Ovechkin scored just one goal in five games for Russia and never
reached the podium in Sochi, while Backstrom was denied a chance to
play in Sweden's gold-medal game after he failed a drug test.
"I feel sorry for my country people," Ovechkin told reporters after
practice at the Capitals' training facility in suburban Washington.
"Everybody was excited, couldn't wait for the game to start. The
fans were supporting us and we lost.
"First of all, I want to say sorry to the fans. It's a
once-in-a-life opportunity to represent your country in the Olympics
and we didn't get any medal.
"The fans, the media and all the people that supported Russia was
upset but life goes on. Right now, we're here and we'll do our best
to take a playoff spot and win the (Stanley) Cup."
Backstrom was forced to sit out Sweden's 3-0 loss to Canada in the
title game after testing positive for a higher-than-permitted level
of a IOC-banned substance found in an allergy medication.
The 26-year-old center said he has been taking the medication, which
is not banned by the NHL, since joining the Capitals in 2007.
"It's been a couple tough days," Backstrom said softly. "When you
miss an Olympic final, it's something you don't want to do. Maybe
you don't have that chance the rest of your career. It's very sad at
"I've had allergies for seven years. Everyone who lives in the
Washington area knows how bad it is here. I've been playing
internationally, the world championship, the Olympics (in 2010). I
haven't done anything differently."
Backstrom said the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had not yet
decided if he can receive the silver medal that Sweden earned. When
asked who he would blame for the medicinal mishap, he said, "I
followed the doctor's recommendation."
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Capitals coach Adam Oates said he feels "very sorry" for Backstrom
and that testing for drugs is an imperfect science. The NHL levies
no sanction for the level of medicine Backstrom ingested.
"It's maybe biggest game of his career and he wasn't able to play,"
said Oates, an NHL Hall of Famer. "From our angle, it's a glitch in
the system. He was given medicine that he's allowed to take (in the
"From my perspective that sounds wrong. You have a figure skater
who's 90 pounds and you have a bobsled guy who's 280 and everybody's
body processes medicine differently.
"So you have a player who took a drug that he's allowed. He talked
to the team doctor, who has accepted responsibility. I feel bad that
it's gotten to this position for everybody."
Washington is currently on the outside looking in at a playoff spot
but Oates said he was confident Ovechkin and Backstrom would be able
to put the Olympics behind them.
"They're going to move forward fine," he said. "They're both
professionals. What happened is very difficult, no question. Ovi's
country was the host country with huge expectations and the team
didn't play very well.
"And Backie's situation is borderline unfair. But it's our job to
get them through it and re-focus on the Capitals for the rest of the
Ovechkin, the 28-year-old three-time NHL Most Valuable Player, said
he is his own worst critic of his Sochi performance. Despite being a
pre-tournament favorite, Russia was eliminated 3-1 in the
quarter-finals by Finland.
"It was my job to score goals," said the gap-toothed winger. "I
scored one on my first shot. The most criticism will come from me. I
had the chance to score goals and I didn't.
"I blame me. There's nothing more you can say."
(Reporting By Steve Ginsburg, editing by Gene Cherry)
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