Nicklas Backstrom hopeful to play against Carolina, Mike Green set to return

February 26, 2013

(Bruce Bennett/Getty)

 

The Capitals recalled forward Casey Wellman from the Hershey Bears Tuesday morning but it’s unclear whether they’ll need the extra depth against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Nicklas Backstrom, who missed Monday’s workout with an illness, took part in the morning skate and said he was feeling better. He’ll likely have to reassess his status closer to game time, though, as he still was feeling a bit under the weather.

“Hopefully,” Backstrom said, when asked if he’d be able to play. “I had a rough day yesterday so it was good to get out there today. Hopefully I’ll be good to go.”

Coach Adam Oates was optimistic that Backstrom would be able to play but said that Wellman, who has played 41 NHL games in his career, was recalled as insurance just in case the top center is unable to play.

The Capitals need to make a move by the start of tonight’s game to accommodate Wellman’s presence on the 23-man active roster, but it’s unclear what the corresponding transaction will be. It could be as simple as putting Marcus Johansson, who has missed the past six games with an upper-body injury, on injured reserve.

Update: To make room for Wellman on the 23-man active roster the Capitals placed Marcus Johansson, who has missed the past six games with an upper-body injury, on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 7. Johansson is eligible to return at any time.

Jason Chimera was back on the ice as well after leaving Monday’s practice early because of a lower-body injury. The veteran winger brushed off any injury concerns and said he will be ready to play against Carolina.

Other notes from the morning skate:

>> The Capitals will see the return of their top defenseman tonight at Verizon Center, though, as Mike Green is ready to get back in the lineup after missing the past three games with a groin injury.

Getting Green back should make it easier for Oates to balance the workload of the defensemen each night.

“We need him. He plays a lot of minutes,” Oates said. “We really wore [John Carlson] out. It’d be great to have him back and reduce some of his stress. He’s a top defenseman in this league.”

Green said he isn’t worried about being able to play in both of the back-to-back games, tonight against Carolina and tomorrow at Philadelphia. Oates isn’t concerned either.

“If he can play tonight he should be fine tomorrow,” Oates said. “It’s not an injury that gets tired. You can either play or you can’t.”

>> Roman Hamrlik and Jeff Schultz are the healthy scratches among the defensemen. Oates said that the Capitals want to continue evaluating Tom Poti and so the veteran defenseman will get a sweater for a fourth consecutive night.

>> Marcus Johansson and Jack Hillen, who are both out with upper-body injuries, took part in the workout. The only player to not skate this morning is Brooks Laich, who hasn’t been on the ice with the team since Feb. 16 and continues to work through his recovery from the lingering groin injury that has sidelined him since the lockout.

>> Some news out of Hershey, where Dmitry Orlov suited up for practice in a contact jersey according to Tim Leone of the Patriot News. Orlov suffered a concussion on Dec. 6 while appearing with the Bears at the AHL Showcase at Verizon Center and hasn’t played a game since.

While being able to take contact is an important step in Orlov’s recovery, Oates doesn’t anticipate having the young defenseman at his disposal any time soon.

“I think that’s way down the line. He’s missed a lot of time so I can’t say he’s been on my radar,” Oates said. “Obviously he’s a prospect, played some games here last year, I had him in Hershey. He got hurt in Hershey too, so I can’t say I really evaluated him down there.”

>> Based on the morning skate, here’s what the lineup should look like tonight if Backstrom is indeed healthy:

Forwards
Chimera-Ribeiro-Ovechkin
Fehr-Backstrom-Brouwer
Wolski-Perreault-Ward
Hendricks-Beagle-Crabb

Defense
Alzner-Green
Erskine-Carlson
Poti-Kundratek

Braden Holtby in net to make his seventh consecutive start.

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