- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Alex Ovechkin did not play in the Washington Capitals‘ 5-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, with coach Barry Trotz declining to specify why Ovechkin was held out beyond citing personal reasons.

Trotz did say that he expects Ovechkin to be able to play in the Capitals‘ next game, which is at home against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.

“We could have used him tonight,” Trotz said. “He’s a great player. There’s no question about it. He’s our captain. He’s our leader. He can make us go offensively, but we didn’t have him today, and that’s no excuse. We have to play way better. Our game didn’t stack up.”

Ovechkin did not attend the Capitals‘ morning skate and did not arrive at Verizon Center until approximately an hour before the game.

He was replaced on the top line by Andre Burakovsky, who was slated to serve as the second-line center. Burakovsky’s spot was taken by Brooks Laich, with Stan Galiev filling in on the fourth line after being a healthy scratch in the season-opening victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.

Galiev and defenseman Matt Niskanen also stood in for Ovechkin on the power play, in which the Capitals went 0-for-4 on Tuesday.

“I think it obviously affects the first line a little bit, but Nisky jumped in there a little bit later and did a great job,” said right wing T.J. Oshie. “Gally had one good one-timer, but it got blocked. The rest of us know our positions. I don’t know what his exact stats are, but he’s got to be one of the best power play goal scorers in the league, so obviously, it’s better with him out there.”

It was only the 27th game Ovechkin has missed in his career, which is entering its 11th season, and just the fifth since the start of 2007-08 in which the Capitals have been without Ovechkin and center Nicklas Backstrom.

Ovechkin had a goal and an assist in the 5-3 victory over the Devils on Sunday. He surpassed 50 goals last season, making him only the sixth player in league history to do so six times.

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