The gold jersey isn’t exactly what you want your star left wing sporting at practice. That means physical contact isn’t allowed. But after undergoing a cortisone shot following Tuesday’s 1-0 overtime loss to Tampa Bay, Alex Ovechkin was wearing gold this morning. He skated hard throughout the 80-minute practice, but according to Caps coach Bruce Boudreau, Ovechkin was not allowed to handle the puck for two days.

That suggests a hand, wrist or forearm injury, but we don’t know for sure. Ovechkin wouldn’t cop an injury at all. Go with upper-body for now simply because his skating looked fine. The Caps were off Wednesday so Ovechkin should be ready to go full in practice on Friday. But is this a lingering problem and is it a cause of his relative struggles this season?

“It’s probably been a while for him to get a cortisone shot,” Boudreau said. “I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you. We’ll find out maybe this weekend if it’s worked or what.”

That’s all he would give away. As for Ovechkin:

“I’m going to be okay. Just [Boudreau] gives me some skating. No puck handling, nothing…He told me just be relaxing and ready for Saturday.”

Meanwhile, forward Matt Hendricks skated on his own before practice and forward Mathieu Perreault sat out after needing some work done. Remember, he broke his nose on Dec. 26 against Carolina. Boudreau assumes Perreault could play Saturday against Florida.

[But] he had to get some things fixed, like, facially,” Boudreau said. “That’s why he was out.” 

Like Ovechkin, Hendricks also needed a cortisone shot this week. He got into a pretty good scrap on Tuesday with Tampa’s Steve Downie, but has also been fighting some other nagging physical issues. Hendricks skated hard alongside Matt Bradley (broken finger) under the watchful eye of strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish before the official practice.

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