Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson will not receive any supplementary discipline for his hit to the head of Eric Fehr.
Gudbranson received a match penalty for the hit but the lack of any additional punishment likely stems from a combination of his having no prior disciplinary history and Fehr appearing to have escaped significant harm on the play because he was able to return in the third period.
Still here’s the wording of Rule 48 Illegal Checks to the Head, which was altered slightly prior to the start of this season.
“A hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head was the main point of contact and such contact to the head was avoidable is not permitted.”
Fehr is on the ice for Capitals practice Saturday morning, participating fully in drills.
>> Alex Ovechkin, Mikhail Grabovski and Martin Erat were all given maintenance days and Oates said they’re expected to face the Flyers on Sunday.
>> John Erskine said he’s ready to return from the knee injury that’s kept him out of the lineup for all but seven games this season. Oates said he plans on using the veteran defenseman against Philadelphia but it’s still unclear who among the defensemen would be the odd man out.
“It’s a lot about timing, just getting back into the swing of things,” Erskine said. “You can bag skate all you want but the minute you get in a game it’s totally different.”
If Oates sticks with his preference for balance in the pairings, Nate Schmidt or Dmitry Orlov would be the potential candidates to sit. The Capitals will need to open up a roster spot and clear space under the salary cap to activate Erskine, Oates acknowledged that the team may put Brooks Laich (groin) on LTIR to accomplish both.
>> Michal Neuvirth (right ankle) is slated to start for the Bears tonight in Hershey as they host Binghamton. If all goes well, the Capitals will need to make roster decisions with their goaltenders as well as the defensemen.