Injuries piling up for Capitals

February 3

Eric Fehr is the latest player to join the list of the Capitals’ walking wounded. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

The Capitals’ injured list continues to grow as the team approaches the Olympic break.

Already missing Mikhail Grabovski (left ankle), Brooks Laich (groin) and Mike Green (concussion) in Sunday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, both Eric Fehr and Aaron Volpatti sat out practice on Monday, leaving the Capitals with 10 healthy forwards in the workout.

Fehr suffered an undisclosed lower-body injury when he blocked a shot in the first period of Sunday’s game. He was hobbled considerably on the play and in visible pain on the bench, and though he finished the contest he played an uncharacteristically low 12 minutes.

Coach Adam Oates sounded sure that Fehr would be able to face the Islanders on Tuesday.

“I expect Fehrsie to play tomorrow, for sure. Just a little banged up from last night,” Oates said. “That shot blocking’s tough, isn’t it? That’s why I never blocked any. I think he’ll be fine.”

The rest of the Capitals’ walking wounded, though, are questionable.

Laich, who sat out Sunday’s game after experiencing tightness in his groin earlier in the week, said he hopes to play against the Islanders but a lot depends on how he feels in Tuesday’s morning skate. Laich took part in the full 25-minute practice Monday and was encouraged by how he handled the session.

“Good, actually better than I thought,” Laich said. “So I told Oatesy at the end of the practice I’m hoping to play tomorrow. Ultimately it’s going to be their call we’ll see how I feel in the morning skate if I can really push it to 100 percent. If I can, then I’ll be in the lineup tomorrow night.”

Grabovski has missed five consecutive games with the left ankle injury he suffered in New Jersey on Jan. 24. He skated briefly ahead of practice but still hasn’t worked out with the team and at this point it is unlikely he returns to the lineup before the Olympic break.

Green took part in the first 10 minutes of practice but left the ice early and went in to the dressing room. He sat out the past two games after suffering a concussion when he was hit by Boone Jenner in Columbus on Jan. 30. Given the uncertainty in recovery from concussions, the Capitals are playing it safe with Green.

“Not quite ready for him mentally to get in there,” Oates said as to why Green missed Sunday’s game. “You don’t want him to play careful and try and avoid [contact]. He practiced today, felt good again, he left a little early just because he didn’t want to set it back and we’ll see how he is tomorrow.”

Volpatti took a few hard hits in the second period against Detroit and was shown in pain holding his left arm on the bench. The team is listing him as day-to-day with an undisclosed upper body injury.

Depending how many of those injured players can suit up against the Islanders, Washington may need to recall an extra forward from AHL Hershey Tuesday. But to do so they would need a corresponding roster move to free up additional space under the salary cap.

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