On Saturday, Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette spoke to the media ahead of tonight’s preseason finale at Capital One Arena against the Columbus Blue Jackets (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington). He provided brief updates on players and what the team will be considering with prospects as they finalize the roster ahead of the regular-season opener next week.
The team held an optional skate this morning. Right-wing T.J. Oshie (upper-body) and defenseman Dmitry Orlov (lower-body) did skate; however, both were donning non-contact jerseys. Neither will play tonight.
“The fact they’re out here and participating and getting in a good workout—that’s really good for us and hopefully continues to go that way.”
Laviolette is remaining hopeful they will be able to suit up for Wednesday’s first game of the 2022-23 season when they host the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena (7 PM ET, TNT), saying, “It’s still day-to-day, but they’re out here.”
After Saturday’s game, they resume practice on Sunday. On Monday, the team will be off before holding a final practice prior to their regular season opener. “We’ll see where things are at and see how they’re feeling, and then we’ll make decisions.”
Regarding center Lars Eller, who missed Friday’s practice due to an illness, Laviolette confirmed the 33-year-old is out for tonight, but noted he is “doing fine.”
“There’ll be some young guys in there,” Laviolette said about tonight’s lineup, adding that “it’s still training camp” and the Capitals are “still evaluating.”
Laviolette also confirmed that goaltender Darcy Kuemper will be in net and play the full sixty minutes. “I feel like we’re in a good spot with the goaltending, but he’s gotta make sure he’s got his game on. Again, we saved these last two games to get to that point and kinda had him punted in to play the games.”
He said that Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren have “played extremely well” during these preseason games.
The Capitals will be faced with tough decisions about prospects as they finalize the official roster for next week. Laviolette said, “They’ll be decisions that we have to get together with on Sunday morning…the training camp factors into it, how they did in the games, what kind of camp they had overall—all of it’s going to factor in—what we need, our needs up here, roles, needs, and so all of that factors into the decision-making.”
By Della Young