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Ovechkin Opens Up About His Father, Return To Capitals: ‘He Give Me Everything’

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin opened up about his father, Mikhail’s passing, and also shared memories of his dad and his return to the team.



ARLINGTON, V.A. — For Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, the last week has been one of the hardest of his life as he experienced the death of his father, Mikhail.

The 37-year-old was visibly emotional and tearful as he discussed his time away from the team and reflected on memories of his dad, who passed away at the age of 71. He returned home to Russia on Feb. 15 to be with his family, and he returned to D.C. early Wednesday morning and came straight to MedStar Capitals Iceplex to join the team for an optional practice.

"We just landed a couple hours ago and try to come back on the ice as soon as I can… it is what it is," Ovechkin said. "It's life, and obviously it was a hard week mentally, physically.:"

"It was probably toughest situation I've been through my whole NHL career," Ovechkin admitted. "But how I say, it's life and we move on."

Ovechkin missed the last four games while he was back home. He said the support from his teammates, the organization and the city of D.C. meant a lot as he continues to work his way back. His family is expected to come over to join Ovechkin and his wife and sons in the next month.

"We try to do the best we can in that kind of hard moment," Ovechkin said, adding, "It's a hard situation for my family, but right now I'm happy I'm back and see all the guys' smiles. It's kind of like a different atmosphere than it was the last couple of days."

As he returns to D.C. and works to draw back in, he is holding Mikhail close to his heart.

"He give me everything," Ovechkin opened up. "All his health, all his time. He travel with me all over the world, and been at every practice when he have a chance."

Ovechkin has been looking back at cell phone videos and remembering the bright moments he had with him, including handing the Stanley Cup to him in 2018.

"It was a cool moment, the best moment of my life with him, other kids and family-wise," Ovechkin said. "I think the job, what he did and the time and health, it kind of was his Cup as well."

Ovechkin will remember a lot about Mikhail, including the fact that he was always smiling and was immensely proud of his son and dedicated to the game of hockey.

"He have a great sense of humor," Ovechkin said. "Even when he don't understand people, he always tried to ask something. But yeah, the people know him, they're going to miss his smile. They're going to miss his energy."

Ovechkin also discussed the process of returning to the ice. He has only skated twice since Feb. 15: once back home in Russia and once on Wednesday, where he was on the ice for roughly an hour. It was a difficult process for No. 8, but he said he's focused on easing back into the rhythm.

"It was tough, but it feels like a training camp there… it was not that kind of intense and the drills, it was not that kind of practice," Ovechkin said. "You can say it was a practice, but I just want to skate, feel the puck and feel the ice."

He has not spoken to head coach Peter Laviolette about returning to game action, but he is eager to return and help the Capitals snap a five-game losing skid. The team has lost all five games they've played without Ovechkin this season and have an key matchup with the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.

"I just want to come back right away, put my mind in a different position," Ovechkin said. "We're struggling right now, so I just want to try to do my best to bring energy, bring something to the team."

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