Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin said Monday that the lower-body injury that kept him out of the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game in January still is troubling him, according to the Washington Post.
"It still bothers me," Ovechkin said. "But of course when we have that kind of schedule it lets you know right away that it bothers you, that it's sore."
Ovechkin, whose 41 goals lead the NHL, has gone five games without a goal and has one in his past eight. Monday was their first day at home after a four-game road trip that finished with three games in six days in California. Ovechkin has not missed any practices and the only game he's sat out since the All-Star break was to serve a one-game suspension for missing the All-Star Game.
"If he said it I have to believe him," coach Barry Trotz said. "… Especially on this trip, [the first line] has had a lot of the tough matchups. That's something you should engage in. I mean, that's the challenge. For me, in the playoffs, a lot of the times, the top lines get matched up. If they match up well they probably neutralize each other. Then it's just the depth of your roster sort of takes over. If you can have your top lines dominate the other top lines, you guarantee yourself a win almost all of the time."
Trotz shook up his lines at practice Monday. Forward Jay Beagle was moved to the top line with Ovechkin and center Nicklas Backstrom. T.J. Oshie skated on the second line with Andre Burakovsky and Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Justin Williams was on the third line with left wing Jason Chimera and center Marcus Johansson.
"I just have to find the puck, find the rebounds," Ovechkin said. "This stuff happens with everybody. I'm pretty sure, sooner or later, it goes away."