Alex Ovechkin Talks Engagements, Olympics and Caps

alex ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin has been hanging out in London for the Olympics, spending time watching his girlfriend Maria Kirilenko compete in tennis for Team Russia and trying to work out a bit on the side.

Oh, he's also Tweeting his experiences from his @ovi8 account. And one picture in particular caught the eyes of his followers -- a picture of him and Kirilenko ... and a very nice ring on her finger.

So Alex, what's up with that?

"No, not engaged," Ovechkin told NBC4's Dan Hellie. "Some fan put on Twitter, 'Are you guys engaged?' It's not an engagement ring."

OK, so there's no current engagement, but is that coming soon?

"Well, we'll see how it goes," Ovechkin said with a smile.

Ovechkin has been attending Kirilenko's singles and doubles matches, and he now realizes it's a lot harder to be a fan than he initially thought.

"My family watches me and they explain to me that they get nervous," Ovechkin said. "And I'm like, 'Geez, why are you nervous? It's simple.' Right now I'm watching her play and I get nervous. ... I never watched tennis before I met her, but it's cool and it's an exciting time for me right now."

Ovi brought his fitness trainer with him to London so he can stay in shape. He said he gets up early every morning and goes to the gym. And afterward, London residents and tourists alike might see him running back home.

"I run in the park," he said. "Today I ran from this place where I work out to the place where I live."

Ovechkin's working out now for next season, but there's no guarantee there will be a next season. The NHL is in the middle of negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement with the NHL Players' Association. If things don't go well, that could lead to a lockout.

"This kind of situation is our future, and we have to be together, and we have to think very serious about it," said Ovechkin, who has already attended one labor negotiation meeting. "Nobody wants to be in that position, but if there's going to be a lockout, there's going to be a lockout. No doubt."

One of the possible sticking points on a new CBA is the players' participation in the Olympics. In order to play, the league basically has to shut down for several weeks in the middle of the season. And there is always the threat of injury to some of the NHL's top stars, which could affect a team's run for the Stanley Cup.

But the 2014 Games will be in Sochi. Ovechkin does not want to miss the chance to play in front of his Russian fans.

When asked if he was going to play, his answer was simple: "Yeah."

"What are they going to do if I'm going?" Ovechkin said and laughed.

Ovechkin said he doesn't want to miss out on the Olympic experience in his home country.

"Look at it here," Ovechkin said as his eyes turned to London. "It's unbelieveable. All the world is talking about it. How can they tell us, 'Hey, you can't play for your country.' I don't think it's the right decision for anybody."

There's a good chance Team Russia will be able to reunite Ovechkin with his former teammate, Alex Semin, who just signed with Carolina after a long stint with the Capitals. Ovechkin said he talked with Semin after the World Championships and had a feeling his sometimes linemate would be moving on.

"It was a fun time to play with him," Ovechkin said. "But it's a business. Unfortunately he's gone. But right now it's time to move on. We're not going to cry. Of course I'm sad I lost my boy and great teammate and great player."

Ovechkin also has (another) new coach this coming season. Adam Oates has been hired to replace Dale Hunter. Hunter and Ovechkin didn't quite see eye to eye on playing styles. Hunter was defense first. Ovechkin is quite the opposite.

Ovechkin said he hasn't had much time to talk philosophy with Oates yet, but he's looking forward to trying out his system.

"It's good for us," Ovechkin said. "We are a more offensive team than defensive team. For me, I don't want to say anything bad about Dale -- great person, great coach -- but maybe different people were pretty excited to have him, but I just did my job and play when he told me to play."

Contact Us