The Washington Capitals took to the ice on Monday for the first time since their tough 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. The team had Sunday off and will not play another game until Wednesday when the New York Islanders come to town.
One player notably absent from the ice was Caps captain Alex Ovechkin. According to NBC Sports Washington’s Matt Weyrich, Ovechkin took another maintenance day.
Monday’s skate is the third day in the month of March that Ovechkin has missed for maintenance. He previously took one on March 13 and then missed a game against the New York Rangers the following day. Five days later he missed another practice before the Caps were scheduled to fly to Minnesota.
Ovechkin played the most minutes (21:04) in Pittsburgh that he’s had in a game since not playing against the Rangers on March 14 due to a reported lower-body injury. He scored his 42nd goal of the season and his fifth goal in his last four games in the loss.
The NHL’s second all-time leading goal scorer was not the only Caps forward to be missing as Sonny Milano remains out with an upper-body injury. It was reported on Saturday that the team expects Milano to be out for at least a week.
Weyrich added that Craig Smith left practice early after just 10 minutes. Smith did not play in the third period against the Penguins.
The three absences left the Caps with just 10 healthy forwards at the skate. They are currently only carrying 22 out of the full 23 players allowed on an active roster. If needed they could make a recall from Hershey but it would likely take further maneuvering as they have just $77,950 in cap space.
Forward prospect Connor McMichael was a late scratch from the Bears’ game against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Sunday due to an illness. Hendrix Lapierre was also listed as a healthy scratch.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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