- The Washington Times - Monday, November 2, 2009

The update Monday from Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau about his injured franchise player was that there is no update.

Alex Ovechkin spent a little less than an hour at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on the team’s off day, the morning after leaving his the Caps’ 5-4 overtime loss to Columbus in the second period with what the team is calling an upper-body injury.

Ovechkin, who didn’t have his arm in a sling, declined to speak to reporters as he entered the practice facility. He arrived on Monday with his father, Mikhail, who waited outside in the parking lot until he eventually was escorted inside by head trainer Greg Smith.

“I havent seen him and no one is here right now, so I cant give you an update,” Boudreau said about an hour after Ovechkin left the building through a different door than the one he came in. “I havent seen him and I was upstairs with [general manager George McPhee]. I heard [Ovechkin was here] and that was one of the reasons I came downstairs but I cant find the trainers right now.”

Boudreau said he isnt sure if Ovechkin will practice Tuesday. The Caps play at New Jersey on Wednesday before a home-and-home with Florida on Friday and Saturday.

“Im not trying to avoid the question — I really dont [know if he will travel to New Jersey],” Boudreau said. “I would venture to guess that hes more probable for the weekend than he is on Wednesday. Thats my guess.”

Ovechkin appeared to injure his left shoulder/arm during a post-whistle scrum near the Columbus bench. Jason Chimera bumped Ovechkin as he skated toward the Caps bench, in part because Ovechkin had leveled him with a hit in the first period.

He gave Chimera a shove in retaliation, and when Blue Jackets tough guy Jared Boll stepped in all the players on the ice converged on the fracas.

“Everybody was in there so I couldnt really tell, but I just watched it about an hour ago,” Boudreau said. “There were seven Blue Jackets on the ice, and I couldnt understand why nothing was done about it.”

Ovechkin took one shift after the incident and collided with Columbus Raffi Torres. He put his left arm out to brace for the fall, and immediately went to the bench and then the locker room grimacing in pain.

With Ovechkin not available, Boudreau moved Brooks Laich onto the line with Mike Knuble and Brendan Morrison and Quintin Laing into Laichs old spot on the third line. Laich had a pair of goals and Laing had his first of the season in the third period, but the Caps blew a pair of one-goal leads before falling in overtime.

Ovechkin has missed only four games in his five-year career — one with a minor knee injury, one with a bruised heel and two because he traveled to Russia to be with his ailing grandfather. The two-time league MVP sits atop the NHL in goals (14), assists (23) and shots (86). On Monday, he was named the NHL’s No. 2 star for October.

“We have to buckle down,” Boudreau said. “You look at a goal a game he scores, so weve got to play better defense. We cant allow four goals and five goals a game. You have to win 3-1, 2-1 and if you get lucky sometimes make it a 4-2 game.

“I think weve got enough character players in there that they will understand what we have to do without Alex. Anytime one player, as great as he is, if he makes the total difference in our team, then were in trouble.”

• Corey Masisak can be reached at cmasisak@washingtontimes.com.

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