Auction to aid families of crash victims

Russian NHL superstars Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin are set to go head-to-head Thursday night in Pittsburgh, but the pair will also be teaming up to raise money for the families of the victims of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash.

When Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals meet Malkin’s Penguins, both players will wear patches on their jerseys to commemorate the Kontinental Hockey League team. After the game, the jerseys will be signed and auctioned at NHL.com from Oct. 13-27.

The proceeds will go to the families of the 44 people who died in the Sept. 7 crash northeast of Moscow. The crash killed the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team, including former NHL players Ruslan Salei, Pavol Demitra and Brad McCrimmon, the coach of the team.

Malkin said he and Ovechkin both knew many of the players who died in the crash, along with their wives and families.

"We were born in Russia. We know these guys," Malkin said earlier this week. "We (played) with these guys on teams, the national team. We need to help their families because those are (our) guys."

Malkin, however, could miss Thursday night’s game due to lingering soreness in his knee. Malkin underwent surgery to repair two ligaments last February and missed the remainder of the season. He skated at practice Thursday morning, but coach Dan Bylsma said his status would be a game-time decision.