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Capitals' Ovechkin sat out for missing morning skate

by Katie Brown

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was scratched Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks because he overslept and was late for the morning skate.

Washington lost 5-0 to the Sharks at Verizon Center. Ovechkin has missed only 23 games since the beginning of his NHL career in 2005. For the fifth time during their NHL careers, the Capitals played without the services of Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, who has been cleared for contact.

"I just messed up with my alarm clock; put 8:30 p.m., not a.m.," Ovechkin said Wednesday. "I fell asleep. I make mistakes and that's why (he didn't play). It's the team rules."

Coach Barry Trotz said he talked to Ovechkin later Tuesday morning and told him that he would not play against San Jose.

"It was an honest mistake," Trotz said. "I think it's an accountability factor that we put in with our team rules. I've always talked about the honesty part. Honestly, Ovi showed up and he recognized it. That's why we tried not to make a big deal out of it yesterday, because it was a game day. But we have certain accountability rules and everyone is accountable in our room."

Since his hiring, Trotz has worked to create a tough but fair accountability culture from which no one is exempt, not even a franchise player like Ovechkin. Trotz ended practice Wednesday after half an hour and said he asked all the players to leave the ice together because that lesson was more important than a hard practice following a loss.

"If we're going to have any success, it's going to be together,” Trotz said. "We need each other. We need to rely on each other. We need to play the game as a group better than we have and that was sort of the reason. The message was more important than shooting some extra pucks today.

"We've done a lot of things from a cultural standpoint that makes this team very accountable to each other and that's why it's very important. It applies to everybody. I know there was a situation a few years ago with Joel Ward; those are just rules that happen to be in place and everybody is accountable and they're OK with it. That's the beauty with being part of a team with accountability."

Ward, now a member of the Sharks, played for the Capitals from 2011-15 and was scratched for a game by then-coach Bruce Boudreau in 2011 for being late for a meeting.

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