While the Washington Capitals are near the conclusion of a rare season that finds them outside the Eastern Conference’s playoff picture, the circumstances surrounding their franchise’s greatest player add more meaning to the remaining games on their schedule than those contests might have for other teams. Alex Ovechkin remains locked into his chase of Wayne Gretzky’s all-time scoring record, and until the day he passes The Great One, each Capitals game holds importance.
As a result, any injuries Capitals players suffer at this stage of the season are more meaningful than they might be for another franchise closing out a lost season. So, today’s reporting via the Washington Post’s Roman Stubbs that Capitals veterans T.J. Oshie and Trevor van Riemsdyk will not travel with the team and are each nursing upper-body injuries is notable. While the 36-year-old Oshie may not be the caliber of player he once was, he’s still a reliable contributor to the Capitals’ forward corps and his absence could make life for Ovechkin more difficult. Same for the loss of van Riemsdyk, who as a former undrafted player has carved himself a nice career as a penalty kill specialist at the age of 31.
Some other injury notes from across the NHL:
- NHL.com’s Lou Korac relays updates from St. Louis Blues head coach Craig Berube on two of the team’s most important players. Per Berube, top center Robert Thomas is a game-time decision tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers, while the Blues’ leading scorer on a point-per-game basis, Pavel Buchnevich, remains out. Both Thomas and Buchnevich have not played since the Blues’ March 28th overtime victory over the Vancouver Canucks, and in their absence St. Louis has lost two of three games, with their sole victory coming over the last-place Chicago Blackhawks.
- Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter told the media today, including TSN Sports’ Salim Nadim Valji, that veteran defensive defenseman Chris Tanev is a game-time decision tonight against the Blackhawks. Tanev hasn’t played since March 20th, when the Flames suffered a miserable 8-2 loss in Los Angeles. With the Flames on a four-game winning streak and mounting a serious challenge to the Winnipeg Jets, getting Tanev back into the lineup would give his team a major boost. Tanev is the Flames’ leading penalty-killer by a wide margin and the experience, defensive prowess, and 20 rock-solid minutes a night he brings to the table could be just what the Calgary needs to push themselves past the Jets for the final Wild Card spot.
- Carolina Hurricanes star forward Teuvo Teravainen remains out of the lineup for tonight’s matchup against the Ottawa Senators, marking the fourth straight game he has missed. The 28-year-old Finn has undoubtedly had a down season by his standards (just 12 goals and 36 points in 63 games played) but with both Max Pacioretty and Andrei Svechnikov out for the season, he’ll need to get back to full health and shoulder a greater offensive workload in order for the Hurricanes to stand the best chance of making a deep playoff run.