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Ovechkin ‘OK,’ may play again soon

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From NHL.com:

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin did not suffer any torn ligaments in his right knee after sustaining an injury Sunday while playing for Russia at the 2014 IIHF World Championship.

Andrei Safronov, Russia’s general manager, told reporters in Belarus on Monday that an MRI exam showed Ovechkin’s injury is not as severe as initially feared.

“He’s OK at the moment,” Safronov said. “There’s some pain, but he’s working with the doctors.”

It’s expected Ovechkin will miss Russia’s next game, Tuesday against host Belarus, on the final day of the preliminary round. Safronov said Ovechkin will remain with the team and could return for the quarterfinals, which are Thursday.

Meanwhile, the IIHF suspended German forward Marcus Kink for clipping Ovechkin:

Upon careful review of the hit, the Disciplinary Panel observed that in delivering the hit, Kink has lowered his own body position to a level so as to cause contact with the right knee of Ovechkin. The Russian forward’s efforts to avoid the hit are simultaneous with the hip-to-knee contact by Kink. The missed poke check attempted by Kink caused him to lean forward where the player remained when the two players made contact.

The Disciplinary Panel determined that Kink was in violation of rule 524 b) Clipping. Although Kink did not intentionally target the knee of Ovechkin, the lowering of his body position as the two players collided caused the hip-to-knee contact which is classified as clipping.

CSN Washington has more on the story, which fortunately sounds like it could’ve been a lot worse for the Caps and their fans.

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

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Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two:

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier

Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, CSNPhilly.com notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The CSNPhilly.com quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.