- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Capitals stars Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom returned to Kettler Iceplex on Tuesday in the aftermath of a disasterous Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Ovechkin’s father, Mikhail, suffered a heart attack on Feb. 16 that was kept from his son during the tournament. Russia then flamed out in the quarterfinals and did not earn a medal, a massive disappoitnment for the host country.

Backstrom, meanwhile, is still dealing with the shock of his failed doping test and ensuing suspension just hours before Sweden played Canada in the gold-medal final on Sunday.

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Mikhail Ovechkin, previously hospitalized for a heart ailment in Washington, remained in Sochi through Tuesday before flying home to Moscow with his wife, Tatyana, and other son, Mikhail. His father’s health put the crushing loss to Finland in the quarterfinals in perspective for Alex Ovechkin.

“I understand it. It’s situation when all Russian people, all the families want to get success in the Olympics,” Ovechkin said. “Soon as I found out that he’s in hospital and he’s feeling not that good and he could be dying, I just forget the game that we lose against Finland and go to Sochi because we stay in one place and hospital is [elsewhere] in Sochi. Just go there and spend time with him and saw him. It was great feelings to see what’s happening and how he’s feeling. That’s most important thing.”

Ovechkin was able to smile during a 10-minute chat with reporters. He cracked a few jokes and seemed his old self. But Backstrom remained visibly upset, especially after pointed questions from Swedish reporters about how such a blunder could occer.

Backstrom had too much pseudoephedrine in his system (190 miligrams) thanks to what he claimed was taking the allergy medicine Zyrtec-D, which contains that substance. The International Olympic Committee allows levels of only 150 milligrams. Backstrom’s “A” and “B” samples tested too high and it remains in question if he’ll even receive the silver medal that his Swedish teammates got after the 3-0 loss to Canada. That decision will come from the IOC sometime in the next two weeks. 

“It’s obviously been couple tough days,” Backstrom said. “You miss Olympic final, something you don’t want to do and obviously maybe you don’t have that chance again in your career, so it’s very sad and disappointing.”