Alex Ovechkin confirmed on Friday that he played through knee and hamstring injuries during the playoffs.
The Caps’ captain said neither injury involved any tears. He also said they will not require surgery. He did, however, acknowledge that he occasionally needed pain-numbing injections in order to play.
The knee injury occurred in Game 5 of the Toronto series when he was hit by Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri. Ovechkin stayed on the ice for several moments after the hit and briefly exited the contest before returning.
As for the hamstring injury, it occurred late in Game 3 of the Pittsburgh series.
The knee “was not a big injury but the hamstring I felt,” Ovechkin said. “It’s the first time I had this injury. I just fell on the board and it not feel good.”
MORE CAPITALS: EVERY RELEVANT QUOTE FROM BREAKDOWN DAY
Asked how badly the injuries affected his play, Ovechkin said: “You don’t want any sorts of injuries. Of course, you don’t feel 100-percent. You don’t feel strength in your leg. But you play through that. Some players play with broken hand, broken leg. Because it’s the playoffs. You have to sacrifice your body to get success, get the result.”
As for the injections, Ovechkin said he had “a couple.”
“Sometimes I feel I need it,” he said, “sometimes I feel I can play without out it.”
Ovechkin finished the postseason with five goals and three assists in 13 games.
After the hamstring injury, however, the 31-year-old had a single goal and no assists in Games 4-7 against the Penguins.
Because of the injuries, Ovechkin said he called Oleg Znarok, Team Russia’s head coach, to tell him that he could not participate in the ongoing world championships.
RELATED: TIME TO BLOW IT UP?
“I talked to him and said, ‘I’m not going to be able to help the team,'” Ovechkin said. “I wish him luck. I’m going to cheer for him. But it’s time [for] recovery. It’s time take a deep breath, take some time off and get back to work.”
Ovechkin made his comments during the Capitals’ Breakdown Day in Arlington, Va.
“Every loss is tough. Obviously, disappointment for the team because I think we have an unbelievable group of guys who work hard to get [to] this level,” he said.
“The fan base was unbelievable. They support us, give us the energy when we need it. But we don’t get the result.”
He added: “We can’t say, ‘Okay, this guy played bad or that guy played bad, this guy can be much better.’ We all together. We team. We lose as a team and we win as a team.”
Asked to assess his personal performance in the postseason, Ovechkin said: “We lost. So, obviously, you can’t say I played great.”