- Big milestone for Britain’s little Prince George who turns 1
- Murphy: Israel must be wary of Hamas using civilian deaths for recruitment
- Royce: Putin recruiting ‘every skinhead and malcontent around Russia’
- Nancy Pelosi is adamant: Congress worked together when Bush was president
- ‘Slender Man’ stabbing victim receives Purple Heart from anonymous veteran
- Kentucky city called socialist for buying gas station, undercutting competitor fuel prices
- Israel hits five mosques, sports complex in overnight Gaza strikes
- Hillary Clinton dogged for refusing reporters’ questions on book tour
- EPA tweet baffles: ‘I’m now a C-List celebrity in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood’ iPhone game
- Australian P.M. Abbott: MH17 evidence tampered with on ‘industrial scale’
Ovechkin is sidelined by injury to lower body
Team now must dig deep to find offense
Question of the Day
OTTAWA — Mike Green has missed 47 games with ankle and groin injuries. Nicklas Backstrom has missed 22 with a concussion. That’s a lot for the Washington Capitals to be missing, though playing without stars has become something of a norm.
“I don’t think we’ve gotten used to dealing with it,” forward Matt Hendricks said. “I think it’s been hard on us.”
Then came this week and a lower-body injury to captain Alex Ovechkin, whom the Capitals have always relied on heavily for scoring, but especially in Backstrom’s absence. The captain missed Wednesday night’s game against the Ottawa Senators, and it’s uncertain what his status will be moving forward.
And though it’s another blow to a team fighting for a playoff spot, the Caps understand the situation and the onus it puts on other players to perform.
“It really shouldn’t matter who’s in the lineup,” right wing Troy Brouwer said. “It obviously helps when your star players are in the lineup and going. … Guys just need to get back on track right now.”
In the past six games going into Wednesday night, Brooks Laich was the only forward not named Ovechkin or Alexander Semin to contribute a goal. That lack of secondary scoring has been damaging and would be even more substantial if Ovechkin misses a serious amount of time.
“You can’t fill those shoes. We don’t have that ability to fill that offensive talent,” Hendricks said. “But at the same time, we feel it’s going to give someone else a chance to step up and provide.”
Not just someone else but a lot of someone elses. Left wing Jason Chimera looked set for an upgrade in playing time with Ovechkin out, though the speedster had one goal in his past 19 games. Right wing Joel Ward has one in his past 46 and Brouwer one in his past 17.
So where does the offense need to come from?
“It’s everybody, I think,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “I wouldn’t put it on one guy. When Ovi’s in, everybody puts it usually on him and Sasha [Semin]. When he’s out, I don’t think it should be on one person. I think it should be everybody. We should get a goal from the fourth line; we should get a goal from the ‘D,’ and the guys that score a little bit more often, it’d be nice to get one from them.”
The silver lining might be what happened when Ovechkin sat out three games in late January and early February because of suspension. Everyone had to be sharp to compensate for his absence, and Washington went 1-1-1, even beating the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.
Given recent scoring woes up and down the lineup, this could serve as just another spark.
“I think we’ve been putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to score lately, so a little more pressure, I don’t think it’ll hurt us. I think it’ll help us,” Hendricks said. “We just need to figure out ways to start scoring some goals.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- WHYNO: Tomas Vokoun gets unexpected Stanley Cup shot with Penguins
- Brandon Meriweather, Redskins' secondary ready for bounceback year
- Kirk Cousins embraces role as Redskins' offseason starter as RG3 rehabs from injury
- Capitals notes: Realignment won't prompt roster remake
- Despite Caps' first-round playoff exit, Adam Oates' first season as coach left a positive taste
Latest Blog Entries
- Redskins injury updates (5/23): WR Pierre Garcon, CB Josh Wilson each had labrum surgery
- Capitals 'love' Matt Hendricks, but how much?
- Wojtek Wolski signs in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League
- Tom Poti won't return to Capitals, plans to continue his NHL career
- Is Tom Wilson ready to be a regular for Capitals?
U.S. appetite for drugs begets violence migrants are fleeing
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- Jewish woman booted from JetBlue flight over fight with Palestinian
- Hillary Clinton dogged for refusing reporters' questions on book tour
- YOUNG: A sinking presidency, deeper after November?
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
- Rep. Jared Polis' anti-fracking crusade riles Colorado
- MERRY: Handicaps in Hillary's way
- Hamas terrorists wear Israeli army uniforms to ambush soldiers in Gaza
- U.S. scrambles as violence escalates in Israel-Hamas conflict
- Edward Snowden to work with Russia on anti-spy technology
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq