Capitals forward Carl Hagelin missed practice on Thursday with an illness, but tested negative for COVID-19 according to the team. He remains available for Friday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, assuming he is feeling up to playing.
The news wasn't all good as goalie coach Scott Murray was not on the ice for practice and is currently in the NHL's COVID protocol. All tests to players and personnel not on the protocol, however, came back negative on Thursday after two days off from practice.
"We're obviously following the protocols that are set down," Washington head coach Peter Laviolette said. "I feel like we're going above and beyond. We didn't have to stay away from the rink [Wednesday]. I felt like, talking with the athletic trainer and [general manager] Brian MacLellan, we all decided that it was probably in the best interest just knowing that there's been some cases in our room to try and give it another day for testing."
Nic Dowd, Garnet Hathaway and Trevor van Riemsdyk remain on the protocol. Evgeny Kuznetsov also left practice early due to a lower-body injury, but Laviolette called that precautionary and said he was hopeful Kuznetsov would be ready for Friday.
Hagelin's absence led to more line shuffling in practice:
Ales Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Conor Sheary - Lars Eller - Daniel Sprong
Mike Sgarbossa - Connor McMichael - T.J. Oshie
Beck Malenstyn - Aliaksei Protas - Brett Leason
Martin Fehervary - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin - Justin Schultz
The good news is that AHL affiliate Hershey is back practicing and looks to have gotten through its recent COVID outbreak. A call-up may now be possible just in case the Caps needed to recall a player for Friday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins if Hagelin or Kuznetsov cannot play or even if there's just another unforeseen positive test COVID test.
"We're doing whatever we can, but right now we're in it," Laviolette said.
He added, "This is what we're dealing with and we've just got to deal with it and move on. Everybody's dealing with it. The whole world's dealing with it. We're just part of the world."