Evgeny Kuznetsov Misses Morning Skate, Will Be A Game-Time Decision; Connor McMichael Fills In: Notes From Capitals Morning Skate

The Capitals held their third game-day morning skate of the season on Monday in advance of their tilt with the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov did not participate in the morning skate, and will be a game-time decision tonight.

Kuznetsov was relegated to the second line for the third game of the season against the Montreal Canadiens. He has one assist in three games played so far this season.


As a result of Kuznetsov’s absence, the lines saw minor changes at this morning’s skate. Connor McMichael stepped in at center for the second line.

Alex Ovechkin – Dylan Strome – Connor Brown
Anthony Mantha – Connor McMichael – T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson – Lars Eller – Aliaksei Protas
Conor Sheary- Nic Dowd- Garnet Hathaway

Martin Fehervary – John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov – Nick Jensen
Erik Gustafsson – Trevor van Riemsdyk

Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren

Darcy Kuemper will make his third start for the Capitals tonight. Kuemper is 1-1-0 with a .902 save percentage and a 2.55 goals against average in his first two games played for the Capitals.


The Capitals added Erik Gustafsson to the blueline over the past off-season to replace the departed (and expensive) Justin Schultz. After three games it’s looking like the move could be a winner, as the pairing of Gustafsson and Trevor van Riemsdyk has got off to a very good start this season. Gustafsson has two assists and currently leads the team in expected goals differential (xGF – xGA).


The Capitals host the Vancouver Canucks tonight at Capital One Arena for the first of two meetings between the teams this season. Washington is 49-41-9-2 all-time vs. Vancouver and 10-5-1 in their last 16 games against the Canucks dating back to the 2013-14 season.

Forward Evgeny Kuznetsov has recorded 21 points (10g, 11a) in 15 career games against Vancouver, including five points (3g, 2a) in two games last season.

In 19 career games against the Canucks, goaltender Darcy Kuemper has a record of 11-6-1 with a 2.23 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.


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.
This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Evgeny Kuznetsov Misses Morning Skate, Will Be A Game-Time Decision; Connor McMichael Fills In: Notes From Capitals Morning Skate

  1. steven says:

    WOW Bruce going for 600, its hard to believe that he has been around that long as it seems like just last week he was here in Washington! Hope he gets it just not tonight!! AS for Kuzy…..take the night off and get 100% as Connor can fill in nicely for you on the 2nd line. Think Kuzys injury is to his pride as not on the 1st line an not on the 1st PP the other night so let your pride heal should take what 2 weeks. Wish thta the HC would replace MoJo with Snively this game so he could get some ice time early and not sit there rusting. Then when all 4 lines score tonight, with Snively in there, keep them going for a bit. Question for you Jon…..I really liked the PP lineup on Saturday night and was wondering without Schultz who will be the point on the 2nd PP Orlov?

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      I know, I was blown away by the Bruce stat as well.

      • KimRB says:

        I remember the 1st one. 4 on 4 OT in Philly, Backy has the puck in front of the goalie, waits him out, roofs it. That was a fun season. And like too many Caps season ended in a disappointing fashion.

    • novafyre says:

      Ouch, that is a tough one. Gabby or the Caps. Will the Caps do a video? They should, might be a good distraction.

      Deciding whom to root for might be a game time decision. I’m a big Gabby fan. He started the Rock the Red era and man, were his games fun to watch. Right coach, right players, new red uniforms, exciting hockey.

    • Jonathan says:

      “Connor can fill in nicely for you on the 2nd line….”

      I hope you are correct. We’ll see.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I almost want to give Kuzy the night off. Let him reset and let McMichael get a game.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Looks like all you play MciMchael fans are getting your wish. Hopefully he isn’t nonexistent on the ice like he has shown thus far through camp and pre season.

    • novafyre says:

      I want all our prospects who have performed well in Hershey to have a good opportunity to play for the Caps. But the key is good opportunity. A square peg won’t fit well in a round hole not even if it is solid 24 caret gold. Those successful teams with young whom I’m reading about are adapting to those players’ strengths. Their coaches talk about adapting their schemes. Do we?

  4. Anonamouse says:

    If Kuzy is out does McMichael take his place on PP2 as well?

    • Jonathan says:

      NHL jobs are meant to be won and lost. I would welcome anyone challenging Kuzy for his job. He certainly should try.

  5. novafyre says:

    Interesting. Kuzy has played 3 games, is averaging over 20 minutes of ice time, has 5 shots on goal, 1 assist, and is 33% on his faceoffs. And 2 penalties.

    Does NovaCaps want to run a betting pool on McM’s ice time tonight? Will Lavi use his rope to tie McM to the bench?

    I too wish Snively was on the ice with McM and Protas as well. Would give the Caps a fast line. Of course, then Lavi would have to change his instructions.

    • Jonathan says:

      McM’s FO’s are worse than Kuzy’s and that’s saying something. I hope McM has been working on them while sitting these three games. But as bad as Kuzy has been the first 3 games, McM must show he can play better if he wants ice time. Kuzy plays on the PK, can McM do that? McM can not. Kuzy plays on the PP, can McM do that? Maybe. I doubt he gets the chance though today. There is a reason why Kuzy’s ice time is up there.

      • novafyre says:

        McM can’t play on our PP? Hey, don’t want to hurt our 9.1% success rate, 24th in the league.

        • Anonymous says:

          He didn’t say he couldn’t play on the PP. The big thing here is Mcmichael is worse at the dot and we are already terrible at that. Kuzy also kills penalties guarntee you Mcmichael won’t be doing that either. Looks like he will get an opportunity tonight and hopefully he makes a difference.

          • novafyre says:

            OK, he said no to the PK and maybe to the PP.
            What I’m saying is with our dismal PP record, we should be willing to try anything and not automatically count anything out.

    • steven says:

      One of the problems I have with Kuzy is his faceoff % as 33% is unacceptable for a #1 or 2 or3 or 4th line center in the NHL but how can anyone justify him being a #1 C with a faceoff of 33% which means he is losing the face off 67% of the time. Sad he has never been a great faceoff man with his best year being the 07/08 season with a % of 44.2 and he is usually in the low 40’s % wise with ne year at 38.7%. So for me with the PP so far being better without him and his bad faceoff % I would probably put him on the 3rd line and see if that motivates him to get better or party more. He, like Sammy, might need a forced change of environment to get better as at 30 you cant say potential anymore. I would rather trade him soon than wait around and get nothing for him is 3 years.

  6. Anonymous says:

    They are not even in the same universe. MJO, Eller, or Sheary would be closer comparables, but the coach thinks they are better (for some reason). Meanwhile, the D is terrible and nobody wants to change that, b.c., I guess the thinking is that all lines should play like the 4th? Not sure.

    • Anonymous says:

      Last i checked Sheary, Eller and Mojo have scored 20 goals in the NHL and Sheary and Mojo each have one this year. Mcmichael does not play special teams and Sheary, Eller and Mojo play on special teams. Sounds like Mcmichael will get his shot tonight…..

  7. Anonymous says:

    Kuzy always gets a free pass. Horrible plus/minus. Horrible face offs. Lazy as Carlson. Let him sit or coach his behaviors. Wait, coach anything from HCPL? Never mind.

    • steven says:

      Totally agree and at 30 cant say potential anymore. I would rather trade him as maybe a trade will shake him up a bit and realize that this is a business not just a game that he can play and give him money to party. Frankly I dont have any faith that anyone can turn him around or improve him as improvement has to start from the desire to from within and I dont think he has that.

  8. novafyre says:

    So Lavi gets his vet back, no rookie after all.

Leave a Reply