The Washington Capitals are looking to get back on the right track on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators, but they’re still juggling a number of injuries and absences.
Washington saw a step in the right direction on Friday, as Conor Sheary hit the ice for the team’s optional skate on Friday after being on COVID-19 protocol. However, John Carlson (COVID-19), Nick Jensen (upper-body) and T.J. Oshie (upper-body) did not participate.
Head coach Peter Laviolette addressed some of the Capitals’ absences, saying that Sheary is clear and that he will touch base with No. 73 to see where he’s at and how he’s feeling for Saturday’s game. However, he didn’t have an update on Jensen.
There is also nothing new on the Oshie front as the 34-year-old remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He is on the IR and is eligible to return on Monday against Vegas.
When it comes to Carlson, he is technically able to return from COVID-19 protocol and play on Saturday, but it’s unclear if No. 74 will dress.
“I think there’s more that goes into it than that. There’s gotta be a criteria that he needs to get back in the building,” Laviolette said. “If he met the criteria, then yes, he could be in the building tomorrow. But I’m not sure if he will or he won’t be.”
If Carlson and Jensen don’t play, then Washington will again be without three of its usual top-4 defensemen in the lineup. Dmitry Orlov will not play as he serves the final game of a two-game suspension for kneeing Nikolaj Ehlers.
The Capitals have lost six of their last eight games and are currently in a Wild Card spot. With Oshie and Sheary out, they have called on Axel Jonsson-Fjallby and Brett Leason to help fill the void. In addition, Matt Irwin and Michal Kempny were tasked with helping fill in for both Carlson and Orlov on Thursday. If Jensen and Carlson don’t return, Dennis Cholowski could also come back in as the sixth defenseman.