Forwards Alex Ovechkin and Jason Arnott participated in this morning’s skate at KCI, and although there was no official word if they would play tonight against Carolina at Verizon Center, both appear all but certain to do so.
Ovechkin skated for nearly half an hour, including participating in a few rushes, before exiting for the locker room. Arnott came off a bit after that.
Remaining on the ice well after practice for what is customarily the scratches skate were winger Jason Chimera and center Jay Beagle, an indication that Ovechkin and Arnott could re-join the team in its first game at home in more than two weeks.
Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau said at the start of his post-skate news conference he wouldn’t discuss who would be in the lineup tonight, but Ovechkin and Arnott said in the locker room they felt ready to play.
More evidence to support their return was Chimera confirming in the locker room he was told he would be out tonight and Beagle discussing his participation in the scratches skate.
“I’d love to play all of them,” Ovechkin said when asked how many games he would need to be playoff-ready. “I don’t like missing any games.”
Ovechkin has missed the last three games with an undisclosed injury, and Arnott missed the entire road trip with a lower-body injury.
“It’s part of the process, part of being injured,” Arnott said. “You’ve got to take your time coming back and come back when you’re ready.”
In other injury news, defenseman Mike Green was on the ice roughly 15 minutes before practice and participated with the team during the first several minutes before leaving for the locker room.
Absent from the morning skate were forwards Alexander Semin and Marco Sturm and defensemen Dennis Wideman and Tom Poti.
The first goalie off the ice was Semyon Varlamov, who figures to get the start tonight with Michal Neuvirth as the backup.