Alex Ovechkin's participation in Olympic torch ceremony might conflict with NHL season

USA TODAY Sports

The Russian Federation is hoping to have Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin participate in the Olympic torch lighting ceremony. However, the timing of the event might align with the start of the NHL season.

The participation of Alex Ovechkin in the 2014 Sochi Olympics was a hot-button topic this time last year. Once the NHL Players Association was confirmed as a participant in the games, the concerns subsided. Now, a new issue might have arisen.

Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee President Dmitry Chernyshenko stated in a Russian language interview with R-Sport that Ovechkin will take part in the ceremonial lighting of the Olympic torch, translation via Russian Machine Never Breaks:

On September 29th we will light up the torch in Olympia, and for the next week it will travel through Greece; on October 6th we will deliver it to Moscow - and then promptly to the Red Square. There will be many interesting events. Who will be the first Russian [to carry the torch] in Greece, and who will be the first on Red Square? That is a secret, intrigue, and we will try to keep it until the end. But they will be people who are recognized and loved by everybody.

Will Ovechkin be among them? Nothing can be hidden from you! It is true; Ovechkin will participate in the Greek part of the torch relay, but will he be the first carrier or not - I will not tell you right now.

This could be problematic as the NHL regular season begins Oct. 1, with Ovechkin's team, the Washington Capitals, challenging the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks on opening night.

The Capitals have previously taken a relaxed attitude when it comes to Ovechkin and Sochi, with owner Ted Leonsis stating he would allow Ovechkin to play in the games even if the NHLPA was not allowed to participate. However, it remains to be seen whether the organization will permit him to miss time for the torch ceremony. Russian Machine Never Breaks reached out to the Capitals for comment and received this response via email:

The Russian Federation has expressed interest in having Alex participate in the daylong opening ceremony in Greece. We are still in the early stages of the process and are working through the logistics but the decision has not yet been made with respect to his participation.

(Ed. note: This story was originally published with the title "Alex Ovechkin to miss NHL season opener because of Olympic torch ceremony?," because it was interpreted that Ovechkin's participation could take place anytime between Sept. 29 and Oct. 6. We apologize for the error. The rest of the update remains unedited from its original posting.)

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