The Washington Times - January 17, 2013, 05:36PM

Alex Ovechkin will be given permission by the Capitals to play in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, whether the NHL sends all of its players or not, owner Ted Leonsis said Thursday night.

Ovechkin has made it well-known that he will play in his home country. Leonsis won’t oppose it.


“It was never brought up at all in the negotiations. If they don’t, and Alex still wants to go to the Olympics, I’m gonna be honest – I’m gonna let him go,” Leonsis said. “I just think it’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing for him to have something played in Russia, and he’s gonna be a torchbearer and it’s very important to him and his family, and you know, who am I to get in the way of him wanting to fulfill that?”

Leonsis conceded it’s a “slippery slope,” because if Nicklas Backstrom then wants to go play for Sweden, the Capitals must address that, too.

“We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get to it, but I think that I’m going to lean on the side of the players on that one,” Leonsis said.

But for now, Leonsis gave his blessing for Ovechkin to go to Sochi.