Russian hockey star Aleksandr Ovechkin says he felt a bit of pressure on his KHL debut with his new-old club, Dynamo Moscow.
“First matches are always nervous, but I immediately got into the game and felt the ice. That’s because I managed to warm up quite well,” Ovechkin told Sportbox.ru.
Alex the Gr8 has returned to Russia due to the lockout in the NHL, opting for Dynamo, where he played between 2001 and 2005.
“I feel OK. And it’s great,” he said. “Most importantly, the physics is all right. I thought it would be much worse. I was very upset and nervous about it because it’s hard to get into the game rhythm without training with the team.”
Ovechkin, who helped his team with an assist in 7-2 hammering of visiting Dynamo Minsk on Friday, says he has to remember how to play on big ice to show his best hockey.
“I don’t think it’ll be long, but I’ll need some time to adjust,” the 27-year-old stressed. “There’s more space near the goals here, and the defenders, who play at the crease pay more attention to one-on-one play. When the puck bounces, then you have more opportunities to find and rebound into the net.”
“What other differences are there? Of course, there’s more space and less power struggle. The speeds are very high so as the level of play,” he added.
Russia’s coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov was in the stands for the game, with Ovechkin saying he’ll gladly play for his country in the Euro Hockey Tour.
“Sure. How can it be otherwise?” Ovi stated. “But everything depends on him. If he wants to see me on the team, I'll be happy to come.”
Ovechkin, who plays for the Washington Capitals in the NHL, has signed a deal with Dynamo until the end of the 2012/13 season.
He’s not the only Russian star to be back home for the lockout, with Evgeny Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk also finding job in the KHL.