For nearly two minutes, Alex Ovechkin lay on the ice with his head in his hands, having absorbed a hit from Nazem Kadri that could have been season- or career-ending. Ovechkin limped off the ice with the help of teammates Nate Schmidt and Nicklas Backstrom and well as athletic trainer Greg Smith. It seemed clear Ovechkin would not return to the game.
Seventeen minutes later, Ovechkin was twirling on the ice, testing his leg out. A couple seconds after that, he slammed Jake Gardiner into the corner boards. Ovechkin stayed physical through the game, which the Capitals won 2-1 in overtime. Ovechkin finished with six hits and three shots on net. The seemingly cataclysmic injury had little effect.
Caps defenseman Nate Schmidt remarked of Ovechkin’s resilience, “Just replace the parts and keep going.”
Braden Holtby said it even better, invoking the name of this website.
Back in 2006, Ovechkin was struck by a puck during practice. Then-Washington Post writer Tarik El-Bashir asked if he had been hurt.
“I’m okay,” Ovechkin replied. “Russian machine never breaks.”
Not then. Not tonight. Not ever.
In his twelve-year career, Ovechkin has missed just 29 games despite playing a singularly aggressive and physical style. His resoluteness is the stuff of legend among hockey fans, but to his teammates it’s just Ovi.
“I knew he’d be fine,” Braden Holtby said. “There’s a website named after him for a reason.”
Additional reporting by Ian Oland.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.