The Capitals (25-19-3, 53 points) host the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins (31-13-2, 64 points) tonight for their final game before the All-Star Game. This will be the first time these two teams have met this season and the Caps will be without suspended Captain Alex Ovechkin, who was suspended three games for his hit on Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek Sunday afternoon.
The Capitals weren’t happy that Ovechkin was suspended, but Zybnek Michalek wasn’t for his hit on Matt Hendricks.
“We have our theories of why their wasn’t another suspension there,” Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner said reacting to Michalek not getting suspended or fined.
“Yeah, it looked like an elbow to Hendy’s [Matt Hendricks] head,” Caps veteran Jeff Halpern said. “I don’t understand what the difference is, whether its a repeat offender, a hit to the head is a hit to the head.”
Hendricks said he was elbowed in the head, but didn’t want to talk about it today.
Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin also wasn’t happy with his suspension.
“I was disappointed,” Ovechkin said on his suspension. “My game is play physical, my game is play hard, I don’t think it was bad hit and dirty hit.”
Also Capitals General Manager George Mcphee weighed in on the suspension.
“I was surprised and disappointed, I didn’t anticipate he would be suspended for three games,” McPhee said. “We presented our case to the league yesterday and I thought we did real well, but didn’t get the result we wanted.”
“I thought that when I saw the hit that there might be a fine or maybe one game [suspension],” McPhee added. “When it [the suspension] went to three [games] I was pretty disappointed.”
The Caps move on without Ovechkin and their forward lines tonight are likely: Johansson-Perreault-Semin, Hendricks-Laich-Brouwer, Chimera-Halpern-Knuble, Beagle-Eakin-Ward.
The Caps scratches are Alex Ovechkin (suspension) and Jeff Schultz (illness).
Tomas Vokoun (19-12-0, 2.55 GAA, .917 Save Pct.) will be in net for the Caps.
The Caps are also still without injured stars Nicklas Backstrom (concussion) and Mike Green (adominal surgery). Backstrom skated for five minutes in sweats yesterday, didn’t skate today.
This is the first time since Nicklas Backstrom has been in the NHL that the Caps will be without Alex Ovechkin or Nicklas Backstrom in a game.
Capitals General Manager George McPhee spoke briefly about the injuries to Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green.
“It’s hard to say, we’re working and hoping he’s getting closer,” McPhee said on the health of Nicklas Backstrom.
“Did really well, did really well, talked to him yesterday and he feels pretty good,” McPhee said on Mike Green’s surgery. “He’s looking forward to starting to do some work, I think today is the first day he starts to do exercises and then hopefully skating next week.”
Listen here to what Karl Alzner, Jeff Halpern and Matt Hendricks said today following the morning skate today. Also click here to listen to the full Alex Ovechin and George McPhee press conferences from earlier today talking about Ovechkin’s suspension and skipping of All-Star game.
Karl Alzner Morning Skate Audio
Jeff Halpern Morning Skate Audio
Matt Hendricks Morning Skate Audio