Capitals' Kundratek, Erskine on the mend

Capitals' Kundratek, Erskine on the mend
March 25, 2013, 5:30 pm
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While the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers heard discouraging news on injuries to Ilya Kovlachuk [shoulder, 2-4 weeks] and Danny Briere [concussion, indefinite], the Capitals are hoping reinforcements are on their way.

Defensemen Tomas Kundratek [knee] and John Erskine [apparent hand/wrist] have resumed skating and could be back in the lineup by the weekend when the Caps visit Buffalo on Saturday and Philadelphia on Easter Sunday.

Kundratek, who had been skating on the top unit in place of Mike Green. has missed the last six games with a knee sprain suffered March 14 in Carolina.

Capitals coach Adam Oates said he is “very close” to returning to the lineup.

Erskine appeared to injure his wrist on March 9 on Long Island. Both players are not expected to play in Tuesday night’s home game against the Islanders, but could be cleared by the end of the weekend.

“We miss his presence,” Oates told reporters. “We all know the record when he’s played.”

For those who don’t the Caps are 10-6-1 when Erskine has been in the lineup and 5-10-0 when he has not.

Oates said there was no medical update on right wing Eric Fehr, who left Sunday night’s 3-2 shootout win over the Rangers with an upper body injury. Oates said it is not the same shoulder injury that limited Fehr last season in Winnipeg.

Fehr was expected to be seen by a doctor on Monday afternoon.

Lobbying for Ribeiro: Several teammates said Monday they’d like to see the Capitals re-sign veteran center Mike Ribeiro to new contract. Ribeiro, 33, leads the Caps in scoring with 10 goals and 24 assists for 34 points in 32 games.

“I would love to, but like I said before it’s not my job to sign players,” Alex Ovechkin told reporters. “That’s up to George [McPhee] or somebody else to sign him.

“It’s their option but he’s a good guy for us, a great guy in the locker room and a good guy on the ice.”

Mathieu Perreault grew up watching Ribeiro in Montreal and said he’s tried to model his game after the crafty and elusive center.

“It would be great to see him get a deal,” Perreault said.

“…He’s a smart player. Not a big guy, not a fast guy, but it’s almost like you can’t hit him. That’s what he wants, for you to come hit him, and then he beats you.”