Alex Ovechkin announces death of his father, Mikhail, at 71

Alex Ovechkin is taking some time away from the Capitals to deal with the death of his father. (Getty)

Alex Ovechkin is taking some time away from the Capitals to deal with the death of his father. (Getty)

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin took to Instagram Wednesday to announce the death of his father. Mikhail Ovechkin was 71.

“Today I lost my father,” Ovechkin’s post reads. “I thank everyone for the support but please be understanding and do not disturb my family in this difficult time for us! Thank you.”

Popular Capitals blog Russian Machine Never Breaks on Tuesday shared some background on the heart and health issues Mikhail has been dealing with since 2014:

Ovechkin has always held a special bond with his father, who called his son being drafted No. 1 overall by the Capitals in 2004 his “most pleasant moment,” according to RMNB. Ovechkin also honoured his father during a soccer game with Dynamo Moscow last summer, sporting the “No. 3” Mikhail wore throughout his professional soccer career.

There has been no timeframe given for Ovechkin’s return.

Ovi left the team Tuesday to attend to a “family matter”

On Tuesday, the team announced that Ovechkin would be taking some time away from the team to “attend to a family matter and the health of a loved one.” Russian outlet Match TV reported that Mikhail required “urgent hospitalization” after falling ill, adding that the Capitals captain was returning to Moscow.

Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette does not expect Ovechkin to be available for the rest of this week, and says the three-time Hart Trophy winner will be out for the “foreseeable future,” per Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press. Washington hosts the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday and the Florida Panthers on Thursday before an outdoor road matchup with the Hurricanes on Saturday as part of the NHL’s Stadium Series.

On the ice, Ovechkin has been enjoying another terrific season in 2022-23. The 37-year-old has 32 goals and 54 points in 54 games and continues to chase Wayne Gretzky for the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring record. Ovechkin currently sits at 812 goals, just 82 behind Gretzky’s 894.

Ovechkin made his ninth All-Star Game appearance earlier this month and won the Breakaway Challenge at the skills competition alongside his son, Sergei, and Sidney Crosby.

The Capitals currently occupy the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 62 points, but their grip on a playoff spot is tenuous as the Panthers and New York Islanders are each on the outside with 60 points.

Forward Joe Snively was called up from the AHL’s Hershey Bears to take Ovechkin’s spot on the roster.

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