Mikhail Grabovski returns to Washington for evaluation, will not face Bruins

February 28

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – The morning after he aggravated his sprained left ankle, Mikhail Grabovski returned to Washington to be evaluated by team doctors. He will not be in the Capitals’ lineup Saturday when they take on the Boston Bruins.

It’s unknown exactly how much time Grabovski, who was playing in his first game back after sitting out eight straight before the Olympic break with the initial sprain, might miss and what the full extent of his injury is this time around.

“I don’t know if it’s the same spot, they’re going to check,” Coach Adam Oates said. “Those ankle injuries are difficult, as I think everybody’s seen before, and hopefully it’s not bad.”

That leaves Washington without one of their two top playmaking centers heading into the gantlet of the March schedule – 15 games all against teams within four points of a playoff spot including nine games against teams that are among the top 10 in the league.

The lines Oates employed for practice here before the team traveled to Boston were a little unusual, but with Grabovski sidelined indefinitely it’s not entirely surprising.

Marcus Johansson, who has played left wing most often under Oates, was centering a second line with Jason Chimera and Troy Brouwer. Eric Fehr stayed in the middle of the third unit now flanked by Joel Ward and Nicolas Deschamps. Jay Beagle centered the fourth line, which could be rounded out by Tom Wilson and Martin Erat against the Bruins assuming the latter is ready to play.

>> Erat was the only player on the trip who didn’t take part in Friday’s practice. The veteran forward was given a maintenance day that Oates attributed to Erat having blocked several shots on the penalty kill against the Panthers. Aaron Volpatti, who is remains on LTIR with an injured left shoulder, took his spot in the lineup for the workout.

>> Washington reassigned defenseman Julien Brouillette to the Hershey Bears on Friday.

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