3 June 2008 – Ovechkin as Superman
Sasha Ovechkin: Superman in Boots. The three-time Kharlamov Trophy winner receives a Superman costume and shoes for VIP receptions
The Kharlamov Trophy awards ceremony took place yesterday in the Golden Palace casino. The winner of The “Soviet Sport” prize for the best Russian player in the NHL is selected by the players themselves, and for the third year in a row it has been won by Washington forward and Russian National Team member Alexander Ovechkin. During the awards ceremony Sasha was officially recognized as Superman and was awarded… a pair of shoes for especially important ceremonies. After all, today he has to go to see Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and he can’t wear flip-flops!
-Forward in the Symbolic Six in the tournament;
-The best forward in the NHL (“Art Ross Trophy” – the first time in history this prize was won by a Russian);
-The best sniper in the NHL (“Maurice Richard Trophy”);
-The Most Valuable team player in the NHL (“Hart Trophy”) and most outstanding player as voted by fellow hockey players (“Lester Pearson Award”) – these awards will be awarded on June 12th in Toronto, and if Ovechkin doesn’t win these the Amazon will flow backwards;
-All Star game participant in Atlanta, scored a double;
-65 goals and 4 more in the playoffs;
-112 points and 9 more in the playoffs;
-And finally, three time winner of the Kharlamov Trophy! And all in one season!
– You do understand, Sasha, that this is fantastic? That there has never been such an unbelievable year in the life of any other hockey player, and there may never be again?
–”There will be,” –corrects Ovechkin with a smile. – “Next season, when I give my all to win the Stanley Cup.”
Such are the ambitions for this guy.
SASHA, CATCH UP WITH YOUR PARENTS!
The Americans who have put video clips of Ovechkin on YouTube have come to a logical conclusion: “no ordinary man can win this many awards. OV must be Superman”.
Proof of this is shown in clips of Ovechkin in action, where he flies down the ice (“like a bullet”), makes hard hits (“like a freight train”), makes impossible goals (“he can see through walls!”). At the end of the clips, the well-known letter “S”, which is embroidered on Superman’s chest, smoothly transforms into the number 8 of Ovechkin. So is everyone convinced now?
Just such a jersey with the familiar blue, yellow, and red Superman colors, with a number 8 on the chest, was given to Sasha to thundering ovation. But the most emotional moment was later, when clips of the Russia-Canada World Championship finals were shown on the big screen. Ovechkin now seems to be taken back there, directly onto the ice in Quebec, where he will once again jump with mad happiness, and sing the Russian Anthem into the camera and cry out “We are the Champions”.
– “It is very nice to win this award, named in honor of a great man, for the third time in a row.” Ovechkin squeezes the Kharlamov Trophy in his hands. “This award, like all my others, is dedicated to my mom and dad, who raised me and made me a man. This year has turned out very successful for me, both in the NHL and on the National Team. The Kharlamov Trophy is a bright addition to the entire bouquet of prizes. Next season I will do my best to win this award again.”
–“I remember when Sasha was young, how he trained so much, and went right to the top” said Russian National team general manager Igor Tuzik. “Alexander, it’s time to gather some stones! By that I mean prizes. And make your country, which you have stirred up with your Victory in Quebec, even happier.”
–“Dear Ovechkin family!” exclaims three-time Olympic champion and Dynamo legend Vitaly Davidov. “Dear Sasha! You have somebody to try and equal. Beside you is your mom, a two-time Olympic champion. So I am very hopeful. In 2010 we will expect gold from you in Vancouver. You need to catch up with your parents.”
The hockey department of “Soviet Sport” presented Ovechkin with a separate gift.
–“I was lucky enough to be in the Kremlin when President Dmitry Medvedev received the national hockey team” said correspondent Dmitry Ponomarenko. “Everyone, of course, was surprised to see you there barefoot. Recently you joked in our newspaper that you would go see Vladimir Putin in felt boots. But not in this heat, Sasha! Therefore we present you with a pair of patent leather shoes. By the way, these have the Russian flag on the heel, just like your skates in Quebec.”
–“Oh, just my size, 44!” rejoices Ovechkin. “Perhaps indeed, I’ll wear these shoes to see Vladimir Vladimirovich? And then I’ll go see Yuri Mikhailovich Luzhkov. The mayor of Moscow has also invited hockey players to come visit him.”
BYKOV SAID “ONE FOR ALL!”
The press conference begins.
–“First of all, I want to say that I was very touched by the clip from the World Championships. The emotions from Quebec have come gushing up all over again” Ovechkin admits. “Kovalchuk’s golden goal. And all of us stunned with happiness.”
– What happened during the second break of the final when the score was 4:2 in favor of Canada?
–“We had to find some strong words to stir up the team. And then our head coach Vyacheslav Bykov came into the locker room and yelled from the doorway “One for all!” And we all replied “All for one!” Everyone could feel the adrenaline flowing, goosebumps on our skin. We were in such ecstasy that we couldn’t wait to jump out on the ice and tear into those Canadians.”
