WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 18: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals battles for position with Mike Weaver #43 of the Florida Panthers at the Verizon Center on October 18, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Ovechkin sits out practice, Caps call it a “maintenance day”


Via csnwashington.com comes news that Alex Ovechkin sat out practice today. The Capitals are calling it a “maintenance day.”

Ovechkin has just one goal and two assists in Washington’s first five games. If the Caps weren’t a perfect 5-0-0, it would be a problem. As of now it’s just a concern. Mostly for fantasy owners.

“My results is not that good,” he said Monday, a day before notching an assist in last night’s 3-0 win over Florida.

Ovechkin played a season-low 17:35 against the Panthers. Granted, that wasn’t a huge surprise considering the Caps were protecting a lead most of the night. And according to coach Bruce Boudreau, Ovechkin won’t be logging the big minutes like he’s done in the past.

“He’s not getting 22 minutes a game,” Boudreau said Monday. “Instead he’s getting 18 to 19 minutes a game because the team is more balanced than it’s been in the past. How many goals does that equate to? How many points does that equate to? But does it equate to more team success? Sometimes less is better.”

With five wins and no losses, it’s hard to argue with the coach on that one.

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: