Ovechkin injured at practice

Ovechkin injured at practice
March 28, 2013, 11:15 am
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The Capitals got a scare at practice on Thursday when Alex Ovechkin left the ice with a nasty cut to his chin.

Ovechkin was participating in a 2-on-1 drill when his shot bounced off goaltender Braden Holtby and the puck struck him just under the mouth.

Ovechkin fell to the ice and teammates called for medical attention, but Ovechkin quickly hopped to his feet, threw down his stick in frustration and skated off the ice, leaving a pool of blood behind him.  He later received 22 stitches to close the wound and tweeted out slightly squeamish before and after photos.

In Ovechkin's absence, Aaron Volpatti took shifts on a top line with Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson, but Ovechkin is expected to return to practice Friday and make the team's trip to Buffalo for Saturday night's game against the Sabres.

In other practice news, defenseman Jack Hillen sat out with an illness. 

Defensemen Tom Poti [back] and Tomas Kundratek [knee] practiced with the team, while defenseman John Erskine [apparent wrist] skated on his own before practice.

Capitals coach Adam Oates said he hoped to have Kundratek and Erskine back in the lineup this weekend. Kundratek said his knee is not yet 100 percent, and Erskine has not practiced with the team in more than two weeks, so it's likely their returns won't come until Sunday night in Philadelphia at the very earliest.

Once Kundratek and Erskine are cleared to play the Caps must clear roster spots for them. Steve Oleksy appears to be the likely candidate to be assigned to Hershey since he does not have to clear waivers. It is also possible that defenseman Jack Hillen is placed on waivers or the Capitals decide to place Volpatti or Wojtek Wolski on waivers.

In other injury news, Mathieu Perreault received a couple of stitches over his left eye after his visor broke in a collision with New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo Tuesday night.

Perreault said that while they were tangled in front of the visitors' bench Okposo's elbow cracked his eye shield.

"I was scared at first because I saw blood and I thought, 'What's going on here?'" Perreault said. 

It was the third time in two seasons that Perreault had his visor broken. Last season he broke his nose when his visor shattered and in the Caps' first visit to Winnipeg this season a shot by Jason Chimera was deflected into his shield and it cracked.

"You wear it to protect your eyes and three times now it's broken," Perreault said.

Perreault was concerned enough by the three broken visors to replace his Bauer model with an Oakley.