Ovie feelin' good, Bogo still out
KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
|Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin (left) will play tonight, but not Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian. (Brian Donogh/QMI Agency/Files)
WINNIPEG - The Washington Capitals will have Alex Ovechkin in the lineup on Friday night, but the Winnipeg Jets will still be without defenceman Zach Bogosian.
Ovechkin had a big collision with teammate Mike Knuble at practice on Thursday in Virginia, but he took part in the morning skate at MTS Centre and declared himself ready to go for Friday’s big clash with the Jets.
“(I feel) pretty good,” Ovechkin said. “I’m ready to go, so that’s the most important thing. It happens. It was an accident, and thank God it ended in a good way and nobody gets real hurt.”
The news wasn’t as positive on the other side of MTS Centre, as Bogosian will miss his 12th game out of Winnipeg’s last 13 contests with first a wrist problem and now a lower-body injury. He did take part in the morning skate, however.
“Not going tonight, but it feels good to be back with the boys,” Bogosian said. “Hopefully shooting for Sunday (against Carolina). It’s getting better, though, so that’s always a good thing.”
Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien didn’t skate on Friday morning, but he will play against the Capitals. Winnipeg head coach Claude Noel said Byfuglien probably won’t practise or take part in game day skates much the rest of the way, but his injury won’t prevent him from playing in games.
The 10th-place Jets are four points back of the eighth-place Capitals in the Eastern Conference, and the Caps know they can seriously harm Winnipeg’s playoff chances with a victory on Friday night.
“I expect this building to be rocking, and it’s just a huge game for both teams right now,” Caps defenceman Karl Alzner said. “They need this win, and if we can get the win then it makes it really tough for them the rest of the way.”
Noel, however, wouldn’t go so far as calling Friday’s clash a defining moment for his team.
“I’ll find out some things about the group, but I don’t think it’s a defining game, like if we lose the world’s going to end or the bottom’s going to fall out of the season,” he said. “We’re not planning on losing. Neither are they.
“I want to see who can deal with it. They’re all going to try their best, they’re all going to motivate themselves to play their A game, but can you? Will you? It’s how you respond to that adversity.”
In other news Friday, the Jets signed OHL defenceman Julian Melchiori to an entry-level contract. The 2010 third-round draft pick of the Atlanta Thrashers had two goals and 34 assists in 60 games this season with the Kitchener Rangers and Oshawa Generals.