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Alex Ovechkin says he's healthy

One day after causing a small stir at Kettler Capitals Iceplex when he left practice early, Alex Ovechkin returned to the ice Wednesday, stayed for the entire session and afterward confirmed that he's ready to go.

"Yeah," he said when asked if he's 100 percent before explaining his early departure Tuesday, "I just want to be in good shape. I don't want to give my emotion in practice. I just want to be calm and concentrate."

After all, he's the captain of the NHL's top-seeded team. And he's about to face one of the teams he loves to torch. In 20 career games against the Habs, in fact, the two-time MVP has 11 goals and 13 assists. Not to mention some of his best highlights, including a four-goal performance in 2008 where he scored the overtime winner after suffering a broken nose and split lip. Then, there was this highlight-reel tally on Carey Price in February 2009:

Ovechkin answered questions for about seven minutes in a media-choked dressing room this morning and touched on a number of subjects. Here's a little more of what he had to say:

About playing in Montreal: "It's a great history team and lots of attention and everybody just watching those kinds of games so you want to show up. You don't want to just skate and play, you want to show your best stuff."

Asked whether his name needs to be on Cup in order for him to considered one of the greatest ever: "I think everybody who plays hockey, especially in the playoffs, wants to win [the Stanley Cup]. I want to win. I don't want to prove anything in particular, I just want to win. if I don't play well and the team win, I don't care what people say because I just want to win."

Ovechkin put the brakes on the Cup talk moments later, though, when he was asked what it would mean to be the first Russian captain to be handed the Cup by Gary Bettman.

"Let's talk about when we move forward, not right now," he said. "We don't do nothing yet. we just start playing the playoffs and you're talking about the Stanley Cup."

Ovechkin also said he believes early exits the past two springs have taught the young Caps' core some valuable lessons.

"I think we have good experience and we can stay more calm and don't show our emotion and energy right away," he said. "The last couple of years in the playoffs we didn't have a lot of emotion in the games because we gave it to you guys and we gave it in practice. We have to just stay calm and concentrate on the game."

But experience isn't all that's going to help the Caps this time around, Ovechkin added. So will the fact that the team has a clean bill of health, unlike last spring.

"Last year when we just started the playoff we were not healthy," he said. "[Mike Green], I had a [wrist] problem, Sasha had a problem and different guys played with broken legs and bad groins. Right now we're all healthy and I think this is going to help us a lot."

"The last month and a half," he continued, "we don't play our hardest game. We don't check, make some hits or block the shots because we know the biggest game is coming soon. We just try to be in shape and be ready for the playoffs."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 14, 2010; 1:46 PM ET
 | Tags: Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Ovechkin, Carey Price, NHL, National Hockey League, Washington Capitals  
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Next: Caps open playoffs as favorites, but it doesn't mean much

Comments

So the class I am subbing in is watching Miracle...nothing like an emotional hockey movie to get you ready for the playoffs!

Posted by: capscoach | April 14, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Any talk on the caps playoff beards? I can see Chimera/Green/Bradley/Ovi/knuble/Fehr/and Walker being able to grow them...but can Semin/Backstrom/Laich/Flash?

It will be fun to see how they come in...and how long they get.

Posted by: BACKS | April 14, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

This fires me up; to think we have not seen this team's best must be absolutely frightening to our opponents.

Posted by: wcc118 | April 14, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Ovi must have heard the Jim Mora response to reporters about premature talk of "Playoffs? You're talking playoffs???"

Posted by: zmega | April 14, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

So sayeth the Red Jesus...

Posted by: Rhino40 | April 14, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

perfect...

don't sing it, BRING IT!

Posted by: carsonspence | April 14, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

This is a bit off topic but...as new user (but frequent reader) of this message board I have been watching the controversy between longtime Caps fans and Mike Wise with amusement... I enjoy his radio show and I also thought that his recent column should give us pause before we judge him...maybe he does deserve a chance to get on the bandwagon... but on his radio show today he said "I do not hate Caps fans...I just hate 10% of Caps fans..." No doubt he was referring to his detractors on this message board...but hey if he is going to say he hates some of us...maybe he should just stop talking about the Caps and stick to talking about the Redskins and Wizards... thoughts?

