The Washington Capitals are approaching the 2011 playoffs with some caution, as they want to make sure their number one guy is healthy and ready to go when the puck drops on the Spring Dance. In a release today from the team, Alexander Ovechkin is going to receive 7-to-10 days off for maintenance and healing.
The Capitals have all but clinched their playoff spot, with a magic number of one going into this week. Either a win over Philadelphia on Tuesday or a Carolina loss to Ottawa (also on Tuesday) will clinch their spot and that will be that. If neither happens, it would have to wait until Friday. Nevertheless, the Capitals are in it.
It may not have been a dominant year for Ovechkin in 2011, but that isn't at all to say it was a bad year altogether. The Capitals sniper still has 29 goals and 48 assists in 73 games, which ranks him 9th in pool scoring this year. A top ten finish isn't too bad, when you look at it like that. It is Ovechkin though, you were kind of expecting him to finish in the top three, if not way ahead of the pack in the number one spot.
Having the next week or two off will definitely hurt his overall ranking, likely falling back into the top 20 or something, but getting ready for the playoffs is the most important thing right now, especially since the Capitals are likely thinking it's their time.
Unfortunately, that isn't going to help poolies out much across the board. I know Wes M. isn't quite in the money this season in the draft, but he is in the hunt for the third segment prize, but losing out on Ovechkin for the two-thirds of the remaining part of the schedule will be devastating. I think we can definitely take Wes out of the running for that race right now.
A rested Ovechkin will look awfully appealing going into the playoff pool, however. If the "Great 8" is healed up and 100%, I would really feel sorry for the team that has to face him in the first round. If the playoffs started today, it would be the New York Rangers in their crosshairs.
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