– In 1972 I was an announcer at the Moscow Superseries match said the patriarch of radio and television sports journalism Vladimir Pisarevsky. I stood right at the boards. And I saw how our knight Evgenie Mishakov was matched against Jean Paul Parise. The Canadian laid him out on the ice. During a break I asked Evgenie “How did that happen? You’re a healthy fellow” “I don’t know anything about these types of hits. He grabbed me by the nose and twisted it—till I had sparks coming from my eyes!” And what do you do, Sasha, when you find yourself in such a situation?
–“The “Dynamo School” helps me out.” Ovechkin smiles. “It’s not for nothing that they call us a “force in motion”. I don’t even look to see who is in my path. I break forward. And if I take it on the neck—whatcha gonna do? That’s life.
WE DRINK DOM PERIGNON FROM THE BOTTLE
–Tell us how you got the lucky dollar which the Canadians buried in the ice in the Quebec Colisee?
– “Before the quarterfinals we had a practice session. As usual, we gathered in the middle of the center ice, doing stretches. I always kneel, and I look and the middle of the face-off circle is filled in with a coin. A silver dollar. I say to my friend Ilyusha Nikulin “Let’s do this–if we win the final, let’s take this coin for ourselves”. And that is what happened. “
“True, I did hear that the tournament organizers took offence when I took a sharp skate and cut the ice and took their lucky dollar. But, as they say, you can’t judge champions. Now Nikulin and I are going to split the coin into two parts and wear it around our necks as good luck charms. I hope that it will bring us good luck at the Olympics in Vancouver.”
– When were you finally able to get some sleep after your victory?
–“I really didn’t get any sleep. I finally nodded off on the charter flight to Moscow. And then I walked around in a daze for four days. I tried to realize that I am a world champion. I even had kids coming up to me in my homeland, thanking me and saying “If you only knew what it was like on Tverskaya during those final minutes! When you see fans like this you understand that you didn’t make those goals for nothing.”
– We know that on the eve of the Kharlamov Trophy ceremony you had to take an exam?
–“Yeah, the state exam. I was really worried about it. I was even stammering. But I got an “excellent”. The ticket I pulled had three questions about hockey: sports nutrition, how to teach skating techniques, and tactics. Answering the third question, I talked about the tactics of the Russian National in Quebec. I hope that no spies from foreign national teams have crept into the institute!” Ovechkin laughs. “As for food, there is nothing better than mom’s home cooking. For skating, I have to thank my first trainer Vyachislav Kirillov and my other instructors. But I’ve got a long way to go before I can skate like Vitaly Davidov.”
“By the way, on June 7th I have my diploma defense. I will talk about the training cycles in Dynamo, CSKA and Spartak. And then I will graduate.”
–You took your exam before team trainer Igor Zakharin? Is he your department chair?
–“It wasn’t him. But when we have arrived from Quebec, I immediately Igor Vladimirovich “I’ll see you at RGUFK”.
– And will you do any postgraduate study?
–“I’m thinking about it right now. But my parents say that is necessary. I’ll make up my mind in the near future. Most likely I’ll do it. I’ll also choose a subject for the dissertation.”
–What are your plans for the summer?
–“To rest! I will go to Turkey again with my friends. More specifically, to Kemer. I first went there when I was 16, with Nikulin and Tereschenko. I like it so much there that for the third year in a row I am going to the exact same hotel.”
–Do you not plan to get your tooth replaced while you are on vacation?
–“I don’t think so. By the way, during the World Championship I broke another tooth. I went to the clinic to have it put back in.”
–When was the last time that millionaire Ovechkin ate at “McDonald’s”?
–“Three days ago. I had to fly nine hours to America. I ran there to have a quick bite. You may think “fastfood”….it doesn’t bother me.”
–How much champagne will fit into the World Champion Cup?
–And which champagne? Soviet? “Dom Perignon?
–“Dom Perignon. We are hockey players, we only drink from the bottle, like real Hussars” reports Ovechkin. “As for what they poured in Quebec, I didn’t even notice. But I really wanted to take a mouthful. And you know, I have to tell you that it was the tastiest champagne in my life!”
When Ovechkin was already leaving the casino, Boris Sergeevich Kharlamov once again approached him. The father of the legendary hockey player embraced Sasha and has touchingly laid his head on his breast. “Like my Valerka” he said. And then he added:
–“You know, Sash, in this very same casino building used to be the recreation center “Red Star” for the Communard factory. It was right here that I met my future wife Begonia. If this building had not been here, then there might not have been any Valery. You see how the wheel of life turns?”
Ovechkin smiles and once more warmly embraces Boris Sergeevich.
ALL KHARLAMOV TROPHY WINNERS
2003 – Sergey Fedorov (“Detroit”)
2004 – Ilja Kovalchuk (“Atlanta”)
2005 –NHL lockout
2006 – Alexander Ovechkin (“Washington”)
2007 – Alexander Ovechkin (“Washington”)
2008 – Alexander Ovechkin (“Washington”)