MONTREAL — After Washington Capitals forwards T.J. Oshie and Tom Wilson both suffered injuries against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night, neither practiced with the team at Bell Sports Complex on Sunday and it’s unclear if either will play against the Canadiens on Monday night.
That could potentially leave the Capitals with just 11 healthy forwards.
“I won’t really have an idea until tomorrow,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “We’ll see where [Oshie] is and reevaluate him tomorrow morning and then make a call on that. Tom Wilson, same thing. I think both of them are sort of wait-and-see until later tonight or first thing in the morning.”
Asked if the Capitals would recall another forward from their American Hockey League affiliate in Hershey, Trotz said that determination has yet to be made. The Bears have a home game at 5 p.m., and according to CapFriendly.com, Washington has roughly $1.3 million in current salary cap space, more than enough for a forward recall.
“I’m going to get back to the hotel, I’m going to talk to [General Manager Brian MacLellan], I’m going to talk to our trainers and then make a decision on what we’re going to do,” Trotz said. “Maybe we don’t have to make any.”
Oshie’s injury is an upper-body one, and he missed seven games earlier this season with a shoulder injury. Oshie absorbed a hard hit by Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf in the second period, skating to the bench in pain before briefly going back to the locker room.
I guess this is when Oshie was injured? pic.twitter.com/qDJYRmX63P
— GIF Grand Maester (@myregularface) January 8, 2017
Oshie returned to the game, and on a power play in the last six minutes of the second period, he fell to the ice after a cross-check to the back by Phaneuf. Oshie stayed on the ice for the power play before returning to the bench and then going back to the locker room for a second time that period. He did not return to the game.
Trotz said Wilson’s injury was a lower-body one. He skated off to the bench in distress after blocking a shot on a penalty kill in the third period. Wilson stayed on the bench, but he was hunched over in obvious pain. He later returned to the game. Wilson played in every game last season and hasn’t missed one yet this year.
With Oshie not at practice on Sunday, forward Brett Connolly skated on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, and because there were just 11 forwards, recent call-up Liam O’Brien took rushes with both the third and fourth lines. Connolly practiced on the second power-play unit, with Williams moving up to the top one in Oshie’s spot. O’Brien practiced on the penalty kill with Lars Eller, as Wilson is typically Eller’s partner when shorthanded.
The Capitals have been the healthiest team in the league this season with just nine man-games lost to injury. Washington could potentially play seven defensemen and 11 forwards on Monday night, but Trotz hasn’t been known to do that with the Capitals. The team is also battling a flu bug, as Trotz said several players have been feeling ill recently.
“It’s tough for the team,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “Myself and a couple other guys had it pretty bad the last few days. Especially with the travel and how many games we’re playing, it’s tough. One guy gets it, it’s tough for a couple other guys not to get it. I don’t know. I got a flu shot at the beginning of the year. That obviously did not work too well. You’ve just got to get your rest, eat properly and sometimes it’s just unavoidable, I think.”