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Ovechkin update: No better, no worse

After returning to practice Thursday, Alex Ovechkin did not take the pre-game skate at BankAtlantic Center this morning. That doesn't necessarily mean he's had a setback, but when asked how he's feeling today, he said only, "Same."

Ovechkin is expected to miss at least the next two games with a strain near his left shoulder.

"It's getting better every day," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "But [in terms] of percentages or degrees, I don't know. He might be one percent better. It's going to take time. He wants to play, but if he takes a major hit on it, and he's not 100-percent, he could be behind the eight ball for three weeks or four weeks. We don't want that."

In their first game without Ovechkin on Wednesday, a 3-2 loss in New Jersey, the Caps did little to dispel the notion that they are significantly limited minus their two-time MVP.

That was still bugging Boudreau this morning.

"That's why I was so mad," Boudreau said. "I'm not really back to where I should be. I usually recover from a win or loss pretty good. But this is the golden opportunity for a group of guys -- Alex gets all the publicity, and rightfully so -- to stand up and be the team they can believe they can be without him."

"Pittsburgh didn't lose a beat when they lost [Sidney] Crosby for six weeks, or [Evgeni] Malkin or [Sergei] Gonchar," Boudreau added. "If we think we're a good team, we have to be able to win without [Ovechkin]. One player can't be the defining point of a team. They have to realize that instead of feeling sorry for themselves."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 6, 2009; 11:43 AM ET
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Next: Theodore to start vs. Panthers


couldn't agree with BB more. this team needs to move beyond it being nothing more than a shadow of Ovi.

Posted by: doughless | November 6, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

gime 'em hell BB

Posted by: caps4life2 | November 6, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Certainly, the loss of one player is not supposed to mean automatic losses in all those games but one cannot expect the team to perform the same. The Pit example is quite good actually cause they are 2-2 without Malkin, with an ugly loss to LA yesterday. And yet they have Crosby...

Posted by: Snowball98 | November 6, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

giving 'em hell isn't going to motivate these guys. they'll either take it upon themselves to start playing with some swagger and attititude and discipline or .... what? BB can sit people in the 3rd period that he doesn't trust on the ice ... he can sit people in the press box for a game if they continue to be 3rd period detriments ... and if nothing works then the General Manager is going to look at this and say that it's either a personnel problem or a coaching problem. This team has too much talent not to put games away.

Posted by: ccape1 | November 6, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if 8,000 screaming Panther fans at the game tonight will motivate them?

Im sorry, but just thinking about this game in a few hours makes me tired...

Posted by: SA-Town | November 6, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I think Bruce meant to say this...

"The Penguins sucked to all high hell for 5 months last year and won the we're right on pace according to the playbook."

Posted by: SA-Town | November 6, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

We will see how good we really are next to a much inferior team.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 6, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse


My (educated) guess: one win, one loss.

Posted by: Snowball98 | November 6, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

yeah ditto ccape, givin em hell means nothing. Bruce has been givin em hell every time he feels this team takes bad penalties or slacks off after a lead or whatever. They still repeat the same mistakes. So maybe instead of talking so much, actions are in order. Unless Bruce is too chickens__t to bench a prominent player or two and send a real message.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 6, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm still trying to wrap my head around back-to-back games with the same team. From a business perspective, you kinda' lose out, don't you? If I were a player, I'd find it a little hard to play with the same enthusiasm for both. =/ Kick their collective a$$e$, Caps! It'd be awesome if we bludgeon them with goals tonight and just break their spirit down to a pulp so tomorrow's game, mentally they'll just try not to get their jerseys dirty or get hurt. =)

Let's GOO Caps.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | November 6, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Believe me, I do not want to make any knee-jerk decisions based on a couple of games but I think it is time to start thinking about trading Alexander Semin for some defense.

I know Semin is still very young, and his up-side is really HIGH. But the guy is dumb as a box of rocks. He's got skills. No doubt about it. But I just don't trust that guy to be on the ice when the game is on the line. He is 10-times as likely to commit a stupid penalty than he is to score a game-winning goal.

There are dozens of offensive-starved teams out there just begging for someone of Semin's skills. Some of those teams must have a couple of battle-tested, tough defensemen who can clear the slot, get the puck, and start the play back the other way.

Sure, it is entirely possible that Semin puts it all together in the next couple of seasons and becomes one of the top-5 players in the league. I think it's just as likely that he never does. Meanwhile, if the Caps don't solve their weakness along the blue line they are never going to get past Pittsburgh in the playoffs.

You have to give something to get something. I say it is time to give Semin -- before other teams figure out just how dumb this guy is.

Kevin Olson
Manassas, VA

Posted by: noslok | November 6, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Playing without OV is definitely a blow, but the Caps did not lose that NJ game because OV was absent. They lost it because Semin made two stupid plays and couldn't convert when he had the chance to redeem himself. Sure, they only played 50 min of hickey, but they do that even with OV on the ice.

Take the star player off of any team's line-up, and it will take a little while for a team to get used to it, shuffle players around, etc. Just because they lost their first game without him doesn't mean they'll lose every one of them.

Posted by: jgprentice | November 6, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if people know what MVP stands for..

Posted by: member8 | November 6, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

"Pittsburgh didn't lose a beat when they lost [Sidney] Crosby for six weeks, or [Evgeni] Malkin or [Sergei] Gonchar," Boudreau added. "If we think we're a good team, we have to be able to win without [Ovechkin]. One player can't be the defining point of a team. They have to realize that instead of feeling sorry for themselves."


Well said, Boudreau, well said. These Caps better start playing with a sense of urgency or they will just be ready for a one and done in the playoffs. The Penguins may have sucked for several months last year, but they apparently figured it out last year! Actually they got great help from the trading deadline, a new coach and the return of Gonchar. If the point system was back to the original way, the Caps are really just 8-7 with only 16 over-all points. That is not even close to Pittsburgh's 12-4 (24 points) record. So stop referring to the current regular season point totals as a reason not to panic when the actual playoffs do not even have shootout! This team is not as good as their regular season record indicates. WAKE UP, or get traded!

Posted by: JohnWWW | November 6, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

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