- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 29, 2018

ARLINGTON, Va. — They say “Russian machine never breaks,” but sometimes that machine needs some maintenance.

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin did not practice Thursday, one day before the team has a home game with division rival New Jersey, for “upper-body maintenance.”

Ovechkin did skate at Wednesday’s practice, and coach Todd Reirden said he expects Ovechkin to play Friday against the Devils.

In brighter news, Evgeny Kuznetsov fully practiced for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury, presumed to be a concussion, on Nov. 14. He’s missed six games with the injury, though the Capitals found a way to win all six.

Kuznetsov has not been medically cleared to play as of Thursday morning. He participated in Wednesday’s practice wearing a non-contact jersey.

“A good step in the progress today, for sure, going through full practice,” Reirden said of Kuznetsov. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow. It was good to see him out there today, that’s for sure.”

T.J. Oshie also suffered a head injury on Nov. 14 and missed the past six games, but Oshie did not practice Thursday for the Capitals and won’t play Friday.

Reirden was reluctant to say that Oshie could be facing long-term concern in his recovery.

“We just take it day by day. Stuff can change either real positively or real negatively sometimes,” Reirden said. “I don’t really have any concerns over it yet, because it’s a day-to-day thing for me. To try to guess is just pure speculation.”

• Adam Zielonka can be reached at azielonka@washingtontimes.com.

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