- The Washington Times - Friday, May 12, 2017

Capitals star Alex Ovechkin confirmed Friday he suffered injuries to his hamstring and knee during the playoffs.

The news was first revealed on Thursday after the Russian Hockey Federation announced Ovechkin would not be participating for his country in the world championships in Germany.

Ovechkin indicated the hamstring injury was more serious than his knee, but said he had no tears and it wouldn’t require surgery. Ovechkin first hurt his hamstring near the end of Game 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“You don’t want to play with any sort of injury,” Ovechkin said. “Of course, you don’t feel 100 percent, you don’t strength in your leg, but you play through that. Some players play with broken hand, broken leg because it’s the playoffs. You have to sacrifice your body to get success and get the result.”

Ovechkin said he is scheduled to meet with a team doctor Friday afternoon. On Saturday, he’ll head to Miami for a few days to help get over the Capitals’ 2-0 loss in Game 7 against the Penguins.

He said the hamstring injury was the first of his career. He revealed he occasionally took injections prior to the games to help manage the pain.

Ovechkin hurt his knee after a hellacious hit from Nazem Kadri in Game 5 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The 31-year-old had an uneven playoffs and the injuries could help explain why. Ovechkin was moved to the third line in Game 5 against the Penguins after Capitals coach Barry Trotz wanted more production out of his lines.

The move, which wasn’t related to the injuries, worked and the Capitals climbed out of a 3-1 hole. Ovechkin, however, didn’t have much of an impact in Game 7. He ranked seventh among forwards in ice time.

Ovechkin finished the playoffs with eight points (five goals and three assists).

Trotz said “emotionally” he didn’t want to discuss Ovechkin’s performance after Game 7. At the Capitals’ final media availability on Friday, Trotz said he still envisions Ovechkin having a huge impact on the team going forward.

“He’s still got game, no question,” Trotz said. “He’s still a very productive player for us.”

Ovechkin will now spend the summer rehabbing and working to improve his game. He won’t be watching the rest of the playoffs.

“As soon as you’re out, you just have to take a deep breath, clear your mind and maybe in two weeks you just come back and start to think what you can do better,” Ovechkin said.

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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