Michal Neuvirth was back on the ice with the Capitals Tuesday morning in Raleigh and said he’s feeling better three days after taking a puck off the mask in practice.
The Capitals scratched Neuvirth Sunday at Philadelphia with concerns that the goaltender might have suffered a concussion after an Alex Ovechkin shot struck the bottom of his mask in Saturday in Buffalo. But following the morning skate at PNC Arena Tuesday, Neuvirth said he’s doing fine. He’s expected to back up Braden Holtby against the Hurricanes.
“Just had a little headache, we wanted to make sure that everything’s good. Wanted to be careful and I’m feeling good now,” said Neuvirth, who admitted he worried about having a concussion. “I was just in shock and in pain. I still finished the practice and I didn’t feel good all Saturday, but when I woke up from the nap Sunday I felt better and I’m feeling good now.”
Said Coach Adam Oates: “He had to go through the tests. It is the injury of sports right now. Obviously you see it in football but for us the contact games, nobody has the magic answer on concussions.”
It can take several days for concussion symptoms to appear. Last season, Nicklas Backstrom missed 40 games with a concussion after being elbowed in the head by Rene Bourque but in the days immediately following the hit the Capitals top center continued to skate and even participated in practice.
It’s well known that Ovechkin’s shots still possess intimidating force and speed, even during practices, and that the star winger tends to shoot high. Neuvirth said it’s something that as a goaltender he has to be mindful of.
“You’ve just got to be careful next time, maybe gotta stand up because he’s got a pretty hard shot and it hurts when you get hit in the head,” Neuvirth said. “I think when you get hit in the chin it’s the worst. When you get hit on the forehead it’s not that bad, he hit it right in the chin. That’s worst.”