Updated 12:50 p.m.: Defenseman Mike Green is on the ice with his teammates for practice for the first time in a week since suffering a lower-body contusion in Washington’s 4-3 overtime win against the Blue Jackets on Nov. 12. Green sat out the past two games.
The Capitals placed Green on injured reserve Sunday retroactive to Nov. 13 to create an opening on active roster, but if he’s ready, the blueliner could be activated from IR and able to suit up against Pittsburgh at Verizon Center Wednesday. Throughout practice, Green looked to be skating without any limitation as he worked through various drills and afterward the defenseman said he didn’t experience any discomfort.
“This is the first day I felt good as far as the injury and I was able to actually push and skate and try to get my wind back,” Green said. “Just a matter of getting back into game shape and that’s it.”
Asked if he would be able to face the Penguins, Green said “hopefully”. But Coach Adam Oates expressed concern about the defenseman’s conditioning given that Green has participated in only one full-speed, full-team practice.
“He’s missed a lot of time. It’s a big game I don’t want to put him in a situation where he’s behind the 8-ball,” Oates said. “He hasn’t been able to skate and do a lot cardio so I’m a little bit worried about his conditioning.”
>> Washington has eight defensemen taking part in practice, including Tyson Strachan and Dmitry Orlov, who were brought up after the team created the extra roster spot by placing Green on injured reserve. Whenever Green is activated from IR, the Capitals will need to make a corresponding roster move to stay within the 23-man maximum.
>> John Erskine, who was placed on long-term injured reserve late in October to continue rehabilitating his knee after undergoing offseason surgery, did not skate Tuesday morning. Wednesday marks the earliest the veteran defenseman would be eligible to come off LTIR, but at this stage that appears unlikely.
Oates said he wasn’t certain of Erskine’s timetable.
“I’m not sure on that. I know he’s feeling better, working hard,” said Oates, who skated with Erskine during Sunday’s optional skate. “I know he’s working hard in there today. We’ll see tomorrow. A lot of decisions we have to make right now.”
>> The lines are the same as they have been. The defensemen are rotating through drills, which is the usual course of action on a practice day.