The Capitals made a pair of roster moves Monday, placing defenseman Jack Hillen on injured reserve and recalling prospect Tomas Kundratek from the AHL’s Hershey Bears.
Hillen, who is formally listed as week-to-week, did not finish the season opener Saturday night in Tampa Bay after a check from Vincent Lecavalier sent him crashing hard into the end boards. The 5-10, 190-pound blue-liner went off favoring his left shoulder, which took the brunt of the impact.
Coach Adam Oates said he could not offer a more detailed timeline for Hillen’s recovery and would only say that the defenseman suffered an upper body injury.
Kundratek, 23, has recorded 26 points in 41 games with the Bears this season including a team-high 13 goals and was recently named to the 2013 AHL All Star roster. But he also holds Hershey’s worst plus-minus rating at minus-13.
“He’s been playing good down there,” Oates said. “He’s a right shot defenseman and we’re short one. He played a little bit here last year and just [for] a little bit of balance.”
The Capitals acquired Kundratek in November 2011 from the Rangers organization in exchange for forward prospect Francois Bouchard. Kundratek appeared in five games with the Capitals last season under then-Coach Dale Hunter.
“It was great to have that experience and I know what I have to do right now,” Kundratek said after skating briefly in Arlington. Having spent time with Oates and the rest of the Capitals coaching staff during the lockout should also ease his transition.
“They showed us a lot of stuff and it was great,” Kundratek said. “They taught a lot of players new tricks and new stuff about the system. It was great.”
In other injury news, Oates said it’s possible Brooks Laich could practice with the team on Wednesday. Laich has been sidelined by a groin injury that he originally suffered while playing in Switzerland during the lockout.