Capitals goalie Zach Fucale has been reassigned to the Hershey Bears, the team announced Saturday.
Fucale, 26, had a memorable NHL debut with a shutout performance Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings, stopping 21 shots in the process. He was recalled over injury fears for Vitek Vanecek who was out for "maintenance" according to head coach Peter Laviolette. He did not dress for either of the team's road games on Thursday and Friday.
Reassigning Fucale would suggest there are no lingering concerns over Vanecek. He appeared banged up after a collision late in Monday's game against the Buffalo Sabres. If he is ready to play, that would leave the team with three goalies which is always a difficult dynamic to manage.
There are two nets in practice and two ends of the ice for teams to shoot on. Keeping three goalies inevitably means one is not getting enough work in practice. You can do this in the playoffs when the black aces, as the extra recalls are called, typically practice separate from the main squad. In the regular season, however, there just is no good way to manage this.
Seeing Fucale sent back to the AHL be a surprise as you would think a shutout would warrant another start. But if all three goalies are healthy, Fucale is the only one who would not require waivers to move as he cleared waivers in October.