Oates: Caps need to push through "dog days"
Alex Ovechkin is expected to join the Capitals on their trip to Newark today but remains questionable for Friday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils, Capitals coach Adam Oates said.
“Tough to say right now,” Oates said. “We’ll have to see how he feels in the morning. If he can skate [Friday morning] we’d consider putting him in.”
Ovechkin, who leads the NHL with 35 goals, did not participate with the Caps on Thursday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, but if he can skate on Friday Oates said he could give him limited minutes against the Devils.
“It depends on how he feels,” Oates said. “I’d put him out there for selective minutes, power play, etcetera.”
He suffered a lower body injury in the Capitals’ 4-1 loss to the Rangers in New York on Sunday, apparently after a collision with Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi midway through the second period of that game. Ovechkin twice fell to one knee after the hit.
“Because he was warm enough, I think he was OK for the rest of the game,” Ovechkin said.
RELATED: [Ovechkin sits out Capitals practice]
Ovechkin sat out Tuesday night’s 2-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators, his third game missed this season. The Caps are 2-1 without Ovechkin this season but are in the midst of a season-long six-game losing streak.
“We’re not going to put him in a position that he could play and hurt himself and set him back. If he’s OK to go, obviously his condition would be behind and that’s why you would limit the limits, but if he’s not ready to go we won’t play him.”
Oates said he also aware the Caps are scheduled to visit the Montreal Canadiens Saturday night.
“One more day matters,” Oates said.
If Ovechkin cannot play in New Jersey, here is the lineup the Caps are expected to use on Friday:
Marcus Johansson – Nicklas Backstrom – Troy Brouwer
Marty Erat – Mikhail Grabovski – Eric Fehr
Jason Chimera – Brooks Laich – Joel Ward
Aaron Volpatti – Jay Beagle – Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner- John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov – Mike Green
Nate Schmidt – Connor Carrick
Extra: John Erskine
Braden Holtby – Michal Neuvirth