By Ian Oland
The Washington Capitals announced that Alex Ovechkin is taking a leave of absence.
The team said in a tweet Tuesday morning that it’s to allow Ovi “to attend to a family matter and the health of a loved one.”
Washington Capitals senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today that captain Alex Ovechkin will be away from the team to attend to a family matter and the health of a loved one.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) February 14, 2023
Match TV is reporting it is due to the “urgent hospitalization” of Ovechkin’s father Mikhail. Ovechkin’s parents both currently live in Moscow, Russia.
“Life’s tough,” Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette said. “When it comes to family and parents, that’s what matters. He’s going to go deal with some things right now and we’ll support him.”
Ovechkin will miss Tuesday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Capital One Arena. It will be just Ovi’s second absence this season after not playing against the Vegas Golden Knights on January 22 due to a lower-body injury.
The Capitals play three games total over the next five days. The team does not expect to have Ovi back for the next week or the foreseeable future. The Capitals also take on the Florida Panthers on Thursday night at home and rematch the Hurricanes in Raleigh on Saturday for the 2023 Stadium Series game. At this point, Ovechkin is not expected to play in the Caps’ outdoor game.
The Capitals called up Joe Snively from Hershey in a corresponding roster move. Tom Wilson was also placed on injured reserve.
NEWS | The Capitals have recalled forward Joe Snively from the Hershey Bears.#ALLCAPS https://t.co/Dzkq2294Xl
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 14, 2023
Ovechkin addressed the Capitals’ at its morning skate before leaving.
“Alex is a very proud guy,” Laviolette said. “He cares about this team, his teammates, and this organization. It was important for him to talk to the players and the team.”
Two of Ovechkin’s 48 career games missed were due to family reasons previously. Ovechkin flew back to Russia early during the 2008-09 season to be with his ailing grandfather.
“The most important thing is family, right?” Nicklas Backstrom said. “We’re here supporting him. We’re on his side and hope everything goes well.”
Ovechkin, 37, has scored 32 goals in 54 games this season. Only seven players have a higher goal total in the NHL.
RMNB’s thoughts are with you and your family, Ovi.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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