Alex Ovechkin says he could have played in one of the Capitals’ last three regular season games, but remains noncommittal for Game One

Alex Ovechkin says he could have played in one of the Capitals’ last three regular season games, but remains noncommittal for Game One

Alex Ovechkin suffered an upper-body injury against the Toronto Maple Leafs last Sunday. Since then, Ovi’s status and how badly he’s hurt have been a bit of a mystery.

Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette said Ovechkin was day-to-day and a game-time decision against the New York Islanders two days later. But Laviolette also said that same day he “didn’t know” if Ovechkin would be ready for the playoffs. Ovechkin missed the final three games of the regular season, but practiced and traveled with the team.

Sunday morning, Ovechkin took the ice with his team for their first practice session of the playoffs.

“I’m ready to go,” the captain said to Laviolette as he walked out of the locker room. The exchange was captured by The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir.

Ovechkin was centered by Evgeny Kuznetsov and flanked by Conor Sheary on the right wing during practice line rushes. El-Bashir observed on Twitter that Ovechkin didn’t look 100 percent, but was close and participated fully.

Ovechkin also powerfully ripped one-timers at the end of the session.

The eighth-seeded Capitals will play the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida Panthers in Round One and Game One is on Tuesday.

After practice, Ovechkin was asked about his rehab and what his status was for the opening of the playoffs.

How do you feel?

Alex Ovechkin: Good!

Do you think you’ll be ready for Game One?

Alex Ovechkin: We’ll see.

During the Leafs game, you were very upset about being tripped into the boards by the goalie in the aftermath of the play.

Alex Ovechkin: It was two minutes. Obviously, we knew we make playoffs and we just decided to take a rest. Yeah.

Could you have played in one of these last three games?

Alex Ovechkin: Yeah.

You’ve been watching from the sidelines for the last three games.

Alex Ovechkin: It was not good result. Everybody understand we don’t have to make a push. We can maybe go up a little in the standings, but it is what it is. Right now it’s over. Nothing you can do. Figure out how we can play against the President’s Trophy winners.

What have the last few days been like for you? Have you had to come in early for treatment?

Alex Ovechkin: No. Regular.

To recap, Ovechkin admits he could have played in at least one of the Capitals’ final three games, but said “we just decided to take a rest.” Ovechkin still says “we’ll see” when asked if he’ll play in Game One.

If we’re, again, reading the tea leaves, Ovechkin’s injury would have kept him out of Tuesday’s Islanders game no matter what — if we can take Peter Laviolette at his word. With a playoff spot locked up, the Capitals appear to have given Ovi the rest of the week off to prepare. And now we’re in gamesmanship mode where injuries are as hidden as a warp whistle in Super Mario Bros 3.

Anyways, if I were a betting man, which I’m totally not, I’d bet on Ovi playing on Tuesday.

Screenshot: @Tarik_ElBashir/Twitter

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