The Washington Capitals’ lineup over the next few games will be… [throws up hands]. Anybody’s guess.
Unless something changes between now and Wednesday night, Nicklas Backstrom appears likely to make his season debut against the Chicago Blackhawks. He will take the morning skate in Chicago and a decision will be made later that night. That’s great news, but other injured and COVID-protocol’d players are much more complicated.
First, let’s take a look at today’s lines from practice via The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell.
Backstrom remained the second-line center between Hockey’s version of a Swiss Army Knife, Conor Sheary, and TJ Oshie. He also practiced with the first power-play unit.
“It’s nice to get out there and compete with the guys, take line rushes – that’s just fun,” Backstrom said on Monday. “Skating by yourself actually sucks”
Nic Dowd and Trevor van Riemsdyk, who had spent last week in COVID protocol, are back and will play against Chicago. But… it’s complicated after that.
Now let’s address the lineup weirdness.
Tom Wilson did not skate with the team but took the ice by himself before practice. Per Pell, Wilson is still being evaluated and a decision on if he accompanies the team on their two-game road trip will be made later. Wilson remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury he suffered against the Penguins on Friday.
Dowd and van Riemsdyk will suit up against the Blackhawks, but won’t against the Winnipeg Jets because they can’t travel into Canada because of their recent issues with COVID according to The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir. The plan is the two players will travel back to DC after Wednesday night’s game.
Fourth-line forward Garnet Hathaway remains on COVID-19 protocol and appears to be out completely for the two-game road trip.
Headline photo: @rashelle_wilcox
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