Alex Ovechkin (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
Russian news outlets reported Tuesday that Alex Ovechkin has suffered a lower-body injury during training, but the Washington Capitals sniper has denied the rumors. In a statement released through the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, Ovechkin said he’s ready for the World Cup.Training camps for the World Cup of Hockey are set to being in less than a month, and according to two Russian news outlets, Alex Ovechkin’s status for the tournament could be up in the air. However, the ‘Great 8’ says there’s no reason to worry. Russia’s Sport-Express reported Tuesday that Ovechkin has suffered a lower-body injury during his off-season training, and the recovery time for the injury could be “at least three weeks.” The three week timeline would mean Ovechkin is back in time for the World Cup tournament, but it calls into question whether he’d be able to participate in training camp. But Russian news agency TASS said the injury “will prevent (Ovechkin) from playing in the World Cup.” There’s no specifics regarding how the injury occurred, but a source reportedly told TASS that the injury is “muscle damage,” something that often happens when players are training. However, shortly after news came that Ovechkin would be sidelined for the tournament, he released a statement through the Russian Ice Hockey Federation saying that he would be prepared for the season and no injury is hindering him. "At the moment I continue to prepare for the season, the more so that this year we have an early start — in the national team, we have to participate in the World Cup,” Ovechkin said, per a rough translation of his statement through the RHF. “I train in the usual pre-season mode in the room and on the ice. I do not even know where (they) could take for my injury information. It is not in sight.” Ovechkin doubled down on his statement by posting a video of him training, taking three shots on a goaltender before saying he’ll be “ready.” The video’s caption warns to not believe rumors about him suffering an injury.
Ovechkin was one of the first players named to the Russian World Cup squad and he’ll be an important part of the team at the tournament. Ovechkin’s 186 goals since the start of the lockout shortened season are the most of any player by more than 50 goals, and he’s the fourth-highest scoring player in the league over that period with 287 points. He scored 50 goals and 71 points this past season and added another five goals and 12 points in 12 playoff games. After his Washington Capitals were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the post-season, Ovechkin headed to the World Championship, where he scored one goal and two points in six games for Russia. He averaged more than 19 minutes of ice time per game. Want more in-depth features and expert analysis on the game you love? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.