Alex Ovechkin Recovering From Injury; Capitals Continuing Coaching Search

Posted on May 23, 2014 by Elliott Smith

It has been an action-packed week for the Washington Capitals, with all sorts of team-related nuggets arising during what has been an anything-but-quiet offseason. 

The injury to Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin proved to be a sigh of relief for everyone involved, with Ovechkin recovering enough from a hit to his knee that he suffered at the World Championships May 18 to play for Russia during a quarterfinal match May 22. He figures to lace up against for the undefeated Russians during their semifinal contest against Sweden May 24.

"I am feeling good," Ovechkin told reporter Slava Malamud after Russia's 3-0 triumph against France May 22. "Maybe a bit awkward to skate, but I think I will play the next game without the brace. I hope it will be much better. There are still two days, so I think I will recover to 100 percent."

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The Capitals' coaching search gained its first concrete candidate, as numerous outlets reported that former Nashville coach Barry Trotz was in town May 21 to speak with owner Ted Leonsis and president Dick Patrick about the Caps' vacant position. 

Trotz, who was let go by the Predators at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, is known as a defense-first coach who might not be a great fit for the Capitals, but who is considered to be one of the best coaching candidates on the market. 

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The chance that The Great One would be headed to the Capitals' front office appears all but nil after reports that Wayne Gretzky was not a candidate for the team's open GM position. 

Gretzky didn't have much success either in the front office or as a coach during his four-year stint with the Phoenix Coyotes, and the Capitals are on the hunt for someone with more pure hockey knowledge in the GM slot to help find the complementary pieces the team needs.

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Jaroslav Halak, whom the Capitals traded to the New York Islanders for a fourth-round draft pick May 1, signed a four-year, $18 million deal with his new club.

The Capitals acquired Halak at the trade deadline of the 2013-14 season, and he failed to push Washington into the postseason. He caused a stir with then-coach Adam Oates by suggesting he wasn't ready to play against his former team, St. Louis, during a critical late-season contest April 8. Halak was scheduled to be a free agent July 1.

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