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Alex Ovechkin gets Team Russia nod, giving Caps 3 players in Sochi Olympics
Alex Ovechkin has shot TV commercials to promote it. He traveled all the way to Olympia, Greece to carry an Olympic torch for it. And over the past three months he’s talked and talked and talked about it.
But all of that could not prevent Ovechkin from flashing a big smile today when he was asked about how it feels to officially be on Team Russia’s 25-man Olympic roster.
“It means a lot,” Ovechkin said after the Caps’ practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “I’m really proud of myself and really proud for my family. It’s huge. … It’s the biggest thrill of my career.”
This will mark Ovechkin’s third Olympic experience with Team Russia. He has yet to earn a medal in Olympic play.
Washington teammates Nicklas Backstrom (Sweden) and John Carlson (USA) also will represent their countries in Sochi.
One of the underlying questions heading into the men’s hockey tournament, which will take place from Feb. 8-23, is whether Ovechkin will play right wing, which is where Adam Oates moved him at the start of last season, or left wing, which is where he played his entire career before making the move.
“If you ask me what should he play, I would hope the coach sees what he’s done on the right side and plays him with [Evgeni] Malkin or something like that, so they can go north. But that depends on how their coach wants to coach that team.”
Team Russia is coached by Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, who led his country to gold at the 2012 IIHF World Championships. Ovechkin said he thinks he’ll be used on the left wing.
“It’s all about the coach,” Ovechkin said. “If they need me on the right side I’ll play on the right side. But I think I’m going to play on the left side because we have lot of right wings. I can play left and right.”
Ovechkin said he had not heard who the Russians will name as their captain, but he expects it to be Detroit Red Wings 35-year-old center Pavel Datsyuk.
“To be honest with you, that type of player has respect on the ice and off the ice,” Ovechkin said. “I don’t know who’s going to be captain but my opinion is it has to be Datsyuk.”
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