- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, the NHL’s offensive player of the week for the period ending Sunday, also was named NHL rookie of the month for December. Ovechkin had eight goals and 19 points in 12 games to win the honor.

Ovechkin, the first pick overall in the 2004 draft, had at least one point in nine of 12 games, including a five-game goal-scoring streak — the longest by a Caps player since Peter Bondra in 1998. Six of his games were multipoint efforts, including two four-point games.

Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby (seven goals, 14 points in 12 games) finished second to Ovechkin, giving the two front-runners for the Calder Trophy one triumph each in the rookie of the month competition.

Ovechkin is the fifth Caps player to be so honored. The others were Jeff Halpern in 2000, Jim Carey in 1995, Bondra in 1990 and Bob Mason in 1984.

Ovechkin is the first rookie to be named player of the week since Carey in 1995.

Meanwhile, Halpern will not play tonight against Ottawa. He had an MRI yesterday on what is believed to be a knee injury, although the club only would say he had a “lower body injury.” He was injured in the first period Sunday against Philadelphia.

Halpern sustained torn ligaments in his left knee Jan. 19, 2002, in a game at Montreal. He had season-ending reconstructive knee surgery and was rehabbing for much of the following season.

The Caps also said backup goalie Brent Johnson had recovered from his groin injury and would be in uniform tonight.

In another development, the Caps called up two players from their Hershey farm team. Center Boyd Gordon, who started the season with Washington, is a right-handed center and will take Halpern’s spot in the lineup. Left wing Boyd Kane, signed as a free agent last summer, also will see action tonight.

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