Darcy Kuemper Skates, Nicklas Backstrom And Tom Wilson Travel With Team For First Time And Skate In Non-Contact Jerseys: Notes From Morning Skate In Winnipeg

The Washington Capitals made their way to Winnipeg, Manitoba on Saturday in advance of their tilt with the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night. The team held their gameday morning skate at the Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg at 11:30AM ET on Sunday.

The Capitals forward lines and defensive pairs this morning in Winnipeg courtesy of Samantha Pell/Washington Post:

Alex Ovechkin — Dylan Strome — Conor Sheary
Sonny Milano — Evgeny Kuznetsov — T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson — Lars Eller — Anthony Mantha
Aliaksei Protas — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

* Joe Snively — John Carlson
Trevor Van Riemsdyk — Nick Jensen
Lucas Johansen — Matt Irwin

Charlie Lindgren
Hunter Shepard
Darcy Kuemper

* Erik Gustafsson left morning skate early and did not return. There was no update on his status. Joe Snively filled in during rushes.

Charlie Lindgren was in the starters net and looks to get the start tonight against the Jets.

Darcy Kuemper was on the ice, the first time he’s been on the ice since being injured Dec. 3. Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson also skated with the team this morning in non-contact jerseys. This is the first time the two have traveled with the team this season.

Laviolette said after morning skate that Backstrom and Wilson will travel with the team from this point forward, so another step for them in their road back.

Dmitry Orlov also skated. Martin Fehervary (upper body injury) and Alex Alexeyev (upper body injury) did not skate. As a result of the injuries to Fehervary and Alexeyev, the Capitals officially recalled defensemen Lucas Johansen and Dylan McIlrath from Hershey earlier in the day on Sunday.


The Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets open their season series in the North on Sunday night and will close it 12 nights later. Washington swept the regular-season set vs. Winnipeg last season, including a 5-2 win north of the border on December 17, 2021, and is 15-3-2 in their past 20 against them dating back to March 2013.

Action from Canadian Life Centre can be seen on NBC Sports Washington in-market or ESPN+ out-of-market starting at 7 PM ET. Game preview here


Today’s stat of the day is taken from yesterday’s positive trends update (here if you missed it). It plots the expected goals for percentages (xGF%) for all 29 of the Capitals games so far this season. [Click to enalrge].

The Capitals averaged 44.93% for the first nine games of the season, 50.85% for the middle 10 games of the season and 53.36% over the last 10 games of the season.

[The statistics used in this post are courtesy of Natural Stat Trick and the NoVa Caps Advanced Analytics Model (NCAAM). If you’d like to learn more about the statistical terms used in this post, please check out our NHL Analytics Glossary]


Alexander Suzdalev scored again last night. He know has 17 goals and 21 assists in 28 games played so far this season.

But once again, possibly his greatest highlights were a couple of his shot attempts that failed. He first tried a between-the-legs shot:

Minutes later he would try The Michigan…again.

Ivan Miroshnichenko stepped down a league (VHL) to get a game in on Saturday while the KHL All-Star weekend is going on. Nothing significant to report from his game, but it’s good to see Avangard’s management focused on continuing his conditioning.


  • Per Capitals via Tom Gulitti: McIlrath served the rest of his suspension during the preseason. NHL/NHLPA had a settlement in the fall that allowed him to serve his suspension during preseason. So he is eligible to play tonight.

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.

10 Responses to Darcy Kuemper Skates, Nicklas Backstrom And Tom Wilson Travel With Team For First Time And Skate In Non-Contact Jerseys: Notes From Morning Skate In Winnipeg

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hard to tell if we are gaining or losing ground on the injury front.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Roger that. The bigger guns are close to returning, encouraging, but the blueline is in shambles

    • hockeydruid says:

      We are winning by losing. The young players and backups are being used and gaining game experience especially for next season. So although the HC doesnt like to play younger players at this point he has no other choice. Lets just hope that they do well.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m gonna need to start a spreadsheet

  3. KimRB says:

    Why do I get this feeling that Kemper contract is gonna look REALLY bad in a year or two? If not this year.

  4. Jon Sorensen says:

  5. novafyre says:

    If Backy or Willy’s comeback doesn’t work out, Lavi does have another option — a tried and true vet, AARP vet, just the kind of player he likes:

    Jagr, who is set to turn 51 in February, filled in after illnesses struck the roster, according to FloHockey’s Chris Peters. Jagr helped setup Kladno’s second goal in the second period after his shot was stopped, but Matyas Filip was there to pick up the rebound. He then assisted on Matej Beran’s power-play maker with five minutes left in the third to finish as Kladno’s top scorer on Sunday.

  6. Greg Findlay says:

    I am glad that Nick and Tom are getting closer to a return, but how are the Caps going to squeeze their salaries under the cap?

Leave a Reply