(AP photo)

Alex Ovechkin may have missed Dynamo Moscow’s game Monday because of bronchitis and a high fever but that didn’t keep him from signing autographs for legions of his hometown fans. (Seriously, look at the line, as photographed by Sovietsky Sport.) 

Yahoo Sports’ Nicholas Cotsonika is in Russia and he documented the scene as Dynamo Moscow fans waited for an opportunity to meet Ovechkin. An excerpt follows and you can check out the full story here.

The announcement came during the second period of Dynamo Moscow’s game against Dinamo Riga on Monday night: Ovechkin, the locked-out captain of the Washington Capitals, would be signing autographs on the second-floor concourse during intermission. Even though it was a one-goal game, the stands emptied immediately. The fans lined up behind metal barricades. They leaned over the third-floor overhang, knowing they would have no chance to meet him there, but a better chance to see him.

They waited.

And then there he was, surrounded by three guards, wearing his white No. 32 Dynamo jersey and stylishly ripped jeans. Ovechkin waded through the crowd and waved. He took a picture with a kid in a wheelchair. Then he signed, and signed, and signed, and signed. Little kids. Old ladies. Grown men. He signed hats and scarves and shirts and jerseys. He signed pictures and programs and whatever else a marker could mark.

During Ovechkin’s absence Monday, Nicklas Backstrom recorded his first KHL goal and helped Dynamo Moscow claim a 3-1 win over Dinamo Riga. Video of the goal is below.

Notable links:

• According ESPN, the NHL is expected to cancel the 2013 Winter Classic on Thursday. And once the signature contest is canceled, it will not be rescheduled

• Will canceling the Winter Classic push the NHL further down the path of oblivion in the United States? (David Shoalts of The Globe and Mail)

Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune sat down with NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr for a lengthy Q&A session. 

ESPN’s Scott Burnside looks at the Capitals’ decision to have Adam Oates coach in Hershey during the lockout.