Ovechkin to carry Olympic torch

Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin will be the first Russian to carry the Olympic torch when it is ignited in Greece this Sunday.

The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Ovechkin's home country of Russia.

"I'm extremely humbled and honored to be the first Russian to carry the Olympic torch," said Ovechkin in a statement Thursday. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and something I will never forget. I would like to thank the Washington Capitals organization and all of my teammates for their support in enabling me to travel to Greece prior to the regular season."

Ovechkin will head to Olympia, Greece following Friday's preseason game against Philadelphia and will return to the Capitals immediately after Sunday's ceremony.

"This is a huge honor, and we are so proud and excited for Alex and his family," said Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. "This is a very special event and we are thrilled that he was recognized for his past achievements and his dedication to his craft and his country."

Washington opens its season next Tuesday against Chicago.