Alex Ovechkin is playing for the Washington Capitals against the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, NBCSWA, NESN, NHL.TV) after he was removed from NHL COVID-19 protocol.
“Yeah, I have my bye week already so I feel pretty rested and ready to go,” Ovechkin said Saturday. “Obviously I don’t have lots of time to spend on the ice but I did some workouts in my gym and did some running so try to do the max that I could do.”
Defenseman Dimirty Orlov also was removed from the protocol but is not playing.
“I think I’ll talk to the coaches, but when you don’t skate 10 days, it’s always hard to come back, especially (because) everybody kept playing and is in good shape,” Orlov said after the morning skate. “But you do some workouts with the bike and I have in my house synthetic ice. I try to skate there, but it’s still different. It’s not like you play the game. I just skated today, and I wish I felt better, but it is what it is right now.”
Ovechkin, Orlov, center Evgeny Kuznetsov and goalie Ilya Samsonov have been in quarantine and on the NHL COVID-19 list since Jan. 20. Kuznetsov and Samsonov remain in quarantine and unavailable to play.
“It [stinks], obviously,” Ovechkin said. “No one wants to be [in protocol], no one wants to put yourself in that position. But you know it’s over so you learn from it and move forward.”
The Capitals (5-0-3) were 3-0-1 without Ovechkin, Orlov, Kuznetsov and Samsonov.
“Yeah it was a great response by teammates and by (the) team, obviously we got points and that is the most important thing,” Ovechkin said. “Obviously happy for the guys who had the opportunity to step up and play well and it was fun to watch.”
Ovechkin scored five points (one goal, four assists) in the first four games. The 35-year-old had scored 707 goals in 16 NHL seasons, one behind Mike Gartner for seventh in history.
Orlov played in 401 consecutive regular-season games before missing the past four. He doesn’t have a point in four games but was second on the Capitals with an average ice time of 20:49 per game.
Center Lars Eller skated in a non-contact jersey Saturday and missed his second game because of a lower-body injury sustained in a 3-2 win against the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
Defenseman Justin Schultz, who was hit in the face with a shot during a 6-3 win against the Islanders on Thursday, did not practice Saturday.