ARLINGTON, Va. -- Alex Ovechkin is no stranger to carrying the crushing weight of external pressures and expectations on his hulking shoulders. This season, however, he'll bear a double load.
Not only will the Washington Capitals captain be asked to improve upon his third Hart Trophy-winning season and lead his team past the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 16 years, but as one of the faces of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, he's also responsible for propelling his home country of Russia to the Olympic gold that has eluded it.
"Of course there's going to be pressure on us," Ovechkin said Tuesday of being the host nation. "It's going to be big pressure, and it's going to be nice pressure because we're going to play in front of fans, families, kids. I'm sure our president is going to be watching, and there is going to be big pressure for us."