The Washington Post

Russian hockey team arriving in Sochi in two waves


Alex Ovechkin will be in the second wave of Russian hockey players to arrive in Sochi; the first, from the KHL, will show up Saturday. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

SOCHI, Russia — With roughly two-thirds of its roster playing abroad in the NHL and the rest in the domestic Kontinental Hockey League, the Team Russia hockey team will arrive in Sochi in two waves, making for some potentially awkward preparations for the 2014 Winter Games.

The first to arrive, on Saturday, will be the KHL contingent of nine players, headed by former Atlanta Thrashers and New Jersey Devils star Ilya Kovalchuk. These nine players, along with some non-roster reinforcements, will scrimmage Sunday against Switzerland, according to Mikhail Zakharov, media manager for the Russian national team, as they await their teammates. The KHL began its Olympics break following Thursday night’s games, while the NHL schedule goes through Saturday.

Russia’s 16 NHL Olympians, including Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, will begin arriving Monday morning on four charter flights organized by the NHL Players Association to transport the league’s Olympians to Sochi. Ovechkin will arrive on a roll; he scored his 40th goal Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets. The Olympic men’s hockey tournament, which will be one of the focal points of the Sochi Games, begins on Wednesday, with Russia playing its first game on Thursday against Slovenia.

Men's hockey will be one of the most watched events at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Here are 12 Olympic ice hockey stats you need to know. (Davin Coburn/The Washington Post)

According to Zakharov, the Russians have been monitoring the condition of star center Pavel Datsyuk, who suited up Thursday night for the Detroit Red Wings after missing the previous 13 games with an unspecified lower-body injury.

“We don’t know much more than we read in the newspapers,” Zakharov said of Datsyuk’s availability during the Sochi Games. “But our doctors have remained in touch with him.”

The Post Sports Live crew debates whether hockey during the Winter Olympics or the NHL Playoffs are more exciting to watch. (Post Sports Live/The Washington Post)
Dave Sheinin has been covering baseball and writing features and enterprise stories for The Washington Post since 1999.



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