Mikhail Ovechkin, the father of Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, suffered a heart condition on Sunday that required surgery, Capitals general manager George McPhee said Thursday.
Mikhail Ovechkin, 62, is out of intensive care and in stable condition in a Sochi, Russia hospital, McPhee said.
“Ovi didn’t know about this during the [Olympic] tournament,” said McPhee, who spoke with Ovechkin on Wednesday. “He was told after the final game [on Wednesday]. We told him to stay as long as necessary.
“I’m sure his parents didn’t want him distracted,” McPhee said of their decision to keep his father’s condition from him for Russia’s final two games of the Olympic tournament.
“Family means everything and that’s why he stays until he’s ready to come back,” McPhee said.
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Ovechkin is especially close with his father, who attends most Capitals practices.
“What can be greater than being that close with your family?” McPhee said. “It’s really all we’ve got in this life. I think it’s wonderful they’re that close and I think we’d all be better off if everybody was that close to their parents.”
The news of Ovechkin’s heart condition comes at a time when Ovechkin is trying to cope with Russia’s disappointing fifth-place finish in the Olympics, a fate sealed by their 3-1 loss to Finland on Wednesday.
“It’s certainly going to be a most difficult time in his life,” McPhee said. “The Olympics meant a great deal to him and his father is sick, so this is not going to be easy for him. But when he comes back we expect he’ll give us everything he’s got, like he always has.”
McPhee has known Ovechkin’s father since the Capitals drafted Ovechkin first overall in 2004. He has become a fixture at Capitals’ practices, sitting in the bleachers at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
“My father died as a young guy, 42 years of age, when I was a freshman in college. That’s not an easy thing to go through. I think it’s wonder these two guys have been able to spend all these years together. Certainly, I understand it. I just hope everything works out for him.”
Ovechkin finished the Olympic tournament with just one goal and one assist in five games, but McPhee said the criticism heaped on the 28-year-old native of Moscow is undeserved.
“For people to blame Ovi for that tam’s failure is not proper,” McPhee sid. “There are a lot of players that haven’t produced over there. Ovi has been producing here. That’s what we focus on. He’s doing the job for us, that’s what’s important.
“This is a really difficult time for him. He’s an experienced player now and he’ll deal with it and he’ll be pretty darn good when he gets back here.”