After missing six games with an upper body injury, two-time MVP Alex Ovechkin looks to be set to return to the Washington Capitals lineup on Tuesday when the team laces skates against the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden.
“I feel pretty good, excited and ready to get in,” Ovechkin said.
Ovechkin skated in Monday’s practice, playing on his usual line with Nicklas Backstrom and Chris Clark. He participated in every single drill during the hour long skate and looked to be putting forth maximum effort, a sure sign that he’s ready to roll.
Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters that “As of today, he’s in.”
The Capitals will certainly benefit from his return to the lineup, as any team would. Ovie’s posted 14 goals and nine assists so far this season before suffering an upper body injury in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets back on November 1.
His Capitals are still in good shape, thankfully, leading the Southeast Division and going four for six since he went down.
“Let’s be serious, people come out to see Ovie and every time he touches the puck they expect to see something spectacular. There is an energy in the building and most times he delivers,” said Brendan Morrison, who’d been playing in Ovechkin’s spot.
One thing that may change for the Capitals with his return is the squad’s power play configuration. Ovechkin, at least in practice, was shuffled down in to the slot position with Morrison taking Ovie’s familiar spot on the point. Boudreau seems game to try that out, at least for now, and is looking forward to the challenge of mixing things up.
“You’re trying to do different things because you knew he was coming back eventually and you knew what the story would be, ‘Well, the power play is going so well so where do you put Alex?’ ” Boudreau said. “We’re practicing different stuff and we’ll see what the best situation is for him. The options are good.”
With the return of one of the NHL’s best players to the lineup, it certainly bears repeating for Washington fans: the options are certainly very, very good.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.