Team Canada just wrapped up a World Cup Tournament that included three exhibition games, three round-robin games, a semi-final and a two-game final. In those eight games, Braden Holtby saw only 29:40 of ice time, about one half of an exhibition game against Team USA.
Back with the Caps, Holtby will now look to make up for lost time as he will start in Saturday's preseason game against the New York Islanders (7 p.m. on CSN).
Saturday's morning skate was the first time Holtby was back on the ice for the Caps, but with the season opener now only 12 days away, Holtby wants to start getting back into game shape.
Holtby acknowledged after Saturday's skate that he was not in game shape and had expressed a desire to the coaches to play in Saturday's game to try to get as much game action as possible.
"There's still enough time," Holtby said. "I've still been on the ice and doing some drills so it's not starting at square one but the game action is key. You can practice all you want, but once you get into a game it's completely different just getting the stamina back up, the mental stamina.
"Still got enough games to make sure we're ready."
Joining Holtby in his preseason debut will be head coach Barry Trotz who will be behind the bench for the first time in the preseason after coaching for Team Canada.
"Talked to Todd [Reirden] yesterday and he wanted me to come on the bench and we'll get everybody in our proper roles and so I will go on the bench tonight," Trotz said. "I wasn't expecting to, but I will. I didn't want to come in and just, 'hey the sheriff's in town.' These guys have done an exceptional job and I just didn't want to do that, but they came to me and said I think we just want to go to our roles here and let's go move forward."
The game will not be in Brooklyn in the Islanders' usual home of the Barclays Center, but rather in Bridgeport, Conn., the home of New York's AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Here are the lines based on Saturday's morning skate:
Marcus Johansson - Lars Eller - Justin Williams
Jakub Vrana - Travis Boyd - Stanislav Galiev
Paul Carey - Chandler Stephenson - Brett Connolly
Liam O'Brien - Brad Malone - Riley Barber
The defensive pairs shuffled throughout the morning, but the six defensemen are Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos, Brooks Orpik, Aaron Ness, Tyler Lewington and Nate Schmidt.
Vitek Vanecek will backup Holtby.
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