The Washington Capitals were hoping superstar Alex Ovechkin's upper-body injury would only keep him out a game or two, but they announced Monday that he will be out a bit longer.
Ovechkin's status is "week to week" after he underwent an MRI for an upper-body strain, the team said only a couple of hours after coach Bruce Boudreau speculated the Russian winger could be back as early as the weekend.
"We have to buckle down," Boudreau said. "You look at a goal a game he scores. We've got to play better defence. We can't allow four and five goals a game.
"You have to win 3-1 and 2-1 and, if you get lucky, sometimes make it a 4-2 game. I think we have enough character players who understand what we will have to do without Alex."
Ovechkin left after the second period of the team's shootout loss to Columbus on Sunday.
He got tangled up with Blue Jackets forward Raffi Torres about six minutes into the period and fell to the ice. He grimaced as he got up and gingerly skated off the ice, heading straight to the locker room.
Earlier in the period, Ovechkin was bumped by Columbus left-winger Jason Chimera and he responded with a shove. Players from both teams skated over to the scrum.
Ovechkin, who has won the Hart Memorial Trophy as league most valuable player the last two seasons, leads the NHL with 14 goals and 23 points through 14 games.
He has missed only four games in a four-season career, two of them to be with his ailing grandfather in Russia.With files from The Associated Press