T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom Return, Tom Wilson Misses Morning Skate: Notes From Capitals Morning Skate

The Washingt0n Capitals made their way home from Denver on Wednesday for a quick pitstop and one-game home-stand against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. They will hit the road again for games in Toronto and Columbus on Sunday and Tuesday for the final two games before the 2023 All-Star break. Here’s the latest from this morning’s skate:


Nicklas Backstrom was on the ice for morning skate after missing Tuesday’s game in Colorado with a non-Covid illness.

T.J. Oshie was also back after being on leave for birth of his fourth child. Oshie’s wife, Lauren, gave birth yesterday to a baby girl, Lucy. Everyone is doing well, T.J. says.

The forward lines and defensive pairs at morning skate

Alex Ovechkin – Dylan Strome – T.J. Oshie
Anthony Mantha – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Conor Sheary
Sonny Milano – Nicklas Backstrom – Marcus Johansson
Nicolas Aube-Kubel – Lars Eller – Garnet Hathaway

Erik Gustafsson – Trevor van Riemsdyk
Dmitry Orlov – Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin – Martin Fehervary

Extras: Aliaksei Protas, Alex Alexeyev

Tom Wilson, who left Tuesday’s game in Colorado with a lower-body injury, was not on the ice for morning skate. However, Laviolette said after the skate that Wilson will be a game-time decision.

Darcy Kuemper was the first goalie off the ice this morning, indicating he will get the start tonight against the Penguins.

Power Play: PP1: Gustafsson, Ovechkin, Oshie, Backstrom, Johansson; PP2: Orlov, TvR, Sheary, Strome, Kuznetsov.

Alex Ovechkin skated in the team’s Stadium Series uniforms, which were announced earlier today.

Washington will also wear these uniforms for their game against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, February 21 at Capital One Arena, the team’s first after the NHL Stadium Series.


The Washington Capitals host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night for the final time and second of three meetings between the two teams this season. Pittsburgh pounded Washington by a score of 4-1 on November 9.

Action from Capital One Arena can be seen on NBC Sports Washington in-market or ESPN+ out-of-market starting at 7 PM ET. GAME PREVIEW


Conor Sheary is expected to play in his 500th career game tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins, one of his former teams. Sheary won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017.

Sheary has played 174 of his 499 career games with Washington (also 192 GP with Pittsburgh and 133 GP with Buffalo). Sheary has recorded 29 points (12g, 17a) in 50 games this season, which ranks fourth on the Capitals. Sheary ranks tied for second on Washington in goals, trailing only Alex Ovechkin (28). [MORE HERE]


Today’s stat of the day introduces (to some) the “finishing” stat. It simply subtracts actual goals from individual expected goals. The stat sheds light on how well a player in “finishing” (scoring) on their opportunities. [Click to enlarge].

There are really no major surprises. Nic Dowd, Erik Gustafsson, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Sonny Milano continue to take advantage of the chances they get, and then some.

Evgeny Kuznetsov’s goal total is very low this season, but his assists are up, and he is second on the team in points per game.

[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]


Connor McMichael scored his ninth goal since returning to the Bears Wednesday night against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He also recorded his eighth assist for 17 points in 26 games and a .65 points per game average, 7th on the Bears.

Joe Snively scored twice in last night’s game against Lehigh Valley. He now has five goals in just six games played for the Bears and leads the team in points per game average (1.17).

Bogdan Trineyev is settling in with Dynamo Moscow and has steadily anchored the left wing on the second line. He is also getting time on the power play and recorded a power play assist in yesterday’s game.

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.

12 Responses to T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom Return, Tom Wilson Misses Morning Skate: Notes From Capitals Morning Skate

  1. Anonymous says:

    Osh and Backy better step it up tonight. 50 games in the books. It’s go time.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dowd to hurt?

  3. Jon Sorensen says:

  4. Jon Sorensen says:

  5. Anonymous says:

    No way Protas should be an extra. I really question Lavy’s decision making.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think so too. The 4th line has been excellent with Pro. He was pretty damn good at C in last game as well.

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        Caps should allow one game a year where fans get to vote on lines. It would never happen, just because if they worked well…but it would be interesting to see.

        • novafyre says:

          I believe that the waiver system really louses things up. Without waivers interfering, the best Bears player for that line, that position could be called up as a sub, then be sent back . But because we don’t want to risk certain players, callups play out of position and all too often sit on the Caps bench or press box.

          • Jon Sorensen says:

            Agree, Fyre, at least from a team perspective. I believe the waivers system mandated by agents/NHLPA (in favor of players) so that they don’t get locked down to a team and spend their career in the minors.

  6. Anonymous says:


Leave a Reply