Capitals star winger Alex Ovechkin and center Marcus Johansson collided in the neutral zone during Tuesday morning’s scrimmage against the ECHL’s Reading Royals, leaving both forwards slow to get up and silencing a rather full crowd in Arlington.
Ovechkin, who lay on the ice for roughly a minute before heading to the dressing room with a bloody chin, said he managed to avoid any serious harm from the scary scene. Johansson also said he was fine.
The scrimmage was the first time Ovechkin played right wing in a game situation this season and the 27-year-old acknowledged that he was skating through the neutral zone in a different way than he would normally as a left wing. (For more on Ovechkin’s transition to right wing, check out the story from today’s paper.)
“Just situation when I was on the right side and you know it’s kind of something new for me, crossing [at] different angle so I don’t know whose fault it is but I don’t feel pretty good after that,” Ovechkin said. “My mouth was bleeding so I had to go to [head athletic trainer Greg Smith’s] room and check it out if I lose more tooth or not.”
Ovechkin said he hit Johansson’s helmet but suffered only a few cuts on his mouth and chin and the Russian wing insisted he was “OK”.
“It was a pretty big hit. He’s a pretty big guy,” said Johansson, who didn’t leave the bench after the collision. “I just try to shake it off and keep going, I’m glad we’re both okay.”
After being tended to by team athletic trainers for about 10 minutes, Ovechkin returned to the bench and the ice. Forty-four seconds into the second period, Ovechkin reassured onlookers when he scored by beating goaltender Braden Holtby stick side.
The impact didn’t appear to dampen Ovechkin’s mood or his enthusiasm for the right wing experiment. He knew it would take a little getting used to; he just didn’t expect to hit his teammate in a causal training camp scrimmage.
“That’s what I said before I have to make one shift, maybe one hit and I get hit from my partner,” Ovechkin said with a laugh. “But again I’m enjoying playing right now in the system and all that kind of stuff. Of course it’s not like huge game there was not lots of physical game out there, we just get used to the system and try to play best that we can.”