Morning roundup: Loss to Columbus is secondary
The Caps lost, 5-4, in overtime last night to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but the bigger story, of course, was the injury suffered by Alex Ovechkin in the second period:
Alex Ovechkin was hurt during a scrum and missed the final 33 minutes 50 seconds of the game. Ovechkin said afterward that he had suffered an upper-body injury and that he was day-to-day.
The two-time MVP refused to say how the injury occurred or where he was hurting. And when asked if he feared the injury to be serious, he said, "I don't know."
Ovechkin did not appear to be in pain when he spoke to reporters in the dressing room wearing a suit.
The Caps are off today and it's unclear if we'll be able to get any updates until tomorrow. We'll keep you posted, but in the meantime, here's some morning reading and watching material:
Postgame wrap-up is here and Tarik's video (mostly about Ovechkin's injury) is here:
* NHL video:
The main early-season problems - discipline and blown third-period leads - were back Sunday for the Washington Capitals, but a more pressing issue was their hurting superstar.
* Joe Beninati:
I wish I could shed more light on the Alex Ovechkin injury, which occurred in the second period. After a seemingly innocent collision with Raffi Torres the Great Eight skated uncomfortably to his own bench and with a wave of his hand he was done for the night. Alex has been amazingly durable in his first five years in the NHL. We all hope he'll recover in time for Wednesday in New Jersey.
* Mike Vogel: "... the whole thing came unraveled like a cheap sweater in the final minutes of regulation."
Around the NHL, top stars are dropping like flies thanks to a rash of injuries. Sunday afternoon, it was the Capitals' turn to experience that dreaded feeling.
In a city consumed with a national health-care debate, the Blue Jackets and Capitals limped out of the Verizon Center last night after more than a few visits to their respective trainer's rooms.
Capitals star Alex Ovechkin was lost to an upper-body injury. Blue Jackets forward Derick Brassard and defenseman Fedor Tyutin nursed hand/wrist injures. Defenseman Mike Commodore played despite a pre-existing condition, a charley horse.
Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock was still awaiting medical reports on two or three other players after a night of hard hits and nasty slashes. But the Jackets' mental well-being, bruised by recent blown leads, appears on the mend.
Star winger Alexander Semin and star center Nicklas Backstrom are both slated for restricted free agency July 1, and preliminary contract talks have already been held in both cases. I don't think Backstrom will be an issue. But I'm hearing things aren't going great on the Semin front.
What makes his case interesting is he's just another season removed from unrestricted free agency (July 2011), so a one-year deal for Semin bridges the gap to UFA land. Of course, the Caps would want to sign him to more than a year. There is also the fact there are the usual rumbles out of Russia that the KHL has a few suitors interested in a native son come July if he's still unsigned.
* In case you missed it, here's Mike Wise's column about "Gabby." Excerpt:
Boudreau's peak-and-valley minor league existence comes through. Further, he is proof that great players rarely make good coaches. "Because they don't know what it's like to fail," Boudreau said Saturday. "Or be yelled at. Or be put down. Or be disappointed. Sometimes they can't handle it because they've never experienced it."
In his book, Boudreau not only chronicles his repeated firings and demotions. But he is vulnerable enough to detail his brother's death while hitchhiking; the breakup of his first marriage to a woman tired of the peripatetic life of a hockey player and coach; his family's meager Toronto beginnings that forced them to assemble baby-teething soothers for extra money; his original booking on Flight 175 that struck the World Trade Center; and how he got to Los Angeles a day ahead of two men he knew who died in the 9/11 terrorist attack.
I was at the Wizards game last night with my wife. We ran into Alex Ovechkin and his dad. I spoke to Alex a bit about the season so far, the schedule and the team.
Alex said, "I love coach. He is honest, loyal and knows the game. He doesn't tell me anything about offense though only about I must play D and cover the middle." He then smiled and said, "Bruceeee!!!!!!!"
* Speaking of, Boudreau will be on NHL Live today.
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