Washington Capitals fans were left reeling today after it was announced that team captain Alex Ovechkin will be stepping away from the team for an undetermined period of time. According to a statement by Capitals senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan, Ovechkin is taking a leave of absence to attend to a family matter and the health of a loved one.
This news comes at a critical time for the Capitals, who are currently fighting to hold onto their playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The team sits in the first wild card spot, but is being closely pursued by the Florida Panthers and New York Islanders, who are hoping to overtake them in the standings.
Ovechkin, who has been a cornerstone of the Capitals’ success for many years, has been in excellent form this season, scoring 32 goals and assisting on 22 others for a total of 54 points in just 54 games played. He is also in pursuit of Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goals record of 894 goals, with Ovechkin currently sitting at an impressive 812 goals.
The absence of Ovechkin will undoubtedly be felt by the Capitals, who will now have to find a way to maintain their form and secure their playoff spot without their captain. While the length of his leave is currently unknown, there is no doubt that his teammates and fans will be eagerly awaiting his return.
For Ovechkin, this is a difficult time as he navigates personal and family issues.
In the meantime, the Capitals will need to rally together and continue to push for victories in Ovechkin’s absence. With less than half of the games left in the regular season, every point will be crucial in determining which teams make it into the playoffs and which ones are left on the outside looking in.