Ovechkin captains Russia to gold at hockey worlds

Ovechkin captains Russia to gold at hockey worlds
May 25, 2014, 5:45 pm
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Russia scored four power play goals and Alex Ovechkin added an even strength tally in a 5-2 win against Finland in the gold medal game at the World Hockey Championships in Minsk, Belarus.

It is a small consolation prize for the Russian national team after falling to Finland in the quarterfinals at the Sochi Games and failing to medal on home soil at the 2014 Olympics.

Ovechkin was one of eight Russian Olympians who also competed at this year’s world championships. Ovechkin earned his third career win at the worlds (2008, 2012, 2014), but his first as Russia’s captain. The Capitals’ captain finished the tournament with four goals and 11 points in nine games and had a plus-8 rating and ended a tumultuous season on a positive note. 

Russia finished the tournament with a 10-0-0 record and became the second team since 1989 to win every game in regulation (Russia also went 10-0-0 in 2012).

Ovechkin appeared in all three of Russia’s games in the medal round, despite suffering a right leg injury in Russia’s penultimate game of the preliminary round. Ovechkin underwent an MRI and missed the final game of the preliminary round, but eventually returned and played through what was originally thought to be a serious injury.

The Capitals later issued a release explaining that Ovechkin had “the type of injury that requires rest,” and that they “are confident that Alex will be completely healthy prior to the start of training camp.”

Ovechkin’s Washington teammate, Evgeni Kuznetsov finished the tournament with two goals and three points in 10 games, and earned his second career gold medal from the world championships.

MORE HONORS FOR CAPS: While Ovechkin was not selected to the tournament all-star team, he was recognized as one of Russia’s top three players, according to a vote by tournament coaches.

Perhaps more impressive was Joel Ward’s selection as Canada’s top forward according to the panel of coaches. Ward was Canada’s leading scorer with six goals and nine points in eight games in his first career international appearance.

SWEDEN TAKES BRONZE IN JAGR FINALE: Earlier Sunday, Sweden beat the Czech Republic 3-0 in the bronze medal game.

Jaromir Jagr announced after the game that he is retiring from the Czech national team, but will return for one final NHL season. Jagr, 42, is one of 25 players to win the Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal and a World Hockey Championship.