This past holiday weekend was extra special for a couple of Capitals players who found our they made their countries’ Olympic teams – Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Semyon Varlamov made the Russian team while Nicklas Backstrom will be competing for the Swedish team. The Capitals have the youngest players on the Swedish and Russian Olympic rosters – Backstrom at 22 and Varlamov at 21.
The Capitals lead all NHL clubs with three representatives on the Russian team. In addition, two players who spent the past two seasons in Washington – Sergei Fedorov and Viktor Kozlov – were named to the team.
Backstrom will be making his first Olympic appearance. The 6’1”, 210-pound native of Gavle, Sweden, currently ranks sixth in the NHL (second among Swedish-born players) with 45 points (15 goals, 30 assists) in 39 games.
Ovechkin, 24, will be making his second Olympic appearance after earning all-tournament honors as Russia finished fourth at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy. The son of a two-time women’s basketball golf medalist with the USSR, Ovechkin has represented Russia in three World Junior Championships, five World Championships and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
Semin, 25, and Varlamov have both been named to their first Olympic team. Semin has participated in four World Championships and one World Junior Championship while Varlamov played in two World Junior Championships. Semin and Ovechkin were teammates on the Russian team that won the gold medal at the 2008 World Championship.
More Capitals are candidates to represent their respective countries, with announcements scheduled between now and Jan. 1.