After Saturday night's 4-2 win over the Blackhawks, Sport-Express's Natalia Shemleva caught up with Alex Ovechkin to talk netminders (translation via The Morning Skate, which also has Slava Malamud's interview with Nikolai Khabibulin):
Were you surprised that Khabibulin was Chicago’s goalkeeper instead of Huet?
“Last year when we played against Chicago and Khabibulin stood in the goal, we lost 5-0. I think today he was the best player on the visiting team, but luck was on our side.”
Before each game with Atlanta, you make a joking commitment to goalkeeper Kari Lehtonen about how many times you will score. Did you make a promise (Friday)?
“I said that I would score a goal, but it did not happen.”
Did you make a promise like that to Khabibulin today?
“No, Khabibulin was not promised.”
Perhaps your unexpected goals lowered his market value.
“His market value? He is not just some vegetable or fruit in the market. Khabibulin is one of the best goalkeepers in the league, as is Chicago’s other goalkeeper Huet, who was in Washington last year at the end of the season.”
Would you not like to see that one of the best goalkeepers league was yet another Russian player in the Washington?
“I wish — I do not want to, it’s not for me to decide. We have two excellent goalkeepers. And we have [farmhand Simeon] Varlamov, who may come here at any time. He’s available to play in the N.H.L., he simply needs to adapt to hockey here. And this is only a matter of time.”