Alex Ovechkin returns from Russia, participates in Capitals’ informal skate

One of the biggest anxieties for Capitals fans this summer ended quietly and without a hitch.

Alex Ovechkin joined the team on Friday, taking a casual whirlwind around MedStar Capitals Iceplex with about two dozen of his teammates.

Tarik El-Bashir of Athletic video posted on Twitter.

The Capitals also posted photos of Ovechkin making cheese as he made his way to the ice. The team called it a “Gr8 day”.

And it was indeed the case. Due to Russia’s war in Ukraine, several players had problems leaving the country or returning to North America. Kirill Kaprizov’s issues were the most notable title of the summer. The Minnesota Wild superstar has twice been denied entry to the United States and is believed to be under investigation in Russia for buying a military ID card in 2017, a charge his father has denied. Kaprizov eventually left the country and arrived in the United States in early August. Meanwhile, after Russian goaltender Ivan Fedotov signed an entry-level contract with the Philadelphia Flyers in May, he was taken to a military camp for evading duty in July. Fedotov remains in custody in Russia and his first hearing will be on September 20.

Ovechkin and Dmitry Orlov were the only Russian Capitals to return to their homeland this summer while Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Alexeyev opted to stay in the United States.

“I haven’t heard anything,” MacLellan said in July if he had any concerns about Ovechkin and Orlov returning to DC. “As far as I know, they don’t mind going back to North America.”

In the end, there was none. Both players have returned to DC without much fanfare. Orlov left Russia at the end of August and has been skating with his teammates ever since.

The 2022-23 season will mark Ovechkin’s 18th season in the NHL. With 780 goals, he sits 21 behind second-placed Gordie Howe and 114 behind record holder Wayne Gretzky. Ovechkin will be 37 next Saturday. He has four seasons left on a five-year extension he signed in July 2021.

Main photo: Elizabeth Kong/MRNB

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