Alex Ovechkin says he's staying in NHL
Alex Ovechkin is staying put.
In an interview aired on Hockey Night in Canada Saturday, the Washington Capitals star told correspondent Elliotte Friedman that he won't be fleeing the National Hockey League to play in Russia this season.
Ovechkin's compatriot IlyaKovalchuk made waves when he retired from the NHL in July to continue his career in his native Russia's Kontinental Hockey League. Many speculated other Russian players might consider the same move, but Ovechkin says he's not bolting for the KHL.
"No worries," said the 27-year-old left winger. "I'm playing for the Capitals ... I'm here and I don't want to go nowhere."
Last season's league MVP commented on Kovalchuk's move, saying every player has right to make his own decision.
"It was his choice. Everybody has their choices," Ovechkin said. "I don't want to say that I'm happy for him. He made his decision."
The sniper scored 32 goals and 24 assists for 56 points in a lockout-shortened 48-game season in 2013. He potted 23 of those goals in the final 23 games of the regular season to lift the Capitals into the playoffs. Ovechkin was held to just two points in Washington's first-round playoff exit at the hands of the New York Rangers.
Ovechkin says his love for the game is still strong, especially with the motivation he gets from head coach Adam Oates, who took over from Dale Hunter in 2012.
"My last coach before Adam, I don't have that kind of support, I don't have that kind of trust," Ovechkin said. "And sometimes when you don't have that, you just don't want to play hockey. You just want to sit and that's it."
Watch the video above for the full interview.