The Washington Capitals returned to practice this afternoon (Monday) following their four-day respite for the All-Star break. The Capitals begin their back-half of the season tomorrow night (Tuesday) when they host the Florida Panthers at Verizon Center. Puck-drop is 7:30 PM.
Marcus Johansson did not participate in the team’s practice this afternoon. As per WaPo, Trotz said Johansson is doubtful for tomorrow. Said he’s “day-to-day.”
Braden Holtby had the day off and did not participate in practice. Former Capitals goalie, and current video coach Brett “stretch” Leonhardt filled in for Holtby today. Braden Holtby will be sitting out for tomorrow night’s game against the Panthers, getting rest after a hectic all-star weekend in Nashville.
Alex Ovechkin participated in the team’s practice, even though he will be required to serve a mandatory one-game suspension for missing the All-Star game.
Jay Beagle and Brooks Orpik skated prior to practice. As per WaPo, Trotz said Orpik has been skating and is getting close to skating with the team. Implied he’s closer to returning than Beagle.
Trotz said Beagle has been skating every day but isn’t shooting pucks yet, and is still a few weeks away from returning.
Caps have played fewer games than anyone else in the league and have 35 games remaining. Trotz said Grubauer could get 25 percent of those games.
For a detailed breakdown of the Caps remaining schedule, please check out the NoVa Caps piece here:
Jay Beagle back to holding stick during pre-practice skate this morning.
News and Notes
- Evgeny Kuznetsov was named the NHL’s “first star” for January.
- The Capitals recalled forward Zach Sill from the Hershey Bears today.
- The Wizards have changed the start time for their game on their 4/10 to noon, which would allow the Ducks vs. Caps game to be rescheduled to that night. March 1 has also been tentatively discussed as the date for the Penguins make-up game, but nothing official.
- As per Steve Whyno, Alex Ovechkin says lower-body injury hasn’t completely healed – knew it wouldn’t. Expects to be ready to play Thursday vs. the Islanders.
- As per Isabelle Khurshudyan, Ovechkin said he spent his all-star break on a vacation with his fiancée.
- As per Katie Brown, Ovechkin said Kuznetsov texted and told him he was going to do the bit at the ASG. He was flattered, obviously.
Capitals will be shorthanded against Panthers in first game after all-star break (WaPo)
Marcus Johansson unlikely to play against Panthers (WaPo)
Barry Trotz imagines an NHL future without fighting (WaPo)
Despite an early exit, Capitals all-stars have fun with new three-on-three tournament format (WaPo)
Evgeny Kuznetsov pays tribute to Alex Ovechkin in breakaway challenge (WaPo)
Braden Holtby, master of the goalie goal (WaPo)