With the Capitals knocked out of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Alex Ovechkin will travel to Slovakia to play for Russia in the IIHF World Championship. Russia’s next game is on Sunday against the Czech Republic.
“I talked to President [Vladislav] Tretiak and they asked me if I go and I said, ‘Yes, I go,’” Ovechkin said on the day of the Capitals’ exit interviews. “I don’t want to go there, but I will. Because I want to play in playoffs, win Stanley Cup, but the situation is the situation and I’m going to play for my country and try to win gold.”
Ovechkin acknowledged Thursday that he played through multiple injuries this season, one of which is believed to be a knee injury that required minor surgery and caused him to miss three games in March. But the star winger is healthy now, and General Manager George McPhee said the Capitals have no concern about Ovechkin playing in the tournament.
“He’s healthy now and he wants to play, and I’ve never had a problem with players going to the world championships if they want to play,” McPhee said. “If they buy in one hundred percent and they’re there because they want to play -- not because they feel obligated because their country’s asking them to play -- they’ve got to want to play. And he wants to play. So we’re fine with that.”
No other Capitals players are committed to playing in the world championships at this time. According to Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov, Alexander Semin isn’t very high on Russia’s list.