Despite not making the playoffs, a lot of Washington Capitals players still have some hockey left to play. Last week, Caps captain Alex Ovechkin announced that Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, and he will be representing Team Russia in the 2014 World Championships happening in Minsk, Belarus.
But what of the Caps’ Swedes? After winning a silver medal in Sochi, Marcus Johansson will likely not represent his home country due to a broken arm. On Thursday, Pär Mårts, Sweden’s national team coach, told Svenska Dagbladet that Nicklas Backstrom has turned down an invitation to play in the tournament this year.
When asked why, Mårts said Backstrom won’t be playing “for family reasons.”
Backstrom, who played several games for Sweden in last year’s World Championship, could use a break from hockey. In the beginning of the NHL season, his girlfriend gave birth to the couple’s first child, Haley Backstrom. The morning of the Olympic gold-medal game, Backstrom was suspended for taking Zyrtec, his allergy medication. The IOC later awarded Backstrom a silver medal.
This season also marks the first time Backstrom has missed the NHL playoffs as a player.
Other possible Capitals who may play in the World Championships include Troy Brouwer, Joel Ward, and Jason Chimera. Brouwer has been extended an invitation from Team Canada and will likely play. Darren Dreger reports that Ward has been extended an invitation.
CSNWashington.com has learned that Hockey Canada officials have reached out to Jason Chimera’s agent to gauge Chimera’s interest in playing. Finally, CSN’s Chuck Gormley reports that Chimera has accepted an invitation and will play.
Karl Alzner and Braden Holtby, who were both at Canada’s Olympic orientation camp last August, are also on Team Canada’s radar.
The World Championships will take place May 9-25.
Swedish translation by Magnus Cadelin.