After spending a day away from the rink, the Caps returned to KCI this morning for an uptempo, systems-heavy practice. Everyone was in attendance with one notable exception: Semyon Varlamov.
Varlamov, who's been sidelined since Dec. 7 with knee and groin muscle injuries, said Saturday morning that he planned on skating this morning.
"None," Coach Bruce Boudreau said when asked if there was an update on the goalie's status. "They keep pushing it back a day."
While Varlamov's situation may be up in the air, there have been two positive constants around the Caps in recent weeks: the forward lines and marks in the win column.
For the 23rd consecutive day -- a span of 10 games and an unofficial Boudreau record -- the first, second, third and fourth lines remained unchanged. In the past, Boudreau didn't begin focusing on building continuity among his forwards until the playoffs were right around the corner. This season, he decided to get a four-month head start on that.
After the loss in Los Angeles on Jan. 2, Boudreau put Alex Ovechkin with Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble; Brooks Laich with Tomas Fleischmann and Alexander Semin; Jason Chimera with Brendan Morrison and Eric Fehr; and Boyd Gordon with David Steckel and Matt Bradley.
The result? The league's best offense has been even more potent, scoring 4.9 goals per game and 3.3 at even strength.
"When you've stuck together [this] many games and you get into a rhythm, that's why you're seeing our team score four, five goals a game because each line knows its responsibility," Brooks Laich said. "Right now we're playing really well, so there's no reason to change.
"It's nice to have linemates," Laich cracked. "When someone asks, 'Who's your line?' you don't have to name nine guys."
The offense is on cruise control and so are the Caps, who have won nine of their past 10 games.
"Since we made the trade for Jason and since we've moved Fleisch to the middle a lot more, things have fit," Boudreau said. "I like the chemistry on all four lines. I anticipate this is the way we'll go unless injuries dictate otherwise."
I'll have more on this in tomorrow's Post.
One more note: Brian Pothier (broken hand) is ready to return and will travel with the Caps tomorrow. Boudreau said the defenseman will play at some point this week.