Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik (lower body injury) and center Marcus Johansson (upper body injury) will not play this weekend against the Devils and Flyers, but there’s a good chance they’ll join the Capitals next week on their road trip to Nashville, Minnesota and Dallas.
Orpik, 35, was injured when he blocked a shot against the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 10 and revealed Friday that he suffered a bone fracture on the play, which forced him to refrain from skating for eight weeks.
“It’s tough with bone injuries,” Orpik said. “I don’t think age plays into that. When you break a bone it’s just bad luck getting hit somewhere where you don’t have protection.
“Any time you miss games I think you feel you’re letting teammates down, management down, coaches down, fans down.
“The injury is fine, it’s just getting the rest of my body to feel normal and feel good again.”
Earlier in his career, Orpik said he remembers missing three weeks with a broken hand, and 10 days with a separated shoulder as a member of the Penguins. Now sidelined for 35 games, he said this is his longest time on the shelf in his 12-year NHL career.
“Trying to be patient with it is tough in the middle of the season when you haven’t gone through something like this before,” he said.
Orpik said it’s difficult to simulate the hard-hitting of game action during light practices like the one the Caps had on Friday. With that in mind Orpik and Johansson remained on the ice 30 minutes after their teammates to get extra work with the Caps’ assistant coaches.
Johansson, who was injured on Jan. 27 in the game before the NHL All-Star break, said he’s feeling “better and better every day.” He wore a non-contact gray jersey at Friday’s practice and is hoping to get back in the lineup sometime during the Caps’ road trip, which begins Tuesday night in Nashville (Andre Burakovsky’s 21st birthday).
Trotz said he would like to see Orpik and Johansson practice with the team before getting them back in the lineup. The Caps’ next practice day is scheduled for Wednesday in Minnesota.
“We play every second day and we’ll have some ice and I think we can get accomplished what we need to get accomplished, so I think (Orpik) is ready for that road trip. Ideally, a couple (practices) would be good, but now that you’re playing every second day you’re not going to have those practices you’d like. We’ll just have to rely on what we have and limit his minutes.”
Meanwhile, AHL callups Paul Carey and Connor Carrick joined the team’s flight to Newark, where the Caps will face the Devils on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Carey and Carrick replaced Zach Sill and Aaron Ness, who were sent back to Hershey so they would not need to clear waivers.