Ovechkin: Game-time decision (UPDATED)

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The Caps, well some of them anyway, are here at Prudential Center for the morning skate. Bruce Boudreau said Alex Ovechkin will take the warm-up skate this evening, and then they will decide if he is making his return from an upper-body strain tonight or not.

Ovechkin is here and will be on the ice momentarily. He has missed five games with the injury, but has been on the ice with the team the past two mornings. The Caps have won four straight without him since losing here 10 days ago. They have had 11 different players score goals in his absence, with Mike Green being No. 11 last night.

Boyd Gordon is likely to be back in the lineup because of Mike Knuble’s broken finger. Boudreau also hinted that Jeff Schultz will be back in the lineup.

UPDATE: Ovechkin stayed on the ice for a long time after the other participants in the morning skate had come off. He was skating with the assistant coaches — something typically reserved for scratches.

But after he came of the ice, Ovechkin said he might still play and said the hard skate was to help him be ready for tonight. Ovechkin took a series of shots (slapshots on one-timers, wrist shots from standing still, etc.) that certainly made it look like he has no impediment from the injury when shooting the puck.

“You  never know,” Ovechkin said about his status. “I didn’t talk to Bruce. He just told me to be ready, so I have good morning skate and now I will go eat and sleep and maybe I will play today.”

The question is, will Ovechkin actually play in a game without taking any real contact beforehand? He said the assistant coaches gave him some contact this morning, but that’s not the same thing. Ovechkin hasn’t gone through a drill where a defenseman could check him into the boards or one where he had to fight for the puck along the wall — any type of game-situation contact that might trigger a reaction from this upper-body strain.

To update something from above (that has since been redacted), Tyler Sloan won’t have to play forward if Ovechkin doesn’t play. As it stands now, Boyd Gordon would go in the lineup for Knuble, but if Ovechkin plays then someone else would have to come out to accomodate both Gordon and Ovechkin. Gordon said he’s playing.

Bruce Boudreau will address the media at 5 p.m., so check back later for more details.

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