Ovechkin DVD highlights
As previously mentioned, Alex Ovechkin's DVD comes out this week, with a launch party Monday night, an autograph signing Tuesday from 6 to 8 at the Best Buy in Sterling, and a zillion media appearances. The DVD presents a side of Ovechkin not always seen in the media, at least recently -- smiley, goofy, happy, hanging out with family, and not making out with multiple women in front of GQ reporters.
Now, this is an NHL product, and the NHL has editorial control, and it's definitely attempting to give you one portrait. But some of the footage is tremendous, no matter the motivation. Well worth the time of any Caps fans. Here are some of my favorite parts, with quotes from both the DVD and an interview I did with Ovechkin on Monday evening.
SMILES: The most notable thing, to me, was Ovechkin smiling. He smiles as he breathes in the rancid Moscow air, jokingly calling it "the most clear air in the whole world." He smiles as he claims his dark-skinned cousin looks like Kobe Bryant. He smiles with his grandma and aunt, and with his dogs, and with his childhood friends, and while driving, and at McDonald's, and while talking about his youth.
"When you are young, you don't worry about anything," he says in the DVD. "Not money, or going somewhere, or giving interviews. Back then, you are just living life, playing soccer in the yard. You're just relaxed in life."
"I think the people, when they with their family, feel comfortable and happy, you know?" he told me, when I asked about all this smiling. "I feel pretty happy [in D.C.] because my parents here and I love this town, I love this place. But [Moscow's] my hometown. And you can ask everybody where they want to spend time with their family, and of course it's their hometown, in their home."
McDONALD'S: Ovechkin goes into a McDonald's with his friends and the crew members, and drops 1600 Rubles. He also enthusiastically eats a Royale of some sort.
"I think it's coolest stuff in the world," he told me, when I asked about McDonald's. "Seriously. Big Mac, I love Big Mac. They have different stuff, Royale Deluxe. Seriously, in Russia, you can taste, it's better taste than here and it's different taste. Special sauce, and they have different potatoes. So good."
Indeed, the country potatoes looked awesome.
PORTRAITS OF A YOUNG MAN: It's worth it just for all the amazing vintage photos. Here are a couple of my faves. As for whether he still eats dates, "it was long time ago," he told me.
GETTING LUCKY: Some of the dialog appeared almost scripted, especially during his one-on-ones in a studio. But when Ovechkin was out roaming around, he seemed introspective and humble and just grateful for his life.
"I'm a lucky guy," he said during a scene in Miami Beach. "Without luck, without my parents -- nothing. I'll be just normal guy who just fan of the sport, but not a guy who I am right now."
I asked him about this, since you don't often hear superstar athletes credit their success and fame to luck.
"Well, I think it's luck, and it's hard work," he told me. "For me, for the family. Like, how many kids play hockey my age? Like, millions. And I was the one guy who came to the NHL and I am who I am. Of course people help me - coaches owners and players, parents - but without luck, I think nothing can happen....We're lucky we have this life."
ANIMAL LOVER: Something I didn't know: Ovechkin has three dogs and nine cats in Moscow. I believe one of the dog's names is Roy, if I heard correctly.
"I love animals," he told me. "They're nice. They can understand you, they can sometimes stupid be, sometimes smart. It's kind of cool."
CAR LOVER:Yet more personalized license plates.
"You know, I really love my cars. I'm almost crazy about them," he says in the movie. "For me, cars is like a girl. My car have to be the best, and she have to understand me, and she have to understand what I want to do."
SHIRTLESSNESS: By my count, Ovechkin is shirtless playing basketball, playing tennis, driving his car, riding in an elevator, introducing his family members, and touring his Miami Beach penthouse. I'd say a conservative estimate is that he spends 97 percent of the 60-minute DVD without a shirt.
"Yeah, I have great body man, I have great body," he explained. "Girls love it."
HIS MOM: It's often been said that Ovechkin's mom provides his competitive fire, and that came out clearly. She took to the basketball court wearing some type of gown in an attempt to show off some moves, before Ovechkin warned her not to show her "goodies." And, sitting in front of a portrait of her son, she talked about what matters.
"Playing just to play, that's not very interesting," she said, quite weightily. "There have to be goals. And the goals are the Olympic Games and the Stanley Cup."
"Yeah, that's why I'm here, I think," he said, when I asked about this. "That's why all guys here. To bring Stanley Cup home. Because if we want just to play, I think we just stay in our countries and play over there and be happy what we have. I think I'm happy I'm here, and my family happy, and [that's] most important thing. My goal is to win the Stanley Cup. I think every year we have a chance. We just have to use it. We have pretty good team, we can win the Cup, but last year was our mistake, all our mistakes, and we learn, we take a lesson and we move forward."
NEW TATTOO: As noted yesterday, Ovechkin got a new tattoo in the offseason, paying tribute to his brother. In English.
"Well, I don't know, I don't like to put it in Russian," he said, when I asked about this. "It look not good. I don't know, I just feel put it in English is better."
ACCESS: Why do a DVD like this?
"People know me hockey player, but most of the guys and most important thing girls want to know who I am outside the hockey rink," he joked on LaVar and Dukes Monday afternoon.
"Probably you can see it's most important thing, my family there, my friends," Ovechkin told me. "I just want to show the people from America how I'm growing up....You know, we have small room, we have two rooms and we have five persons live in this kind of room, two bedrooms. It was fun time, you know, because everybody was happy, everybody was together. It's nice....If you're kid, you can do whatever you want and nothing's gonna happen. You can play the game, you can ask your dad to buy you candy, buy you fruit. Right now you have to buy something for yourself or for somebody [else]."
And so, now that he's done a movie, a book is next, yes?
"I don't know," he said. "I'm too young for a book. The end of my career, when we're gonna win a Stanley Cup, me and Ted gonna do a book. We think about it."
| November 16, 2010; 1:06 PM ET
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