- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The upper-body strain afflicting Alex Ovechkin apparently is contagious. The Capitals have been straining with his medical evaluation the last two days.

Their franchise player has fallen and no one can get up the nerve to speak plainly.

Ovechkin is either day-to-day, week-to-week or month-to-month with whatever strained upper-body part it is.

The latter remains unclear, the upper body covering a broad range of potential problem areas, including shoulder, arm, chest, neck and abdomen.

Or Ovechkin merely could have a bad boo-boo on his elbow.

What we’ve got here with the Caps is a failure to communicate, to paraphrase the Captain in “Cool Hand Luke.”

Bruce Boudreau has been at a loss since Ovechkin skated off the ice in pain in Tony Cheng’s neighborhood Sunday night.

“I haven’t seen him, and no one is here right now, so I can’t give you an update,” Boudreau said Monday, no doubt unaware of the advantages of communication by phone.

There also is this powerfully addictive thing called text messaging, if Boudreau is interested in learning when the two-time NHL MVP will return to the ice.

He could try smoke signals, too.

At this point in the obfuscation, any form of communication beats the Sgt. Schultz know-nothing approach.

You might think a coach would be obsessed with knowing the extent of his franchise player’s injury.

Given an additional 24 hours to uncover the more telling details of the upper-body strain, Boudreau was no more enlightened Tuesday.

Is Ovechkin destined to be out two weeks, two months or two years? A hint, anyone?

“I don’t have a clue,” Boudreau said, with no one ready to argue the point. “I know it’s an upper-body strain, but I don’t know what that means.”

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