On his way out of the locker room following Monday's practice, Capitals goaltender Justin Peters informed Andre Burakovsky that he was headed to the medical room to get a new collar bone.
“I thought I hit you in the face,” Burakovsky said, “not your collar bone.”
“You hit both,” Peters said.
Apparently, leaving bruises on his own goalie was not good enough for Burakovsky because after practice he dropped three different sticks in the high slot and began snapping shots with each one.
“Yeah, I’m trying something new to see how it is,” Burakovsky said. “It’s good. I’m trying to find the lightest and best one. All sticks are going to be different and I’m trying to find the best one that fits me.”
At 20 years old, Burakovsky says he’s excited to see what he can do with a full NHL season. After a brief experiment at the center position as a rookie last season, when he netted nine goals and 13 assists in 53 games, Burakovsky is back there again.
Tonight against the New York Islanders at their new Barclays Center home in Brooklyn, Burakovsky is expected to center a line with left wing Brooks Laich and right wing Tom Wilson. On Monday he practiced between left wing Marcus Johansson and right wing Justin Williams.
With center Nicklas Backstrom questionable for the start of the regular season following hip surgery, Burakovsky could start the season as the Caps’ second-line center behind Evgeny Kuznetsov, who has been skating between Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie.
“I’m trying to learn as much as I can,” said Burakovsky, who has one goal in two preseason games. “Last game was good. I felt comfortable in the D zone, on breakouts. I think I’m a lot better than last year.”
Burakovsky also revealed that he has moved out of an apartment he shared with teammates Tom Wilson and Michael Latta and into his own place in nearby Rosslyn. (Earlier this month he said how much he liked living with Wilson and Latta).
“It feels good,” he said. “I cooked myself chicken, asparagus and broccoli last night. Liam O’Brien helped me cook it and then he helped me eat it. It turned out good. It’s always more fun when you cook for someone else.”
Here are the projected line combinations, defense pairings and goaltending rotation for tonight:
Brooks Laich – Andre Burakovsky – Tom Wilson
Chris Brourque – Derek Roy – Jay Beagle
Sean Collins – Carter Camper – Stan Galiev
Liam O’Brien – Zach Sill – Paul Carey
Karl Alzner – Matt Niskanen
Dmitry Orlov - Nate Schmidt
Aaron Ness – Madison Bowey
Justin Peters – Philipp Grubauer
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