With the Washington Capitals on the doorstep of clinching a berth in the 2011 NHL Playoffs, the team has decided to give star Alex Ovechkin a bit of a breather. Ovechkin will not travel with the club for a key road game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday and is likely to sit for 7-10 days with undisclosed injuries, according to Mike Vogel of Capitals.com.
Hockey injuries are purposely concealed, so it's unclear what exactly is bothering Ovechkin. But general manager George McPhee told Vogel that the key is to get him some rest before the playoffs begin.
With Washington's playoff berth all but cemented with three weeks remaining in the season, and with Tuesday's game in Philadelphia being the only game the Capitals play over a span of six days, this was the optimal time for Ovechkin to step back for a few games and take some time to heal up and get his body ready for the rigorous run that is the Stanley Cup playoffs.
"He just needs to take some time off to get completely healed up," says Caps' general manager George McPhee.
Coach Bruce Boudreau said Ovechkin has been bothered by nagging injuries for a couple months now, and therefore should sit out to get right. Ovechkin has turned it around recently after a horrendous start to the season by his standards, but perhaps this lends credence to the theory that he was struggling because he was hurt.
The Capitals are dealing with a number of injuries as they head down the stretch. Center Nicklas Backstrom recently returned from a thumb injury, and defensemen Mike Green is dealing with head injuries stemming from taking a slap shot to the head against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Super Bowl Sunday.