Wednesday, March 23, 2011, 2:00 p.m.
By Ben Raby
CAPITALS PAGE CAPITALS VIDEO
Alex Ovechkin skated Wednesday for just under 10 minutes at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex, before 17 of his teammates took part in an optional practice.
Ovechkin missed his first game of the season last night in Philadelphia due to what the team is calling an undisclosed nagging ailment.
Speaking to reporters for the first time since it was announced that he would miss seven to 10 days, Ovechkin gave few hints as to what exactly is bothering him.
Its bothered me the last two months, Ovechkin said.
As for what exactly it refers to?
Guess, Ovechkin said.
And so goes the ambiguity in trying to crack an NHL superstars injury.
I think right now is a good time to, you know, make some rest for my body because I feel something a couple months. Right now its a good time to recover it and I feel good.
Bruce Boudreau said that Ovechkin and Jason Arnott are both recovering a little quicker, than expected and that they could both return by the end of next week. Arnott did not travel with the Caps last week and has missed four straight games, also with an undisclosed injury.
Feeling better, Arnott said. Its getting better every day, so hopefully Ill be back soon Its progressing really well, but Im just taking it day by day.
Arnott would not say what his injury is, but that its something he has suffered from before. He also said that the injury has been building up for a few weeks and was not the result of one specific event.
I think Ive been through every injury possible, Arnott said of his 17-year career, so yeah, I know what to expect and what it takes to come back, so hopefully it will be soon.
Like Ovechkin, Arnott also had also appeared in every game this season, and the 36-year-old was making an immediate impact with the Caps with five points in his first seven games.
Its hard, no question, to watch, Arnott said. Im new here, so it would be nice to keep playing and be with the guys. But they played well, especially with the injuries weve had. Everyone has picked it up and to clinch a playoff berth is a huge thing, a little bit of relief in the dressing room but we still have to go out and play well down the stretch.
Arnotts impact in his brief time in Washington has also been felt as a leader both on and off the ice. Arnott has been credited by Boudreau for his ability to communicate with Alexander Semin and according to Arnott, he too spoke to Ovechkin about taking care of himself before the playoffs.
We had a little bit of a talk about a few things, Arnott said, and I just voiced my opinion on what I thought hes got to do for his body and for the team.
Even without two of their top six forwards, the Caps left Philadelphia last night with a 5-4 shootout win, pulling them within one point of the conference-leading Flyers. The Capitals have won 11 of their past 12 games and 14 of 17 overall.
Ive always believed that you just put somebody in and you expect them to do the exact job that the other guy did, Boudreau said. Its not like weve changed systems or anything like that so I dont think its that tough to replace the injured forwards, you just have to believe the guys that are going in there will do the job.