The Capitals held a 40-minute practice Wednesday but given the rigors of the schedule at this point in the season, a few players were instructed to take the day off from skating. Alex Ovechkin, Dennis Wideman and Brooks Laich all were excused from the session.
According to Coach Dale Hunter, Laich “was good” after playing 9 minutes and 28 seconds against the Panthers despite his injured left knee. The versatile forward was simply given a day off to rest.
Wideman, who leads the team in ice time this season, played 18:41 against the Panthers while Ovechkin saw 20:15.
Hunter said it’s getting to the time of year when he and the coaching staff encourage players to take practices off to avoid overtaxing them during busy stretches.
“You see our schedule. We play Thursday, then we play Sunday, Monday with some travel involved,” Hunter said. They “get little bumps and bruises and you give them time.”
Despite the absences, the Capitals used the same line combinations during practice at KCI leaving spaces open for those who were given the day off.
Those lines were, with missing players in parentheses:
— Mike Green skated for a second consecutive day this week and was on the ice for over a half hour before the start off practice. The defenseman, who underwent sports hernia surgery on Jan. 17, did some stick handling and tested out his ability to put weight behind his slap shots.
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— Jason Chimera snaps scoring slump
— Capitals rout Panthers, vault back into first in Southeast
— Alex Ovechkin: ‘Everything was working for me’
— Tomas Vokoun with 42-save shutout
— Brooks Laich in limited role