Carolina Hurricanes rookie Andrei Svechnikov hopes to play in Game 6 against the Washington Capitals on Monday after suffering a concussion in a fight with Alex Ovechkin a week earlier.
Svechnikov took part in his first full team practice on Saturday during the Hurricanes’ morning skate before Game 5 of their first-round series. The 19-year-old Russian winger wore a yellow non-contact jersey and would need to clear the NHL’s concussion protocol before he returns to game action.
Coach Rod Brind’Amour was noncommittal about Svechnikov’s status for the remainder of the series. Svechnikov is one of three Carolina forwards out with injury, along with Micheal Ferland and Jordan Martinook.
Ovechkin knocked out Svechnikov with a right hook during a fight in the first period of Game 3. Both players have said the other asked to fight.
“He did ask me first for fight. I’m not a superhero ask first for fight,” Svechnikov said Saturday in his first interview since the incident. “I said yes. I just want to stand up for myself.”
It was Ovechkin’s first fight since 2010 and fourth of his career, according to HockeyFights.com. Svechnikov, who idolized Ovechkin growing up and met his hero during the 2018 Stanley Cup Final, said the Capitals’ captain called him after the game.
“I just talk with him a little bit, you know,” Svechnikov said. “I said sometimes it happen. You never know.”
Ovechkin said after Game 3 that he hoped Svechnikov was OK.
“You don’t want to see a guy get hurt or something,” Ovechkin said.
Svechnikov, the second overall pick in the 2018 draft, had two goals and an assist before leaving early in Game 3. He said he was feeling good and recovers quickly, but the Hurricanes have taken a cautious approach with a player who could be a future superstar.
“He’s coming along really well,” Brind’Amour said. “That’s all I’ve been told. So, until (trainers) tell me that it’s even a possibility, I’m just going on as if he won’t be (available).”
The Hurricanes and Capitals are tied at two games apiece. The winner of the series faces the New York Islanders in the second round.