News and notes as the Capitals catch a flight for Raleigh, N.C., where they’ll face the Carolina Hurricanes Friday night [7 p.m., CSN]:
Grabovski back: Center Mikhail Grabovski was back on the ice at Thursday’s practice after missing the previous two games with flu-like symptoms. Grabovski replaced Marty Erat on a second line with left wing Eric Fehr and right wing Troy Brouwer and is expected to play there Friday night. Erat is likely to play on a third line between wingers Jason Chimera and Joel Ward
Wilson fallout: With right wing Tom Wilson facing a possible suspension, the Caps kept center Casey Wellman on their roster. If Wilson is not available to play against Carolina you could see a fourth line of Wellman between left wing Aaron Volpatti and Jay Beagle.
Roster freeze: The NHL has a holiday roster freeze beginning at midnight tonight and lasting through Dec. 26. That could cause a few obstacles for the Caps, who took three goalies – Braden Holtby, Philipp Grubauer and Michal Neuvirth – to Carolina. The Caps also have Brooks Laich eligible to come off long-term injury on Monday and could be without Wilson for the next few games.
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Laich closer: Caps center Brooks Laich [groin] skated for about 90 minutes on Thursday and reported only minimal pain. He said he has set Monday night as his artificial target date to return to the lineup. [Full story coming later].
Volpatti OK: Volpatti participated in a full practice after sitting out the final period of the Caps’ 5-2 loss to the Flyers. Volpatti suffered a black eye in his second-period fight with Adam Hall.