WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the Stanley Cup playoffs starting next week, every injury to a star player carries with it a held breath.
Charging on a clear breakaway, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin was tripped up by Toronto goaltender Erik Källgren and crashed hard into the end boards with his left shoulder
The 50-goal captain crouched down on the ice in pain before rising to his feet, expressing his discontent to the officials, and skating off to the trainers’ room with an upper-body injury.
He did not return to the game, and Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said Ovechkin would need further evaluation. No penalty was called on the play.
“I think he skated into my stick and tripped on it. So, it was not my intention to trip him, and I hope he's well,” explained Källgren, following the Maple Leafs’ 4-3 shootout victory.
“Obviously he was frustrated, but I didn’t I mean to trip him. I didn’t mean to cause an injury, so I hope he’s fine.”
The rookie netminder said he’s been admiring Ovechkin “since forever” and found it a surreal experience just to face his legendary shot in the game.
“You don’t like seeing great players go down, so I hope he’s OK,” added veteran Jason Spezza.
Ovechkin’s durability is nearly as respected as his slap shot. Since entering the league in 2005-05, the 36-year-old has appeared in 97 per cent of all Capitals games.
"I've never met anyone tougher than that guy,” teammate T.J. Oshie said.
“We all hope he's fine. I just talked to him, and I think he'll be all right. It's always scary seeing Big 8 go down and lay on the ice. He's a tough guy.
“But if there was anyone I would imagine wouldn't miss any more time than he needs to, it'd be 8."