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Ovechkin Joins Capitals Informal Skates, Officially Back In North America



Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin

ARLINGTON, V.A. — Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is officially back in town and has returned safely to the United States.

The Great 8 was in high spirits as he hit the ice with his teammates at informal skates at MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, V.A. on Friday. Per his agent, he flew back to D.C. from Russia on Wednesday.

Ovechkin joins newest Capitals signees Dylan Strome and Connor Brown, who joined the heavily-attended skates on Wednesday. Evgeny Kuznetsov, John Carlson, Anthony Mantha, Nic Dowd, Carl Hagelin, Hendrix Lapierre, Joe Snively, Dmitry Orlov, Nick Jensen, Sam Anas, Alex Alexeyev and more are also skating.

The Great 8 spent the entire offseason back in Europe. While spending time with friends and family and vacationing, he also skated with Orlov, Alex Semin and more. Ovechkin additionally took part in charity events and gave back to the community. He also scored in an FC Dynamo soccer friendly after signing a one-day Russian Premier League contract.

READ MORE ON WHN: Washington Capitals’ Hendrix Lapierre Told To ‘Calm Down’ While Adding Muscle

Ovechkin is going into his 18th NHL season and coming off one of the best campaigns of his career. In 78 games last season, he dished 50 goals for the record ninth time and added 40 assists for his first 90-point season in a decade. Ovechkin turns 37 on Sept. 17.

Having the captain around is something that several of his teammates are looking forward too, including Lapierre, who has been taking part in informal skates and training with Carlson in the morning as he eyes a full-time NHL role sooner rather than later.

“He’s such a good guy and he’s just very, very passionate about the game, which is super impressive considering the fact that he’s beating pretty much every record he has to. I know he wants to get to Gretzky, but he’s just so passionate about the game, loves to have fun,” Lapierre said. “It’s very good for me to come in and see that, ‘You know what? These guys like to have fun, but when it’s business time, they’re really out there.’ And so for me, it was a dream come true literally last year when I had the chance to play with him. And he’s been very, very, very good to me.”

Training camp kicks off on Sept. 21 with off-ice testing and physicals. The first on-ice sessions open to the public are on Sept. 22 at MedStar Capitals Iceplex.

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