Brooks Laich leaves practice early, Joel Ward misses skate (updated)

September 24, 2013

Brooks Laich is upended by Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara in Monday’s preseason game. (Charles Krupa/AP)

Update 3:10 p.m.: Brooks Laich said he left practice of his own accord, after noticing some stiffness early on in the workout and that he didn’t experience any problems Monday night while facing the Bruins.

“I brought it to their attention that something was going wrong with me and that’s kind of different for me. Usually I try and hide that,” Laich said, acknowledging that his injury problems last year convinced him the importance of being honest with the coaches and training staff. No matter how much he would rather take part in a game or practice. “I have Oct. 1 circled on the calendar and that’s what I’ve got to be ready for.”

Coach Adam Oates said he’s not sure whether Laich would be ready to play against Nashville Wednesday at Verizon Center.

“He played great last night, he was flying this morning. All of a sudden he felt something and hopefully it’s very minor,” Oates said. “I’m hoping it’s just compensations that he’s going through being off for so long and catching up. It is a very difficult thing hopefully that’s minor.”

Oates said Joel Ward was sore but that he’s optimistic the veteran winger will be able to take part in practice Wednesday.

Original post: The Capitals have 31 players remaining in training camp after another round of cuts Tuesday sent Garrett Mitchell, Patrick Wey and Nate Schmidt to Hershey. So Washington still has to cut eight players by the NHL roster deadline Sept. 30 at 3 p.m.

Joel Ward didn’t take part in practice and was given a maintenance day, according to a team spokesman. More concerning though is that Brooks Laich, who skated 20 minutes in his preseason debut Monday in Boston, left the skate early after his left hip flexor tightened up. Laich missed the first week of training camp with a left hip flexor injury that he suffered on Sept. 5 when he first skated at Kettler after returning to Washington to prepare for training camp.

With training camp trimmed down to one group now, though, there were new lines to ponder at practice. Infer whatever you want to infer from these combinations, especially considering Ward and Laich weren’t a part of the full practice.

The top unit featured Marcus Johansson-Nicklas Backstrom-Alex Ovechkin as expected, but the second line (at least for the start of practice) had Brooks Laich with Mikhail Grabovski and Eric Fehr. That left the third with Jason Chimera, Martin Erat and Troy Brouwer. The rest of the forwards were an ever-changing group on two different lines.

Updates to follow once Laich and Coach Adam Oates speak with reporters.

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Katie Carrera · September 24, 2013

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