Caps top 5 plays of the week: 11.18.13
After missing two games with a lower body bruise, Capitals defenseman Mike Green said he skated pain-free on Tuesday, but coach Adam Oates seemed hesitant when asked if his top defenseman would be in the lineup Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins [8 p.m., NBCSN].
“He’s missed a lot of time and it’s a big game,” Oates said after an 80-minute practice at Kettler.
“I don’t want to put him in a situation where he’s behind the 8-ball. He hasn’t been able to do a lot of cardio, so I’m a little worried about his conditioning.”
Green, who leads all Capitals defensemen in points [11 assists] and ice time [24:28], was injured in the Caps’ 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Nov. 12. He is eligible to come off the injured list in time to play in Wednesday’s game, but since Tuesday marked his first full practice in a week, the Caps are being cautious.
“This is the first day I felt good as far as the injury and I was able to actually push and skate and try to get my wind back,” Green said. “[It’s] just a matter of getting back into game shape and that’s it.”
Oates said the Caps will wait to see how Green feels on Wednesday morning before making a final decision.
If Green cannot play, it appears likely Tyson Strachan will remain in his spot on a second pairing with rookie Nate Schmidt. In two games Strachan has no points, one shot and is even while averaging 20 minutes.
If Green is cleared to play on Wednesday the Caps would need to assign one of their defensemen to the AHL Hershey Bears. If it’s Strachan he would first need to clear NHL waivers.
The Caps’ forward lines and defense pairings looked like this on Tuesday:
Marcus Johansson – Nicklas Backstrom – Alex Ovechkin
Marty Erat – Brooks Laich – Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera – Mikhail Grabovski – Joel Ward
Aaron Volpatti – Michael Latta – Tom Wilson
Extras: Jay Beagle, Eric Fehr
Karl Alzner – John Carlson
Nate Schmidt – Mike Green
Alex Urbom – Steve Oleksy
Extras: Tyson Strachan, Dmitry Orlov
Braden Holtby – Michal Neuvirth
As for the Penguins, this is how they looked in Monday night’s 3-1 home win over the Ducks:
Beau Bennett – Sidney Crosby – Chris Kunitz
James Neal – Evgeni Malkin – Pascal Dupuis
Jussi Jokinen – Brandon Sutter – Brian Gibbons
Tanner Glass -- Joe Vitale - Craig Adams
Paul Martin – Brooks Orpik
Deryk Engelland – Kris Letang
Olli Maatta – Matt Niskanen
Marc-Andre Fleury – Jeff Zatkoff
Mike Green practicing at Kettler Capitals Iceplex (Photo by Chuck Gormley)