauer is a company who I look forward to work with. I play with this stick a couple of years ago and I like it. My first thing in this summer was to go to Bauer and work with them."

Added Capitals owner Ted Leonsis: "It is great to see him happy, and he's very confident in his new equipment. I think that's half the battle, like a golfer with new clubs. He's been trying his hardest to break a stick and so far they seem to be indestructible."

Bauer president and CEO Kevin Davis also announced the company and Ovechkin will team up to donate 108 sets of youth hockey equipment locally to the Potomac Valley Amateur Hockey Association and 108 sets to the Dynamo Hockey School in Ovechkin's hometown of Moscow.

Davis said Ovechkin will be one of the marquee names on Bauer's marketing campaigns, and there are some ideas already in the works.

"(Russia) is a great growth region for us, and I think Alex is going to be absolutely critical in helping to grow that business," Davis said. "He's very passionate about giving back to the community and growing the sport. He's just an infectious player everywhere he goes. Having your brand associated with a player like that is really fantastic. We couldn't be happier to have this partnership and the fact that he wants to use this product is fantastic."
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