Alexander Semin started Saturday’s practice in a white jersey, rotating in drills as part of the fourth line. Typically, when there are 13 healthy forwards one of the four players taking part in the workout on the fourth line is scratched the next day.
Asked what to make of seeing Semin, usually a top-six forward, skating with the fourth line, Coach Bruce Boudreau responded wryly.
“Infer what you want,” Boudreau said. “I don’t know who, if everybody’s healthy two guys have got to sit, so we have to figure out who it’s going to be.”
Joel Ward left practice because he was feeling under the weather, Boudreau said, prompting Semin to take his spot on the third line. But the coach said he expects Ward to be able to play against Phoenix on Monday, which means the possibility of Semin sitting out would remain.
A few other notes from Sunday’s practice:
— John Erskine left the ice early after he “took a bump on his shoulder again,” according to Boudreau. The rugged defenseman underwent offseason surgery on his left shoulder but Boudreau said that he believes Erskine will also be ready to face the Coyotes.
— One player who won’t see time against Phoenix Monday is defenseman Mike Green, who has not skated since he suffered a strained right groin on Nov. 11 in New Jersey.
“It hasn’t worsened; just hasn’t improved at the rate we would have liked it to improve,” Boudreau said when asked about Green’s status. “We’re hoping that he skates at some point this week.”
Green’s continued absence is part of the reason why Washington recalled Dmitry Orlov, who possesses comparable speed. Although he will be learning, the rookie has the potential to contribute offensively both at even strength and on the power play. More on Orlov’s call-up to Washington later, though.
“We just thought we needed a little shake up, just somebody with a little more energy from the back end a little bit,” Boudreau said. “Supposedly last night in Hershey he was fabulous — he had a goal and two assists, and thought we could use that.”