The Washington Capitals got welcome and unwelcome news to start Wednesday, as the team announced that Dmitry Orlov will not skate due to an upper-body injury while Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie remain out with non-COVID illnesses. Connor McMichael and Ilya Samsonov both returned to the ice on Wednesday. Mike Sgarbossa also skated and joined the taxi squad after his call-up from Hershey.
Early in Tuesday’s skate, Orlov left the ice in apparent pain and was accompanied to the dressing room by athletic trainer Jason Serbus. Head coach Peter Laviolette didn’t know exactly what happened and didn’t have an update on No. 9 after practice.
It was tough for the Capitals, who started Tuesday with its full top-6 and three spare defensemen to boot. Plus, Orlov has played an instrumental role in the team’s success on that second pairing with Nick Jensen. He has four goals and 17 points through 34 games this season and leads the team with a +/- of plus-20.
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On the bright side, Martin Fehervary is skating with the team and appears ready to come back after time on the COVID-19 protocol. Plus, the Capitals have options with Michal Kempny, Matt Irwin and Dennis Cholowski. Kempny took Orlov’s place on that second pairing on Tuesday with Matt Irwin playing forward.
McMichael missed Tuesday’s skate with a non-COVID illness. Samsonov, meanwhile, left the ice at the end of the main practice in apparent discomfort. He spoke with trainers over on the bench before heading to the dressing room and not staying on for extra work.
Through 19 games this season, Samsonov is 13-2-3 with a 2.64 GAA and .908 save percentage. He has also been leading the charge in the Capitals crease of late after some strong outings and with Vitek Vanecek having entered COVID-19 protocol over the Christmas break.
Washington has two more days of practice and will return to action on Friday against the St. Louis Blues. The Capitals, who last played Sunday, are using the long layoff between games to hold “mini training camp” style practices.