Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin won his third Hart Trophy last summer in a very close vote. His play in the second half of the lockout-shortened season brought flashback of the “old” Ovechkin – the one so many loved and adored. The one before all of the “he is so predictable” “he is so overrated” “he will never be that good again” comments.
The higher you fly the harder you fall as they said and at time it looked like Ovechkin may not reach that high bar he set for himself.

Going into the new season however Ovechkin is more focused than he has been in a while. He looked relaxed and at ease last week meeting with the media when the Capitals opened their training camp. It looked like he was happy again: happy with his game happy with his coach.

We caught up with him for a few minutes to talk about the past the present and the future.

Q. Are the expectations going into this season any different than before?

OVECHKIN: “With the new division we are in and the Olympic Games coming up the expectations are that the seasons will be a long one and a difficult one.”

You picked it up during the second half of the shortened season. The hope is the summer break will not slow you down?

“We were playing so well and we were really looking towards the playoffs last year. It’s not that this break would slow up down. Last season even though it was short it was very difficult for us. We did not play well. But we reached certain conclusions and started playing well. The hope is that momentum will carry forward for us.”

Is the weight of expectations every year getting heavier for the Capitals?

“I wouldn’t say that this is something new for us. This kind of pressure is something we are used to to be honest. We just need to get it together and do what we know because we know how to do it.”

What about you personally?

“It is not a secret that I want to get better every day with every game. But there are a lot of factors to that. The most important of all is for me to figure myself out.”