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Barry Trotz updates Alex Ovechkin's status for Game 6

Barry Trotz updates Alex Ovechkin's status for Game 6

Alex Ovechkin was checked out by the team’s medical staff following Friday’s game and will be good to go for Sunday’s potential series clincher in Toronto, Coach Barry Trotz said.

“He is fine,” Trotz said on a conference call with reporters on Saturday afternoon. “He was re-evaluated again after the game. He’s fine. Expect him to be ready to go.”

Game 6 is Sunday night at Air Canada Centre.

RELATED: Prediction recap: Holtby shines in Game 5

Ovechkin left the Caps’ 2-1 overtime victory late in the first period following a controversial hit by Toronto’s Nazem Kadri in open ice. Although it appeared the Caps’ captain had suffered a serious left leg injury, he returned for the start of the second period and ended up skating 19:29.

Kadri was penalized for tripping on the play, and the Caps converted on the power play to take a 1-0 lead. Ovechkin, meanwhile, finished with three shots on goal and a game-high six hits.

On Saturday, Trotz sidestepped a question about Kadri’s hit. Toronto Coach Mike Babcock said after the game that he didn’t think the hit warranted a penalty.

“He has his opinion and I have mine,” Trotz said. “Certain hits in the game, I think when you have an ability to injury a player, you know…we just have different viewpoints.”

The Caps did not practice on Saturday. They’ll return to the ice Sunday morning at ACC for a pregame skate.

MORE CAPITALS: Caps playoff hero benched in Game 5

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NHL to move to Phase 2 of return to play plan by June 8

NHL to move to Phase 2 of return to play plan by June 8

The NHL will transition to Phase 2 of its return to play plan, the reopening of team facilities for training activities, on June 8, the league announced Thursday.

Since the season was paused on March 12, the league has considered itself to be in Phase 1 of the plan, meaning self-isolation. While the NHL and NHLPA have made progress off the ice towards a return to play negotiating things such as the playoff format, throughout all those talks the league still remained in Phase 1. This is the first concrete step the NHL has taken towards an eventual return to the ice.

"Beginning June 8 – subject to each Club’s satisfaction of all of the requirements set out in the Phase 2 Protocol – Clubs will be permitted to reopen their training facilities in their home city to allow players to participate in individualized training activities (off-ice and on-ice)," a statement released by the NHL said. "Players will be participating on a voluntary basis and will be scheduled to small groups (i.e., a maximum of six Players at any one time, plus a limited number of Club staff). The various measures set out in the Phase 2 Protocol are intended to provide players with a safe and controlled environment in which to resume their conditioning."

As the statement notes, participation in Phase 2 activities are voluntary and will be limited to six players at a time. The Capitals have not yet set a date for the team's start of Phase 2.

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Phase 3 of the plan is training camp and, despite Thursday's announcement, we remain far off from that point. According to Pierre LeBrun, the earliest the league would start camps is July 10. Phase 4 is then the resumption of the season.

Presumably, Phase 3 will not start without a date set for when Phase 4. It is hard to believe the NHLPA would agree to an indefinite training camp. Phase 2, however, can begin without any formalized dates for Phases 3 and 4.  So while this is certainly a step towards the return of hockey and a sign that things are improving, all the difficult deciions regarding health and safety protocols as well as a timeline for the eventual 2020 postseason are still yet to be decided.

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Pittsburgh Penguins announce unnamed player tested positive for COVID-19

Pittsburgh Penguins announce unnamed player tested positive for COVID-19

An unnamed player on the Pittsburgh Penguins has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, the team announced on Thursday.

"This player is not in Pittsburgh and has been in isolation at home since first experiencing symptoms," the statement said. "He is recovered and feeling well. Those in close contact with the player leading up to the diagnosis have been notified." 

The organization stated that there would be no further updates on the player or situation at this time. 

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The Penguins are one of the 24 teams that will participate in the NHL's new playoff format once the season resumes. As of now, training camp for teams will not begin until July 10 at the earliest and there is still no clear timetable for when games will begin.

This announcement does bring up the question as to what the league will do if a positive diagnosis happens once play starts up again. Though NHL deputy commissioner Billy Daly has stated that he doesn't believe one positive test will halt the entire postseason, a plan will need to be put in place for how to handle a player contracting coronavirus.

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