NHL All-Star Weekend
For Ovechkin, Time With ‘Ovi Jr.’ Made 2023 All-Star Weekend Best One Yet
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin got to experience the 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend with his son for the first time, which turned into the best ASG experience of his career.
"You want to go first?" Sidney Crosby asks Alex Ovechkin's son, Sergei, who is a miniature copy of his father, to lead the Metropolitan All-Stars out of the tunnel. Clad in full gear, a "Ovi Jr." Reverse Retro jersey and of course, the same Tacks skates his dad wears with iconic yellow laces, Sergei agreed and had his own "rookie lap" for the Skills Competition, with his dad being him wearing a wide smile as he captured every moment on his iPhone.
For the Washington Capitals captain, the entire All-Star experience was worth it as he shared his first All-Star Weekend with his son for the first time. The last time Ovechkin had been at the All-Star Game was back in 2018, months before Sergei was born. In a lot of ways, Ovechkin saw his son emulate him in his younger days, and like his dad does often at the NHL level, Sergei stole the show.
"Obviously, Sergei was very happy, always smiling, always asking when the hockey's gonna be. I said like, 'Listen, wait, wait wait,'" Ovechkin laughed. "He was a little upset when everything was over, but overall top class. Guys have fun."
While spending time with Kirill Kaprizov and Ilya Sorokin and meeting his heroes in Crosby and Connor McDavid — Ovechkin revealed that he's not his son's favorite player — Sergei had the experience of a lifetime, and he got to participate in the festivities as well. For the first time, Ovechkin and Crosby joined forces for the Breakaway Challenge, and after discussing the plan, decided to incorporate the four-year-old into the attempt.
"I want to bring Sergei on the ice and we knew it’s gonna be tough to do something with him but both sides come out and say, 'Let’s do that kind of stuff.'"
NHL ALL-STAR SKILLS: Ovi Jr. Steals Show In Breakaway Challenge
So, after some antics with P.K. Subban, Ovechkin signalled Sergei to join them for a 3-on-0 breakaway attempt. To Luongo's surprise, Ovi Jr., after banging his stick on the ice and asking his dad for the puck back, deked to his backhand to score.
"I know the dad's a shooter so when he had it on his stick, I was ready for a shot but he actually went with the deke, so it caught me a little bit off guard there," Luongo laughed after the skills competition.
“Great move," Ovechkin added with a grin. "I thought he was just gonna take a slapshot. But you know, yeah, he’s learning.”
Ovi Jr. with the straight 10s across the board in his @GreatClips NHL Breakaway Challenge debut. 🥺 #NHLAllStar
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— NHL (@NHL) February 4, 2023
The judges gave the trio all 10s, making them the unanimous winners.
“That’s a special moment. the fans love it, we both love it," Ovechkin said. "I think it’s great for the game it’s great for both us and obviously for Sergei as well.”
Looking back at his younger days with Crosby, where the two weren't as good of friends as they are now thanks to the evert-brewing rivalry between the Capitals and Penguins, Ovechkin said this year's experience was different as a veteran of the game who is now closing in on the title as the greatest goal scorer of NHL history.
"It's great. I remember when I was a little younger we was sharing it with Brendan Shanahan and Roberto Luongo, with those legends and it was pretty special moments," Ovechkin said. "Right now [Crosby and I] kind of little more have more experience and more age in our career, but yeah, it’s great. How I said, we enjoy to spend time in the locker room with the boys, talking, make some jokes. And obviously, with Sergei over there, it was special.”
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Ultimately, for Ovechkin's eighth All-Star appearance and Sergei's first, the 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend became one of the most memorable experiences for the star left winger and his family.
"He fan of hockey 100 percent, and today he was so excited… How I said, it’s a special moment for him, for my family and for everybody," Ovechkin said. "It was great.”