Russian hockey officials announced Thursday that Alex Ovechkin played through injury before the Washington Capitals were eliminated from the NHL playoffs in the second round by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Ovechkin finished the playoffs dealing with a lower-body injury that required pain-numbing injections, the Russian Hockey Federation said in noting that Ovechkin would not be able to play for Russia at the world championships in Europe because of it.

A person with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed the injury and treatment to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t announced it.


Ovechkin never let on that he was playing hurt. He had five goals and three assists in 13 playoff games as the Capitals flamed out again, eliminated in seven games by the defending champion Penguins. Coach Barry Trotz is expected to address all team injuries at his postseason news conference Friday.

It wasn’t immediately clear when Ovechkin was injured or how severely. He didn’t miss a game but briefly left late in the first period in Game 5 of the first round after clutching his knee following a hit from Nazem Kadri of Toronto, returning for the start of the second.

Ovechkin said after that game April 21 he wasn’t worried about his knee and “just needed a little break.”

NHL teams aren’t required to disclose injury details, typically referring to them only as upper- or lower-body problems, which made Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson’s admission of playing with two hairline fractures in one of his feet so stunning because it came while the Senators were still playing.

SABRES: Jason Botterill is leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins’ bid to defend their Stanley Cup title for an opportunity to build the Buffalo Sabres into contenders as the general manager.

The Sabres hired the Penguins’ associate GM to lead a franchise that owner Terry Pegula criticized for lacking structure and discipline.

Botterill takes over three weeks after Tim Murray was fired, and one day after Pittsburgh advanced to the Eastern Conference finals by defeating the Washington Capitals 2-0 in Game 7 of their second-round playoff series.

BLACKHAWKS: Chicago rewarded Richard Panik for a breakout season by re-signing him to a two-year deal that runs through 2018-19.

The 26-year-old Panik set career highs with 22 goals, 22 assists and 44 points in his first full season in Chicago.