On Tuesday, Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette spoke to the media following today’s optional practice at Madison Square Garden. He discussed forward Tom Wilson’s $5,000 fine, the status of center Evgeny Kuznetsov, and goaltender Ilya Samsonov, his condolences to forward T.J. Oshie’s family after the passing of T.J. father’s Tim, and provided an update on captain Alex Ovechkin.
The NHL Department of Player safety announced on Tuesday morning that Wilson was fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the CBA, for roughing forward Pavel Buchnevich in the brawl during the team’s 6-3 win over the New York Rangers on Monday. Laviolette said, “Tom will pay it and move on.”
Laviolette also said Wilson has to “be careful because just with the attention on him, he gets looked at a certain way…he has to be physical, but in the same sense he’s got to know that eyes are on him as well.”
He said they are “working through things inside the room” regarding Kuznetsov and Samsonov. Both players missed last night’s game due to disciplinary reasons for missing a team function. It is unclear if they will play Wednesday night.
He texted and checked up on Oshie, who missed Monday’s game due to a personal family matter. Oshie tweeted Tuesday morning that his father Tim had passed away. Laviolette expressed his condolences to the family. “It was great that he [T.J.] got to be there with his dad, with Coach, at the end…We wish the Oshie family peace.”
“I do know that your parents have a heavy influence on the imprint of your life as a child,” Laviolette said, adding, “To see [who] T.J. is as a person, and as a teammate, I think speaks volumes to his parents and the way he grew up…In one of the texts from this morning, T.J. said [that] he really enjoyed watching that game last night.”
Laviolette said Ovechkin is “unlikely” to play on Wednesday due to a lower-body injury. Despite feeling well during Sunday’s practice and Monday’s morning skate, Ovechkin felt some discomfort and left Monday’s game after taking one shift in the first period. “Our level of concern is high,” Laviolette said. They want Ovechkin to rest and recover as the team heads into the playoffs right around the corner. He was not on the ice for today’s optional practice.
The head coach thought forward Michael Raffl, who picked up his first two points with the Capitals, was “excellent” in Monday’s win. He mentioned Raffl played all three positions during the game. Laviolette said the 32-year-old has a “real good understanding of the game” and how that’s “important going down the stretch.”
By Della Young