Michal Neuvirth will join the Hershey Bears this weekend on a conditioning stint so he can test out is injured right ankle in game action. If all goes well with the AHL affiliate, Neuvirth could be back on the active roster as early as Sunday, when the Capitals host Philadelphia.
“It’s his decision, which is a great decision by him, I think,” Coach Adam Oates said. “We gave him a chance that he’s missed some time [and asked] ‘Do you want to go down for some conditioning?’ He didn’t bat an eye and said yeah, but it’s still his decision.”
Neuvirth, 25, injured his ankle when he stepped on a puck coming out for warmups on Nov. 29 and has missed six games since then. He’s participated in practice all week, but this is a way for the goaltender to determine if he’s fully ready to return to the lineup in Washington.
Oates said he expects Neuvirth to start Friday when the Bears visit the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and he may play on Saturday in Hershey against Binghamton as well.
“I believe he’s going to play tomorrow and see how he feels for Saturday maybe play two in a row, maybe not,” Oates said. “We’ll talk about Sunday when he gets there and see how he responds.”