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Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin will not join Russia for the IIHF World Championships because of an undisclosed lower-body injury, the Russian Hockey Federation announced Thursday.
The Federation also said Ovechkin, “finished the NHL playoffs on pain numbing injections.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins eliminated the Capitals in Game 7 of their second-round playoff series Wednesday. In his nine trips to the postseason, Ovechkin has never made it past the second-round. These early exits with the Caps generally enabled him to play in the World Championships.
Since his first appearance at the World Championships for Russia in 2004, Ovechkin has missed the tournament only once, in 2009. He has played a total of 73 World Championship games in his career.
Ovechkin seemed to struggle this year in the postseason with eight points and five goals in 13 games played. He had just one point in the last four games of the Penguins series.
The Capitals dropped Ovechkin to the third-line starting in Game 5 against Pittsburgh, though he still played in between 17:26 and 19:37 in the remaining contests of the series.
After the Caps were eliminated, coach Barry Trotz was asked about Ovechkin’s struggles and seemed to hint that something was off with his captain.
“I just, yeah … emotionally right now, I don’t want to answer that question,” he said. “I think ‘you win or lose as a team’ is probably my best answer right now. Emotionally, I don’t think I want to answer that question right now.”
The Capitals have yet to announced any specifics on Ovechkin’s injury.
Per HC of team Russia Ovechkin played in the playoffs with knee and hamstring injuries
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) May 11, 2017
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