News and Notes from Wednesday’s Capitals Practice: Matt Niskanen Update and New Line Adjustments


After a thrilling overtime win on Tuesday night in Carolina the Capitals hit the ice for practice on Wednesday morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. With the next game not coming for another four days, the Capitals have plenty of time to prepare for their Sunday matinee with the Blues and the all-important four games in six nights stretch before their bye week. Here are the news and the notes, including the latest on Matt Niskanen, who’s hoping to return soon from an upper-body injury. 

Madison Bowey was the first skater on the ice 30 minutes prior to the session. Matt Niskanen would later join him, sporting the normal navy blue practice jersey for defensemen. Capitals head coach Barry Trotz told the media after Tuesday night’s game in Carolina that he hopes to get Niskanen back in the lineup for Sunday’s game against the Blues.

Niskanen took some twirls around the ice and performed some timed laps with a trainer while the rest of the team headed over to the Arlington rink to begin practice.

Niskanen skated for about 30 minutes and headed back to the locker room. With no games until Sunday, there’s no need for him to rush. Trotz mentioned after practice that there is a possibility that Niskanen will practice tomorrow.



Yes you read that correctly, T.J. Oshie is back on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. This was mostly the top line for much of last season. Trotz hopes placing Oshie on the top line will increase his production. The two had a lengthy talk before the start of practice. Oshie has posted one point in the past seven games. The lone point came on a goal in a Capitals overtime loss to the Coyotes.

Trotz also placed Tom Wilson on the second line, hoping for a spark. The second line has gone dry in the last two games. Andre Burakovsky was still skating as an extra forward.

Aside from the traditional drills the team typically does at practice, the team had some fun later on with some short rink drills in the neutral zone.

The short rink work turned into a game between the top six forwards vs. the bottom six. The bottom six composed of Brett Connolly, Lars Eller, Devante Smith-Pelly, Chandler Stephenson, Jay Beagle and Alex Chiasson upset the top six and went crazy when it was all said and done.

Oshie talked with reporters about his recent struggles and being reunited on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.



  • Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 26 thanks to two goals in Tuesday night’s game at Carolina.
  • With his two-goal night, Ovechkin became the fourth player in NHL history to score 25 or more goals in each of his first 13 seasons, joining Jaromir Jagr (17 seasons), Mike Gartner (15 seasons) and Wayne Gretzky (13 seasons).
  • Ovechkin’s game-winning goal in overtime marked his 584th career goal, passing Gretzky (Oilers) for sixth all-time in goals scored by players with a single franchise.


By Michael Marzzacco

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3 Responses to News and Notes from Wednesday’s Capitals Practice: Matt Niskanen Update and New Line Adjustments

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