Alex Ovechkin truly is a Russian Machine.
One day after the Capitals were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, the club’s 29-year-old captain decided to board a flight for Prague, Czech Republic, to compete for Russia in the 2015 IIHF World Championships.
Ovechkin plans on arriving in Prague in time to face Team USA in Saturday’s semifinal game at O2 Arena.
Caps fans may recall that Ovechkin injured his knee in last year’s World Championships on May 18, but returned to win a gold medal for his country. Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov also played for Russia in the tournament and fractured his wrist, forcing him to miss the entire 2014-15 NHL season. Orlov is not expected to participate.
At the time of Ovechkin’s injury last year, many wondered if he should put himself at risk by playing for his country. But playing in the World Championships is nothing new for the All-Star left wing.
This will be Ovechkin’s 11th appearance. The Moscow native has registered 57 points (31 goals, 26 assists) in 65 career games at the World Championships and captured a gold medal with Russia in 2008, 2012 and 2014.
Ovechkin was named to the tournament’s Media All-Star Team in 2006 and 2008, won a silver medal in 2010 and a bronze medal in 2005 and 2007. Ovechkin has also represented Russia in three Olympics (2006, 2010, 2014), three World Junior Championships (2003, 2004, 2005), 10 World Championships (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014) and the World Cup of Hockey (2004).
Ovechkin scored 53 goals this season to capture his third consecutive and fifth career Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s leading goal-scorer. Ovechkin was also nominated for the Hart Trophy (awarded to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team) and the Ted Lindsay Award (presented annually to the “Most Outstanding Player” in the NHL, as voted by fellow members of the NHLPA).
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