John Carlson did not practice Thursday, just one day after he sat the final half of the third period of Wednesday's exhibition game. Carlson was tangled up with a Carolina Hurricanes player behind the red line and fell to the ice. Though he looked fine as he skated to the bench, he missed the final 10 minutes of the game and head coach Todd Reirden said he would be evaluated later in the evening.
While his absence on Thursday is troubling, the good news, however, is that Reirden did not seem concerned. The team is off Friday and will practice on Saturday. Reirden said he expects Carlson back by then.
"Obviously have a day off tomorrow so we expect to have him back after that,” Reirden said.
That's not much information, but that's more than Reirden technically needed to give.
Per the NHL's new protocol regarding player absences for the 2020 postseason, coaches and teams only need to say that a player was unfit to play for that particular day. They do not need to specify if the absence was due to injury or illness or if there is any timetable for a return. This new policy is meant to protect the privacy of players who may be absent due to the coronavirus. It is well-meaning, but ill-conceived by the NHL as the vagueness invites speculation.
For now, what he knows is that Carlson did not practice Thursday, but Reirden believes he will on Saturday. That means Caps fans should not panic, but, then again, we likely won't know if it's time to panic until it's too late.
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