The Russian Hockey Federation announced the first three members of the Olympic team on Friday. Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is one of them.
Joining Ovi in Beijing is a pair of Lightning teammates who have won a lot of silverware lately. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (2019 Vezina, 2021 Conn Smythe Trophy) and forward Nikita Kucherov (2019 Hart/Lindsey/Art Ross Trophies) were also named to the team. The Russian teammates have won back-to-back Stanley Cups with Tampa Bay.
⭐⭐⭐ Считаем дни до Олимпиады в Пекине — и представляем первую тройку игроков, которые сыграют за нашу сборную на Играх #Beijing2022
— Хоккей России (@russiahockey) October 8, 2021
“Obviously, Olympic games is most fun time of an athlete career,” Ovechkin said during Capitals Training Camp. “You represent your country, you meet up with different players in Olympic Village. I don’t know how it’s gonna be in Olympics this year but we’ll see.”
Ovechkin is a veteran of international play and has starred for Russia at three previous Olympics. He was even the first Russian torchbearer in the run-up to the 2014 Sochi games – which would be his last Olympics appearance before next year. He would record two points in five games in Sochi as Russia flamed out early, losing to Finland 3-1 in the quarterfinals.
One of Ovechkin’s last remaining goals is to win a gold medal in the Olympics so he can follow in the footsteps of his mother Tatyana, who is a two-time goal medalist in basketball.
“The Olympics are in my blood and everybody knows how much I love my country,” Ovechkin said in 2018 when it was announced the NHL would not participate at Py. “My mom was a two-time Olympic champion and when I start to play hockey I dream that if I have chance to play for my country I will do it every time they ask me. Ever since I was teenager I have played for Junior Russia National team whenever they ask me to. Ever since I was good enough to play on Men’s National Team, whenever they ask me I play. When they ask me to be part of Olympics Closing Ceremony in Vancouver before Sochi get the Olympic Games I said ok let’s do it. When they ask me to be Ambassador for Sochi Olympic Games I did it. When they ask me to go to Greece and be first Russian to carry Olympic flame on way to Sochi I do it. When they ask me to play in World Cup I do it. I am proud that we win on Junior team and for the National team in World Championships but we do not win the most important thing yet. Olympic Gold Medal.”
Although Ovechkin is slated to be at this year’s tournament barring any pandemic related roadblocks, he won’t technically be competing as a member of “Team Russia”. All Russian athletes will be labeled as coming from “OAR” which stands for Olympic Athletes from Russia. The country is still serving a ban levied against them by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The ban came in response to Russia’s state-sponsored doping program which saw the country banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics and 2020 Summer Olympics.
Initial rosters must be submitted by the participating nations by October 15 and the full official rosters announced sometime in January.
Here’s more from the Capitals:
Alex Ovechkin Named to Russian Olympic Team
ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was one of the three players selected to the Russian Olympic Committee’s initial roster for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Ovechkin will be joined by Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevski and forward Nikita Kucherov.
Ovechkin, 36, will represent Russia in the Olympics for the fourth time in his career (2006, 2010, 2014). The 6’3”, 238-pound forward earned all-tournament honors at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, and tallied four points (two goals, two assists) in four games at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. The son of a two-time women’s basketball gold medalist with the USSR, Ovechkin has represented Russia in three World Junior Championships (2003, 2004, 2005), 13 World Championships (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019) and two World Cups of Hockey (2004 and 2016). In total, Ovechkin has won three gold, two silver and four bronze medals at the World Championships, a gold and a silver at the World Junior Championships and a silver and bronze medal at the World U-18 Championships. In 106 International games at the senior level for Russia, Ovechkin has 79 points (45g, 34a).
Among Russian-born players, Ovechkin is the NHL’s all-time leader in goals (730), points (1,320), power play goals (269), power play points (499), overtime goals (24), game-winning goals (116) and ranks seventh in assists (590). Ovechkin led Washington to the 2018 Stanley Cup, captured his first Conn Smythe Trophy and became the first Russian player to captain a Stanley Cup champion. In his career, Ovechkin has won a Stanley Cup, a Conn Smythe Trophy, a Calder Trophy, an Art Ross Trophy, three Hart Memorial Trophies, three Ted Lindsay Awards and eight Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophies. He is the only player in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup, a Conn Smythe, a Calder, an Art Ross, a Hart, a Ted Lindsay and a Maurice Richard Trophy.
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