The Capitals may have already begun to turn a corner under Coach Dale Hunter what with a three game winning streak to close out 2011, and the team’s positive strides can only benefit from the return of Mike Green.
The rest of the roster is excited to see Green take his place back on the Capitals’ bench on Tuesday because they know that even if the defenseman is eased back into game action he’ll provide an additional spark.
“He’s going to be a big boost for our club, no question,” Brooks Laich said. “He’s always been a game-changer from the back end but we know it’s going to take some time. He’s been out for twenty-some games and our team has changed a little bit since he’s been out. It starts with solid defensive play and if Mike can do that then the natural part of his game, the jumping into the play, the shooting the pucks – the offense – that should come easily for him.”
Whether he fills all of his usual roles tonight against Calgary is uncertain, but Green should help add speed in the defensive zone and to the transition game. He’s rotated through power-play drills for the past week and having him quarterbacking that unit from the point should help its effectiveness as well.
“It’s not a secret he’s one of the best D in the league,” Alex Ovechkin said. “He can carry the puck and he can change the game so quick. It’s good for us and I think everybody right now is pretty happy.”
A few other notes from the morning skate ahead of the game against the Flames:
— While Green returns, Washington will be without another one of its top players. Alexander Semin will miss the game with an NHL source described as neck pain.
When asked about Semin, Coach Dale Hunter said, “He’s a day to day right now, we’ll have to wait to see tomorrow.” Semin, who missed Monday’s practice, went off the ice Tuesday after only taking part in 12 minutes of organized drills during the skate.
A league source said Semin sustained a cut on his arm against Columbus, but that condition has improved and the neck soreness, not the cut, is the cause of the winger’s absence. The team typically does not disclose the nature of players’ injuries in the event that it acknowledges an injury has occurred.
— Tomas Vokoun will make a fourth consecutive start as Washington hosts Calgary. He, like the team as a whole, will be looking for his fourth straight victory.
— Mathieu Perreault and Jeff Schultz took part in extra work this morning and will likely be healthy scratches.
More from Post Sports:
— Green set to return to Caps’ lineup vs. Flames
— Capitals aim to ease Green back into action
— On Hockey: Capitals are showing signs of life
— Leonsis: D.C. will ‘eventually’ host Classic