Washington Times Capitals reporter Stephen Whyno mentioned the other day that Alex Ovechkin could possibly be headed to the World Ice Hockey Championship to play for Team Russia, just days after being eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs. It looks like Whyno was indeed correct.
Thanks to the excellent work of Japers' Rink and Google translate, there's confirmation in the form of this blog entry that Ovi has landed. Unless, of course, that isn't the Washington star addressing reporters in his Team Russia kicks, which I'm quite certain it is.
You might think the Capitals would have a problem with Ovechkin making his seventh appearance for Team Russia (I know I was a bit curious), but general manager Georghe McPheee contends it's not a problem at all:
He's healthy now and he wants to play and I've never had a problem with players going to the world championships if they want to play," general manager George McPhee said. "If they buy in 100 percent and they're there because they want to play – not because they feel obligated because their country's asking them to play; they've got to want to play. And he wants to play. So we're fine with that."
While Ovi was specifically asked to join his national team, let's just say Team Russia is not hankering for the services of his teammate Alexander Semin:
"We won't invite Semin under any circumstances," coach Vyacheslav Bykov told Sovietsky Sport, a Russian media outlet. "His play in the last Washington game was very weak."
Ouch. That's Siberian cold.