Capitals Wrap Preparations for Flyers, Holtby To Start; Lars Eller Returns Home For Birth of Child: News From Wednesday’s Practice

Photo: @Capitals

The Washington Capitals returned to practice Wednesday afternoon at the Ford Performance Centre in Toronto. The team had the day off on Tuesday following their 3-2 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. The Capitals next face the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday in the second game of the round robin series. Puck drop is set for just after 4:00 p.m. ET.

Braden Holtby will start against the Flyers on Thursday, per Reirden. Also, the team is still taking John Carlson’s situation day to day, so no decision has been made as to if he will play Thursday against the Flyers.

Flyers bench boss Alain Vigneault said Brian Elliott will be in goal Thursday against the Capitals.

The Capitals returned to practicing shootouts during practice this afternoon. That’s where Alex Ovechkin pulled out a stellar tribute to Teemu Selanne.

Our game preview can be found here. The Capitals game notes can be found here.

Close Confines
It was bound to happen, and happen a lot. With five teams staying in the same hotel in Toronto, the Capitals stay will likely include many awkward encounters.

Tom Wilson
“It’s definitely met expectation, maybe exceeded,” Wilson said about the testing and health/safety protocols inside the Toronto bubble. He said the team feels “lucky” and compliments the league and players’ association for putting all of the protocols in place and “making us feel safe”. Wilson said, “They made it feel as normal as possible.” (More here.)

Nicklas Backstrom
On the Flyers, one of the hottest teams in the NHL dating back to two months before the pause, Backstrom thinks that the coaching change to Alain Vigneault did a lot for them. He thinks that their young players are developing well and the team is overall “so good defensively. I think it’s a combination of everything; they’ve played great hockey,” he said. “They’re a good team, but obviously we want to bring our kind of style to the table – physical, mixed with the skill that we have too…if we’re going to have a chance tomorrow we got to bring our A-game.”  (More here.)

Lars Eller
The Washington Capitals announced on Wednesday that center Lars Eller has returned to Washington this afternoon for the birth of his second child. Upon returning to Toronto, Eller will follow the NHL’s quarantine and testing protocol before rejoining the team. The 30-year-old center announced during training camp that he would leave the bubble to be with his wife. He and his wife announced they are expecting a boy on August 8, which would be this coming Saturday. (More here.)

Evgeny Kuznetsov
With a goal on Monday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Evgeny Kuznetsov tied Dale Hunter (25) for the fourth-most playoff goals in franchise history. Kuznetsov reached the 25 goal mark in 29 fewer games than Hunter. Additionally, Kuznetsov is now just two points shy of tying both Mike Ridley and John Carlson for the fourth most points in franchise history.Since making his playoff debut in the 2014-15 season, Kuznetsov’s 58 points are tied with Arizona’s Phil Kessel for the sixth-most in the NHL, and his 39 points over the last three postseasons is tied for second in the NHL. Kuznetsov is one of just nine players in the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs with at least 70 playoff games played since 2014-15. (More here.)

The Washington Capitals announced today the organization is launching a series of public and internal initiatives that focus on diversity in hockey, racial equality and the recognition of achievements by Black individuals. The Capitals immediate efforts focus on three pillars: youth hockey, education and awareness. (More here.)

By Jon Sorensen

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About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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