SUN Hockey Pool

NHL notes: Alex Ovechkin needs to play better, owner says

Capitals star Alex Ovechkin is struggling to put up points early in the NHL season. (Kevin...

Capitals star Alex Ovechkin is struggling to put up points early in the NHL season. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:01 PM ET

Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis is concerned that his marquee player is on pace to have his worst statistical NHL season.

With just a goal and an assist to his name following the lockout, Alex Ovechkin is beginning to hear it from the front office.

“We’re concerned,” Leonsis told local radio station WTOP on Wednesday. “Alex is off to a slow start … He’s having to get integrated into this new system.

“He needs to play better,” Leonsis continued. “I don’t have the answers.”

In 31 games with the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow during the recent work stoppage, Ovechkin contributed 19 goals and 21 assists, numbers his NHL organization is used to seeing him produce.

“He gets double-teamed all the time, so he has to keep moving,” Leonsis continued. “And that’s the one thing I’ve noticed: when he doesn’t have a good game, he seems to be more stationary.”

CALLAHAN TO MISS TWO WEEKS

Rangers forward Ryan Callahan is expected to miss up to two weeks after suffering a shoulder injury in New York’s 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday night.

After attempting to square up with Philly’s Maxime Talbot midway through the third period, the pair fell to the ice, with Callahan appearing to land awkwardly on his left shoulder.

Clutching his left side, the Rangers’ blueliner immediately skated towards the New York bench before leaving for the dressing room.

"We were holding each other up and his shoulder popped out or something," Talbot told NHL.com. "It was unfortunate. I let him go. I kind of felt it, but then I saw his face as well."

An MRI performed Wednesday ruled that Callahan suffered a shoulder subluxation during the dustup.

Callahan, who is in his seventh season with the Rangers, has two goals through six games this season.

PANTHERS DESERVING OF RECORD: COACH

The Florida Panthers are off to their worst start in franchise history – and the numbers aren’t pretty.

On Wednesday, Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen teed off on his club, which has been outscored by a combined 23-5 over the last five games.

“I think so,” Dineen replied when asked by the Sun Sentinel if Florida’s record is indicative of its start to the season. “Our record is fairly accurate of what we played the last four games. I hate to say it, we deserve to be where we are right now.”

After winning the league’s Southeast Division a season ago, the Panthers are giving up just under five goals a game during a run that’s seen them garner an NHL-worst 1-5 record.

And things could get worse.

After hosting the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night, the Panthers embark on a road trip that will see them play four times in eight days.

“We have flashes here and there," Dineen told the south Florida newspaper. “It’s just not a concerted effort by anybody.”

BRIEFLY

New York Islanders forward Colin McDonald has been suspended for two games for boarding Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy during Tuesday's game ... Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog missed his second consecutive game Wednesday night, stemming from a big hit by San Jose Sharks defenceman Brad Stuart. The Avs confirmed the Swedish forward suffered injuries to his head and left leg, but haven’t confirmed a concussion … Buffalo Sabres winger Patrick Kaleta has been released from hospital after being hit hard from behind by Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mike Brown. Kaleta was taken to a Buffalo-area hospital for precautionary measures Tuesday night to check for a neck injury. Brown isn’t expected to receive a suspension from the league ... The San Jose Sharks announced Wednesday that majority owner Hasso Plattner has bought out shares from two additional club owners to take a bigger controlling stake in the franchise.


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