Capitals Daily News: Where’s Gruby and Who Replaced Him at Practice?

Photo: Washington Capitals

The Capitals hit the ice this morning following a tough 4-3 loss to the Islanders in Brooklyn last night. Their focus now shifts to the Devils, who come to town tomorrow night. 

What happened last night?
After Alex Ovechkin tied the game at two in the early third period, the Islanders answered right back just under five and a half minutes later scoring two unanswered goals just 43 seconds later to go up 4-2. Andre Burakovsky scored at 13:05 but it wasn’t enough as the Caps lost 4-3. Check out our game Re-Cap here.

What’s next?
The Capitals will hold a morning skate tomorrow at Kettler at 10:30 a.m. and host the New Jersey Devils at Verizon Center with puck drop at 7 p.m.

According to Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post, Philipp Grubauer was absent from practice and was seeing a doctor for a “non-hockey medical manner”. With a backup goalie needed for practice, the Caps had to turn to their video coach Brett Leonhardt to occupy the backup spot.

This wasn’t the first time that Leonhardt was faced with the challenge of serving as a goalie. Back in December of 2008, Leonhardt dressed during a game against the Ottawa Senators after Jose Theodore suffered a hip flexor during their morning skate. With Semyon Varlamov in San Antonio with the Bears, Leonhardt took over his backup spot while awaiting his arrival. Leonhardt backed up Brent Johnson until Varly arrived.

In a game during November of 2013, then-starting goalie Michal Neuvirth was injured during pregame warmups and was scratched. Braden Holtby took over as a starter and with the Caps having no time to call anybody up, Leonhardt returned to the bench as an emergency backup goalie. He still did his obligations as a video coach during the second intermission while wearing full goalie gear.

The lines were similar to last night’s game except Daniel Winnik is now back in for Brett Connolly on the fourth line. After Grubauer’s doctor’s appointment, he returned to Kettler near the end of practice to take some reps as reported by Tarik El-Bashir of CSN.

Isles Down Caps 4-3 (Mike Vogel)
This analytics whiz kid who grew up idolizing the Capitals is now helping coach them (Dan Steinberg/DC Sports Bog)


  • Thursday’s game vs. the Devils marks the second consecutive game for the Capitals against a last place team in the Metropolitan Division.
  • Zach Sanford has been reassigned to Hershey.
  • Capitals prospect Damien Riat registered three points (1 goal, 2 assists) in Switzerland’s 4-3 win against the Czech Republic yesterday in the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.


Dmitri Orlov joined Johan Walton for Today’s Rinkside Update


By Michael Marzzacco

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