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Ovechkin hands Russia boost as he links up with team ahead of World Championships

Ovechkin hands Russia boost as he links up with team ahead of World Championships
Russian NHL superstar Alexander Ovechkin has joined up with the national team in Moscow to hand the squad a boost as it prepares to battle for the World Ice Hockey Championships crown over the next three weeks.

The Washington Capitals leader, who crashed out of the Stanley Cup last week, agreed to compete for Russia at the 2019 World Championships along with teammates Evgeni Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov.

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The Caps trio arrived in Moscow on Tuesday, joining their compatriots Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ilya Kovalchuk, who plays for the Los Angeles Kings.

Both players finished the battle for the Stanley Cup after their respective teams were eliminated in the first round of the NHL playoffs.

Kovalchuk has been named captain of the team, with Ovechkin, Malkin and Sergei Plotnikov of KHL club SKA being named alternate captains.   

The Russian team will soon fly to Slovakia, where they will play preliminary group matches against Sweden, the Czech Republic, Norway, Switzerland, Latvia, Austria and Italy.

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Then last time Russia laid their hands on the world championship trophy was in 2014, soon after the dismal performance at their home Olympics in Sochi.

The championships will run from May 10 to 26 in two countries: the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

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