Andrei Svechnikov hopes to help the Hurricanes as the team faces elimination from the playoffs, but his chances of rejoining the lineup aren’t promising.
Carolina’s rookie winger suffered a concussion in a fight with Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin last week and has yet to be fully cleared from the concussion protocol, leaving him “highly doubtful” for Game 6 on Monday, coach Rod Brind’Amour announced Sunday.
The same goes for injured forwards Jordan Martinook and Micheal Ferland.
“You take three guys out of our top nine (forwards) … and it’s the competitive guys you’re taking out,” Brind’Amour said, via the News and Observer. “You’re asking a lot for call-ups and guys who fill those roles. That’s the big challenge we have. But having said that, I still think our other players have to step up and at least be the players they can be.”
Svechnikov participated in his first full team practice Saturday ahead of the team’s 6-0 loss at Washington in Game 5. He took three hard punches from Ovechkin in Game 3 last Monday and hit his head on the ice when he fell.
While Ovechkin told reporters it was Svechnikov who asked him to fight, the 19-year-old disputed that notion.
“He did ask me first for a fight,” Svechnikov said Saturday. “It was just back and forth all series, you know. It was just, like, fight. It sometimes happens. I just stood up for myself.”
Ironically, the Hurricanes’ No. 2 overall pick of the 2018 draft praised Ovechkin hours before the two dropped gloves.
“I followed him as a kid. Good guy. Leader of the team. It’s fun to play against him,” Svechnikov said.
The Hurricanes, down 3-2 in the opening-round series, are slated to host the Capitals at 7 p.m. ET.