Alex Ovechkin

Ovechkin to play for Russia at World Championships


Things didn’t exactly go well for Alex Ovechkin during the season for the Washington Capitals or for Team Russia at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, so now he’ll try to find another way to end the season on a winning note.

Yahoo Sports’ Dmitry Chesnokov reports Ovechkin will join the Russian team on April 20 for the 2014 World Championships in Belarus.

Russia will be looking to rebound from last year’s shocking 8-3 quarterfinal loss to the United States at Worlds. Ovechkin has been, if nothing else, a steady participant for his home country when it comes to Worlds. Of course, most of that ties into the lack of success the Capitals have had in the postseason as an early exit there frees him up to play in the IIHF tournament.

Ovechkin won’t be headed to Belarus alone as Caps teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov will also join him on the Russian team. Russia last won gold at Worlds in 2012 when they knocked off Slovakia. Russia has won gold at three of the past six tournaments so they’ve at least got that going for them.

After PTO, Upshall signs one-year deal with Blues

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
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Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.

On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.

But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.

The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.

Panthers’ Crouse is going back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.

Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.

Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”