Meet Alexander the Great

JODY VANCE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 6:53 AM ET

Prior to being swarmed by the media throng Tuesday, my Leafs TV gig afforded me an exclusive one-on-one with Alex Ovechkin.

This was certainly an interview I won't soon forget.

Ovechkin is a presence even in an empty NHL visitors' dressing room: Young, yet with eyes filled with the wisdom that comes from having shouldered so much pressure in his 21 years.

We go right to the flashy yellow laces and tell-tale tinted visor on his No. 8 helmet resting on the shelf above. Fashion statements, he says, "Laces to not be like others -- same with visor -- I do not want to be same as everyone. To stand out."

Ready for any question, Ovechkin is savvy to just about every query you can imagine -- so therein lies the challenge in an interview such as this.

While doing my A-O research, however, I found a few tidy tidbits he was happy to speak to that I thought you might find interesting.

His parents are both Olympians -- his mother played basketball, his father soccer. Realization numero uno -- this guy is genetically predisposed to top-flight athlete status.

He loves sticks. Get him talking about hockey sticks and he gets a sparkle in his eye, "I remember getting my first composite. It was very expensive in Russia, $400, but my dad got one for me. Too bad I broke it in second practice."

He never even used it in a game, but how he loved that stick.

Bet he has a few of them now!

While Ovechkin appreciates where he is today, he makes no excuses for his flash -- he is anything but a conformist.

"I want to score all the time. I am forward and forwards are to score; let others take care of the rest, I am here to score."

Oh Alex ... you stand out. Read: he is exactly what this league needs.

Jody Vance is a longtime sportscaster with Leafs TV. Her columns appear Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours. 


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