Alex Ovechkin and Dennis Wideman’s Tempestuous Practice

Photo credit: Nick Wass

At about 11:30 Thursday morning, during a mandatory practice at Kettler, Alex Ovechkin and Dennis Wideman got into a bit of a scuffle. According to WaPo’s Katie Carrera, Wideman slashed Ovechkin during a drill, and the Caps captain wasn’t too happy about it, responding with a slash of his own. There was a brief, heated shoving match between the two players.

Cue internet panic. It’s been a tough week for the Capitals, having three days without games probably wasn’t ideal for them following three straight losses, and all that downtime has turned into an ugly self-feeding cycle of discontent, rumors, and worrying soundbites. It’s clear that winning games would be the badly needed antidote, but they haven’t had a chance to do that, and frustrations have seemingly started to boil over.

Reactions to Ovechkin and Wideman’s tiff were all pretty much along the lines of oh no, not this too, but luckily, the players involved were on hand to explain it.

To fans, it looked like a tense, angry moment. According to Wideman, it was more like a lovers’ spat. “He said he didn’t like the stick he was using, so he wanted to break it. So he broke it,” Wideman told the Washington Post’s Katie Carrera. “And I say, ‘Are you happy?’ He says ‘Yeah.’ Then he said, ‘Do you want to go for dinner tonight?’ I was like alright, and that was that. We went back and continued the drill.”

Of course! It’s only a few days after Valentine’s Day, after all, love is still in the air.

GM George McPhee was also on hand to calm our fears and rock us gently back to sleep in that articulate, lawyerly way that he has. “Yeah, we don’t mind that at all. We’re not running a Sunday school; this is pro hockey. It can get a little frisky out there from time to time. That would have been a good one. That would have been a rock star versus the all star.”

Frisky indeed. McPhee also addressed Olaf Kolzig’s comments about Ovechkin, Dale Hunter’s comments about the team, and the rumors that Mike Knuble’s days in Washington might be numbered. “We have no interest in trading [Knuble],” was his very direct answer there.

This is good to hear, but then again, those of you who played poker with GMGM at Casino Night probably know that the Caps’ general manager is not one to show his hand.