The Washington Capitals have announced captain Alex Ovechkin will play for Russia for the remainder of the World Championship, which runs through May 15, in Bratislava and Kosice, Slovakia.
Russia is 2-1 in the qualifying round, and with six points is tied with the Czech Republic and Germany for the top spot in Group E. Russia's next game is Sunday, against the Czech Republic.
Ovechkin had told reporters Thursday that he had accepted an invitation from Russian hockey federation president Vladislav Tretiak to join the team for the remainder of the tournament.
"I talked to President Tretiak and they asked me if I go and I said yes, I go," Ovechkin said. "I don't want to go there but I will because I want to play in playoffs, win the Stanley Cup, but the situation is the situation and I'm going to play for my country and try to win gold."
Ovechkin led the Capitals in playoff scoring with 5 goals and 10 points, but for the fourth straight season he was unable to help them advance beyond the second round of the playoffs.
Despite saying nagging injuries limited Ovechkin's effectiveness this season, Capitals General Manager George McPhee said he had no problem with Ovechkin playing in the tournament.
"He's healthy now and he wants to play and I've never had a problem with players going to the World Championship if they want to play," McPhee said. "If they buy in 100 percent and they're there because they want to play … not because they feel obligated because their country's asking them to play; they've got to want to play, and he wants to play, so we're fine with that."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK