For the most part, the Washington Capitals have made it through this season relatively unscathed, but the injuries are beginning to mount.
Already without forwards Mikhail Grabovski (left ankle) and Brooks Laich (groin) as well as defenseman Mike Green (concussion), Washington added two more players to the injured list as forwards Aaron Volpatti (upper body) and Eric Fehr (lower body) missed practice on Monday, leaving the team with 10 healthy forwards.
Fehr and Volpatti are listed as day-to-day, though coach Adam Oates expects Fehr, who was hobbled by a blocked shot in the first period of the Capitals' 6-5 overtime victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, to play against the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
“I expect Fehrsie to play tomorrow, for sure," Oates said. "Just a little banged up from last night. That shot blocking’s tough, isn’t it? That’s why I never blocked any. I think he’ll be fine.”
Grabovski, sidelined since Jan. 24, has been skating on his own and with strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish, but is not expected to play in Washington's final three games leading up to the NHL's two-week break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Green and Laich -- neither of whom played on Sunday-- both participated in the 25-minute practice, the former leaving after about 10 minutes and the latter fully. They, along with Volpatti, are questionable against the Islanders.
“Good, actually better than I thought,” Laich said when asked how he felt following practice. “So I told Oatesy at the end of the practice I’m hoping to play tomorrow. Ultimately it’s going to be their call we’ll see how I feel in the morning skate if I can really push it to 100 percent. If I can, then I’ll be in the lineup tomorrow night.”
As for Green, the Capitals are playing it safe with him considering his previous history of head injuries and the uncertain nature of concussions in general.
“Not quite ready for him mentally to get in there,” Oates said as to why he held out Green on Sunday. “You don’t want him to play careful and try and avoid [contact]. He practiced today, felt good again, he left a little early just because he didn’t want to set it back and we’ll see how he is tomorrow.”
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