J.J. Regan

Quick Links

How Alex Ovechkin is staying in shape while coronavirus pauses NHL season

How Alex Ovechkin is staying in shape while coronavirus pauses NHL season

Alex Ovechkin feels the same way most hockey fans do during this pause in the NHL season. He is thankful for the time at home, he is thankful for the time he gets to spend with his family, but he is also bored. After two weeks without hockey, Ovechkin is bored of the limbo the current season is now in.

“Me and my family in Washington, staying home, keeping busy,” Ovechkin told reporters on a video conference Thursday. “Lots of stuff to do at house. Play with the little one, we're expecting another one in a couple of months, I'm trying to do some more workout as well, but it's getting boring obviously. First week was kind of good thing. We're relaxing, we chilling and right now it's kind of getting boring right now.”

With the spread of the coronavirus, the NHL elected to pause the regular season on March 12. With 13 games remaining in the Capitals’ regular season, no one knows if and when the season will resume or what things will look like when it does. That means Ovechkin has to prepare like he is getting ready to continue the season or to start the playoffs and he has to do it with no definitive date for when that could happen.

To make matters worse, during this pause, players have lost access to their team’s workout facilities. Most gyms have also been shut down leaving some players having to get creative with how to stay in shape. New York Islanders captain, Anders Lee, who was also on the video conference, said he bought a Peleton bike and goes jogging with his dogs.

For Ovechkin, the timing of the league’s pause worked out well for him as his personal trainer, Pavel Burlachenko, was already in town for the playoff push.

“Last couple years before the playoffs, my personal trainer came to Washington and start workout with me before the playoffs to get ready for that period of the season,” Ovechkin said. “But with this situation, like he is here and I am lucky enough to have him here and we do some workout at the gym in my house. I have a small gym and we just go run on the street and play some soccer, ride the bike and just try to get busy, you know?”

The coronavirus has brought many unique challenges to professional athletes, but one of them is the fact that players are now left to keep in shape and work out on their own despite technically being in the middle of the season. The players cannot come together as a team to push one another. In that sense, having his trainer with him in Washington is invaluable to Ovechkin.

“You get used to being with the team, working out with the team all year and right now you are kind of by yourself and it is kind of hard to push yourself through that mode,” Ovechkin said, “Like you have to do that thing or a different thing. It is kind of hard. Somebody has to not push you, but to do all that stuff so he’s with me and sometimes I don’t want to do it but he says, ‘OK let’s go, we have to work out.’”

Players need that extra motivation at this point. The uncertainty of the coronavirus means no one is sure when they could return or what they are preparing for.

“It is always a good time to sit on the couch and watch TV and play with the kid,” Ovechkin said, “But you never know when the season is coming back and you have to be in shape, so again, try to do my best.”

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Capitals Mailbag Part 2: What does the pause mean for Braden Holtby's future?

Capitals Mailbag Part 2: What does the pause mean for Braden Holtby's future?

It’s time for a new Capitals Mailbag! You can read Wednesday’s Part 1 here.

Check out Part 2 below.

Have a Caps question you want answered in the next mailbag? You can submit your questions here at the Capitals Mailbag submissions page on NBCSportsWashington.com.

Please note, some questions have been edited for clarity.

Stella writes: Considering how the season ended for both Braden Holtby and Ilya Samsonov, does that open the door for a possible return for Holtby next season?

No.

With what money? The previous cap projection put out by the NHL of between $84 and $88.2 million is now gone.  While I don't see the cap lowering next season, I don't think it is going to rise either given the season pause. Even with a big boost in the salary cap, there were a lot of reasons why a return for Holtby seemed remote. With the salary cap unlikely to rise, money just became a big factor once again.

I get it. Samsonov is still a question mark given his lack of experience and the Caps are going to be taking a pretty significant gamble by making him the No. 1, but I don't really see how the team can make a return for Holtby work because of the money, Seattle and the role Holtby would be expected to play. It just does not make sense for either the team or the player.

Alex E. writes: Will having bad ice at Capital One arena (as voted on by players) give the Caps any advantage against their potential playoff opponents as the season likely gets pushed further into the summer months?

Because the players will be used to it? No. Bad ice is bad ice and if both teams are subject to it, I do not see it as being an advantage, especially for a Caps team that sometimes can rely too much on skill and over-passing. That really doesn't work that well in slush.

The ice issue is going to be a major factor in the summer for buildings as the season could potentially get pushed deeper into the summer than ever. This is going to be an issue for every building, not just Capital One Arena.

Hamilton C. writes: How many sticks does the average player go through in a single season?

The number is quite a bit higher than you may think. I don't know that there is a definite average out there, but Detroit Red Wings equipment manager Paul Boyer was asked this in 2012 and his answer was six to 10 dozen sticks per season. Some players use a new stick every game so that's at least 82 right there, plus however many the break in a game or during practice. The budget for teams for sicks is in the hundreds of thousands.

Emily D. writes: Would Wilson’s puppy Halle also be a power forward in the DHL (Dog Hockey League)? She seems to have some serious tenacity and speed.

But does she have the size? She's a black lab mix and black labs typically grow to be about 55 and 75 pounds. I could see her being a grinder, but I am not sure she is going to be big enough to consistently deliver that kind of punishment.

Brooks W. writes: Who would you rather own your team: Dan Snyder, James Dolan or Eugene Melnyk?

James Dolan is easily the worst owner in sports. It's not close. Say what you want about the other two, but Dolan is the worst.

Thanks for all your questions! If you have a question you want to be answered in the next mailbag, you can submit it here at the Capitals Mailbag submissions page on NBCSportsWashington.com.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

NHL draft, scouting combine and awards banquet postponed due to coronavirus

usatsi_8668640.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

NHL draft, scouting combine and awards banquet postponed due to coronavirus

With the NHL season still on hold, the league announced Wednesday that it will postpone the scouting combine, the NHL awards and the draft. All three were scheduled to take place in June.

The NHL elected to pause its season on March 12 in response to the spread of the coronavirus. While the regular season remains on hold, regardless of what happens with the remainder of the season and the postseason, clearly the calendar for the league's major offseason events was going to change.

The scouting combine was scheduled for June 1-6 in Buffalo with the draft on June 26-27 in Montreal. The leagued noted in its statement that the timing and format of both the draft and the draft lottery would be announced once details were finalized.

The NHL Awards, which have taken place in Las Vegas since 2009, were scheduled for June 18.

No update was given in regards to the regular season or the playoffs.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: