Alex Ovechkin Misses Morning Skate (Maintenance): Notes From Capitals Morning Skate On “The Strip”

The Washington Capitals had the day off on Friday following their 4-0 victory over the Coyotes in Arizona. The team made their way to Las Vegas immediately following the game in Tempe in advance of their tilt with the Golden Knights on Saturday night. Puck drop is set for tonight at 10PM ET.

The Capitals held their gameday morning skate at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Alex Ovechkin did not participate. The team said it was  “maintenance” for him.

Ovechkin will be a game time decision tonight in Vegas, per Coach Peter Laviolette.

The forward lines and defensive pairs at morning skate, courtesy of Samantha Pell/Washington Post:

*Anthony Mantha — Dylan Strome — Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Sonny Milano — Nicklas Backstrom — Tom Wilson
Conor Sheary — Lars Eller — T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Garnet Hathaway

Erik Gustafsson — Trevor Van Riemsdyk
Dmitry Orlov — Nick Jensen
Alexander Alexeyev — Martin Fehervary

Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren

Extras: Aliaksei Protas, Matt Irwin (* Mantha skated for Ovechkin, who had the morning off.) Should Ovechkin play tonight, it looks like it’s more press box time for Mantha.


The Washington Capitals make their lone visit to see the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night for their final meeting of the season and fourth game back in Sin City since winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history on June 7, 2018.


However, Washington has never won a regular-season game in Vegas (0-3-1) and dropped three straight against them (0-1-2), including a 3-2 overtime loss in the nation’s capital despite leading twice on November 1.

Logan Thompson was the first goalie off the ice for Vegas at morning skate, and is expected to start tonight vs Washington.

Action from T-Mobile Arena can be seen on NBC Sports Washington in-market or ESPN+ out-of-market starting at 10 PM ET.


Today’s stat of the day takes a look at each of the defensive pairings deployed by the Capitals so far this season. The graph presents all pairings deployed, regardless of total time on ice together. [Click to enlarge].

It should be noted the the chart does not include a time element. It just strictly the accumulated differentials for each pairing.

[The statistics used in this post are courtesy of Natural Stat Trick and the NoVa Caps Advanced Analytics Model (NCAAM). If you’d like to learn more about the statistical terms used in this post, please check out our NHL Analytics Glossary]


Joe Snively scored his third goal in the four games he’s played since being sent down to Hershey on January 8.

Ryan Chesley had a really nice primary assist Friday night against Michigan. He made the diagonal cross-ice feed off the boards to spring his forward for the Gophers second tally of the game.

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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11 Responses to Alex Ovechkin Misses Morning Skate (Maintenance): Notes From Capitals Morning Skate On “The Strip”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ovi maintaining his brand

  2. Anonymous says:

    Lol. Hopefully pictures or video surface later today.

  3. Diane Doyle says:

    Hopefully, Ovi not doing too badly. But maybe the fact he had no hits against Arizona and hasn’t scored in a few days indicates something is off with him.

    • Anonymous says:

      I was wondering whether it might be that left shoulder that’s bothering him. The last few games he’s been trying to make more passes than taking shots himself. He only had two SOG in Arizona.

  4. dwgie26 says:

    I’m not too worried about OV. He regularly takes maintenance days throughout the season. His line has been effective the last two games.

    Love the stat on defensive pairings. As expected Gus and JC74 have been really good. Orlov and Jensen have been good. And TVR and Gus have been adequate. Fever scores poorly regardless. Irwin and Alexyev mostly negative as well.

    I continue to root for Alexyev development. Glad to see him in the game again tonight. Needs another step forward.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Agree on OV. He’s doing his thing. I’d expect a good game from him tonight.

      Thanks for thoughts on defensive graphic. The pairs look (eventually) locked if everyone can get healthy. “Fever” has a bit of a disadvantage inxGF since he was moved to a defensive pairing early in the season (down from top pair). Which was a great move, don’t get me wrong.

      • dwgie26 says:

        Agree it was the right move. Defensemen have to develop their offensive game over time each time they jump a level (at every age). Chelsey experiencing the same thing. Even Iorio to some extent. Gotta get the defensive side ironed out first.

        I mentioned in Bears game notes, that Johansen really caught my eye last night. He was moving with the puck really well. And he led Bears defensemen last year in points and +/-. I feel like he is more ready than Alexyev but with the AA injury and waiver status he has kinda stuck in Washington.

        You know I love my defensemen! Haha!

  5. Diane Doyle says:

    Now I’m hearing speculation that we’re unlikely to see Ovi in the lineup tonight. The morning skate lineup had substitutes in the power play lineup.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I would have Connor S up on that 1st line..

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