- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 16, 2013

Alex Ovechkin suffered a hairline fracture in his left foot during Game 6 of the Washington Capitals’ conference quarterfinal against the New York Rangers and finished the series despite the injury, the team confirmed Thursday.

Ovechkin blocked two shots on the same shift in the first period of Game 6 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday and never left the ice. He played Game 7 Monday and told reporters the day after the 5-0 loss that he felt good.

“Couple bruises but nothing major,” he said.

Ovechkin, held scoreless for the final five games against the Rangers, was not going to hold himself out of Game 7, either. He finished the series with one goal and one assist.

Ovechkin accepted an invitation to play for Russia at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Helsinki because doctors said the injury could not get worse. The 27-year-old would not have played if it would have jeopardized his career, according to one source with knowledge of the situation.

“They just call me and ask if I’m healthy and I’m ready to go,” Ovechkin said Tuesday. “Situation was tough, but I’m still want to play. I don’t want to take that off and I don’t want to go watch tennis right now. I want to just play hockey and win.”

Coach Adam Oates met with Ovechkin on Tuesday to talk about the World Championship.

“It’s important that people understand that where he comes from, it’s a very important thing in his country,” Oates said. “We totally respect that. No problem at all. If I said no, he would have stayed.”

Ovechkin went with the Caps’ blessing and recorded a goal and an assist in an 8-3 quarterfinal loss to the United States on Thursday.

Ovechkin was named a Hart Trophy finalist after leading the NHL with 32 goals during the regular season and helping the Caps to a fifth Southeast Division title in six years. Oates did not decry his captain’s performance in the postseason despite just two points.

“He obviously knows the stats and we talked a lot about that,” Oates said. “He does take it hard. That’s a great sign of character.”

As is playing on a broken foot to finish out the series and participate in the World Championship, which The Washington Post first reported earlier Thursday. Oates said Ovechkin texted him until 2 a.m. after the Caps’ 5-0 Game 7 loss.

“He was very upset,” Oates said. “I think he’s come tremendously far as a person and player this year. That’s just a very unique thing in our business.”



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