Kovalchuk to captain Russians at Worlds

Ilya Kovalchuk will captain the Russian national team at the World Hockey Championships, which begins Friday in the Czech Republic.

Kovalchuk said coach Oleg Znarok gave him the captaincy role on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old, who left the NHL in 2013 to join SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL, last participated at a World Championship in 2013 where he had eight goals and 13 points in eight games as Russia finished sixth.

A knee injury forced Kovalchuk to miss last year’s tournament.

Kovalchuk has captained the Russians previously, but was overlooked in favor of Pavel Datsyuk at last year’s Olympics in Sochi.

Related: NBCSN to air every Team USA game at Worlds

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