By Ian Oland
ESPN’s Arda Ocal said before Capitals-Leafs that “Russian machine never breaks.” That was cool. Then the game happened.
In the first period, Alex Ovechkin blocked a shot off his leg causing him to be in extreme discomfort at the bench. Two periods later, Ovechkin left the game for good after getting tripped on a breakaway and slamming into the end boards.
The Capitals’ PR announced minutes later that Ovechkin would not return after suffering an upper-body injury.
INJURY UPDATE: #Caps captain Alex Ovechkin sustained an upper body injury and will not return to tonight’s game.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) April 25, 2022
The play happened early in the third period. Ovi, skating in alone on a breakaway (at nearly 20 MPH per ESPN+), did his signature move in shootouts: skating the puck in on his forehand before deking quickly to his backhand and trying to roof it.
Alex Ovechkin will not return to tonight's game after falling awkwardly into the boards. pic.twitter.com/KaWf8Jorg5
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 25, 2022
As Ovechkin began to shoot, Leafs goaltender Erik Kallgren reached out to try and poke the puck away. As Ovechkin glided past the crease, he tripped over Kallgren’s outstretched stick.
Ovi immediately lost his balance and fell to the ice, slamming hard against the boards. The left side of Ovechkin’s body, specifically his shoulder, neck, and head, appeared to absorb the brunt of the hit.
Ovechkin writhed in pain as he laid on the ice. Once he was able to get up, he immediately skated off and went down to the Capitals locker room.
ESPN+’s Brian Boucher suggested during the telecast that Ovechkin being held out could be “precautionary” but that seemed dubious considering the importance of this game to the Capitals and the captain’s legendary toughness and durability.
The blocked shot that Ovechkin absorbed earlier in the game was from Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano. The puck hit Ovechkin’s right leg.
— Capitals Replays (@capsreplays) April 24, 2022
He did not miss a shift after that play but was not so lucky later.
10:25 PM update: Sportsnet aired a replay that showed Ovechkin yelling at officials and moving his left arm in a circular motion as he left the ice in the third period. Ovechkin tossed his helmet down the tunnel in frustration.
Ovechkin has to go to the room for protocol
he's mad pic.twitter.com/VzMKenaZx2
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 25, 2022
10:50 PM update: Peter Laviolette evaded questions about Ovechkin’s injury postgame, but TJ Oshie said he talked to Ovechkin and said “I thinks he’ll be all right.”
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