Hours removed from a listless performance by his team, Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette went onto The Sports Junkies to do his weekly hit on the morning show.
Laviolette addressed the team’s troubling performance against the Islanders (a 4-1 loss), the team’s inconsistent goaltending (more on that later), and Alex Ovechkin’s upper-body injury.
In regards to his captain’s injury, Laviolette admitted that Ovechkin would not have played on Tuesday even if it was a playoff game. Laviolette previously termed Ovechkin a game-time decision after he missed the team’s morning skate.
The transcript of Laviolette’s comments about Ovechkin with the Sports Junkies is below. The questions from the Sports Junkies have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Ovi – where are we at with him?
Peter Laviolette: Well, he’s day-to-day right now. For me, I certainly hope that it’s nothing that’s long-term. We’re going to do the right things. He comes in yesterday. He’s trying to see where he’s at and see if he can get himself prepared. Right now, for me, it just doesn’t make sense to go back in the lineup. I think that he’ll go in today and again, more treatment, further evaluation. With the end of the season coming up here, I don’t think we want him back until he’s 100 percent. I’m certainly hoping for Game One he’s ready and available. But again, when you’re listed as day-to-day, there are just certain things that we don’t know ourselves as to when that might be.
So does that mean, essentially, that if the playoffs started today there are a different sort of parameters than riding out the regular season?
Peter Laviolette: Yes, it does. There have been lots of circumstances. Not talking about Ovi. There’s lots of circumstances where you don’t play somebody in Game 81 or 82 because the playoffs are coming and you want to make sure they are ready for [Game One] of the playoffs. He has something that happened to him. Right now we’re treating it and we’re hopeful that he’s ready for Game One.
If you had a playoff game yesterday, he would not have played?
Peter Laviolette: Uh, no. No he wouldn’t of.
But you think he’ll be able to play in Game One of the playoffs if it started next Monday or Tuesday.
Peter Laviolette: I’m hopeful. I can’t — That’s the thing about it too. You ask me these questions and I’ll say ‘Oh yeah, he’ll be there for Game One, no problem!’ And then if he’s not there. Or if say he’s out for Game One for sure and then he’s there for Game One, ‘Well, Coach he’s pulling it.’ When somebody gets dinged up, you have to see how it comes along. If somebody’s got something and you say it’s going to be five days and it’s three days, it could be seven days, too. I think day-to-day is the right terminology for it. I don’t believe it’s long-term. I think day-to-day is the right terminology. Alex is getting treatment and trying to put himself in a position where he can come back and help us.
I think everyone lies, but you’re not lying.
Peter Laviolette: I’m not lying. No, no. No.
If we read into Laviolette’s answers a little here, he seems to be putting Ovechkin’s recovery time between three and seven days (as that would be how they’d define someone who is day-to-day). Ovechkin appears unlikely to play in either of the Capitals’ remaining two games even if he’s healthy due to Laviolette’s comment that “Right now, for me, it just doesn’t make sense to go back in the lineup.” While Ovechkin will probably play in Game One of the playoffs, it’s questionable at this very moment and Laviolette doesn’t want to overpromise anything.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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