Ovechkin speaks to the media at Kettler on Tuesday. (Photo credit: Alex Brandon)
Alex Ovechkin played in 86 games between the NHL and KHL this year. Though the season was lockout-shortened, several Capitals stars were still bruised and battered. Nick Backstrom injured his neck in Russia, Brooks Laich injured his groin in Switzerland, and various others dropped off along the way. We know now Ovi was playing through some sort of injury as well.
“Of course, there were aches and pains,” he told Slava Malamud of Sport-Express in Russian after game seven Monday. “Won’t say anything about needles, but injuries are always there. There were enough hits and physical play.”
One day in 7th grade, I was playing basketball at recess with some friends. After I missed a layup, one of my female friends made fun of me and I called her a not-so-nice word. She responded by tapping me on the shoulder and then kicking me in the business. The next three hours were spent in the nurse’s room, wailing and applying an ice pack to my nether regions.
On Tuesday night, Washington Capitals forward Matt Hendricks did everything I couldn’t back in middle school. His grit on full display for the 168th game in a row, Hendricks broke his nose during a second period scrum and didn’t miss a shift. Instead of yelping in the corner like a normal human, Hendricks had a superb game in which he put two shots on goal, had five blocks, and won three of four face-offs.
Spotted by the media after a practice in Tampa Wednesday, Hendricks showed off his stitches and guessed at how many times his nose had been recalibrated.
Dima sits with the other Bears scratches during Saturday’s Bears game. (Photo credit: Katie Stansbery)
When Dmitry Orlov came out of the tunnel for the AHL Showcase game last month, he was excited to see fans back at Verizon Center. It was the reason why, in his opinion, he played the best hockey of his season. The AHL gamesheet says that the 21-year-old defenseman recorded two shots on goal that first period, but Dima remembered it being closer to four or five.
After spending two weeks recovering, Orlov has begun riding an exercise bike and lifting weights. According to Hershey Bears head coach Mark French, Orlov is close to getting back on the ice for practice again.
On December 6th, the Verizon Center hosted the AHL Showcase between the Hershey Bears and Norfolk Admirals. Due to the lockout, it was the first hockey game played in Washington since May 9th, when two current Bears were playing with the Capitals: Braden Holtby and Dmitry Orlov.
Playing overseas may keep some NHL players in top form during the lockout but the dreams of their general managers are haunted by a nightmare scenario — a serious injury to a star player.
Last Wednesday, Nicklas Backstrom was involved in frightening episode, in which he was checked from behind while playing for Dynamo Moscow. Backstrom, who missed three months last season with a concussion, went headfirst into the boards and left the game after trying to play one more shift. Dynamo called the injury a “neck bruise” and said the pivot should be good to go by the next game. As of the weekend, Backstrom saw at least two doctors, and a Russian newspaper report speculated that Nicky had traveled to America due to the injury’s severity. According to Nicky’s Swedish agent, Gunnar Svensson, that’s not true.