News, notes and quotes as the Capitals returned to Kettler on Tuesday in preparation for Thursday’s home game against the Vancouver Canucks:
Injury updates: Caps right wing Tom Wilson left the ice just before practice after tweaking a lower body injury. Capitals coach Barry Trotz said Wilson “didn’t want to aggravate it” so he left the ice and “should be fine.”
Stan Galiev took Wilson’s spot on a third line with Jason Chimer and Zach Sill.
Defenseman John Carlson (lower body) and center Jay Beagle (hand surgery) skated before practice. Carlson has missed the past eight games.
“When he’s ready we’ll put him in,” Trotz said. “He hasn’t practiced with us, so he’s a ways away.”
Richards timetable: Mike Richards participated in his first full practice at Kettler, centering a fourth line with left wing Brooks Laich and right wing Michael Latta, who has recovered from his upper body injury.
Trotz said Richards will not play on Thursday but would like to see him in the lineup before the NHL All-Star break begins on Jan. 28. The Capitals have seven games before the break, so sometime next week (Tuesday in Columbus or Friday against Anaheim) seems like a reasonable start date.
Richards said he’s starting to get his legs under him and his hands are coming back, but called himself “a work in progress.”
Richards has not played an NHL game since last April. He said he would not “fight” the Capitals if they want him to play a game or two in AHL Hershey, but that won’t be determined until he’s closer to game shape.
Ovi congrats: Alex Ovechkin said his phone had a lot of activity Sunday night and Monday as he received congratulatory texts and phone calls for his 500th and 501st NHL goals.
"Lots of phone calls, lots of messages," Ovechkin said. "It’s pretty big. Everybody is happy for me and my family. It’s huge in Russia as well."
Jason Chimera, who assisted on Ovechkin's milestone goal, said the Caps' 30-year-old captain owes him nothing for getting him the puck.
"I think I owe him a lot more than anything," Chimera said. "You see so many goals and so many cool moments. It's just nice to be a part of it. It was a special night."
Chimera said just seeing Ovechkin's joy is infectious.
"He's got no tooth in that smile," Chimera said. "And if you know Alex, he's just as happy when anyone else scores a goal. He's the first one to celebrate. You can't help but smile when he smiles."
Carey sent back to Hershey: After playing in two games with the Caps as a replacement for suspended forward Marcus Johansson, Paul Carey was sent back to the Hershey Bears. That gives the Caps 14 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies, one shy of the NHL’s 23-man roster limit.