Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, the team announced Wednesday morning. He did not participate in practice and his status for Friday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers is uncertain.
According to head coach Adam Oates, Ovechkin was feeling sore during the first period of Monday's 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. He played 19:49 that evening, registering a season-low four shot attempts. Oates did not provide any other details regarding Ovechkin's ailment except to say that he did not suffer a concussion.
Meanwhile, the Capitals slso placed defenseman John Erskine on long-term injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 26 with what the team is calling an upper-body injury. Erskine has missed five games this season with the nagging injury, which Oates said is related to Erskine's recovery from offseason knee surgery. He is eliglble to return Nov. 20 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"I don't think he's been 100 percent all year," Oates said of Erskine. "It shows what a warrior he is and how much he wants to compete and we really need him, but I told him we need him at 100 percent.
"The way he plays, the physical part of the game is a big part of who he is, so he's got to be able to do that. ... I talked to him the whole trip. I wanted him to be alert, go out there and play because the one thing you don't want to do, even if you're a warrior, is play two shifts and then all of a sudden go, 'I can't play,' and then we've got five D for 58 minutes. He didn't do that and he assured me that wouldn't happen, but as the trip went along, he doesn't look himself and he's hurting and he's trying to fight through it, and I don't think that helps us either."
To replace Ovechkin and Erskine, Washington recalled center Michael Latta and defenseman Dmitry Orlov from AHL Hershey before practice Wednesday. Center Jay Beagle also missed practice with an illness.
Without Ovechkin and Beagle, the Capitals' forward lines at Kettler Capitals Iceplex were as follows:
Martin Erat - Nicklas Backstrom - Eric Fehr
Marcus Johansson - Brooks Laich - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Mikhail Grabovski - Joel Ward
Aaron Volpatti - Michael Latta - Tom Wilson
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