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Playoffs 2013Caps' Ovechkin fires back at Rangers' McDonagh

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 | 03:16 PM

Categories: New York Rangers, Playoffs 2013, WAS vs NYR, Washington Capitals

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Ryan McDonagh, right, and Alex Ovechkin have exchanged barbs through the media ahead of Game 4. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Ryan McDonagh, right, and Alex Ovechkin have exchanged barbs through the media ahead of Game 4. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Alex Ovechkin, said to look "tired" by the Rangers' Ryan McDonagh at the end of Game 3, said Wednesday that McDonagh and defence partner Dan Girardi "don't play a physical game" and "play too many minutes."
By Jay Greenberg, Special to CBC Sports

NEW YORK -- Winger Ryane Clowe, who suffered an apparent concussion in the next-to-last game of the regular season, said after Wednesday's morning skate that he probably will be in the lineup for the Rangers in Game 4.

He likely will replace Darrol Powe -- who disappeared from the bench after taking an elbow from Joel Ward during the first period of Game 3 -- on the fourth line with Arron Asham and Brian Boyle. Powe did not participate in the Game 4 pre-game skate.

Ovechkin tweaks McDonagh

New York, the supposed Great Fishbowl, apparently has too many celebrities on its crowded sidewalks for some hockey player from Washington to get recognized.

"It's kind of fun when you can walk out there and nobody recognizes you," said Alex Ovechkin about the complete day off granted the Capitals on Tuesday by coach Adam Oates.

For the record, Ovechkin, said to look "tired" by Ranger defenceman Ryan McDonagh on the unsuccessful six-on-four that ended Game 3 in a 4-3 New York win, insists he felt fine.

"I feel normal," he shrugged. "I don't know why he would say that.

"Of course they try to find something if they are winning. Somebody looks tired, somebody looks lazy, somebody looks bad.

"I don't care."

Despite the six Ranger power plays that left Ovechkin off the ice for too much of the first half of the game, he played 22:07, his highest total of the three-game series Still, that totaled just 1:13 more than his 2013 season average of 20:53.

So far the Caps star has dished out more hits than he has taken, especially from McDonagh and Dan Girardi, the defencemen being matched against Ovechkin.

"McDonagh is a good skater but [he and Girardi] don't play a physical game," said Ovechkin. "It's kind of nice to know when you go to the corner they aren't going to hit you.

"They play too many minutes out there. Making one or two hits, their energy level will go down. They block shots. They play it safe. It's a challenge."

In denial

Brooks Laich, who insists he did not undergo a reported sports hernia surgery in mid-April, skated with the Capitals on Wednesday morning for the first time since disappearing from the lineup on April 7.

"He's a way's away," said Oates, doing away with any speculation the valuable Laich is about to return. "In the past year we have set ourselves back a couple times [with Laich]. We don't want that to happen again."

Laich, whose season did not start until March 19 because of an injury suffered while playing in Switzerland during the lockout, apparently was reluctant to undergo whatever it is he underwent and is strangely refusing to acknowledge it took place.

The recovery period was said to be four to six weeks, which would make Laich available by the second round at the earliest.

Lundqvist up for Vezina

Henrik Lundqvist, the 2011-12 Vezina winner, said he was "proud and honoured" to be nominated again this year, with Sergei Bobrovsky and Antti Niemi.

"It's been an interesting year, a different year with a shorter season and tight schedule. Things maybe didn't go our way all the time and when you have to work really hard to finally get back in [the playoffs] it's just a big reward.

"Personally, maybe I had more highs last year. Consistency this year is something I am very pleased about."

Rest and relaxation

Mike Ribeiro said he spent Tuesday's off day shopping for his daughter and "people watching."

"I like off days," he smiled.  "I think we should just have games and off days, no practices."

Lines and defence pairings for Game 4

New York Rangers


Moore-Del Zotto

Goalie: Lundqvist




Goalie: Holtby

Follow Jay Greenberg on Twitter @ScribeJG.

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