T.J. Oshie

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The Caps’ lineup for Tuesday’s game is full of question marks

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The Caps’ lineup for Tuesday’s game is full of question marks

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Capitals have one last game in 2019 against the New York Islanders. Just who will be playing in that game, however, remains a question.

Tom Wilson and Michal Kempny both missed Saturday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Both players were on the ice Monday for practice but two others, T.J. Oshie and Christian Djoos, were absent.

A flu bug has hit the team hard that has kept Kempny out of the lineup for two games, made Radko Gudas a game-time decision on Friday and has now struck Oshie who was out Monday with an illness.

“Just seems like every day is something new,” head coach Todd Reirden said.

Wilson is dealing with a lower-body injury. He was among the first players on the ice for practice on Monday and was a full participant, practicing in his normal spot on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Kempny was also out early. After skating a few laps gingerly and a quick conversation with head athletic trainer Jason Serbus, Kempny was able to tough it out and play through practice. He skated on the third pairing with Gudas.

The fact that both Wilson and Kempny were able to skate the full practice on Monday is an encouraging sign, but Reirden made it clear that is no guarantee they will be ready to play.

“It's good that they both were out there through the whole practice,” he said. “It'd be premature for me to talk about how they're going to do with the rehab the rest of today and how they're going to feel tomorrow when they wake up.”

Oshie’s status for the game also remains unknown. Reirden said only that he was “hoping” Oshie could play.

Goalie is a question mark as well as Reirden said he has not yet decided between Braden Holtby and Ilya Samsonov on who will start in net.

The one thing that is certain? Djoos is out.

Djoos left Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury. His status was about the only thing Reirden spoke definitively on.

“He's day-to-day,” Reirden said. “I would say that he is definitely is going to be out tomorrow just because he didn't skate today. Obviously T.J. didn't either, but it's a different situation for him. He's upper body, Djoos is, and T.J. is a sickness.”

So to recap, a team with only one extra forward and one extra defenseman currently on its roster knows one defenseman for sure is out (Djoos) and does not yet know the status for two forwards (Wilson and Oshie) or one other defenseman (Kempny).

This would be the time when most teams would make some recalls from the AHL, but that situation is also complicated because of the salary cap. The Caps have very little cap space. The only reason why they currently have seven defensemen is because Djoos was called up late in the week due to Kempny and Gudas being sick.

“There's a lot of moving parts right now,” Reirden said. “That is without question. Have more than one contingency plan at this point just in terms of what we can do with cap space and how that would work makes it ever more complicated.”

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Oshie grateful to other Capitals dads for reaching out to 'Coach Osh' during mentors' trip

Oshie grateful to other Capitals dads for reaching out to 'Coach Osh' during mentors' trip

ARLINGTON, Va. -- For this year’s mentor’s trip, T.J. Oshie brought along his father-in-law, Dave Cosgrove with him. His father, Tim, was not able to make the trip, but was still included as the other dads FaceTimed him during Monday’s game in Columbus.

Oshie said Wednesday the gesture was a total surprise, but very much appreciated.

“I had no idea,” Oshie said. “I saw it on social media after the game. I didn't even know. Dave didn't even tell me after the game so I just had to see it when I got on my phone, but really cool moment for Coach Osh and happy that the dads took the time to give him a call and thank the Caps for trying to include him the best way we can.”

Tim Oshie suffers from Alzheimer’s disease which makes traveling difficult. Oshie said there were initial plans for him to come on the trip, but those were ultimately scrapped.

“We were going to try to make it work and try to get him out there, but we decided to let him be comfortable and stay at home so I'm sure he appreciated all the dads getting the call there,” he said.

Oshie has been with the Capitals since 2015 when the team acquired him in the offseason via a trade with the St. Louis Blues. Now in his fifth season with the team, Oshie and his father are certainly familiar to the other regulars on the trip making “Coach Osh’s” absence a notable one among the other dads.

That seems to have been the impetus for the dads reaching out on Monday.

“A lot of the dads that have been here for a while were asking me if coach Osh was coming,” Oshie said, “And they all said that they missed him and to send their best so it was nice for them to be able to say hi in person.”

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T.J. Oshie skates with military families as part of Courage Caps initiative

T.J. Oshie skates with military families as part of Courage Caps initiative

Capitals winger T.J. Oshie and his teammates hosted an event supporting the TAPS program, which helps military families who have lost a loved one in service to their country 

The Capitals hosted an afternoon skate on Thursday for dozens of military family members who have lost a loved one during their service. 

Oshie and teammates Garnet Hathaway and Nick Jensen were on the ice at MedStar Iceplex in Arlington. They skated. They took pictures. They signed autographs. It was all part of an annual Courage Caps event for members of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). 

That organization has helped support over 90,000 families of fallen military heroes with grief and trauma resources, emotional support, camps for children and seminars and retreats for adults struggling with loss.

Sale of Courage Caps t-shirts and caps have helped bring in almost $1 million since 2011. The merchandise will be available at the organization’s team stores at Capital One Arena and MedStar Iceplex all November. The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) is a supporting partner. 

Families not only interacted with Oshie, Hathaway and Jensen on the ice. Captain, the Capitals’ service dog in training, made an appearance along with mascot Slapshot and members of the ALL CAPS crew.

Oshie raced two boys and appeared to lose to the smaller of them just as they crossed center ice, laughing all the way. Jensen helped another novice skater by escorting her around the ice. Afterward, the Capitals and Papa John’s hosted a pizza party for the families.

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