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.
The Florida Panthers have had no problem giving Roberto Luongo the odd night off this season. That’s because Al Montoya has been one of the best backups in the league.
Montoya (8-2-1, .931) will get the call tonight in Detroit, with Luongo (23-13-5, .930) expected to start tomorrow in Buffalo.
The Panthers have the highest team save percentage in the NHL, at .926 (which includes empty-net goals).
“They both give us a chance to win every night,” Panthers d-man Brian Campbell told the Miami Herald recently. “Both make huge saves for us at times. You need consistent saves every night and they both bring it. Montoya gets put into a tough spot a lot of times and nothing seems to change.”
Not good news for the St. Louis Blues — the club announced this morning that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has been placed on injured reserve with a right-knee injury. He’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks.
Pietrangelo suffered the injury Saturday in a knee-on-knee collision with Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle.
Based on the timeline provided, the Blues will be without their leader in average ice time (26:40) until at least the end of the month. St. Louis plays 10 times between now and Feb. 29, which also happens to be the trade deadline.
The big question, of course, is whether Pietrangelo will be ready to go upon re-evaluation.
The first day of the playoffs is April 13.
Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made
Alain Vigneault took another shot at the NHL’s Department of Player Safety today.
This time, the Rangers head coach was upset about the lack of supplementary discipline for Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds in the wake of Saturday’s altercation with New York captain Ryan McDonagh.
“An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down,” Vigneault said, per The Record. “I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences? And, on top of that, a player breaks his stick, throws it at the referees. In the rulebook, that’s automatic. It’s three games. Nothing happens. It’s not even on the sheet after the game.”
Simmonds’ punch left McDonagh concussed and unable to play tonight versus New Jersey, with no timetable for his return.
Earlier this season, Vigneault voiced his frustration with the league after Rangers center Derek Stepan suffered broken ribs in Boston on a hit from Bruins forward Matt Beleskey.
Vigneault felt the hit was late.
“I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .6 seconds late, getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Final,” the former Vancouver Canucks coach said, recalling the contentious 2011 final.
Beleskey was not suspended.
Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, and Panthers center Vincent Trocheck have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.
From the NHL:
Crosby led the League in goals and points (5-3-8) in three games as the Penguins (26-18-7, 59 points) earned four of a possible six points to secure the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference.
Karlsson led the League in assists and ranked second in points (0-7-7) in three games as the Senators (24-23-6, 54 points) won one of three starts for the week.
Trocheck notched six points (3-3—6) in three games, helping the Panthers (31-15-6, 68 points) widen their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points.
Related: Red-hot Crosby could make Pens a flawed (but dangerous) dark horse