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Alex Ovechkin Returns To Russia For Family Member's Death, Expected To Return For Season Opener

Alex Ovechkin left the Capitals after Monday's practice to return to Russia to mourn the loss of a family member. The Capitals' star is expected to be back in the states for Washington's season opener on Saturday night.

Excitement is growing in the nation's capitol for the start of the 2011-2012 NHL season. The Washington Capitals are set to begin the new year Saturday night at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. when they host the Carolina Hurricanes. The main attraction, Alex Ovechkin, will have scant time to prepare though for the opener due to the unfortunate passing of a family member in his native Russia. 

Ovechkin left the team Monday to make the lengthy flight to Moscow to be with his grieving family. The Capitals are rightfully respecting the privacy of Ovechkin and his family by not commenting on the matter, but it is believed to be his uncle, who he was supposedly quite close to, that passed away. 

From the entire Capitals' family, as well as all fans of the sport of hockey around the world, condolences to Alex and his family for their loss.   

For more on the Capitals, visit Japers' Rink.