Posted by: allCAPS | April 14, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Who cares about Wise. It's the playoffs and the Caps are the #1 seed. Lets focus on what's important.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 14, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

@allCAPS--I think the more ink, pixels, and TV coverage of the Caps, the better. Whetever gets people talking hockey, I say. I dream of a future where just having played a couple years for the Caps will be all it takes to get your own TV or radio show in DC, just like it is for the Redskins now.

Posted by: TheLeaver | April 14, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

@allCAPS--I think the more ink, pixels, and TV coverage of the Caps, the better. Whetever gets people talking hockey, I say. I dream of a future where just having played a couple years for the Caps will be all it takes to get your own TV or radio show in DC, just like it is for the Redskins now.

Posted by: TheLeaver | April 14, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I love it... the Adam Oates/Peter Bondra show...

Posted by: allCAPS | April 14, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I CAN'T WAIT FOR TOMORROW!!!!!!!

Posted by: joshu1 | April 14, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Wise is a talk radio show host who needs callers to justify his existence. He also is not really into the grind it out hours of research necessary to stay current with all of the storylines on a day to day basis. He's got to churn out columns for the post, show up on WaPoLive consistently, and knock out a radio show.

He's done demographics. Redskins fans make up the majority of his audience. So he kind of poses a bit. He'll write the big long Brashear story to earn some hockey cred, but he figures he's stirring up more emotions without having to do research by engaging in these types of controversies.

One day, someone is going to get bright and empower a dedicated hockey person, a dedicated football person, and a dedicated baseball person in a show where they can educate each other through the different seasons and complement each other's weaknesses and offer real content. Sports talk radio is weak in general and you're better off following Japers Rink and CI if you're interested in learning about the sport. Japers' Rink in particular is an awesome blog that has done more to inform me and inspire me as a new hockey fan.

Wish John Thompson hadn't cut Al Koken in budget cuts. He was the voice of research and hockey and I'm pretty much done with that show since they changed formats.

Posted by: souldrummer | April 14, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Pretty sure Laich and Flash can grow beards. Not sure about Semin & Backs but I don't doubt it will be more than Sid can muster on his pristine face! Great article. LET'S GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: AmyS1 | April 14, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Pretty sure Laich and Flash can grow beards. Not sure about Semin & Backs but I don't doubt it will be more than Sid can muster on his pristine face! Great article. LET'S GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: AmyS1 | April 14, 2010 3:18 PM

@AmyS1: I wouldn't worry about it too much. I suspect any one of those guys can grow more hair on his uppper lip that Sid The Id could on his entire body!

Posted by: Rhino40 | April 14, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

@souldrummer - you make a lot of good points in general about Wise and the larger forces at play [and missing Al Koken on Coach's show] but I take issue with Japers' rink. I think it is a decent site, but it falls way too easily for some of the claptrap coming out of the likes of Don Cherry and the anti-european stuff; i.e., they're all over Flash and Semin on a daily basis, but the fact is those guys create tons of chances, and any knowledgeable hockey person will tell you it's all about chances, the more you get the more you'll score.

They also don't give BB enough credit for the franchise turnaround, IMO.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 14, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

So the Caps DID tank the last month and STILL won the Pres trophy. Here comes the sweep!

Posted by: coolcraig | April 14, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Re: Wise -- don't know if this was said yesterday or before, but I don't hate bandwagon fans, and if you see my id -- I got that when the Caps were shipping Bondra, Gonchar, etc. off and I was pissed -- I've been a fan for awhile -- since we moved here in 1993 to be exact. Anyway, Wise, it's not people who jump on the bandwagon that gets Caps fans pissed. It's the ones like you are so ready to dump all over Ovie and the team the minute one thing goes wrong. If you join the bandwagon, ride it out -- don't friggin jump ship the minute it starts listing a little.

Posted by: capsfan4toolong | April 14, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

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