Dale Hunter expects Troy Brouwer to play against Panthers (updated)

Updated 2:35 p.m.: Coach Dale Hunter said he expects Troy Brouwer to face the Panthers on Thursday.

“It’s just a maintenance day,” Hunter said. “He’ll play tomorrow.”

Original post: Troy Brouwer isn’t on the ice for the Capitals’ practice Wednesday for what the team is officially terming a maintenance day. Any time a player misses a workout following a scheduled off day, though, they’re typically contending with a little more than an average bump or bruise.

Brouwer always takes a beating from opponents and in recent contests, the trend has continued. He absorbed an elbow from Boston’s Chris Kelly on March 29 and in the third period against Tampa Bay on Monday, he was the recipient of a big hit by Brian Lee and was also credited with blocking a slap shot by Brett Clark.

It’s unclear what precisely is bothering Brouwer, who showed no visible signs of injury when he spoke to reporters post-game in Tampa Monday night.

A few other quick notes from practice:

— Tomas Vokoun (groin) is the only player in addition to Brouwer who isn’t on the ice today. Vokoun hasn’t skated since leaving the game in Boston after he aggravated his groin strain and it’s unlikely that the veteran netminder will be able to return to action any time soon.

— John Erskine, who was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury last week when Nicklas Backstrom returned to the lineup, is back on the ice today.

— Lines:
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Johansson
Chimera-Perreault-Semin
Hendricks-Laich-Beagle
Eakin-Aucion/Halpern-Knuble

Defensive pairings
Alzner-Wideman
Hamrlik-Green
Orlov-Carlson
Erskine-Schultz

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