Trotz acknowledged to reporters Wednesday night following the team’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers that Ovechkin has been dealing with a lower-body injury for ‘a while’, so after meeting with trainers this week, the team determined that resting Ovechkin was the ideal long-term solution.
“It’s been nagging all year,” Trotz said in his post-game availability. “Long-term, for us, we have to make a decision for our fans and for our team and for Alex too.”
Ovechkin played 19:58 minutes of ice time in Wednesday’s game, but it was clear to Trotz that he was not operating at 100 per cent.
“We were trying to get through the game,” he explained. “He played for a little bit…and I said, ‘if it’s get worse then let me know.’ He was cautious and it’s hard for him to be cautious.
“You can tell he’s not moving the way he can. We have to do what’s right for him.”
Ovechkin, who was voted in as the captain of the Metropolitan Division, is disappointed he won’t be able to suit up Sunday in Nashville, but that couldn’t be a factor in the Capitals’ decision.
“He’s one of the faces that keeps it light and all that,” Trotz said. “We have to think for our team, our fans. We don’t want this to linger on.”