Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov was notably absent at Friday’s practice and the team revealed that he was out with an illness.
Kuznetsov did not take the ice again on Saturday for an optional morning skate and will not dress against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Russian centerman has played in all 14 games for the Capitals up until this point.
Head coach Spencer Carbery announced the news after Saturday’s skate.
“Sick, so missed today’s skate,” Carbery said. “Tomorrow’s an off day, so we’ll see where he’s at tomorrow and then for Monday he’ll practice. Not playing tonight.”
With the top-six pivot officially out of the lineup, Hendrix Lapierre will draw back into a game for the first time since November 8 against the Florida Panthers. Lapierre has yet to record a point in his previous four games this season.
Kuznetsov’s absence will likely mean Connor McMichael is due for a promotion into the top-six and may see increased action on both special teams units. Kuznetsov plays on average 5:38 of ice time per game on both the power play and penalty kill.
McMichael filled in for Kuznetsov on the first power play unit at practice on Friday. The 22-year-old center has seven points (4g, 3a) from 14 games this season.
Counting Saturday’s optional skate, Kuznetsov’s has missed four skates over the last two weeks due to being sick. The 31 year old missed two consecutive practices before ultimately taking the morning skate and suiting up against the Florida Panthers on November 8.
Headline photo: Katie Adler/RMNB
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