A day after their 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild, the Washington Capitals practiced at MedStar Capitals Iceplex without star center Evgeny Kuznetsov.
“He was sick today,” Capitals head coach Todd Reirden said after practice. “So he came in today, was sick, and we sent him home.”
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 23, 2019
Kuznetsov’s absence comes a day after Carl Hagelin was a late scratch and unable to play against the Wild because he was sick as well.
Reirden was hopeful Kuznetsov could play against the Flyers Sunday, but was unsure. He was asked if a bug is being spread around the team
“I hope not,” Reirden said. “We’re doing everything we can to keep that from happening. Not the best timing for it, but that’s how things go. We’ve got some extra bodies. You’ll see a few extra people in the warmup (tomorrow) just to make sure I imagine. 12:30 game just to be prepared. That’s where we’re at but hopefully it stops there and we can worry about Philadelphia and being as healthy as we can.”
Hagelin practiced with the team on Saturday and the Capitals head coach believed he was getting over his bug.
“He felt a little bit better today,” Reirden said. “It was a short skate so we made him go through that. Hopefully he doesn’t have any more issues as the day goes on.”
Meanwhile, Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny missed practice once again and continues to be out indefinitely with a lower-body injury he suffered against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.
“I’m not going to have an update on that one for a few more days,” Reirden said. “Again, it’s indefinite. I don’t expect him back here in the next few days. It’s going to be awhile. We’re just waiting on an exact date and timetable to tell you.”
The team hasn’t called someone up to replace Kempny because of how tight the Capitals are to the salary cap.
“We’re going through that,” Reirden said. “As those move further along in the season, some more salary cap money becomes available. Then you might be seeing some players. Some different guys. Who fits and who doesn’t fit. Who’s playing well and who not playing well. I know [the Hershey Bears] are playing a game tonight. We’ll continue to evaluate and get our updates from down there and see who’s ready.”
The Capitals could conceivably call up another player at 5 pm. The Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan reported that the Capitals could afford to call up Hershey Bears defenseman Tyler Lewington ($675k cap hit) at that time. Meanwhile, Jonas Siegenthaler’s cap hit is a bit higher ($714k).
“In this type of situation with guys getting sick and stuff, it’s not a real fun game to play of potentially going into a game with only six defensemen in a warmup,” Reirden said. “You may look for [a transaction] to occur in the next little while here.”
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