Fresh off winning his third Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player, Alex Ovechkin said his fractured left foot is healing well.
“Foot is okay. Right now, I’m walking fine. I’m going to start playing tennis soon so I’m going to be in good shape,” Ovechkin said on a conference call Sunday from Moscow. “It’s kind of getting better. I feel pretty good about my foot.”
Ovechkin, 27, suffered the hairline fracture when he blocked a shot in Game 6 of Washington’s Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers. He played nearly three full games on the broken foot, because he couldn’t make the injury worse, finishing out the Capitals’ first-round series and appearing in one game for Russia at the IIHF World Championships.
The star winger said it wasn’t until after he played in the world championships that he had an MRI on his foot to determine the severity of the injury, but there was never a question to whether he would continue playing. Ovechkin is expected to be ready for training camp.
“I make a blocked shot. The puck broke my foot, and I played with it. I never asked [head athletic trainer Greg Smith] or [team physician Dr. Benjamin Shaffer] about let’s make an MRI or something,” Ovechkin said. “I just played the game because it’s the playoffs. It doesn’t matter what happen. You have to be there and you have to play the best that you can.
“The position, I was feeling like it was okay and I can still play hockey,” Ovechkin added. “If you’re hockey player, if you’re playing for Stanley Cup, it doesn’t matter what’s happen. You’re just gonna play.”
Ovechkin, who will soon join his fiancee Maria Kirilenko in London for Wimbledon, alluded to playing through other ailments in the lockout-shortened season but didn’t divulge the nature of his injuries.
“I know if I can feel it and maybe have some injection and I know I can play, I’m never gonna say I’m not gonna play. It’s not my style,” Ovechkin said. “If I can play, if I can hold my stick, if I can skate, of course I’m gonna play.”