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World Championship

Alex Ovechkin of Capitals won't play in World Championship

Forward has lower-body injury, Russian Hockey Federation says

by Tom Gulitti @tomgulittinhl / Staff Writer

Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin will not join Russia at the 2017 IIHF World Championship because of a lower-body injury, the Russian Hockey Federation said Thursday.

"During a conversation with coaches, Alexander Ovechkin stated that he is ready to join the team immediately as he always does, but doesn't want to let the team down because he finished the NHL playoffs on pain numbing injections," the federation said in a statement.


[RELATED: Full 2017 World Championship coverage]


The Capitals have not confirmed the injury.

Ovechkin, 31, had to be helped off the ice after being flipped over on a low hip check to his left leg by Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri in the first period of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round on April 21. Ovechkin returned to play at the start of the second period and did not miss any games.

The Capitals were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round with a 2-0 loss in Game 7 on Wednesday. Washington players are expected to gather for their breakdown day Friday.

Ovechkin had eight points (five goals, three assists) in 13 playoff games but was held to one point, a goal in Washington's 4-2 win in Game 5 against the Penguins, during the final four games.

The Capitals have not advanced past the second round of the playoffs since 1998 and had their season ended by the Penguins in the second round for the second straight year after winning the Presidents' Trophy. After Game 7, coach Barry Trotz responded to a question about Ovechkin's play by saying, "Emotionally right now, I don't want to answer that question. We win and lose as a team. That's probably my best answer right now."

Ovechkin has represented Russia at the World Championship 12 times. Although he won't be going this year, Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov and defenseman Dmitry Orlov will be, the federation announced.

Russia remained undefeated in four tournament games with a 3-0 win against Denmark on Thursday.

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