NHL Gametime Decisions: Statuses of Capitals Alex Ovechkin and Maple Leafs Mitch Marner still unknown

Latest on Ovechkin and Marner.

alex ovechkin injury
Mar 3, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) squirts a bottle before their game against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The status of Washington Capitals star forward Alex Ovechkin will be firmed up in the hours leading up to Wednesday night’s season opener against the visiting New York Rangers.

Ovechkin, 36, is dealing with a lower-body injury, according to the club.

Capitals Ovechkin a gametime decision

Ovechkin was injured during last Friday’s preseason game against the Philadelphia Flyers. He collided with Philadelphia’s Travis Konecny and was noticeably ailing while skating off the ice.

“It was just a little collision. Nothing serious,” Ovechkin told reporters. “We’ll see how it goes.”

Ovechkin, who signed a five-year, $47.5 million contract extension in the offseason, is the franchise leader in games played (1,197), goals (730) and points (1,320) since being selected by Washington with the top overall pick in the 2004 NHL Draft. He was named the Conn Smythe Trophy recipient during the Capitals’ run to the Stanley Cup title in 2018.

Ovechkin collected 42 points (team-leading 24 goals, 18 assists) in 45 games in 2020-21 while competing in the final season of a 13-year, $124 million contract he signed in 2008. He sits one goal shy of tying Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne for fifth place in NHL history.

Maple Leafs Mitch Marner a gametime decision

mitch marner injury
May 8, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner (16) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens in the second period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Whether forward Mitchell Marner will play for the Toronto Maple Leafs in their season opener Wednesday night against the Montreal Canadiens remains to be seen.

Marner left practice early Tuesday following a hit from teammate Wayne Simmonds but took part in Wednesday morning’s optional skate. His participation against the Canadiens will be a game-time decision

“It was a positive morning for Mitch,” coach Sheldon Keefe said. “The skate went well so we are encouraged by that.”

Marner was trying to evade Simmonds when he took the hit.

Marner, 24, led the Maple Leafs in points (67) and assists (47) in the 2020-21 season. In 355 career games since the Leafs made him the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 draft, he has 358 points (103 goals, 255 assists).

The Leafs are short on forwards as the season opens, with Auston Matthews (wrist) and Ilya Mikheyev (thumb) injured.

Matthews is expected to miss the first three games. Mikheyev had thumb surgery Wednesday morning and will be out about eight weeks. He was hurt in Saturday’s preseason game against the Ottawa Senators.

–Field Level Media