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Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky has cast removed, recovery remains on schedule

Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky has cast removed, recovery remains on schedule

Andre Burakovsky’s recovery from injury reached a milestone this week: the Capitals winger had the cast removed from his right hand.

“Things are definitely moving in the right direction,” Burakovsky told CSN in his first public comments since getting hurt. “I’m on schedule. But [a return date] is a doctor’s decision; there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s going to be pretty soon, a couple of weeks.”

Burakovsky was injured while blocking a shot against Detroit on Feb. 9. He’s missed the last eight games.

The 22-year-old winger said he knew right away that he was injured badly.

“I was in a lot of pain,” Burakovsky said. “[Head Athletic Trainer] Greg Smith came over and he was like, ‘Okay, let me see your hand.’ Tom Wilson was sitting right next to me and he was like, ‘Oof. That’s not good at all.’”

He added: “You could see, if you were looking close, my whole knuckle was kinda destroyed, was gone sort of. So I had like four knuckles.”

Burakovsky said he opted against surgery since a procedure would not have significantly reduced his recovery time.

“It’s a part of the game,” he said. “Injuries are coming all the time. It just sucked it happened when I was on fire, sort of. I was feeling really good. I was playing good. Everything was good. And obviously, our line was doing really good.”

In the 12 games prior to the Detroit game, Burakovsky had registered six goals and seven assists.

If there’s a silver lining to the injury, it's that Burakovsky expects to have fresh legs when he returns to the lineup later this month.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I can’t wait to get back in the lineup and play games again. It’s really tough to sit out and watch the guys play. It’s not fun. I’m going to be ready to get back in and I’m going to be hungry.”

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Want to witness history? Why Saturday's game is a good bet for Alex Ovechkin to score 700

Want to witness history? Why Saturday's game is a good bet for Alex Ovechkin to score 700

Alex Ovechkin is capable of scoring any time against any team, but if you're trying to pinpoint when history could happen and see goal No. 700, there are plenty of reasons to be watching Saturday's marquee matchup against the New Jersey Devils (1 p.m., NBC Sports Washington).

In three games this season, Ovechkin has scored four times against New Jersey. On Jan. 16, he was bloodied by a high stick from Miles Wood and left for the locker room returning before the first period was up and scored twice. He did not just get mad, he got even and completed the hat trick in the third period.

Head coach Alain Nasreddine did not reveal who his starter would be in net on Friday, but it will be either MacKenzie Blackwood or Cory Schneider. Keep your fingers crossed for Schneider.

Schneider has not played an NHL game since Jan. 18 and was recalled from the AHL on Thursday most likely because Louis Domingue is headed out of town in a trade and the team wanted to protect the asset. Schneider has a 4.65 GAA and .852 save percentage in nine games. Ovechkin has also had plenty of success against him in the past, scoring eight times against the Devils netminder. He has only managed one goal on Blackwood, but it came this season on Dec. 12, 2019.

Ovechkin has a history of success against the Devils. In 56 games against New Jersey, Ovechkin scored in 22 of them. He has 29 total goals including two of his 28 career hat tricks against the Devils.

New Jersey ranks 30th in the NHL in goals against and, although they have improved in that area since Jan. 1, they still rank 21st in that time keeping the puck out of the net.

Add in the fact that the trade deadline firesale has already begun with the Devils shipping out Blake Coleman and captain Andy Greene in the past week, as well as Taylor Hall back in December, and this may be a team not ready to stop Ovechkin's march to history.

With Ovechkin on the verge of 700, there's no doubt that Saturday's marquee matchup (1 p.m., NBC Sports Washington) is one you won't want to miss.

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Alex Ovechkin's son, Sergei, makes an appearance during Capitals practice

Alex Ovechkin's son, Sergei, makes an appearance during Capitals practice

The Capitals had a special guest during their morning skate on Friday.

Alex Ovechkin's son, Sergei, got to pay his father a visit at the Medstar Capitals Iceplex.

Ovechkin carried his one-year-old around the ice and even put him down on the ice to practice his skills. Sergei had a mini stick of his own, almost like he was ready to play if needed.

No word yet on whether Sergei plans on declaring for the upcoming NHL draft, but the kid has already got some skills--and not to mention pretty good genes.

If you were having a bad day, this moment between Ovechkin and his son will certainly cheer you up!

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