The Capitals didn’t offer any additional details on Jason Arnott, who is not on the trip with the team because of an undisclosed injury. Coach Bruce Boudreau said he doesn’t expect the veteran center, who is formally listed as week-to-week, to play in any of the next three games. Arnott played 17:09 against Chicago on Sunday, including one shift in overtime, so it’s unclear when he might have suffered the injury.
While Arnott’s presence helped stabilize the offense almost immediately upon his arrival, adding five points in seven games, where the Capitals will likely miss him most is in the dressing room.
Arnott made no qualms about stepping up to be a leader on the young Washington squad, and even though he’s only been around the team for two weeks, it will be an adjustment without his voice to help keep the team on track. But the Capitals aren’t about to dwell on who they do or don’t have in the lineup either.
“We cant sit here and think we’re missing an important part of our puzzle right now; our leader and a guy that’s very vocal and a guy that knows how to direct a team,” Matt Hendricks said. “But at the same time, that’s exactly what we are missing. There will be a little different feeling in here and we’re going to have to have some other veterans in this room step up and make sure we keep going in the right direction. I think we’ll be able to fight through it.”
With both Arnott and Nicklas Backstrom (fractured thumb) out of the mix tonight against the Canadiens, Boudreau has shifted the lines: On the top line, Alex Ovechkin with Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin, and on the second, Marco Sturm with Marcus Johansson and Mike Knuble.
“We’ll find out,” Boudreau said when asked how much of an affect Arnott’s absence would have. “I don’t know how much it’s going to hurt. He has had an impact and we are going to miss him, but like every other team, we’ll carry on.”
Despite the fact that Washington has used the same lines in each of its last three games since Eric Fehr returned to the lineup against Edmonton, Boudreau said he wasn’t concerned about rearranging things for Tuesday’s game.