Ovechkin seeks belated team success

Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:54am EST
 
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By Steve Keating

(Reuters) - For all the riches Alex Ovechkin has accumulated during a glittering ice hockey career, a gold medal and a coveted silver bowl remain firmly beyond the Russian sniper's grasp.

With a trophy case laden with individual honors, including three Hart trophies as the NHL's most valuable player, and a $124 million contract with the Washington Capitals, Ovechkin would seem to have plenty to be pleased about.

For all his considerable personal accomplishments, wealth and good fortune, however, his Hall of Fame resume is incomplete, having yet to take his team or country to championship glory.

As the 28-year-old prepares to lead the Russian men's ice hockey team into battle at the Sochi Winter Games, Ovechkin understands better than most what an Olympic gold medal means to his home land.

His mother, Tatiana Ovechkina, an ex-Soviet Russian basketball player, has two Olympic gold medals while Maria Kirilenko, his tennis-playing girlfriend, also knows her way to the podium, capturing a bronze at the 2012 London Summer Games.

Even Ovechkin's great rival, Pittsburgh Penguins and Canada captain Sidney Crosby, had ticked an Olympic gold and a Stanley Cup off his to-do list by the time he was 22.

"Of course, we talk about it," Ovechkin told Reuters. "She (his mother) has some memories but back then, it was two different countries.

"The USSR and Russia are two different countries. It's different. It was Communist back then."   Continued...

 
Nov 23, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Washington Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin (8) warms up before playing against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports