NHL: Alex Ovechkin returns for Caps, Wild place Jonas Brodin on IR, and more

Washington Capitals superstar captain Alex Ovechkin will return to the lineup against the visiting Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, head coach Peter Laviolette announced.

Ovechkin, 37, had been away from the team since Feb. 14 following the passing of his father Mikhail Ovechkin, whose funeral was held Saturday in Moscow.

The Capitals lost all four games in Ovechkin’s absence and were outscored 16-7.

Alex Ovechkin returns for Caps

“I think Alex wants to come back and help our team be successful, whatever that means, whether it’s him scoring three goals or one goal or just playing a great game and our team winning the hockey game,” Laviolette said Thursday. “That’s probably first and foremost on his list, but I’m sure he wants to come back and have a presence in the game.”

Ovechkin skated for approximately 45 minutes on Thursday morning.

“Obviously it was a hard week mentally, physically,” Ovechkin said. “It was probably toughest situation I’ve been through my whole NHL career. But it’s life, and we move on.”

Ovechkin has recorded team-leading totals in goals (32) and points (54) in 54 games this season. With 812 career goals, the three-time Hart Trophy winner trails only Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky (894) on the NHL’s career list.

Also on Thursday, Laviolette announced that forward Anthony Mantha will be placed on injured reserve due to an upper-body ailment.

Mantha, 28, has 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) in 54 games this season.

He has 249 points (117 goals, 132 assists) in 407 career games with the Detroit Red Wings (2015-21) and Capitals.

Wild place Jonas Brodin on IR

minnesota wild
May 3, 2021; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin (25) celebrates the eventual game-winning goal with 1:06 left on the clock against the Vegas Golden Knights with defensemen Jared Spurgeon (46) at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild placed defenseman Jonas Brodin on injured reserve Thursday due to a lower-body injury.

Brodin, 29, initially sustained the injury in the final minutes of the Wild’s 3-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Feb. 6. He sat out Minnesota’s next two games before competing in each of the last six.

Brodin has totaled 11 points (two goals, nine assists) and 107 blocked shots in 49 games this season.

He has 210 points (46 goals, 164 assists) in 730 career contests since being selected by the Wild with the 10th overall pick of the 2011 NHL Draft.

Ryan Johansen out 12 weeks

Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen is expected to be sidelined 12 weeks after having emergency surgery on his right leg, the team announced Thursday.

Johansen was injured in the second period of Nashville’s 5-4 win over the Canucks on Tuesday. The blade of a skate worn by Vancouver defenseman Quinn Hughes cut the back of Johansen’s lower leg. Johansen had the surgery Wednesday.

The projected timeline puts Johansen, 30, out for the rest of the season and through the first round of the playoffs, should the Predators qualify. Entering play Thursday, Nashville sits seven points out of the second wild-card position in the Western Conference.

The No. 4 pick of the 2010 NHL Draft by Columbus, Johansen has posted 12 goals and 28 points in 55 games this season. He has tallied 555 points (189 goals, 366 assists) in 842 regular season games with the Blue Jackets (2011-16) and Predators.

The Predators next play Thursday night against the Sharks in San Jose.

Adam Henrique week-to-week

Anaheim Ducks forward Adam Henrique will miss Thursday night’s game and is considered week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Defenseman John Klingberg will also miss Thursday night’s game at Washington.

Also Thursday, the Ducks announced they acquired Josiah Slavin from Chicago in exchange for Hunter Drew.

Henrique, tied for the team lead in goals with 19, sustained the injury in the second period of Tuesday night’s loss to Tampa Bay, the Ducks’ sixth straight defeat. Henrique got tangled up with the Lightning’s Brandon Hagel and left the game, unable to return.

Henrique also has 14 assists in 57 games.

Klingberg has 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) in 48 games this season, his first in Anaheim.

Slavin, 24, who has one assist in 15 NHL games, will report to the San Diego Gulls, Anaheim’s AHL affiliate.

Drew has played in two NHL games.

Kraken waive Chris Driedger

Goaltender Chris Driedger, who has missed the season recovering from knee surgery, was placed on waivers by the Seattle Kraken on Thursday.

Driedger, 28, sustained a torn right ACL last June while playing for Canada in the gold-medal game of the 2022 IIHF World Championship.

At the time, Driedger was projected to miss seven to nine months after undergoing surgery.

A Winnipeg native, Driedger was a third-round draft pick by the Ottawa Senators in 2012. In 65 career games with the Senators, Florida Panthers and Kraken, he has a 30-23-5 record with a 2.45 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.

–Field Level Media