Updated, 1:45 p.m.
Mike Green made his first appearance on the ice since Feb. 27 at Philadelphia on Friday morning, when he worked out alone prior to the start of the Capitals’ full team practice.
Green, 27, has missed six of the past eight games with a groin injury. Earlier this week the Capitals placed him on injured reserve, though he is eligible to return to the lineup at any time.
While Coach Adam Oates said it was a positive sign to see Green on the ice, it’s difficult to gauge his progress at this point because it’s all but impossible to test groin injuries in practice.
“I think he felt pretty good. I’ll find out later from [head athletic trainer Greg Smith] after he ices down and all that and how he feels the next day,” Oates said. “You think it’s healed but then as soon as you get real contact [it acts up again]. You can replicate as much as you want but until you get into a game in the heat of the moment and take an unguarded hit, you don’t know.”
He originally suffered the injury on Feb. 14 at Tampa Bay and missed the next three games before returning to play against Carolina and Philadelphia on Feb. 26 and 27. Green aggravated the injury against the Flyers and has sat out each of the three games since, bringing the total of games he’s missed due to injury over the past two and a half seasons to 86 games out of 186 regular-season contests.
On to some other notes from today’s practice updated with quotes and context from Oates:
>> Michal Neuvirth is absent for a second consecutive day and will not make the trip to Long Island. Meanwhile, Philipp Grubauer is still in Washington, took part in practice in Arlington and will travel to New York.
On Thursday, Oates said he wanted to split starts in the back-to-back games this weekend, regardless whether it would be Neuvirth or Grubauer spelling Braden Holtby for a night. If that plan holds, it’s possible Grubauer makes his first NHL start either on Saturday when Washington visits the Islanders or Sunday when it hosts the Rangers.
As of Friday afternoon, Oates said the coaching staff had not decided which goaltender would start against the Islanders.
“You just try to decide — you know, Holts is definitely going to play one of the two on the weekend [it’s just a matter of] which one, and we’re just trying to figure out rest and we’re just thinking about it.”
>> Jason Chimera is on the ice taking part in practice the morning after absorbing that blindside hit to the head from Florida’s Tyson Strachan.
It’s still unknown if Strachan will face a disciplinary hearing. Strachan will not face a disciplinary hearing for the hit.
“I have no say in the matter,” Oates said. “Like I said last night, I thought it was a little late but I don’t think he left his feet or anything.”
Oates said that Chimera was “a little sore but he’s fine”. Chimera declined to speak with reporters following practice.
>> Marcus Johansson, who has missed 11 games with a concussion and was cleared for contact earlier this week, is wearing a green, third-line jersey and is working in as an extra alongside Chimera, Jay Beagle and Joel Ward.
“It’s been better,” Johansson said about his progress. “I feel better and better too and push myself a little more. It’s definitely going the right way.”
Oates said that Johansson will make the trip to Long Island with the team Friday afternoon and that in the event of an emergency the 22-year-old might be ready to jump in the lineup. Granted, the Capitals already Aaron Volpatti available as an extra forward in the event someone is suddenly unable to play against the Islanders.
“I talked to him as we were skating around, I said ‘You tell me how you feel, conditioning-wise if I need you tomorrow, if somebody gets sick can you play?’” Oates said of Johansson. “And he said ‘Yeah.’”
>> The only other player missing from practice aside from Neuvirth is Brooks Laich, who hasn’t skated with the team since Feb. 16 and continues his long recovery from a nagging groin injury.
>> Here’s what the lines look like: