By Ian Oland
Alex Ovechkin spoke to the media on Saturday for the first time since missing four games due to a violation of the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols. During the Capitals’ first road trip of the season. Ovechkin spent time in the same hotel room as Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, and Ilya Samsonov. The NHL found out after Samsonov tested positive for COVID-19 and began contact tracing. The Capitals were fined $100,000 as a team.
Ovechkin said in a statement last Wednesday that he regretted his decision and that he would learn from the experience. Meanwhile, his wife, Nastya, criticized the NHL for how it handled the situation.
“It sucks, obviously,” Ovechkin said of being forced into quarantine. “No one wants to be suspended. No one wants to put yourself in that position. It’s over. You learn from it and move on.”
During practice, Ovechkin was placed on the second line — likely to limit his minutes if he were to play — and skated with TJ Oshie and Richard Panik.
“I had my bye week already,” Ovechkin joked. “I feel pretty rested and ready to go. Obviously, I don’t have lots of time to spend on the ice but I did some workouts in my gym and did some running. Tried to do max of what I could do.”
Ovechkin was unsure if he’d play against the Boston Bruins. “We will see tonight after skate,” Ovechkin said.
As for if he agreed with the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols that forced him out of action, Ovechkin didn’t put up much of a fight.
“It’s a situation where rules are rules,” he said. “You can see all the names there… If you make mistake it can cost you couple of games.”
While Ovechkin and the other Capitals’ Russians were out, the Capitals went 3-0-1, recording a seven out of a possible eight points.
“It was a great response by teammates,” he said. “Obviously we collecting points and that’s most important thing. Happy for new guys who had opportunity to step up and play well. It was fun to watch.”
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