After Alex Ovechkin and Bauer announced their partnership, the Capitals star spoke to assembled reporters. Here’s what he had to say:
How was your offseason?
“My offseason was good – rest all the time with my friends and my family, went a couple different places – Turkey, Central America and Monaco. Most of the time I spent in Moscow.”
Did you change offseason?
“I started early. I started 23rd July and I’m still working out. It’s kinda good. I still have one more month before season and it’s not time to just be rested again. You have to be in shape all the time right now.”
“Yeah,of course. I think right now I’m in better shape than I was last year and the year before. My conditioning is much better, so I feel pretty good.”
What did you do differently?
“I can’t tell you because I can’t tell someone how I’m working. It’s kind of secret right now.”
What did you make of talk about being out of shape?
“I think it’s bad video camera situation. That photo, it was kind of strange; when I get back home my friends start just killing me, saying, ‘Hey, did you see that? Did you see that?’ I said, ‘What happened? What happened?’ They said, ‘You look kind of fat.’ I said, ‘No, I can’t be fat.’ It’s kind of a funny situation, I think. I was laughing about it and the people was a little bit scared – especially hockey fans was kind of scared about what happened to my body. But my body is perfect right now. You can ask Nemo – he’ll tell you. It was a pretty interesting moment for me, because it’s never happened to me when people said I’m in bad shape.”
“Yeah. I have almost four months break. Everything is good right now.”
More serious tone?
“Of course. But you don’t have to be so serious – like a robot. You have to be serious on the ice, you have to be serious when you work out but you can’t be serious all the time. I think when we said we have to be serious, it’s things like you have to be ready for every game. It doesn’t matter what position you are – if you’re first or second or eighth, you have to be ready for everything because you can see when we go to the playoffs and we play against Tampa, sometimes we felt like, ‘OK, now it’s gonna be easy for us to beat them.’ It was not that kind of series. Everything can happen, but seriousness means serious every 60 minutes and every game.”
Approaching role as captain differently?
“Of course last year and year before when I get the ‘C’ on my heart it was something new for me because I had never been a captain at that high level. But last year was a good year for me to learn what I have to do. When I have Backy and Knuble and Arny was here, I had that kind of help, the guys helped me a lot. Right now I think everybody knows what we have to do. I don’t have to say, ‘Come on guys; we have to do this and that.’ I have to show them, because I’m one of the leaders of the team. Outside the rink with the ‘C’ I’m the same person, but inside we are different.”
Treat this summer differently?
“First of all, we make some changes on our team. Almost five guys? Almost five guys left and five guys came to the team, so it’s almost new team. I think we have to welcome the guys who right now is not here, but they are going to be in a couple weeks here, and show them how good we are in locker room and the fans have to be very good for them too. For myself, I said to myself, ‘You have to be working harder’ because you can see what the season was last year – I was kind of like ‘OK, I can play like that, that’s OK. If I make mistakes, it’s gonna be mistake.’ I just tell myself you have to play 100 percent every game like I played a couple years ago and years before.”
It’s not a secret that you’ve been frustrated with stick. Will this help you be better?
“I think that CCM treat me well. They help me a lot, and without that project I can’t score 65 goals. But in that kind of moment and that kind of situation right now, I feel the Bauer is company who I’m looking forward to work with. I played with this stick a couple years ago and I like it.”