The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Dmitry Orlov, Ilya Samsonov leave Capitals practice with apparent injuries

Dmitry Orlov has not missed a game this season. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The Washington Capitals have adjusted on the fly throughout their coronavirus-ravaged season. Their lineup has changed frequently, and in moments when the team has looked close to 100 percent, more adversity has arrived.

That trend continued Tuesday, when defenseman Dmitry Orlov, who has not missed a game this season while notching four goals and 13 assists, left practice with an apparent injury. Michal Kempny took his place next to Nick Jensen for the rest of the workout.

Goaltender Ilya Samsonov also left the ice in apparent discomfort. He talked to a trainer on the bench before he departed for the dressing room at the end of Tuesday’s session. Practice was mostly over by the time Samsonov, who had a rocky 2020-21 campaign but has avoided injury and illness this season, left the ice.

Capitals Coach Peter Laviolette did not have updates on Orlov or Samsonov after practice.

How preschool helped Caps star T.J. Oshie develop a work-life balance in Washington

“It’s been, ‘Ready, go, stop; ready, go, stop,’ ” forward Tom Wilson said Sunday of the lineup oddities. “Guys that are ready go and then [are] put back on the shelf — individually [and] as a team, that’s kind of been the theme. There’s been some adversity, but we handled it pretty well. It’s tough when it’s going that way.”

Vitek Vanecek was the only other goaltender at Tuesday’s practice, but he remains in the NHL’s coronavirus protocols. Laviolette said he believed Vanecek would be ready to go for the Capitals’ next game, Friday at St. Louis, if needed.

Forwards T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom and Connor McMichael also missed Tuesday’s practice with non-coronavirus illnesses. Backstrom and Oshie sat out Sunday’s overtime loss to New Jersey, but McMichael played. Laviolette didn’t offer any details on the severity of Oshie’s and Backstrom’s ailments.

The Capitals have two more practices scheduled ahead of Friday’s game. Laviolette said this three-day stretch will act as a “mini training camp.” The Capitals were scheduled to play in Montreal on Tuesday, but that game was postponed last week because of attendance restrictions in Canada.

“We got time to work on things and go over things and just parts of the system along with compete and speed,” he said.

With the gap between games, the Capitals assigned forward Michael Sgarbossa and goalie Pheonix Copley to Hershey of the American Hockey League. Defensemen Lucas Johansen and Alexander Alexeyev were reassigned from the taxi squad to Hershey, and forward Aliaksei Protas was recalled from Hershey to the active roster.

Fehervary returns

Defenseman Martin Fehervary practiced with the team Tuesday for the first time since he was placed in the NHL’s coronavirus protocols Dec. 24. Fehervary has three goals and three assists in 31 games. He was in his usual spot with John Carlson during line rushes Tuesday.

“It’s great to see guys [back],” Carlson said. “No one wants to be away from the guys. No one wants to be away from the rink. It takes a toll on guys.”

If Fehervary is ready to play Friday and Orlov is available, Kempny is likely to be out of the lineup again. Kempny, who started the year with Hershey, made his season debut in late December, returning to Washington after battling injuries and virus issues. He has one assist in three games.

Laviolette said Kempny has played well, but he is content with the six defensemen the Capitals had to start the season: Carlson, Fehervary, Jensen, Orlov, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Justin Schultz.

“Kemps has been a contributor,” Laviolette said. “I think it all comes down to the roster and what we have available for space and how we manage that. But he’s done a good job; he’s played well.”