The big news of the day, if you can call it news, was that Alex Ovechkin was the only Washington Capitals player not on the ice for practice Thursday morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington.
Ovechkin and coach Bruce Boudreau both said it was just a day off, insisting the Hart Trophy finalist was not injured.
“He’ll be practicing [Friday],” Boudreau said. “His body gets beat up because he plays so much, and he just plays a lot. He needs a little bit more rest than other guys, so he’s just resting today.”
Added Ovechkin: “[I] just take more day off.”
Ovechkin did average almost 23 minutes a game in the Rangers series.
Much of the rest of the talk Thursday centered on the “circus” that will be this series between Ovechkin’s Caps and Sidney Crosby’s and Evgeni Malkin’s Pittsburgh Penguins.
The amount of reporters and camera people was certainly more than usual at practice, which was no surprise. And it will be no shock when the rest of the hockey community is gazing at the District when the series starts Saturday.
“Any little thing that’s gonna be said will be magnified,” Boudreau said. “If Alex says anything about Sidney or anybody, it’s gonna be magnified. If there’s a hit the wrong way, I’m sure there’ll be cameras on Sidney, Malkin, Ovechkin, [Mike] Green all the time if the puck is near them or not near them.”
Though Ovechkin didn’t practice, he spoke with reporters and didn’t want to create any more fuel for the upcoming series.
“Let’s talk about Pittsburgh and the Capitals, not about me and Crosby. It’s gonna be a rivalry,” Ovechkin said. “… It’s gonna be pretty fun.”