Four of the Capitals’ five Olympians have returned to Washington and were back on the ice with their teammates Tuesday morning, offering a realistic glimpse of how the team will be configured when their season starts back up in two days.
Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson and Martin Erat all took part in what was the most full-fledged practice the team has held since it reconvened last week after the Olympic break.
Ovechkin and Backstrom, both coming off difficult Olympic tournaments, were back in their usual spots as two-thirds of the Capitals’ top line.
Both players are expected to speak with reporters after practice wraps up. Given how eventful the past few weeks have been for Ovechkin, what with Russia’s early exit and his father’s health problems, and Backstrom, with the questions surrounding his being held out of the gold-medal game after testing positive for a banned substance found in his allergy medication, there will be plenty to discuss so be sure to check back for updates from them throughout the day.
Marcus Johansson is the only Capital who played in Sochi that has yet to return. He’s been delayed by visa and passport problems but he’s expected to rejoin the team in time for Thursday’s game at Florida. Without Johansson in the mix, Aaron Volpatti who is on long-term injured reserve with an injured left shoulder is filling in on the second line.
Here’s what the lineup looks like:
Volpatti (filling in for Johansson)-Grabovski-Brouwer