ARLINGTON, VA — The Capitals will get some much-needed injury relief on the back end with both Joel Edmundson and Trevor van Riemsdyk appearing set to play Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. With both back in the lineup, the Capitals are close to icing the defense corps they expected to ahead of the season.
TVR has missed four games this month following a lower-body injury he sustained last time Columbus was in town, while Edmundson has yet to make his Capitals debut after fracturing his hand in a Training Camp scrimmage. Now that both players are healthy and Martin Fehervary is inching towards a return, the team is excited to see what their blueline is capable of.
“That’ll be exciting, just to have everyone healthy and at 100%,” van Riemsdyk said Saturday. “You never want to see guys stuck in the training room rehabbing. They’re itching to play and obviously when you’re sitting out too, you remember what that feeling is like.
“It’ll be an exciting time for us, for all the guys, for the team to just have everyone healthy and see what we can do with it.”
Head coach Spencer Carbery announced van Riemsdyk would be back in the lineup on Friday, and the team took Edmundson off LTIR on Saturday. Both players have steadily moved towards a return, beginning to practice without non-contact jerseys on Tuesday.
While he won’t join the rest of the group in the lineup just yet, Fehervary has also made progress in his recovery after suffering a lower-body injury against the New Jersey Devils. He was back on the ice Friday in a non-contact jersey, and Carbery indicated afterwards that he could play as soon as next week.
In addition to noting the physicality and net-front presence Edmundson will offer, Carbery highlighted what TVR’s return will bring to the team.
“[He] helps a lot,” Carbery said. “This gives us another stable [defender], someone that has a ton of experience and has been a good player early in the season for us. So he’ll help a lot.”
Carbery was especially grateful to have van Riemsdyk back against the Blue Jackets, who he argues remain a formidable foe despite their 4-9-4 record.
“They’re a fast team. They’re really skilled. They’re as good as anybody — they’re one of the top teams in the league off the rush,” he said. “And they generate a ton of odd man rushes. They’re skilled off the rush. They’ve got speed. All of their D can skate and get up to add a fourth and fifth into the rush.
“So they’ve given us trouble and we need to get that corrected and be on our toes tonight and be more concerned with us controlling play tonight.”
The Capitals’ defense has fared well defensively in November despite compounding injuries, allowing just 10 goals in six games while posting a 4-1-1 record. Having watched the last few games from the press box, TVR was impressed with his teammates’ performance.
“It was really good,” he said. “We haven’t given up a ton and we talked over the stuff that does happen, how we want to approach it maybe differently. But I thought all the guys did a great job. We’ve got a lot of depth here. It’s a great thing for the organization.”
Though Edmundson has yet to play for the Capitals, he and van Riemsdyk played a season together on the 2019-2020 Carolina Hurricanes and even spent significant time on the same pairing. TVR spoke highly of Edmundson on Saturday.
“He’s a great guy and I’m happy for him that he’s getting close to being back,” he said. “He’s put in a lot of work and I’m happy to see that pay off. He’ll be a great addition for us whenever he does come back. He’s physical. He’s tough to play against for other teams. Guys don’t like going on the net front and the corners against him–I know that for sure.”
Alongside the return of both Edmundson and Van Riemsdyk on defense, forward Anthony Mantha will also rejoin the lineup after rupturing his eardrum last week against the Florida Panthers. Puck drop against the Blue Jackets is at 7:30 pm inside Capital One Arena.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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