Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie And Tom Wilson Activated; Ilya Samsonov Will Start In Goal: News From Wednesday’s Optional Morning Skate

The Washington Capitals held an optional game-day morning skate Wednesday morning in advance of their tilt with the Nashville Predators Wednesday night at Capital One Arena.

Activations

The Capitals announced Wednesday afternoon that Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie were activated from the COVID-19 protocols list. Tom Wilson was also activated from injured reserve.

It looks like defenseman Alex Alexeyev will make his career NHL start tonight against the Nashville Predators. Ilya Samsonov will start for Washington tonight against Nashville

Smashville

The Capitals return to action tonight for the first time since Dec. 19 to face the Nashville Predators at Capital One Arena. This marks Washington’s first game against Nashville since Jan. 29, 2020.

The Capitals are playing their first game in 10 days. Coach Laviolette told 106.7 The Fan this morning that he spoke with the team about getting back up to speed, quickly. He said the team even held training camp-like drills on Tuesday.

Only six Capitals have played in each of the team’s first 31 games this season. That number will drop to four tonight as both Martin Fehervary and Nick Jensen will miss tonight’s game for the first time this season.

Laviolette

With his next win, head coach Peter Laviolette will pass Dick Irvin for the 10th most wins in NHL history. If the Capitals win tonight against the Predators, Laviolette will accomplish this feat in 150-fewer games coached than Irvin.

Since Laviolette joined the Capitals at the start of the 2020-21 season, Washington is 54-21-12, good for a .690 points percentage.

In his first season with Washington, Laviolette set a franchise record with a .688 points percentage (36-15-5), the highest points percentage by a first-year head coach in franchise history. Additionally, with a win in the season opener on Oct. 13 against the New York Rangers, Laviolette passed John Tortorella (673 wins) for the most wins by an American head coach in NHL history.

Additionally, Laviolette ranks third among active head coaches in wins (Barry Trotz: 885 wins; Lindy Ruff: 765 wins).

Update COVID-19 Protocols

The NHL announced on Wednesday that it has shortened its quarantine mandate for players that test positive for COVID-19 so that they have to do so for just five compared to 10 before if local authorities give teams permission to shorten players’ quarantine periods.

You can see the agreement between the league and NHLPA below:

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Civil Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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