All of the Capitals, except for injured Alexander Semin and Tom Poti, skated this morning at KCI, where Semyon Varlamov was the first goaltender off the ice and appears set to start tonight opposite the Vancouver Canucks' Roberto Luongo.
Once the main group wrapped up its session, Matt Bradley worked out on the ice with D.J. King. It has been about three weeks since Bradley suffered a broken finger that has caused him to miss the past eight games, and Coach Bruce Boudreau said that the veteran right wing is still about 10-14 days away from returning.
Bradley's injury opened the door for call-up Jay Beagle, who has appeared in nine straight games for the Capitals and 11 out of the past 12. Boudreau often says that when a player is recalled from the American Hockey League, he can ill afford to have many lackluster games. For the most part Beagle, who has earned responsibility on Washington's penalty kill along with his role of bringing energy on the third or fourth line, has managed to keep himself on an even keel.
"Jay's done a great job for us," Boudreau said. "It's so important -- and we talk every day -- that he doesn't get caught getting settled in and thinking he's a 10-year vet now, because he knows that Matt Bradley is coming back and he's got to continue to play at that level all the time.
"I thought the last couple games he's been falling off a little bit, but for the most part he works his tail off. He's not a goal scorer down [in Hershey], I don't expect him to get 30 goals up here, but his work in the corners, his penalty killing has been exceptional. We want him to continue doing that." ...
Based on the morning skate, it appears Eric Fehr will at least start tonight's contest on the right side of a line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. It's a combination that has been used in about eight games this season, but Fehr, with five points in the past six games, has been gaining confidence recently. Perhaps he can help jump start Washington's top line.
"I think it's just important to work hard, get it in on the forecheck and get them the puck; that's going to be my job tonight," Fehr said before discussing how to get the offense back on track as a whole. "I think if we're going to take some long shots, we've got to start shooting for rebounds instead of just shooting at goalies' chests so they can make easy saves. Shoot for the pads and go to the net hard for rebounds especially against a good goalie like Luongo."