Brooks Laich sat out Wednesday’s morning skate with a lower-body injury as a precaution but Coach Adam Oates said he expects the versatile forward to play against the Senators.
“Just a little maintenance this morning,” Oates said. “The games on the weekend he was pretty banged up, played hard, a lot of minutes, practiced fine yesterday. [It is] just precautionary.”
Laich missed all but nine games last season with a lingering groin problem that ultimately required abdominal surgery and then sat out most of the preseason when he tweaked his hip flexor, injuries that have prompted the Capitals to play it safe when it comes to Laich’s health. Given that both Martin Erat and Jay Beagle, who rotated in the third-line center spot where Laich is slated to play, were both out for a length scratches’ skate it appears the Capitals are confident he will be ready to face Ottawa at Verizon Center.
>> Washington recalled Tyson Strachan from the Hershey Bears and it appears the right-handed defenseman will suit up for a sixth consecutive game. He skated with Nate Schmidt during the team’s morning session while Steve Oleksy took part in the scratches’ workout.
>> John Erskine (knee) continues to skate regularly and was out with the scratches and assistant coaches this morning but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be ready to return for a little while. “Still doing maintenance, trying to get better,” Oates said. “We don’t want to put him in a situation where he might set it back.”
>> Jack Hillen, who suffered a fractured tibial plateau in the second game of the season, is not close to returning and is currently on crutches. He was at KCI Wednesday, though, to touch base with the coaching staff and team Oates said.
Here are the projected lineups for both teams
Milan Michalek-Jason Spezza-Mika Zibanejad
Clarke MacArthur-Kyle Turris-Bobby Ryan
Cory Conacher-Zack Smith-Chris Neil
Colin Greening-Derek Grant-Erik Condra
Marc Methot-Erik Karlsson
Chris Phillips-Joe Corvo
Jared Cowen-Patrick Wiercioch
Craig Anderson is expected to start.