It was Capitals’ media day out at KCI, but here are a few quick items of note as the opening game of the 2011-12 season draws even closer.
— Coach Bruce Boudreau, General Manager George McPhee and Dennis Wideman all said that the defenseman, who didn’t practice today, would play in the opener Saturday against the Hurricanes.
“If there’s any time this year that you need to take a day off because you’re not feeling great, this is the week,” Boudreau said. “He didn’t feel 100 percent. He’s going to play Saturday, he’s going to practice tomorrow but this is the day to take it off.”
— Boudreau said the Capitals recalled Keith Aucoin and Kyle Greentree just in case any of the team’s slightly banged-up forwards are unavailable on Saturday or Alex Ovechkin isn’t back from Moscow in time.
At the moment, though, that seems unlikely. Boudreau mentioned Matt Hendricks, who pulled his groin last week, specifically but something tells me that it would take a lot to keep the fourth-line winger out of the opener.
— There is still a chance that Ovechkin might not be able to play Saturday, given how flight schedules can change and that it’s a lengthy trip, so Boudreau has been preparing just in case he is without his star left wing.
“That’s why we’ve tried Mathieu [Perreault] at left wing today and Marcus [Johansson] at left wing the other day. We want them both to be ready to play left wing and both of them to play center at the same time with [the second] line just depending on who’s going in there.”
— In other news, McPhee confirmed that there is a provision in Mattias Sjogren’s contract that would allow the center to return to Sweden this year. The Capitals haven’t received any indication from Sjogren that he wants to leave North America, though, according to McPhee, who believes it would be better for the player’s development to stay with Hershey.
“He seems to be prepared to keep working,” McPhee said. “He’s close to being a national league player, so if he decided to go back to Europe it’d probably be a step back for him. Now’s the time to play in the American league — see if he can develop his game a little bit more, play the North American game.”