Following a second-round series defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov have all accepted an invitation to play for Russia at the 2016 World Championship, already in progress.
This will be Ovechkin’s 12th time playing in the World Championship. His presence is always a positive for the country, especially with this year’s tournament taking place in Russia. He’s a major attraction that will bring people to games and give Russia a much better chance of taking home a medal.
The tournament started on Friday and Russia is currently 2-0-0-1 after being dealt an opening night shutout at the hands of the Czech Republic. The infusion of offensive talent will surely be welcomed.
The Russian team had been playing with just 18 skaters, leaving spots for four more skaters and a goaltender to join the team.
With many Russians still in the NHL playoffs, they were leaving themselves open to a big infusion of talent. With Washington knocked out, they picked up three, but if it was Pittsburgh Evgeni Malkin could have joined. If the Lightning had been defeated they could have sent Nikita Kucheov, Vladislav Namestnikov or Nikita Nesterov. Meanwhile, the Stars (Valeri Nichushkin) and Blues (Vladimir Tarasenko) all have big offensive threats that could join and make a difference for the Russian national team.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.