The Capitals have been without some of the bigger stars for the last few weeks now, but it appears like those players are starting to get healthy. According to Katie Carrera at the Washington Post, both Alex Ovechkin and Jason Arnott both went through a "brisk workout" before the rest of the Capitals practiced this morning.
Both Alex Ovechkin and Jason Arnott skated with strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish prior to the regular practice this morning. It appeared to be a rather brisk workout for both players, with plenty of stop-and-start style drills. Ovechkin wore knee-shin pads under warmup gear while Arnott didn’t wear any pads. They were on the ice for about 20-30 minutes.
Mike Green did not participate in this workout, or in practice in general, as he is still recovering from the concussion he suffered in February. The main reason that Ovechkin was put on the shelf was to get him some rest, so I wouldn't expect to see him rushed back into the lineup any time soon. They might also take the same approach with Arnott. So it is a good sign that they are skating, but I'm not sure if it means a return is on the horizon.
Well, we still don't know exactly what kind of injury is causing Alex Ovechkin to miss 7-10 days of action. The original diagnosis was that the Capitals were just giving their star some time off to fully recover from a collection of minor injuries so that he would be fresh for the playoffs. Now, it turns out that Ovechkin might have been suffering the effects of these injuries for longer than we know.
The most surprising thing about this is that Ovechkin has been starting to play pretty well recently. So if he could perform that well with an injury bugging him, one has to assume that a little time off to heal will do wonders for his game.
The Capitals announced yesterday that their star Alex Ovechkin would miss the next 7-10 days as he recovers from a myriad of apparent injuries. This is an interesting time to rest Ovechkin, with the regular season drawing to a close and potential playoff seeding still on the line, but as Puck Daddy points out, it shows where the Capitals priorities are.
Washington management is making this sound like a maintenance day down the stretch, and it's a bold time to rest him: Chasing the Flyers, holding a not-that-insurmountable five-point lead in the Southeast and, let's face it, playing a nationally televised game for the NHL's U.S. cable partner.
But it also shows the Capitals have a laser-focus on the playoffs this season, from their deadline acquisitions to resting a player that seemingly never needs it.
I don't think any Capitals fans want to see them lose any games (particularly on National television), but if the reason is to be more prepared for the playoffs, I think it is something that fans will be able to understand.
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.