ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece — Capitals star Alex Ovechkin was the first Russian to carry the Olympic torch after it was lit Sunday to begin the relay for February's Games in Sochi, Russia.
The torch was lit by the sun's rays after actor Ino Menegaki, in the role of high priestess, called out to the ancient god of the sun, Apollo. The torch was passed to 18-year-old Greek Alpine skier Ioannis Antoniou, who handed off to Ovechkin, last season's league MVP and a given, barring injury, to play in his third Olympics next year.
Moments before getting the torch, Ovechkin said: "To be honest with you, it's going to be (an) experience for all my life, and you know, I am proud to be Russian and proud to be here."
After he was done, he posted on Twitter a picture of him running with the torch and "So sick!!!!!!! best moment in my life!!!"
With the Capitals' permission, Ovechkin left for Greece after a Friday preseason game and is expected back for the season opener Tuesday at Chicago.
The Greek leg of the relay will cover around 1,250 miles until an Oct. 7 hand-over ceremony in Panathenian Stadium in Athens, venue of the first modern Olympics in 1896.
The Russian leg is set to cover more than 40,000 miles, with the torch carried by hot-air balloon, dog sled and a nuclear-powered ice breaker before its scheduled trip to space Nov. 7.
Kings: Former Lightning goalie Mathieu Garon, on a tryout contract, was released. He failed to beat out Ben Scrivens for the job to back up Jonathan Quick.
Oilers: Defenseman Andrew Ference, in his first season with the team, was named captain. Ference, 34, enters his 14th NHL season after signing as a free agent. He was an alternate captain with the Bruins the past two seasons.
Predators: Wing Viktor Stalberg, one of the team's main free agent signings, was put on injured reserve with a right shoulder sprain suffered against the Lightning on a check by defenseman Dmitry Korobov last week.
Rangers: Top wing Rick Nash sat out practice with a sore foot, but the problem wasn't serious and he was expected to be ready for the season opener Thursday against the Coyotes, the team said. The foot was hit by a puck Friday against the Kings.