Capitals

Quick Links

Caps' Brooks Orpik misses practice Monday

Caps' Brooks Orpik misses practice Monday

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.”

RELATED: OSHIE TRIES TO REMAIN FOCUSED EVEN IN CONTRACT YEAR

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

Quick Links

Alex Ovechkin teaching his son hockey might be the most adorable thing ever

Alex Ovechkin teaching his son hockey might be the most adorable thing ever

The Capitals had an off day on Sunday ahead of their Monday matchup with the Columbus Blue Jackets, giving the opportunity for Alex Ovechkin to spend some time with his son.

Sergei and his dad came across a baby hockey stick and Ovechkin decided to teach his son a few moves.

The 2035 NHL mock drafts have yet to be released, but we have an early pick for No. 1…

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Backstrom's back: Caps will get their top center back for Monday's game

Backstrom's back: Caps will get their top center back for Monday's game

ARLINGTON, Va -- The Capitals are riding a six-game win streak and already have the most points in the NHL and now they will be adding one of their best players back into the lineup. Nicklas Backstrom said Sunday after practice that he is "ready to go" for Monday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It will be his first game since Nov. 18.

An upper-body injury forced Backstrom out of the lineup for the last eight games. Despite returning to practice during the team's road trip through California, he did not get into a game as the team preached caution with its star center. As the team returned home, Backstrom took line rushes on Sunday and both he and head coach Todd Reirden confirmed he would be back in for Monday's game.

"It was good to see him out there in full practice," Reirden said. "Did some drills specifically to help prepare him for tomorrow. He's good to go for tomorrow."

Backstrom said he knew when he woke up on Sunday that he was ready.

"As of today I'm good to go," he said. "I woke up and felt good. It's like that guy in 'Mighty Ducks,' I woke up, no pain."

It does not appear as if Backstrom will be eased back into the lineup as he skated on the top line in practice alongside Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson. Evgeny Kuznetsov had been playing in that spot, but the top line had grown stagnant. Ovechkin, Wilson and Kuznetsov combined for only one even-strength point in the past three games.

Barring something unexpected, the return of Backstrom should give the Caps their full lineup for the first time all season. Considering what the team has been able to accomplish thus far while having to shuffle the lineup because of injuries and suspensions, this has been an impressive start.

"I think that shows the depth that we have all the way through our lineup: forward, defenseman and our goaltending has been strong," Reirden said. "I think it's a clear understanding that it's a competitive situation that we've had since training camp that players are ready to take advantage of their opportunities that they get and they know that they need to otherwise there's a chance they could find themselves on the outside. The inner-competition we've had has probably helped push that a little bit. That's been a good problem to have, and it's allowed us to see some other players get opportunities and showcase some of the abilities they have."

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: