Conor Sheary Misses Practice (non-COVID Illness), Garnet Hathaway Returns: News From Capitals Friday Practice


The Washington Capitals had the day off on Thursday following their 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night. The team returned to work Friday morning for one final practice before departing for Pittsburgh in advance of their Saturday afternoon tilt with the Penguins. Puck drop is set for 3:00 PM on Saturday.

There may be a bug going around the Capitals team. Conor Sheary (non-Covid illness) did not practice today. Garnet Hathaway returned to practice, back from his non-Covid illness that caused him to miss the Lightning game on Wednesday.

With Sheary out, Garnet Hathaway moved up to the top line with Kuznetsov and Ovechkin while Lars Eller skated at left wing on the fourth line. The lines and pairs and morning skate:

Laviolette said he wasn’t sure if this is the way the lines will be tomorrow in Pittsburgh (he was asked specifically about Eller at LW). He said it will depend on who they have available.

Anthony Mantha

Dirty Birds

The Capitals and Penguins go at it for the fourth and final time this regular season on Saturday in Pittsburgh. Washington has won two of the first three contests. Illness is also spreading through the Pittsburgh Penguins locker room. Sidney Crosby and John Marino were both scratched from last night game against the Rangers due to non-COVID illness.

John Carlson

John Carlson recorded the third four-point game of his career on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning (2g, 2a) and his second this season (Dec. 29 vs. Nashville: 1g, 3a). Carlson is just the seventh defenseman in franchise history to record three four-point games and the first since Mike Green, who accomplished the feat on Oct. 22, 2011, versus the Detroit Red Wings.

This season, Carlson ranks seventh among defensemen with 59 points (13g, 46a) and tied for fifth with 13 goals. Carlson is entering tomorrow’s game versus Pittsburgh one point shy of recording 60 points this season for the fourth time in his career. Should he reach the mark, Carlson will tie Scott Stevens for the most 60-point seasons in franchise history. Already the franchise point leader among defensemen (581 points), Carlson is 21 goals shy of tying Kevin Hatcher for the most goals by a defenseman in franchise history.

Shots On Goal Average Differential 

While the Capitals flatlining shots on goal average could be perceived as a concern or nothing really to be concerned about, the Capitals shots on goal differential is indeed a bit of a concern. The issue is the slowly growing average in shots on goal against. As a result, the Capitals’ overall differential (SF/GM – SA/GM) has been steadily declining since New Year’s Eve. [Click to enlarge]

The good news is that there are a few statistical ‘signals’ that the average is flattening out at around +2.0, which is still in the decent range. However, it’s still too early to confirm if this is where things will bottom out.

More on the Capitals shots this season can be found here.

Down On The Farm

Washington Capitals prospect Benton Maass scored the game-tying tally in the second period of the NCAA’s Frozen Four Semi-Final game Thursday night at TD Garden in Boston.

Minnesota State trailed the University of Minnesota, 1-0, midway through the second period when Maass gathered a loose puck in the right corner and executed a nice wrap-around for the game-tying tally.

Minnesota State would add a second goal late in the middle frame for a 2-1 lead over Minnesota at the second intermission. They would score again early in the final frame, add a late tally and an empty net goal for the 5-1 final.

Minnesota State moves on to their first-ever NCAA Frozen Four final, where they will face the University of Denver Saturday night at TD Garden in Boston. Denver beat the University of Michigan, 3-2 in overtime earlier in the day on Thursday.

By Jon Sorensen

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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5 Responses to Conor Sheary Misses Practice (non-COVID Illness), Garnet Hathaway Returns: News From Capitals Friday Practice

  1. Anonymous says:

    Team flu 😷 is one we haven’t dealt with this season. It didn’t stop the whole season.

  2. DWGie26 says:

    I like that Hath went straight to the top line while leaving the other 3 lines alone. Hath has played top line a few games this season and last.

  3. Diane Doyle says:

    At least it’s a short lived illness, fortunately.

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