Sean Collins spent most of the Capitals’ lengthy Tuesday practice skating with Jeff Schultz on what could be a possible third pairing if Mike Green is unable to play because of his twisted right ankle.
Whether Collins plays on this road trip is entirely dependent upon the health of Green and the other defensemen, but Coach Bruce Boudreau said there was no question whom they would recall to bring a seventh blueliner to western Canada.
“He’s the best right-handed defenseman that they had,” Boudreau said of Collins. “He’s got experience playing for us and he’s playing well. If we would have kept a seventh here [at the start of the year] he would have been the one we were keeping anyway.”
Collins played with Schultz for one preseason game, and because he was recalled Tuesday the 27-year-old blueliner said he shouldn’t have any problem getting up to NHL speed thanks to at least two practices before he would play, if he does at all.
“The fact that I’m going to be able to get into two practices is really good,” Collins said. “Washington has probably the best group of forwards in the league, so I’m facing them in practice. That definitely helps, that’s the way I look at it. If im going against Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and [Marcus] Johansson and [Alexander] Semin in practice I’m not going to face a hell of a lot better in games.”
In seven games with the Hershey Bears this season, Collins leads the Capitals’ AHL affiliate with a plus-5 rating and has recorded a goal and an assist.