As expected after missing two games with a shoulder injury, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin practiced fully and seemingly uninhibited Monday, flying around the ice and firing pucks at the net with regularity.
“I feel pretty good. Still a little soreness a little bit, but I’m able to play,” said Ovechkin, who said the injury affects “probably everything” he does on the ice.
Ovechkin also said he talked to Capitals head trainer Greg Smith and asked if he could make the injury worse, and he was told “anything can happen, but probably not.”
“We decided that I’m probably going to play tomorrow,” he said. “I’m happy to be back.”
Oates doesn’t seem to have made that decision just yet, as he said Monday his leading scorer will be a game-time decision for Tuesday night’s matchup with the Islanders at the Verizon Center.
“He feels obviously a lot better, he got through a full practice, and we just make sure tomorrow everything’s okay,” said Oates, who doesn’t think the injury is one his superstar will be forced to deal with all season.
“I wouldn’t play him if I thought it was something that could linger. He’ll be close to 100 percent,” Oates said. “It doesn’t make sense to play a guy right now with something that’s lingering, and I don’t think that’s the case.”
Dmitry Orlov’s had a busy 24 hours.
Yesterday morning, the Capitals re-assigned the defenseman to Hershey, where he played in a game for the Bears Sunday afternoon, scoring a goal and tallying an assist in Hershey’s 4-3 loss to Norfolk.
Monday morning, he was back at Kettler Iceplex, recalled by the Capitals before practice Monday.
Double duty doesn’t seem to bother Orlov, who’s currently Hershey’s points leader with two goals and six assists. The defenseman has only played in five of the Bears’ nine games.
Between the Pipes
Oates said he’ll decide tomorrow who will be in goal against the Islanders. Dependable backup Michal Neuvirth racked up 31 saves in the Capitals’ 3-2 shootout win over Florida Saturday.
– Free on Wednesday? Join us at Hill Country Barbecue for a free happy hour and Caps discussion with defenseman Steve Oleksy. Sign up here.