Lars Eller says he felt “good” after Tuesday's practice and hopes to return to the lineup Wednesday night.
Coach Barry Trotz also said he’s hopeful of getting the checking line center back against the Blues.
“As of right now, without talking to any of trainers, I think he will be a ‘possible’,” said Trotz, who added that he’ll have a minor leaguer ‘on alert’ just in case Eller (upper body, day-to-day) has a setback.
After sitting out Monday’s practice, Eller rejoined his teammates for Tuesday’s session and participated in all of the drills except for the ones that called for full contact.
“Small steps in the right direction, but today was a good day,” Eller said. “We’ll evaluate again tomorrow [but] I would expect that unless I have any setbacks I’ll be on the ice again tomorrow morning [for the pregame skate] and we’ll take a decision after that.”
Eller added: “I felt good within the limits of we put out there for me—no contact—but I felt good skating. I was pain free. So we’ll take another step tomorrow and see how it feels...it’s heading in the right direction.”
Eller acknowledged that he was already nicked up entered Friday’s game against the Red Wings. The hit that Tyler Bertuzzi laid on Eller during his first shift of the game simply “triggered” the preexisting ailment.
“It was something that was lingering before the game and after one shift there was just no way I could go any further,” Eller said. “The [Bertuzzi] hit kind of triggered it, but if it wasn’t going to happen there, it was going to happen the next shift or the shift after.”
Eller (2 goals, 0 assists) practiced on the fourth line Tuesday, centering wingers Daniel Winnik and Tom Wilson.
MORE CAPITALS: Eller returns to practice