Teams that lose in the first round of the NHL playoffs often represent the biggest source of talent for the IIHF World Championship, and for Team Russia that is certainly the case this season. Igor Eronko of Sport-Express tweets that Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Nikita Zaitsev have all accepted an invitation from Russia to suit up in next month’s tournament. Evgenii Dadonov from the Florida Panthers will be joining them, giving the Russians quite the powerful forward group.
It’s not just those players who are headed to Slovakia for the tournament, as the team had previously received commitments from Evgeni Malkin, Nikita Kucherov, Ilya Kovalchuk, Mikhail Sergachev, Kirill Kaprizov, Andrei Vasilevskiy and others.
For Ovechkin, this is just another chance to add to his incredible international resume. The Washington Capitals have been knocked out of the playoffs early many times in the past, leading to the superstar forward suiting up 12 times in the past for this tournament. While still looking for an Olympic gold—Russia won last year when the NHL did not attend—Ovechkin has won this tournament three times previously and has a total of eight medals.
The action begins on May 10th.