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Breaking NHL news: Ovechkin hurt at Caps practice, but Hunter says he's OK

The Sabres are off today and return to the ice at 10 a.m. Friday before heading to Florida. The big story in the NHL tonight is the return of Sidney Crosby as the Penguins play the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, but there's some breaking news this morning out of Washington that could have a huge impact on the playoff race.

Caps star Alex Ovechkin has left practice early after a collision with teammate Mike Knuble. There's no word yet on the nature of his injury but the Washington Times is reporting Ovechkin was on the ice for about two minutes being attended to by trainers before moving to the bench and eventually leaving.

Ovechkin has 29 goals and 24 assists in 66 games, quite a down year for him. But he's been heating up lately as the Caps have won four straight to seize a three-point lead over the Sabres in the battle for eighth. Washington has four straight road toughies coming up, starting Friday in Winnipeg and moving on to Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia, so the Caps certainly need the No Longer Great Eight in the lineup.

Here's the 1 p.m. update:

The Washington Post says Ovechkin is OK  and making the trip and did not suffer any kind of head injury. The Caps are also looking forward to the return of Nicklas Backstrom.

Meanwhile, Stephen Whyno of the Washington Times has a similar report but also points out the Caps were far from truthful about Ovechkin's status last  month, when an "equipment issue"  suddenly became an upper-body injury.

So Ovechkin bears watching during the Caps' road trip, both for his play and his health.

---Mike Harrington

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |