The Washington Times - October 27, 2008, 10:47AM

The Caps are going through practice right now at K-Plex, but Alex Ovechkin is not here. He has travelled home to Russia to be with his ailing grandfather. Ovechkin will not play tomorrow night against Nashville — only the second contest he will miss in his four-year NHL career. Ovechkin had played 203 straight games since missing one his rookie season. It is/was the longest streak on the team.

Brooks Laich has taken his place on the top line with Nicklas Backstrom and Viktor Kozlov. The “second line” has Alexander Semin, Sergei Fedorov and either Eric Fehr or David Steckel.

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UPDATE: Bruce Boudreau said it would be either Steckel or Fehr on the line with Fedorov and Semin, but Steckel said he thought it would be him in the lineup playing left wing. Boudreau said there is no timetable for Ovechkin’s return. He also said he didn’t know if the health of Ovechkin’s grandfather has been on his star’s mind or not because he didn’t ask him that. As for playing without the 2007-08 MVP …

“A lot of teams miss their star player,” he said. “If I recall, Sidney Crosby got injured last year. Teams just have to pull up their socks and go.”

GM George McPhee said he had a short conversation with Ovechkin last night when Alex called to ask permission to leave. McPhee didn’t know which grandfather it was, but he confirmed it is a very tight-knit family.

“I said, ‘Of course. Family is more important than anything and comeback when you’re ready.’” McPhee said.