ARLINGTON, Va. – Alex Ovechkin is about to have the biggest summer of his life.
He just won the Stanley Cup for the first time, his first child is due this summer, and the FIFA World Cup is kicking off in Russia June 14.
“I wanna go so bad,” he said. “I have to wait.”
First, though, he has to go to Las Vegas for the NHL Awards. After that, Ovechkin and wife Nastya will spend a month in Russia before returning to prepare for the birth of their child. Somewhere in between all of that, Ovechkin will have his day with the Cup.
“I want to bring the Stanley Cup to my house, to my family back home to share,” Ovechkin said. “My grandma, she will touch it. She will kiss it. It’s something special. You never thought how cool it is.”
The Washington Capitals captain showed up to the team’s last availability of the year clean shaven, his bushy beard streaked with a little grey completely gone. He looked almost boyish. His sponsors from Gillette had come to his house at 9 a.m. to film him shaving it, he said.
Ovechkin held court with reporters on Wednesday for more than 25 minutes. When a team public relations person came to fetch him, he said, “That’s it? I can talk more.”
It was different from the Ovechkin who usually shied away from long scrums. He might have gone on all day if the Capitals didn’t have a schedule to keep.
He told stories about the time Igor Larionov brought the Cup to Russia - the first time that had ever been done - after winning it with the Red Wings in 1997.
“I remember the moment when Igor Larionov came to our locker room and he showed us how he practices, how he enjoy the moment to be in the NHL and be a Stanley Cup champion,” Ovechkin said. “It was something special. One day, I wanted to be in his position to raise the Cup and in the future I will share this moment with some kids.”
When his day with the Cup comes, he’ll bring it to the hockey school in Dynamo where he learned how to play and spend some time with the children there. The accompanying party promises to be a grand event.
“It’s going to be pretty big,” he said. “I’m going to share it with my family, with my friends, with the people who want to see it. I’m going to share it with all the people who I know, people who I don’t know. But I’m just going to share my moment with them because lots of fans who didn’t see it, never touched it.”
It’s been just under a week since he first lifted the Cup, and he hasn’t let go of it much since then. It still feels like a dream.
“It’s crazy,” Ovechkin said. “I’m pretty sure it’s still going to be going for a week or two. But I still can’t believe we won. I still can’t believe we did it. Of course, you have dreams about it, but this is something unbelievable. Even today when me and my wife were with the Cup, like, ‘Is it real or is it a dream?’ It’s real. We won.”