After spending the offseason in Russia, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has officially left the country for North America.
Ovechkin’s agent, Gleb Chistyakov, told sports.ru that the Great 8 left on Wednesday and is flying to Washington, D.C. to continue preparing for the 2022-23 NHL season. The Capitals have seen several of their players return to Arlington, V.A. and take the ice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex for informal skates. Offseason additions Dylan Strome and Connor Brown are the latest to join the group, which currently consists of about 20 skaters.
Given Ovechkin’s passion for the game, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him take part in the sessions as well. The informal skates have consisted of scrimmages and drills, as well as rigorous skating in preparation for the infamous skate test to open Washington’s training camp.
Ovechkin is coming off one of the best seasons of his now 18-year career. In 2021-22, the Russian dished 50 goals for the record ninth time and also added 40 assists for his first 90-point campaign in a decade. Ovechkin also moved from sixth on the NHL all-time goals list to sole possession of third. With 780 goals, he is the highest-scoring European of all time. Ovechkin needs just 115 more goals to break Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record of 894.
READ MORE ON WHN: Strome, Brown Join Washington Capitals Informal Skates
Over the offseason, Ovechkin spent time with family and friends back home in Russia. He also played hockey with Dmitry Orlov, Alex Semin, Artemi Panarin and more. He also appeared in a Russian Premier League game with his father’s former club, Dynamo FC, and scored a goal. In addition, he played in several charity events and visited local young players in the community.
The Capitals will host rookie camp from Sept. 15-19. Training camp will begin with off-ice testing and physicals on Sept. 21, and the first on-ice sessions will be on Sept. 22.
Washington opens the season against the Boston Bruins on Oct. 12 at Capital One Arena.