Chat with Rachel Nichols
Nichols recently sat down to talk with Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin. Check out her story and watch E:60 on Tuesdays 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Nichols joined ESPN in February 2004 as a New York-based reporter for ESPN's news-gathering operation, particularly "SportsCenter," ESPNEWS and E:60. Nichols received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University.
Send your questions now and join Nichols Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET!.
Nichols Archive: Columns
Rachel Nichols (5:03 PM)
hi all - Welcome to the E60 Alex Ovechkin chat. Looking forward to talking some hockey.
What surprised you most about meeting Ovechkin?
Rachel Nichols (5:05 PM)
Watching Alex on the ice, it's easy to see how dynamic he is. But it was fun to learn he's exactly like that off the ice too. Everything he does - whether it's scoring a goal, or going out for a drive - he wants to take the biggest bite out of life possible, or as he says "go max." So he's all "max," all the time.
Wow, your not standing on a football field prior to kickoff. Is hockey your new thing now?
Rachel Nichols (5:08 PM)
No NFL kickoffs going on this time of year (unless you count someone on TV introducing a segment with Mel Kiper or Todd McShay), so you'll see me in a few other spots. I actually used to cover hockey for the Washington Post, so I was around the Capitals all the time during that stretch. Doing this story, it was great to be back in the arena and see how some things hadn't changed - it's still a really well-run organization with great fans. And then...how some things had. (There are a lot MORE fans, and they are a lot louder!)
Brian Haas (Alrlington, VA)
You look like you've got some athleticism on the ice...did you grow up playing sports??
Rachel Nichols (5:11 PM)
Thanks! I did grow up skating a lot. If you watch tonight, you'll see more of me on the ice with Alex. It was a total blast - he recreated "The Goal" for me in slow motion, and also had me try to defend what he calls his "best move." I'll proudly say I poked the puck away from him - once. Which means I should probably also admit to you guys that he got past me about 20 times. Or more.
Jim Bourbonnais, IL
Hey Rachel, just had a question about Alex: is he the fun-loving guy that a lot of publications have talked about, or is he a lot more serious than what we're led to believe?
Rachel Nichols (5:13 PM)
In the piece that airs tonight, Alex talks a lot about living for the moment, doing what you want right now, just enjoying life. It's hard to say if that comes from just being born with that kind of outlook, from his upbringing, or from some of the events that have happened in his life. His oldest brother died in a car accident when Alex was 10, and it seems that definitely had an impact on his outlook. Whatever the reason behind it, I can tell you it is all true - he has a lot of fun in life, and it's refreshing to see someone enjoy the ride as much as he is.
Hey Rachel. I'm really excited about the show tonight. Some announcers say he's the greatest, some say Crosby is the greatest. Now I don't know who you think is the greatest, but what are your arguments for Ovechkin?
Rachel Nichols (5:16 PM)
The Ovechkin-Crosby comparison is covered in the piece - we interviewed Wayne Gretzky for our story, and he compared them to Bird and Magic. The cool thing is that right now, you can't say who's the best artist because they are painting their canvases in front of us...which is a great vantage point for us. I can't wait to see what these two do in the coming years.
Do you get along well with everyone on E:60? There seems to be some strong personalities/opinions on there.
Rachel Nichols (5:18 PM)
We do all get along great, which has been one of the most fun aspects of the show. For most of the other shows at ESPN, the reporters all go out and work on our stories individually. We do that for E60, but we also all meet regularly to talk about ideas and stories, so we get to hang out a lot more. It's been terrific.
Will you be participating in ESPN's draft day coverage? Thanks.
Rachel Nichols (5:19 PM)
I will be. I'm scheduled to be stationed in Detroit, so look for me on Saturday.
What advice do you have for all the journalism grads out there now that the newspaper industry is suffering? Which direction do you think newspapers are headed? Will some be able to survive?
Rachel Nichols (5:21 PM)
The good news is that people want information now more than ever, so someone has to produce that content. How that content gets delivered is changing, so the key is to just be flexible and not think you "have to" work for a newspaper, per se. There will always be outlets out there that need good reporters and good writers.
Is Ovechkin a team leader he isn't even the captian on his own team compare to other players at his age like Richards and Crosby.
Rachel Nichols (5:22 PM)
His teammates certainly say he is a good leader, and that they draw a lot of their energy from him. Because he is always so UP, they feel like they need to be too, even in triple overtime of a playoff game or in the eighth day of a road trip.
Shea (Nashville, TN)
Rachel, I always enjoy the stories everyone covers on E:60. Of the stories you have covered for E:60, which project was your favorite to work on?
Rachel Nichols (5:25 PM)
I always say my favorite story to cover is the next one - and that's probably true! But I have really liked working on the two stories I've done so far for this run of E60 shows. Tonight's Ovechkin story was a blast to work on, and the story I did last week on the dangers of bad exhaust and emissions at ice rinks was really interesting to report out. We've had great feedback from that story, and some people pledging to make changes, which is what you hope to see at the end of an investigative piece.
Have you ever gotten a Gatorade bath while doing postgame interviews on the sidelines?
Rachel Nichols (5:28 PM)
Never Gatorade - unless a game is really close, that usually happens in the final minutes before the clock runs out. But I have been doused with champagne in championship-winning locker rooms quite a few times. The most I can remember was in the Miami Heat locker room after they won the NBA title. There was so much champagne flowing, the air actually became thick with it - you couldn't breathe without taking some in.
Right now can you compare ovechkin to wayne gretzky or is it too early?
Rachel Nichols (5:30 PM)
They're pretty different players, both in playing style and personality, so it's hard to make that comparison in general. I do know Gretzky is a big fan of Alex's. He thinks he could be in the top handful of players of all time, which is a pretty amazing endorsement.
Rachel Nichols (5:31 PM)
That's all the time we have. Thanks so much, everyone, for chatting. Please watch (or DVR!) E60 tonight - Alex is the first story on the show, so be sure to tune in right at 7pm Eastern!