Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin has missed the last three games with an undisclosed injury and while we don’t know what it is that’s eating the Great Eight, it appears that he’ll be getting back to action sooner than later.
Today, Ovechkin practiced with the team for the first time since going down with his secret ailment. Ovechkin tells Katie Carrera of The Washington Post that he thinks he’s ready to go.
Ovechkin wasn’t sure if he would be back in the lineup for Tuesday’s game against Carolina, though.
“I don’t know. It’s not my decision,” Ovechkin said. “How I said, I’m ready to go, but I don’t know how it’s going to work right now with tomorrow.”
That’s good news on that front because the Capitals without Ovechkin in the lineup to steady their offense have been a bit erratic getting shutout by the Senators and scoring just twice in a 2-0 shutout against Montreal.
As for defenseman Mike Green who’s been out with a concussion suffered against the Rangers, he skated today in full pads for about 25 minutes. While that’s a very encouraging sign, he’s unsure about when he’ll be back to action but at least he’s feeling hopeful that it’ll be soon.
The two-time Norris Trophy finalist said he is feeling better, but acknowledged that he was still experiencing symptoms.
“Here and there, but nothing that’s progressing to get worse — it’s always getting better,” Green said. “We’ve done a great job here with the trainers and the staff of taking the right procedures for me to get better. The unfortunate part is that it does take time. It’s nice to get a good skate and hopefully now I can get back on the ice and back playing with the team.”
The Caps have been playing great in Green’s absence from the lineup but there’s no doubt that they could use his offensive touch from the blue line. Dennis Wideman’s addition has been welcomed and has given them a bit of a lift. Obviously with Ovechkin being close to back in the lineup that’s huge, but getting Green back after he has been out since February 25 to help steady their attack and improve their defense cannot be understated.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Scott Hartnell scored his second goal of the game midway through the third period to push the Columbus Blue Jackets over the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on Saturday night.
Hartnell scored in the first period and got the tiebreaker in the third, helping the Blue Jackets overcome a terrible second period to beat the Hurricanes for the second time this week. Carolina has lost three straight.
Markus Hannikainen also scored, and Sergei Bobrovsky had 35 saves for Columbus.
Sebastian Aho and Justin Faulk scored in the second period for Carolina. Michael Leighton, recalled from Charlotte of the AHL on Thursday, started in place of Cam Ward and stopped 17 shots.
Hannikainen poked in the first goal for Columbus 4:49 into the game off a rebound in front of Carolina’s net. The shot through traffic resulted in the first goal and point of the 23-year-old rookie’s NHL career.
About 10 minutes later, Hartnell got a breakaway and slammed a slap shot past Leighton’s glove from just inside the blue line to put Columbus up 2-0 at the first break.
“I just tried to bury my head and shoot as hard as I could,” Hartnell said.
The second period belonged to the Hurricanes.
Carolina got the first one back on a power play 9:05 in when Aho picked up the loose puck off Jaccob Slavin‘s blocked slap shot and found the net from eight feet out.
Justin Faulk tied it at 2 when he carried the puck through the neutral zone and snapped off a shot from the right circle that rattled off the bar and in with 4:33 left. Carolina outshot Columbus 9-2 in the period, and Blue Jackets players went to the penalty box four times.
Hartnell got the winner when he took a pass from Sam Gagner and knocked it in from 13 feet with 9:35 left.
Carolina pulled the goalie with 2:32 left but couldn’t tie it.
Alexei Emelin has once again drawn the ire of opposing players.
This time, it was the Buffalo Sabres responding to a hit thrown by Emelin, who caught Matt Moulson with a dangerous hit from behind into the boards during the second period of their game on Saturday.
A massive scrum ensued right over top of Emelin and Moulson along the boards.
Emelin, who has a history of massive and questionable hits throughout his career (See here, here and here for examples) was given a minor penalty for boarding on the play.
Wayne Simmonds is not only a productive power forward, but he’s one tough customer.
He showed that again Saturday, dropping the gloves with Miles Wood of the New Jersey Devils during the first period.
The fight occurred right after Wood drove Radko Gudas hard into the boards on the forecheck. The scrap didn’t last long, however, with Simmonds landing a few shots and then taking the Devils forward to the ice.
Simmonds was assessed an extra roughing minor.
The Chicago Blackhawks and L.A. Kings have made a minor league trade on Saturday.
The Blackhawks acquired forward Michael Latta, who has 113 games of NHL experience with the Washington Capitals, in exchange for defenseman Cameron Schilling.
Latta will report to the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs, according to the Blackhawks. In 29 games this season with the Ontario Reign, Latta has two goals and six points.
Schilling, 28, is expected to be assigned to the Reign, the team said in a release.
In 40 games this season with the IceHogs, Schilling has seven goals and 17 points.