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Washington Capitals Left Wing Alex Ovechkin Misses Practice, Expected Back on Ice Today

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The Washington Post's Tarik El-Bashir (not Michael Wilbon) provides the latest news from Kettler, where Alex Ovechkin did not participate in Thursday's practice. Video by washingtonpost.com

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By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 1, 2009

Washington Capitals star left wing Alex Ovechkin missed yesterday's practice, the team's first since clinching a trip to the Eastern Conference semifinals on Tuesday night.

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Coach Bruce Boudreau and Ovechkin both said he was simply taking a second straight day off skating to rest and recover from a physical first-round series against the New York Rangers. But the fact that Ovechkin was the only player not on the ice for a strategy-intensive session led to speculation that the reigning MVP could be nursing an injury.

"He'll be practicing tomorrow, okay?" Boudreau said. "Sometimes his body gets beat up because he plays so much. He just plays a lot. So he needs a little bit more rest than other guys. So he's just resting today."

Asked why he did not practice, Ovechkin smiled and said: "Just take more day[s] off."

The NHL does not require teams to disclose injuries unless the player is expected to miss a game. The Capitals open their second-round series against the rival Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow at Verizon Center.

Instead of skating with his teammates, Ovechkin worked out with his personal trainer, Dmitry Kapitonov, who arrived from Moscow this week. Ovechkin has turned to Kapitonov in the past when he has wanted to rehab an injury or increase his fitness level.

"He's not my doctor, he's my trainer," Ovechkin said.

Bonus Round of Profits

The NHL, its sponsors and the league's television partners all stand to benefit from Ovechkin and the Capitals reaching the second round. But so does the team's bottom line, according to club president Dick Patrick.

With four home games in the opening round, the Capitals anticipate turning a profit of between $400,000 and $500,000, Patrick said. Those figures are after the team returned an estimated 60-65 percent of its gross ticket sales revenue to the league, which redistributes the money to the revenue sharing program and to players' postseason bonuses. The Capitals are among the teams that benefit from revenue sharing.

Patrick estimates those figures will continue to grow because ticket prices are higher in the playoffs. Tickets purchased at the gate and season ticket holder prices increase roughly 20 percent per round. Patrick also said profits will be up this round because one-time expenditures such as the printing of tickets, media guides and video production were paid for last month.

If the Capitals play three or four home games against the Penguins, Patrick said, the team could post another $800,000 to $1 million profit.

But even if the Capitals were to win the Stanley Cup, Patrick estimates the Capitals would still lose money because the team's average ticket price ranks in the bottom third of the league.


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