ARLINGTON, Va. — Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has taken a leave of absence to attend to a family matter and the health of a loved one, the team announced. Ovechkin will miss Tuesday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes and head coach Peter Laviolette doesn’t anticipate him rejoining the team the rest of this week.
“Listen, it’s tough sometimes,” Laviolette said in his press conference at morning skate. “Life is tough and when it comes to family and parents, that’s what matters. He’s gonna go deal with some things right now and we support him.”
Ovechkin addressed the team before departing Tuesday morning. The 37-year-old has missed just 48 games in his 18-year NHL career, most recently sitting out one game earlier this season with a minor lower-body injury.
The Capitals recalled forward Joe Snively from their AHL affiliate Hershey Bears in a corresponding move. Snively skated as an extra at morning skate Tuesday as Laviolette shuffled up his forward lines:
LW Conor Sheary, C Evgeny Kuznetsov, RW Anthony Mantha
LW Aliaksei Protas, C Dylan Strome, RW T.J. Oshie
LW Sonny Milano, C Nicklas Backstrom, RW Marcus Johansson
LW Nicolas Aube-Kubel, C Lars Eller, RW Garnet Hathaway
Kuznetsov and van Riemsdyk took practice reps in Ovechkin’s position on the power-play unit. Oshie described the team’s plans for that spot as “fluid” and added that team will be keeping Ovechkin in mind when it takes the ice Tuesday night.
“It's different when you lose really any player for injury as opposed to a family matter and especially the big man who's created a lot of success, not only for the organization but for individuals in the room, me being definitely one of them,” Oshie said. “You play a little bit harder in moments like this.”