Alex Ovechkin left the ice less than 20 minutes into Capitals practice Tuesday morning in Arlington.
“Little tired from last night,” Coach Adam Oates said when asked about Ovechkin’s early departure. “He kind of wasn’t feeling 100 percent, so he said, ‘Let me get out of here.’ So I said, ‘Sure.‘”
Ovechkin finished the game Monday night in Washington’s 4-2 win over the Oilers and skated a high ice time of 20:58 among Capitals forwards in the contest. In addition to recording a goal and an assist, Ovechkin had four shots on goal (seven total attempts) and five hits.
This wouldn’t be the first time Ovechkin has taken part in a practice only to leave early to tend to the bumps and bruises that accumulate over the course of the season, or to get something of a break on a light practice day – the Capitals were only on the ice for about 40 minutes Tuesday morning. In the early afternoon while still at the team’s practice facility, Ovechkin appeared no worse for wear as he jogged across the ice in street clothes to get to the other side of the building.
Over the course of his career Ovechkin has dealt with his share of injuries, from a lower-body injury in 2012, nagging knee problem in 2011 and in last year’s playoffs he played the final two games with a fractured left foot. But Ovechkin has rarely missed games because of injury.
“There’s some luck involved,” Oates said about Ovechkin’s durability. “He’s a physical player. Guys who hit a lot and get hit a lot and have contact a lot have a tendency to get some bruises. It’s part of his skill-set too, he’s a huge man and it’s one of the things that make him special.”
>> John Erskine said he needs to see how he feels Wednesday morning but is still hopeful he will be ready to face the Rangers after missing two games with an upper body injury he suffered against Carolina on Oct. 10.
Oates wants to be cautious with the veteran defenseman, though.
“Want to make sure that he’s 100 percent,” Oates said. “I don’t want him to come back and reinjure it.”