For Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, summer vacation will end a bit earlier, as he plans to move up his training and start preparing for the 2022-23 NHL season sooner rather than later.
The Great 8 told the Russian outlet sports.ru that he will begin his training nearly a month earlier than he has in the past.
“I think we will start training at the end of June,” he said in the translated interview. “We will work gradually.”
When asked why he’s preparing for the season earlier than he usually has in the past, the 36-year-old had an explanation at the ready.
“It will be almost a month earlier. Why? I want to change something,” he noted.
The 36-year-old is coming off of one of the best seasons of his career and entering the second year of the five-year extension he signed back in July 2021. Through 77 games in 2021-22, he dished 50 goals and 40 assists for his first 90-point campaign in a decade.
Ovechkin also passed Jaromir Jagr for sole possession of third on the NHL’s all-time goals list and is the highest-scoring European of all time. He has 780 goals and is 20 away from 800, 22 away from passing Gordie Howe and 115 away from breaking Wayne Gretzky’s record.
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The 6-3, 238-pound left wing is currently back home in Moscow and reunited with his wife, Nastya, and two sons, Sergei and Ilya, for the first time in months. He is also planning on playing in former Capital Alex Semin’s farewell to hockey game. All the while, he is resting and recovering from a slight shoulder injury he played through at the end of the season but doesn’t need surgery.
Overall, Ovechkin is excited to run it back again and go for another Cup. And while he knows the road ahead may not be the easiest, hei s up for the challenge with history and another title up for grabs.
“Every year, the game has changed. Every year you have to be physically ready, mentally ready… right now you know how to be prepared for a full year,” Ovechkin said on breakdown day. “So yeah, right now it’s time to get a rest, finally to see family and go back home and take a rest and get ready for next year.
“I think the experience that we have, it helps,” Ovechkin added. “Like I always say, it’s not my job to decide who is going to stay, who is going to be out, but this group of guys is tremendous. Unbelievable atmosphere in the locker room. I’m pretty sure there’s going to be hard decisions, a hard summer for us, but it is what it is. I’m pretty sure I want to win. You guys not want to have a season like that and the fans. So we’ll see what’s going to happen.”