Russian machine never breaks, but sometimes Alex Ovechkin needs some maintence.
During the second period of the Capitals-Rangers game, the Caps captain left the ice and went to the locker room.
The reason why is unknown.
The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell first noticed Ovi’s absence.
Alex Ovechkin is not on the bench. Went down the tunnel.
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) March 21, 2021
According to NBC Sports Washington’s JJ Regan, Capitals trainer Jason Serbus joined Ovi in his jaunt to the locker room.
I'm hearing that Ovechkin has gone down the tunnel followed by trainer Jason Serbus
— JJ Regan (@JJReganNBCS) March 21, 2021
Ovechkin missed one shift before returning and was replaced on the top line by TJ Oshie. Osh skated with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson.
Why Ovechkin left the game is unclear, but there were two different trains of thought on why. NBC Sports Washington’s Craig Laughlin pointed out that Ovi took a spin on the ice as soon as he returned and he seemed convinced it was “for a new set of wheels.”
.@Laughlin18 says he thinks Alex Ovechkin briefly left the game in the second period "for a new set of wheels" (skates).
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) March 21, 2021
Beat writers at Capital One Arena noticed other details that suggested something different. NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti reported that the legend was tossed a yellow ball by Serbus and was using it to “loosen up something in his leg or glute.”
After Ovechkin returned from the locker room, trainer Jason Serbus threw him a yellow ball and he was sitting/rolling on it on the bench between shifts. Appeared to be trying to loosen up something in his leg or glute.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) March 21, 2021
During the game, Ovechkin also collided with Evgeny Kuznetsov.
ovi, no! pic.twitter.com/TLU15pzvMA
— HockeyKot (@hockeykot) March 21, 2021
Ovi’s second-period issue is worth noting because the 35-year-old Russian has dealt with several different minor injuries behind-the-scenes this season.
“I think there’s another gear,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said last week. “I think he’s worked through some things physically, not quite injuries… he got through the COVID, got through some minor stuff physically. I think the last couple games he’s been more on target. I think he’ll have a really good second half here. We’re getting through not practicing, not being totally there after the COVID. Some injuries. I think he’ll have a good second half.”
Screenshot courtesy of NBC Sports Washington
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