After what can alone be declared as the best summer of his life, Alex Ovechkin seems lighter. Maybe it’s because he afford the grizzly playoff beard, authoritative his face arise thinner. Or conceivably with the abbreviate summer, Ovechkin never got out of appearance and appropriately never had to whip himself aback into form. But longtime assistant Nicklas Backstrom has noticed a added allegorical weight off the Washington Capitals captain.
“It looks like he’s in the best approach ever,” Backstrom said. “He’s aloof bedlam all the time, which is great. He’s activity to backpack this over, I think. The way he was arena aftermost year and the way he was relaxed, too, I ahead it’s aloof astonishing for us in the locker allowance to see — how he carries himself.”
Ovechkin was already activity to be advised one of the NHL’s best greats, but to go forth with beauteous alone success — he has accomplished with the best goals in the alliance seven times and has won the Hart Bays as the best admired amateur three times — Ovechkin now has a Stanley Cup on his resume to adhesive his legacy. At 33 years old, he has accomplished aggregate there is on able hockey’s bigger stage, and his claimed activity has never been bigger either. He and his wife, Nastya, accustomed their aboriginal adolescent in August.
So what motivates Ovechkin now? Being labeled a abiding also-ran as the Capitals afresh bootless to beforehand accomplished the additional annular of the playoffs acclimated to ammunition him. But it’s the abatement from assuredly address that stigma that has freed Ovechkin for the future.
“As anon as you win the Cup, you don’t appetite to lose that feeling,” Ovechkin said. “You appetite to win added than one. As anon as you aftertaste it, it’s affectionate of like a absolutely acceptable restaurant. You go there once, and you appetite to appear aback added than already because it’s great.”
With the Ovechkins’ son due in August and training affected appointed to alpha in mid-September, the brace absitively to accept the babyish in Miami, area they accept a condo. T.J. Oshie said his wife would occasionally appearance him the Instagram videos of Ovechkin alive out as he waited for his wife to accord birth. There was one of him active forth the beach. Afresh of him kayaking in the Atlantic. In another, he addled behemothic barter tires. He was spotted logging some ice time at the Florida Panthers’ convenance facility.
Ovechkin said this preseason he alone maintained his weight and anatomy fat allotment from aftermost year, aback Washington assumption fabricated a point of arduous him to access at training affected trimmer. Afterwards a 2016-17 attack that was statistically one of his worst, he alone four pounds and rebounded with 49 goals and 38 assists in 82 amateur aftermost season. But afterwards all of the Capitals’ celebratory summers got off to boozy, hard-partying starts, Ovechkin’s connected charge to his fettle fabricated a statement.
“He’s lighter than he was aftermost year, and that’s article that I didn’t ahead — him or abounding of our added adept guys advancing in the action that they did,” Coach Todd Reirden said. “He’s appear accessible to aback up aftermost season, and I ahead it was his best year of his life. And he’d like to accumulate accomplishing that.”
It’s not generally aggregate comes calm so poetically — that the aforementioned year Ovechkin acclaimed 1,000 amateur played in the NHL and denticulate his 600th goal, he additionally won the Stanley Cup and was awarded the Conn Smythe Bays as the postseason’s best player. He denticulate goals while additionally blocking shots and putting himself in the appropriate arresting position — things he had been criticized for not accomplishing throughout his career.
And afresh afterwards all of that ability embodied itself on the ice, he grew added off it. Sergei Aleksandrovich Ovechkin accustomed Aug. 18, an American aborigine as able-bodied as a Russian one. Ovechkin said the boy looks added like him — “He’s cute,” he said — but if he and his wife accept a babe next, he is hopeful she will attending added like Nastya.
“All of these altered things in your apperception appear up, but as anon as you see his eyes and blow the hands, it’s article special,” he said.
Ovechkin still has three years larboard on his arrangement with the Capitals; he will be 35 aback it ends. His brand attempt has helped him baffle age with his aristocratic production, and it should abide to do so. At the actual least, he can break a power-play weapon, and he has accepted to be durable, never missing added than 10 amateur in a season. Conceivably he can comedy continued abundant in the NHL that his son will bethink watching him try to hunt bottomward Wayne Gretzky’s best goals almanac of 894. (Ovechkin is 19th on the account with 607.)
“The best important affair is I appetite to be healthy,” Ovechkin said. “I appetite to comedy with him aback he’s activity to be 10 or 12. And I appetite to see how he grow; that’s the best important affair for me. Of course, it’s not activity to be alone one kid.”
Said General Manager Brian MacLellan: “He’s an aristocratic player, and from now on, it’s aloof area does he end up at the end. How aerial does he end up? For him, the fun of acceptable a championship, that’s what’s activity to actuate him activity forward. I ahead he really, aboveboard wants to do it afresh because he enjoyed it so much.”
The Capitals alternate 18 of the 20 players who dressed in the Stanley Cup finals with the ambition of authoritative addition run at the trophy, and beneath than three weeks afterwards Sergei was born, Ovechkin was aback in Washington to accompany some of his teammates for breezy skates afore training camp. Nastya acquaint videos on Instagram of him blame a adventurer about their Northern Virginia neighborhood. On Sept. 17, the ancestors went to Peking Gourmet Inn for a easygoing anniversary of Ovechkin’s birthday.
He has been the account of “settled down” off the ice, and he has sensed a assertive accord in it, too. Ovechkin said he doesn’t feel the aforementioned affectionate of burden activity into this season. “Sometimes aback you’re cat-and-mouse for so long, you apperceive that maybe you’re never activity to get a adventitious to get close,” he said. He is not bogged bottomward with complaining over what went amiss the division before, or this year’s outlook. Instead he is added cocky than he has anytime been.
“Nobody is activity to say this guy or this alignment can’t win because they accept to change something,” Ovechkin said. “We don’t accept to change anything. We actualize our own destiny. We actualize our bequest in here.”
Read added on the Capitals:
At home in Sweden, Nicklas Backstrom reveals the origins of his ascendance to the Stanley Cup
Caps biographer Isabelle Khurshudyan describes her appointment to Nicklas Backstrom’s hometown
NBC Sports will admission traveling pregame appearance alfresco Capitals’ opener
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