News and Notes from Wednesday’s Capitals Practice: Updates on Lars Eller and Devante Smith-Pelly, Plus Smitty Return?


After an off day on Tuesday, on which the #CapsDads took their little ones out on the rink, the Capitals returned to work to prepare for Thursday night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. Thursday kicks off a season-high five-game homestand for the Caps, as they look to gain some ground in the Metropolitan Division standings. Washington currently leads the wild card and only trails the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders by three points for second place in the Metropolitan division

Devante Smith-Pelly was practicing Wednesday morning after being sent home on Monday with an illness. DSP appeared for a full-go on his usual spot on the third-line.

Even more exciting news, Lars Eller is back in the states! After remaining stuck in Canada after the Caps’ game in Toronto, Eller missed Monday’s practice to clear up some visa/passport issues. He was back on the ice for Wednesday’s practice.

Christian Djoos continued practicing with the team on Wednesday as he recovers from an upper-body injury. The Capitals made a roster move yesterday, placing Aaron Ness on waivers to clear room for Djoos back on the 23-man roster. Trotz said after practice that if Djoos is cleared and ready to go, he’ll play tomorrow night.

Aaron Ness cleared waiver at noon today. He has been loaned to Hershey, opening up a roster spot for Djoos.

Andre Burakovsky is still recovering from his left thumb injury. While he hasn’t practiced with the team just yet, he continues to workout on the ice prior to practices.

The Graovac-Eller-DSP line partaking in full rink work.

Holtby stops Nicky twice. Backstrom is still searching for his first goal since October 14, but it’s bound to happen soon, now that he’s sharing a line with Alex Ovechkin again.

On the breakaway, Tom Wilson’s shot goes “clank” off the pipes while Backstrom just misses the net.

Ovi and Nicky, even though neither scored in this video, were practicing like they were in game mode. They must love being back together on the same line.

The Hershey blueline chemistry in full display: Madison Bowey to Christian Djoos.

Who knew Nathan Walker had a sweet one-handed backhand move?

Alex Chiasson and Tom Wilson fake out Holtby on a 2-1 breakaway.




  • Braden Holtby is scheduled to make his 169th career home start when the Capitals host the Kings on Thursday night.
  • Since entering the league in 2010-11, Holtby ranks first among NHL goaltenders in save percentage at home (.927) and third in goals-against average (2.13) among goalies with at least 100 starts on home ice.
  • Holtby’s .842 save percentage in high-danger areas ranks fifth among NHL goaltenders with at least 15 games played this season.


Greg Smith returned to Kettler Capitals Iceplex this morning. Smith was the team’s longtime head athletic trainer who retired prior to this season. Smith, or as the team likes to call him “Smitty”, spent 18 seasons with the Capitals. Below is him reuniting with Dmitry Orlov.

You can tell Jay Beagle was excited to see his former trainer as the two embraced.


Chandler Stephenson is a man of the people.


Tyler Graovac came over to sign for the fans as well.


The Capitals have a morning skate tomorrow at 10:15 a.m. at Kettler Capitals Iceplex prior to their game against the Los Angeles Kings at Capital One Arena that night.

By Michael Marzzacco

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3 Responses to News and Notes from Wednesday’s Capitals Practice: Updates on Lars Eller and Devante Smith-Pelly, Plus Smitty Return?

  1. Pingback: Longtime Capitals Head Athletic Trainer Greg Smith Returns to Kettler | NoVa Caps

  2. Pingback: Capitals Kick Off Homestand Against Kings | NoVa Caps

  3. Pingback: News and Notes From Capitals’ Practice: Potential Oshie Return Out West? | NoVa Caps

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