Updated 11:26 a.m.: While Jay Beagle was the only player to not take part in the Capitals’ morning skate Wednesday ahead of Game 6 against the New York Rangers, Coach Dale Hunter says the center is expected to play.
“He’s fine, just resting his legs,” Hunter said. “He’s fine, he’s gonna play.”
Beagle rarely, if ever, misses an on-ice workout when he is healthy, so for the center to not take part in the skate prior to a possible elimination game is certainly out of the ordinary. It also likely means that Beagle is nursing some sort of injury, even if it’s not enough to keep him out of the lineup.
Hunter said that the Capitals will have an extra forward take warmups as they typically have done in the postseason. It will either be Mathieu Perreault or Jeff Halpern. The latter did not stay on for extra work with the scratches and Black Aces while the former did.
Despite Beagle’s absence from the morning skate, his teammates were optimistic that he would find a way to be ready to face the Rangers.
“He’s a pretty tough guy; we’ll wait to see how warmup goes,” Karl Alzner said. “I can only imagine what he’s feeling like right now, he hates to not skate so I’m sure he’s pretty upset about that. He does what he needs to do and everybody’s helping him out taking the proper precautions.”
In Game 5 Monday, Beagle blocked only one shot and it sent him limping to the bench. The block came at 2:05 of the second period while the Capitals were shorthanded, Beagle went down on one knee in front of a point shot by Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman and the puck went off his leg.
It’s unclear if that block caused a lingering problem for Beagle, though, as he finished the game.
“You hate to see a guy like him go down and you know if a guy like him is hurting he’s feeling it,” Troy Brouwer said. “He’s a battler, he’s a warrior. I’m sure he’ll be out there blocking shots like usual.”
More on the Capitals:
— Caps look to stave off elimination
— Jay Beagle: Can’t dwell on Game 5
— Ovechkin held without a shot in Game 5
— Game 5 was bad, but was it the worst?
— Steinberg: Worst loss ever?
— Greenberg: Caps are down, but not out