Ovechkin, who will turn 31 on Sept. 17, the day the World Cup begins, is also the Capitals’ captain, a post he’s held since 2010. He has recorded 525 goals and 966 points in 839 NHL games with Washington. Ovechkin reached the 50-goal milestone for a seventh time last season, and he was named one of three finalists for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, which is presented “to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season.”
Ovechkin has won three gold medals with Team Russia at the IIHF World Championship (2008, 2012, 2014), last serving as Russia captain at the 2014 tournament. Datsyuk was the Russian captain for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, when the country didn’t medal for a third consecutive Olympics.
Team Russia is expected to have a Washington feel to it at the World Cup later this month, as Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov and defenseman Dmitry Orlov are also on the team. To start training camp, Ovechkin has been on a top line centered by Kuznetsov and Orlov has been skating on the top defensive pairing, all three players in significant roles.