Brooks Orpik was not on the ice for practice Monday as the veteran defenseman took a “maintenance day”, Capitals Coach Barry Trotz said.
Trotz called Orpik “probable” for Tuesday’s home game against the surging Flames, who are 12-1-0 in their last 13 games.
“Just a maintenance day,” Trotz said. “We’ll see where he is tomorrow. Felt much better. Just got bumped up in [Tampa on Saturday night]. We gave him a maintenance day; he was thinking about coming out [to practice]. [We thought] a maintenance day would do him a lot more good.”
Trotz said Orpik will take the morning skate and then the player and coach will decide together whether the rugged blue liner is healthy enough to suit up against Calgary.
Orpik missed three games last month due to an infection in his leg.
Trotz also acknowledged that he has contemplated sitting the 36-year-old as the postseason approaches. But Trotz added that he’ll allow Orpik to make the decision.
“He takes care of himself better than anybody on our club when it comes to fitness and what he puts in his body and how he trains and how he prepares for games,” Trotz said. “I don’t think there’s anybody who matches him in that.”
Orpik’s ice time per game this season—17:47—is down almost two minutes from his average a year ago and down about four minutes from 2014-15, his first season in Washington.
If Orpik does not play against Calgary, Trotz would turn to Nate Schmidt or Taylor Chorney. Trotz had a lengthy talk with Schmidt on the ice following practice, explaining later that he was “making sure he’s not discouraged” about his recently reduced role.
“We’ve got some depth on defense,” Trotz said. “Not really in Brooks’ size and physicality and all that. So our options are a little different.”
MORE CAPITALS: UPDATED NHL POWER RANKING