Alex Ovechkin’s lack of goal scoring this year has been a headline all of its own this season. Through 41 games Ovechkin has just 14 goals on the season. He’s still leading the Caps in points scored thanks to getting 28 assists this year, but Ovechkin is and has been a goal-scoring monster since joining the NHL.
Today, we found out that Ovechkin received a cortisone shot for an injury that’s been nagging him this season. While it raises our eyebrows enough to hear that he’s getting a shot to take care of an injury, it’s strange enough to hear that he’s injured at all. Caps coach Bruce Boudreau has to take any and all precautions with his top star as the Caps cannot afford to lose any amount of offense from the lineup. Corey Masisak of NHL.com has the story.
Neither Ovechkin nor Boudreau would comment on the specifics of the injury, but the Capitals captain was taking his left hand off his stick during drills and even shot the puck once with only his right hand. Ovechkin has been spotted on television broadcasts rolling his left wrist while sitting at the bench during games at different points this season.
Boudreau said he didn’t know how long the injury has been bothering Ovechkin, or if it has affected his play. Ovechkin has 14 goals at the halfway point of the season — far off the pace for even his worst season of his career (46 in 2006-07).
“I don’t know — it has probably been awhile for him to get a cortisone shot,” Boudreau said. “I don’t know, I couldn’t tell you. We’ll find out this weekend maybe if it’s worked or what.”
Ovechkin is a right-handed shooter and if the left hand or wrist is bothering that’s a huge problem as far as controlling the puck or getting any leverage to control a shot. With how hard Ovechkin plays each game, getting any nicks and bumps isn’t a big deal but getting such aggressive treatment to make sure he can stay in the lineup isn’t something we’re used to hearing about with Ovechkin.
If this injury is indeed the thing that’s kept Ovechkin from potting goals at his usual insane rate, business is about to pick up in a big way for the Capitals if the treatment takes. The rest of the Eastern Conference had better be prepared for a potential Ovi onslaught of goals.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.
Bit of uncertainty out of Vancouver regarding the health of backup goalie Jacob Markstrom.
Markstrom, a late drop from the Canucks’ 5-1 opening-night win over Calgary, has suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him sidelined for another week, the club announced on Thursday.
With Markstrom out, backup duties will stay with AHL call-up Richard Bachman, who served as Ryan Miller‘s No. 2 on Wednesday.
Now, the focus turns to how long Bachman keeps those duties.
Per a Sportsnet report, Markstrom could miss up to three weeks of action with his injury. If that’s the case, Bachman will almost certainly be called into action; the Canucks will play eight games in 17 nights starting with Saturday’s home-opener against the Flames, which includes back-to-backs in Los Angeles and Anaheim on Oct. 12 and 13.
It would be asking a lot of the No. 1, 35-year-old Ryan Miller, to shoulder that entire load.
Bachman does have some NHL experience, with nearly 50 games to his credit. That includes a 3-2-0 record with the Oilers last year, in which he posted a 2.84 GAA and .911 save percentage.