The day after a Game 7 gut-punch elimination from the first round of the playoffs, the Capitals announced that Alex Ovechkin is heading to Helsinki to play for Russia in the quarterfinals of the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship.
Ovechkin, who recorded one goal and an assist in the postseason, said he received a call from the Russian national team Tuesday morning asking if he was healthy and willing to make his ninth career appearance in the World Championship.
“Yeah, I’m ready to go. Situation was tough, but I’m still wanna play,” Ovechkin said Tuesday in his final press conference of the year with local reporters. ” I don’t wanna take that off and I don’t wanna go watch tennis right now. I wanna just play hockey and win.”
Asked if he was playing with any injuries during the postseason, the Caps captain said he had a “couple bruises but nothing major” that impacted his performance against the Rangers.
Ovechkin will travel to Helsinki Tuesday night and could be in the lineup for Russia on Thursday. It’s a quick turnaround but Ovechkin said he’s not worried about being able switching gears for international competition.
“If I was not in game shape and I was probably two weeks off, of course it’s gonna be probably much harder to make a decision,” Ovechkin said. “I’m in good shape. Mentally I think I’m ready.”