Auch das bei vielen Eishockeyfans beliebte "Yearbook" der
nordamerikanischen Fachzeitschrift "The Hockey News" ist jetzt
erschienen! Neben Berichten über alle Teams und viele Spieler gibt es
viele weiteren Infos rund um die NHL und die Saison 2006/07:
All Ovechkin, all the time
By: Scott Burnside
After Alexander Ovechkin was named the
NHL’s runaway rookie of the year in Vancouver
last June, Washington Capitals staffers asked the effervescent Russian when he
wanted to head home.
Home? Ovechkin wasn’t going home. He was
staying for the draft. And sure enough, when the Capitals made their early
round selections there was Ovechkin on the stage sporting his own Caps jersey,
arms draped happily around the nervous prospects’ shoulders.
As the seemingly interminable lockout came
to a close, many assumed Sidney Crosby would lead the NHL into the post-lockout
sunshine. Instead – and this is in no way a slight against Crosby, who in many
ways is the perfect foil to Ovechkin – it was the 20-year-old Russian who
helped propel the game forward with his blazing acceleration, lightning shot
and board-rattling bodychecks.
He brought it all and he brought it with a
In the days after the lockout the league
and its players spoke of a more open NHL, of players being more accessible, of
bridging the gap between fans and players, of mending fences. Many players
talked the talk. Ovechkin walks it. Often the Capitals team bus was delayed as
Ovechkin finished up impromptu autograph sessions. When he first arrived in Washington,
communications staff asked him how to say ‘Good morning’ in Russian. Ovechkin
politely declined, saying he was only going to communicate in English. To that
end Ovechkin took English lessons and insisted on an English-speaking roommate
on the road (Brian Willsie).
Later, when staff tried to give him a gift
certificate to a local steakhouse for being so gracious with the fans and
media, Ovechkin declined.
“If people want to talk to me, I talk to
them,” said Ovechkin (in English).
As the season wore on, Ovechkin became more
comfortable chatting and joking with reporters, at one point suggesting it was
more difficult to drive in America
than in Russia
because you couldn’t simply pay off the police.
Lest he be mistaken for a flake, Ovechkin
also has a keen sense of history. During the course of last season Ovechkin
politely asked for and received autographed sticks from Crosby, Zdeno Chara and
Mark Messier. Messier returned the favor by asking Ovechkin for one of the
rookie’s sticks for his own collection.
Of course, all of his personality and
panache amounts to a hill of day-old caviar if the kid can’t play. But that
doesn’t appear to be a problem.
To read the rest of this story and other great features from the world of
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