The Washington Times - May 13, 2012, 05:09PM

It’s apparently not too late for a few Washington Capitals stars to join their respective national teams at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Helsinki and Stockholm.

After the Caps were eliminated by the New York Rangers on Saturday night, the IIHF announced Sunday that Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin accepted an invitation to play for Russia and Nicklas Backstrom for Sweden.


Semin is going to worlds pending insurance, his agent, Mark Gandler, said in a text message Sunday. It was unclear when he would be leaving. The 28-year-old is an unrestricted free agent July 1, so insurance could be especially important for him.

Ovechkin enjoys playing for Russia in this tournament, and he and Semin were part of the gold medal-winning team in 2008.

“They will help us a lot. They are both talented, experienced and I think will add a lot to this team,” Pavel Datsyuk said, as quoted by the IIHF.

Both Russian wingers are expected to arrive in time for the start of the quarterfinals.

According to the IIHF, Backstrom will arrive Tuesday night; Sweden plays Latvia in the final preliminary-round game then.