- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 1, 2006

TORONTO — The visitor’s dressing room at Air Canada Centre was packed after the Washington Capitals’ morning skate yesterday, with at least 30 media types determined to speak to one man.

The possibility that Alex Ovechkin, the Caps’ star rookie left wing, injured his wrist in his final Olympic game in Turin, Italy, was of passing interest. What the local press wanted to hear about was how Ovechkin scored the goal that eliminated heavily favored Canada from the tournament.

“I have great experience, and I was happy when I play in Olympic Games,” he said. “Right now it’s nice. We play and beat Canada [2-0], but I don’t feel so good against the Finns and Czechs. The last two games, I must forget.”

At age 20, Ovechkin has no trouble working even a tough crowd like the Toronto media. He’s so pleasant and agreeable that no one complained when he dodged a question about sending Canada into Olympic oblivion.

“When I came here, in airport lots of people knows me, and there are signs lots,” he said. “Toronto and Montreal love hockey, and it is fun to play here.”

A Toronto TV reporter cooed, “I love his accent,” apparently forgetting Ovechkin spent the first 19 years of his life in his native Russia.

“I learned a lot [in Turin], and I spoke with Pavel Bure and Alexander Yashin, and we talked about what I must do about my NHL, to be more physical, how to score goals better,” Ovechkin said.

But how badly were you hurt against the Czechs?


“No what? You’re not hurt at all?”

“I’m OK.”

Well, you must be tired, right?

“No, I am young, not old. I have lots of power, I have lots of energy. I love play hockey.”

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