The Washington Capitals’ optional practice on Wednesday was one filled with injured players making progress toward eventual returns. While some players are further away than others, two key names appear to be destined for the Caps’ lineup sooner rather than later.
Those two players are Tom Wilson and Martin Fehervary who both skated in full-contact jerseys.
Head coach Peter Laviolette told the media after the skate that although neither is scheduled to take on the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, they are both “close” to retaking their spots on the team’s roster.
Fehervary has not played in a game for the Caps since December 3 against the Calgary Flames. In that game, he suffered an upper-body injury after taking a hit from Milan Lucic and was spotted with his left arm in a sling postgame.
Wednesday’s practice is just the second time post-injury that Fehervary has donned a full-contact sweater. Laviolette says that the young Slovak blueliner is “close” to a return.
“A couple days now,” the veteran bench boss said.
The same apparently goes for Tom Wilson, who has yet to feature in a game this season after undergoing offseason ACL surgery. Wilson has progressively ramped up his participation in on-ice team activities over the past few weeks.
Laviolette adds that the rugged winger also won’t play Thursday against the Ottawa Senators but that Wilson, like Fehervary, is “close”.
“Anytime somebody comes out of that (non-contact) jersey I feel like they’re close,” Laviolette said. “I feel like a lot of guys are close. I don’t know if there will be changes tomorrow yet, but certainly all positive signs.
“I don’t think the lineup is going to change next game,” he continued. “We’re back from the break and he’s out here and he’s working. Guys are pushing. I don’t have a timetable on it yet.”
Wilson has been out of his non-contact jersey for a full week now.
The Capitals are amid their hottest stretch of the season after winning their tenth game in the month of December in New York on Tuesday. They are on that roll while still without a litany of top talent that includes Fehervary, Wilson, Nicklas Backstrom, TJ Oshie, John Carlson, Carl Hagelin, and Connor Brown.
The team currently sits in a playoff spot after jumping to third in the Metropolitan Division with 44 points from 37 games.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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