Mike Green skated for the third consecutive day this morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex but the Capitals’ defensemen emphasized that he’s not taking any risks with his recovery from a concussion.
Green was placed on long-term injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 25 when he was hit in the head by the Rangers’ Derek Stepan and the earliest he would be eligible to return to the lineup is March 22 against Philadelphia. With the blocked out amount of time on IR, Green continues to take things slowly but said he tries to do a bit more on the ice every day he skates.
“You know how you feel and and what’s too much and what’s not,” Green said. “I do have some time, so there’s no point in rushing. I’m just making sure that I’m not pushing too hard until I’m ready. I’m getting better each day, which is good.”
“I think every day since I started skating I’ve pushed a little harder, participated in a lot more drills than maybe I had in the past but it takes time. I’m getting close but I’m not there yet.”
Nicklas Backstrom skated with the team as well and stayed out for a little extra work but for as long as he has the fiberglass cast on his left hand to prohibit any movement of his fractured thumb, he’s not able to really handle the puck or take shots because of the limited grip.
Backstrom did do a little more stick work today though, playing catch with Dennis Wideman at center ice while the rest of the group went through their usual pre-game skate juice-boy contest. The Capitals’ top center doesn’t yet have a timetable for his return but it’s still believed to be a short-term absence as the cast can be removed at any time.
“Not really [able to stick handle] but I’m trying to,” Backstrom said. “It’s not that fun to skate without the puck all the time so it’s a little thing that you have to try to do. Right now I have a problem with gripping the stick right now, but we’ll see when I take the cast off and go from there...We’ll take it day to day, game to game.”
Backstrom did say that if it were the playoffs he’d probably be playing despite the injury but because it’s not he and the team wanted to take advantage of the time for him to heal properly.
In other news...
--Braden Holtby will make his third consecutive start for the Capitals tomorrow when he faces the Chicago Blackhawks in a matinee 12:30 p.m. contest. Having stopped 170 of the last 174 shots he’s faced in the NHL, Holtby is most assuredly the hot hand for the Capitals right now. Also, don’t forget to set your clocks forward for daylight savings time tonight.
Michal Neuvirth said his vision is back to normal after a piece of metal from his mask entered his eye during the first period of Monday’s game in Tampa. He played the remainder of that first period with vision out of only one eye, he said, but that the training staff was able to remove the debris in the intermission.