WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals skates on the ice during a break in play during the third period of the Capitals 2-1 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks at Verizon Center on January 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Washington Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin, who sat out of the team's 2-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday with a lower-body injury, missed practice on Thursday and is questionable to play against the New Jersey Devils on Friday.
“Tough to say right now [whether Ovechkin will play]," coach Adam Oates said. "We’ll have to see how he feels in the morning. If he could skate tomorrow, we’d consider putting him in. It depends on how he feels, I’d put him out there maybe selective minutes. Power play, etc."
Earlier this week, Oates said that Ovechkin "got a little banged up" on Sunday against the New York Rangers and he acknowledged on Thursday that the 28-year-old suffered the injury during the second period. Oates did not pinpoint a specific play, but replays show that with 9:45 remaining in the period, Ovechkin absorbed a check from Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi along the end boards that forced him to one knee as he struggled to stand.
“I know he got banged up, I think in the second period,” Oates said. “But because he was warm enough still he was okay for the rest of the game.
“We’re not going to put him in a position that he could play, hurt himself and set it back. If he’s okay to go, obviously his conditioning would be behind so that’s why you’d limit the minutes but if he’s not ready to go we won’t play him.”
Ovechkin was seen walking around the Capitals' practice facility without a noticeable limp, but he did not address reporters.
His absence could not have come at a worse time for the Capitals, who have fallen to sixth place in the Metropolitan Division after a six-game winless streak (0-4-2). Washington has scored seven goals during the skid, three of which have been scored by Ovechkin, who leads the NHL with 35.
Without their captain, Washington's lineup looked like this in practice:
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Troy Brouwer
Martin Erat - Mikhail Grabovski - Eric Fehr
Jason Chimera - Brooks Laich - Joel Ward
Aaron Volpatti - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson
Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.