Alex Ovechkin was on the ice with (most of) his teammates today for practice. He was taking slap shots with a full wind-up for the first time (he wasn’t quite there yesterday), and afterwards he said he’s not worried about taking contact or needing to take hits before he does play again.
“I’m getting closer, but I still need probably a couple of days,” Ovechkin said.
Later in the conversation, Ovechkin was asked if he thinks he can play this weekend. He responded, “Well, I want to play tomorrow, but we will see what happens.”
Bruce Boudreau din’t rule out Ovechkin for this weekend, but noted that every player, injured or healthy, wants to play tomorrow.
Case in point — Boyd Gordon said he’s ready to play tomorrow night against the Wild. Gordon has missed 12 games with a back injury, but has been skating with the team this week and pronounced himself ready (though he said his conditioning might not be at 100 percent).
Boudreau wouldn’t commit to playing either David Steckel (who is away from the team because of a death in the family but will return at some point tomorrow) or Gordon. If one can’t play, then it seems like the other will (unless there is a callup).
But if both Gordon and Steckel do play, then someone has to sit (and Gordon needs a spot on the 23-man roster) — well, that someone is almost certainly Mathieu Perreault. The diminutive sparkplug is the only guy on his rookie contract and can be sent to Hershey without going on waivers.
“You’re making decisions I don’t want to make,” Boudreau said.
It was an optional skate, and Milan Jurcina said he was just taking the day off. Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin also didn’t practice, and all three will be expected to be on the ice tomorrow morning.
Jeff Schultz said he thinks he’s close to returning, but he needs to wait until tomorrow morning before knowing if he could ready to go against Minnesota.