Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin is in Russia after the death of his 71-year-old father, Mikhail, on Wednesday.
Ovechkin is out indefinitely, and the Capitals are giving Ovechkin as much time as he needs.
“He has our full support,” coach Peter Laviolette said.
Ovechkin, 37, is tied for eighth in the NHL with 32 goals this season. He is the second-leading scorer in NHL history with 812 goals.
“All we can do is be there for him like he’s been there for us,” winger Tom Wilson said,
Washington hosts Florida on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Flyers, their playoff hopes dim, start a four-game road trip Thursday in Seattle. Points are mandatory if the Flyers are going to stay in the race.
Philly (22-23-10), which has been led by goaltender Carter Hart’s strong play, is eight points out of a playoff spot with 27 games remaining.
Boston is not chasing a playoff spot. The Bruins (40-8-5) are entrenched atop the Atlantic Division and have a league-high 85 points.
The B’s are trying to add more depth to their formidable lineup. They are reportedly interested in St. Louis forward Ivan Barbashev, who has 10 goals and 27 points in 53 games. Barbashev, 27, had a breakout season in 2021-22 with 26 goals and 60 points.
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Around the NHL and National Hockey Now
Philly Hockey Now: Carter Hart and All-Star left winger Kevin Hayes will lead the Flyers against host Seattle on Thursday night. The Flyers will be trying to avenge Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the Kraken at the Wells Fargo Center. Philadelphia Flyers.
Washington Hockey Now: The Caps are rallying around Alex Ovechkin, whose father died in Russia on Wednesday. Washington Capitals.
Boston Hockey Now: The Bruins are atop the NHL but are trying to get better. They are reportedly interested in forward Ivan Barbashev of St. Louis. Boston Bruins.
Los Angeles Hockey Now: The Kings on Wednesday signed defenseman Mikey Anderson to an eight-year contract extension that has an annual cap hit of $4.1 million. Los Angeles Kings.
New York Islanders Hockey Now: The Isles’ power play, which had been second-worst in the NHL, has been extremely successful since the acquisition of Bo Horvat. New York Islanders.
Montreal Hockey Now: Looking at the Habs’ top targets for the 2023 draft. Montreal Canadiens.