Ovechkin, Bobrovsky to lead Russia

Washington Capitals wing Alex Ovechkin and Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will lead Russia in the world championship starting Friday in Minsk, Belarus.

Just seven players, including captain Ovechkin, have survived from the squad that lost to Finland in the Sochi Olympic quarterfinals. One notable absentee is former New Jersey Devils wing Ilya Kovalchuk, now playing for SKA St. Petersburg, who is injured.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Anton Khudobin is on track to play at his first worlds after a breakout NHL season saw him post a save percentage of .926, fifth best in the league.

Among NHL players, only those whose teams have been eliminated from the playoffs were eligible for the squad, which was announced Tuesday by the Russian Hockey Federation. Players can be added later, however.

The worlds are the first major competition for new Russia coach Oleg Znarok. He has been tasked with reviving the team after it failed to win a medal at Sochi. Russia is to play Switzerland, Finland, the United States, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Germany and Belarus in the group stage.

The squad includes 26 names, one more than the maximum allowed by the International Ice Hockey Federation for the championship. Of the 26, eight play in the NHL, with the remaining 16 drawn from the Kontinental Hockey League. That included defenseman Anton Belov, who left the Edmonton Oilers for SKA.

Among the other NHL players named were 0Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov and wing Evgeny Kuznetsov, who at 21 is the youngest on the roster.