Injured goaltender Michal Neuvirth did not take part in practice Friday but Coach Dale Hunter said the Capitals hope to know more about his status after the 24-year-old visits the doctor this afternoon.
Regardless of the news they receive, Hunter said Braden Holtby will start on Saturday in the regular season finale at the New York Rangers.
Given the sudden flurry of injuries in goal — first Tomas Vokoun out with a groin injury and now the uncertainty of Neuvirth’s status – Hunter was asked half jokingly by a reporter if the team might hire bodyguards to walk with Holtby everywhere to make sure the 22-year-old doesn’t trip.
“Hopefully it doesn’t come in threes,” Hunter said with a laugh – and then knocked on the wooden podium for luck.
The question remains, though, who will serve as Washington’s backup at Madison Square Garden. Hunter said the Capitals are waiting to hear from the doctor about Neuvirth’s health before bringing up another netminder but the likely candidate is Dany Sabourin, who has been serving as the No. 1 netminder for the Hershey Bears.
There are only two healthy goaltenders left in the organization who are signed to NHL contracts – journeyman Sabourin, who hasn’t played in an NHL game since 2009 with Pittsburgh and prospect Brandon Anderson, who has spent the season in the Western Hockey League most recently with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Pressed about the status of Vokoun, who hasn’t skated with the Capitals since aggravating his groin injury on March 29 in Boston, Hunter said the veteran netminder is “getting better” but that the 35-year-old Czech isn’t expected to be on the ice this weekend.
— Troy Brouwer and Mike Green were the only players in addition to Neuvirth and Vokoun who did not take part in practice. Brouwer received a maintenance day, according to a team spokesman, while Green is sick.
More on the Capitals:
— On Hockey: Braden Holtby is a solid Plan B