Update, 1:30 p.m.: Laich will indeed return tonight against Pittsburgh. More here.
All signs at the morning skate at Consol Energy Center point to Brooks Laich being ready to make his long-awaited return to the Capitals lineup tonight against the Penguins.
Laich, 29, skated in line rushes as part of the fourth line with Matt Hendricks and Jay Beagle. While Laich is expected to eventually slot into the top-line left wing spot for Washington, Coach Adam Oates said recently that he hoped to ease the utility forward back into game action.
Laich has been sidelined since November by a groin injury he suffered while playing in Switzerland during the NHL lockout. Over the weekend, Laich said he felt close to being able to play.
Defenseman Tom Poti, who aggravated a back injury against the Sabres Sunday, is not on the ice for the morning skate. In order to make space for Laich on the 23-man active roster, it’s possible the Capitals will place Poti on injured reserve.
John Erskine, who is out with what is believed to be an injured left hand/wrist, also isn’t taking part in the skate. It’s been more than a week since Erskine last took part in a team practice.
Here’s what the forward lines looked like at the skate: