Alex Ovechkin was named to the Russian Olympic Committee team to compete in the 2022 Beijing Olympics on Friday as the Russian Hockey Federation announced its first three players. Joining Ovechkin will be Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov. Olympic teams are required to announce their first three players by Oct. 15.
Beijing will be Ovechkin's fourth appearance at the Olympics after the NHL elected not to allow players to attend in the 2018 games in PyeongChang. As part of the new CBA agreed to by the NHL and NHLPA in 2020, players would be allowed to participate in 2022 contingent on an agreement with the IIHF and IOC. That agreement was reached in September putting the league on course for Beijing.
Representing Russia has always been very important to Ovechkin, but he will have to settle for representing ROC in 2022. Russia is still suspended from Olympic participation due to a doping scandal and Russian athletes will be competing instead as the "neutral" ROC team. At 36 years old, this may perhaps be Ovechkin's last chance at an Olympic medal, one of the few accomplishments that have eluded him in his storied career.
One of the big questions for the Caps in the 2021-22 season will be how its veteran players are able to handle playing an Olympic tournament across the world in the middle of the season. Thus far, Ovechkin is the only Capitals player to be included among the first three players announced by the various Olympic teams, but T.J. Oshie, Lars Eller, John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov, Michal Kempny, Martin Fehervary, Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek are all expected to at least be considered by their respective Olympic teams.
The final rosters will be announced in January.