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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