News and Notes from Wednesday’s Optional Practice at Kettler: Update on Kuzy and a Surprise Guest at Goalie


The Washington Capitals lifted a huge monkey off their backs on Tuesday night by defeating the Dallas Stars on home ice for the first time since Nov. 2006. Their win along with the Penguins loss to the Islanders has put them in a comfortable four-point lead for first place in the Metropolitan Division. On a snowy Wednesday morning throughout the D.C. area, the Capitals held an optional practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex before departing for Detroit. 

Here are the players who were marked present at today’s optional skate:

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky, Devante Smith-Pelly, Chandler Stephenson, Jay Beagle, Lars Eller, Brett Connolly, Alex Chiasson, Travis Boyd

Christian Djoos, Jakub Jerabek

Philipp Grubauer, Scott Murray

Evgeny Kuznetsov was the first player out on the ice. He has skated the past two days and today he worked on more puck handling and shooting. Kuznetsov was shooting the puck normally and he fully joined his teammates for the practice. This is the most he’s done since his injury.

Trotz told the media after practice that Kuznetsov will go with the Caps on the road trip but there are “no promises” that he will play Thursday night in Detroit.

“We’ll see where he is,” said Trotz.

You might be wonder where Braden Holtby is. He didn’t practice today, instead taking a maintenance day. Goaltending coach Scott Murray was in his place. There was a moment last night where Holtby collided with Remi Elie in the third period. He was slow to get up but he still finished the game.

Here is a look at Murray in between the pipes.

Even though Holtby didn’t skate, he was still hanging out at the rink.

Trotz said that Philipp Grubauer will “probably” start in net for the Caps Thursday. With nine games left in the season, Trotz’s goal with his net minders is to keep both guys fresh and active instead of just riding one goaltender. Holtby wasn’t the only guy taking a maintenance day. Trotz said today’s skate was an optional because of some “sickness” going around.



  • Alex Ovechkin scored his 44th goal of the season on Tuesday night against the Dallas Stars, which leads the NHL. Should he reach the 50 goal mark, he would join Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky as the only players with eight 50-goal seasons (Bossy and Gretzky each recorded nine 50-goal seasons).
  • Ovechkin is also looking to become the second player since the 1967-68 expansion era to lead the NHL in goals at the age of 32 or older (Phil Esposito led the NHL twice in goals just before his 33rd and 34th birthday).


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By Michael Marzzacco

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4 Responses to News and Notes from Wednesday’s Optional Practice at Kettler: Update on Kuzy and a Surprise Guest at Goalie

  1. Diane Doyle says:

    Just what we all need. Holtby needing “maintenance” days. Get well, Holtz.

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