Updated 1:33 p.m.: The Capitals placed Michal Neuvirth on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 29, the day he injured his right leg when he stepped on a puck during warmups ahead of a game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Now that he’s on injured reserve, Neuvirth, 25, must miss a minimum of seven days. He will be eligible to return to the lineup Saturday when the Capitals host the Nashville Predators. It’s a fluky injury for Neuvirth, who was slated to start against Montreal but hasn’t skated with the team since he hobbled off the ice that day, unable to put weight on his right leg.
With Neuvirth sidelined, top goaltending prospect Philipp Grubauer remains with the team and is taking part in Monday’s practice. Braden Holtby will start against the Hurricanes Tuesday, so if Neuvirth is able to return when he’s initially eligible to come off IR Grubauer won’t make an appearance during this stint.
>> In other injury news, Brooks Laich continues to sit out practice and it’s unclear when the versatile forward might be ready to return to the lineup. Laich missed the past two games with a groin injury that is related to the lingering problems that limited him to only nine games last season and led to abdominal surgery.
Asked if this injury was headed down the same path as it did last season for Laich, Oates said “I hope not. I’ve been told no.”
“Hopefully it’s not. Hopefully it’s just, who knows, I don’t know how to say it correctly, scar tissue or something,” Oates said. “Hopefully it’s minor, it’s not ongoing and we’re going to do our best to make sure it doesn’t get aggravated and it’s not continuous.”
Laich, who wasn’t made available for comment Monday, hasn’t skated since appearing in Washington’s 6-4 loss to the Senators on Nov. 27 but the first indication that he was experiencing another problem came that morning when he skipped the morning skate with groin tightness. Oates ruled Laich out of Tuesday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes at this point because of the amount of time the forward has missed.
>>Lines today are the same as they were on Long Island.