Ovechkin's torch run a tight squeeze

Ovechkin's torch run a tight squeeze
September 9, 2013, 5:00 pm
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Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has been invited by the Russian Hockey Federation to participate in the Olympic torch relay that will begin in Olympia, Greece on Sept. 29.

The Capitals open their NHL regular season in Chicago on Oct. 1.

That means the Russian Hockey Federation is going to need to jump through some hoops if they want Ovechkin to get from Washington to Greece and back to Washington in the span of about 48 hours.

“Right now we’re just waiting for the Russian Federation to finish to logisitics and timing," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "Schedule-wise it comes at a very difficult time, which he understands.”

Even before Ovechkin’s Olympic invitation, the Capitals had planned on their 27-year-old captain  to play their final home preseason game on Friday, Sept. 27 at Verizon Center, then miss the exhibition finale the next night in Chicago.

Under the scenario currently in place, Ovechkin would catch a flight to Greece late Friday night and be “in his bed” by late Sunday night. The Capitals expect Ovechkin to practice in Arlington on Monday, Sept. 30 and be on their charter flight to Chicago later that day for the Oct. 1 opener.

The cost for direct flights of that magnitude could cost the Russia Hockey Federation close to $500,000.

“It’s a long way to go and we’re waiting for them to come up with a plan,” Oates said. “He’d miss one day and be back in his bed Sunday night.

“It comes at an awkward time, he knows that. He stressed that he wants to do it, but not if it doesn’t make sense.”

Oates said it’s hard to deny any player the honor that goes along with representing his country.

“If someone called you and you had a chance to carry a torch for your country for the Olympics that’s a huge, huge honor.”