News and Notes from Monday’s Capitals Practice: Evgeny Kuznetsov and Brooks Orpik Updates Plus New Lines


Following a tough 6-3 loss to the Flyers Sunday, the Washington Capitals returned home from Philadelphia and hit the ice Monday morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for practice. Despite the loss, the Capitals still lead the Penguins by two points in the Metropolitan Division, but the Caps could enter Tuesday night in a tie for first place if the Pens defeat the Islanders tonight. The Capitals will look to regroup tomorrow night in front of their home fans with a win over the Stars before going on the road for three games. 

Evgeny Kuznetsov came out to the ice 30 minutes prior to practice starting in full gear. Kuznetsov missed Sunday’s game against the Flyers with an upper-body injury after leaving the second period of Friday’s game against the Islanders when he crashed into the boards after getting slashed. Sunday’s game was the first game that Kuznetsov has missed since he was out for two games during the 2014-15 season. That timeframe that Kuznetsov was sidelined three seasons ago wasn’t  injury related.

Kuznetsov did some hard skating and light puck handling with a bit of shooting. While he didn’t join the rest of his teammates for practice, seeing him out on the ice is a good sign that he’ll be returning to action soon.

Here is what the lines looked like Monday morning:


While Kuznetsov came out on the ice prior to practice, there was no sign of Brooks Orpik. Orpik was ruled out before Sunday’s game with a lower body injury. Trotz said that Kuznetsov and Orpik are still both day-to-day, but doubtful for Tuesday’s game against the Stars. Trotz did point out that Orpik is expected to skate tomorrow morning and is closer to returning than Kuznetsov.

There were a lot of changes to the lines compared to yesterday’s game with the Flyers. Travis Boyd was moved down to center the third line alongside Jakub Vrana and Brett Connolly. Connolly was in for Alex Chiasson. Nicklas Backstrom moved to the top line while Lars Eller moved to the second line. There were no changes to the defensive pairs.

One hot topic around Caps Nation is whether Braden Holtby or Philipp Grubauer will start during the playoffs. Trotz said, “We have 10 games left (in the regular season). Whoever is going good and we feel is hottest at the right time, we’re going to go with.”



  • Travis Boyd became the sixth Capitals rookie drafted by the team to record their first career point this season and the seventh rookie on the team to record a point- the most since the 2013-14 season.
  • The Capitals have four rookies with at least 12 points this season, marking the first time four Capitals rookies reached the milestone since the 1981-82 season, when the Capitals had nine rookies reach double-digit in points, including Bobby Carpenter and Christopher Valentine, who each finished with 67 points, tied for the eighth-most among rookies that season.
  • This season, Jakub Vrana leads Capitals rookies in goals (13), assists (13) and points (26).


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By Michael Marzzacco

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2 Responses to News and Notes from Monday’s Capitals Practice: Evgeny Kuznetsov and Brooks Orpik Updates Plus New Lines

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