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Ovie trying to juggle Oly torch duty, Caps' opener

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ARLINGTON, Va. -- Alex Ovechkin's balancing act between the Washington Capitals and the Olympics in Russia could get a whirlwind test in a few weeks.

Russia would like to have Ovechkin carry the torch after it is lit in Greece on Sept. 29. That would be a tight fit -- because it's only two days before the Capitals open the regular season at Chicago.

"We just have to find a plane," Ovechkin said Tuesday.

Ovechkin said his agent is working with the organizers of the Sochi Games to figure out the logistics. He joked he could "take some medicine" to sleep while flies back and forth across the Atlantic. It helps that the Capitals aren't scheduled to practice on Sept. 29, but he'll want to be back in time join his teammates on the ice the next day for their final skate before travelling to Chicago.

"It's a huge honour for me," Ovechkin said. "I'm very proud the Russian federation asked me to do that. ... It's only a once in your life opportunity to carry the torch and represent your country."

There's been speculation whether Ovechkin would return to Russia for good to play for Dynamo Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League. Countryman Ilya Kovalchuk stunned the NHL in July when he left $77 million on his New Jersey Devils contract to go to the KHL. Ovechkin would make a similar financial hit: His 13-year, $124 million contract with the Capitals runs through 2021.

"The answer is, like, I'm here, I have a contract," Ovechkin said. "It was very enjoyable to hear president of Dynamo and GM wants me to sign, and be honest with you, I love Dynamo, it's my first team and I play (there) when it was (NHL) lockout. But I have a contract. So I have to play here and I respect my teammates, I respect my fans, and all that kind of stuff. That's about it."

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 11, 2013 D2

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