The Capitals’ first practice since the All-Star break is underway at KCI and recently recalled forward Joel Rechlicz is on the ice skating as a part of the fourth line.
Rechlicz is rotating through drills on the right wing, alternating with Joel Ward, while Jay Beagle and Cody Eakin make up the rest of the unit. Typically, whenever four players work as the fourth line one will be a healthy scratch the next game but it’s unclear who will be the odd man out on Tuesday against Tampa Bay.
Ward has seen his ice time diminish recently and has struggled to produce, having recorded just four points (one goal, three assists) in the past 22 games while both Beagle and Eakin have been in and out of the lineup this season. As for Rechlicz, it’s tough to imagine the Capitals signing and recalling a player to have him occupy a spot in the press box immediately upon his arrival.
A few other quick notes from practice:
— Lines from practice, including Alex Ovechkin, who will serve the final two games of his suspension during Washington’s games against the Lightning and Panthers.
Even though he won’t be able to play, Ovechkin will make the trip to Florida with the team according to Coach Dale Hunter.
— Dennis Wideman is the only healthy player not on the ice for practice. He was given the day off after participating in the All-Star festivities over the weekend.
— Neither Nicklas Backstrom (concussion) nor Mike Green (sports hernia) skated on Monday.
Hunter confirmed that Backstrom, who is out indefinitely with a concussion, did not skate at all during the All Star break which means the centerman has skated for just five minutes since Jan. 6. Backstrom has not been in attendance at the Capitals’ recent home games, either.
Meanwhile, Green underwent successful sports hernia surgery on Jan. 17 and it’s possible he could start skating as early as this week, according to comments from General Manager George McPhee, but the defenseman isn’t expected to return until late February at the earliest.