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Lars Eller’s Advice To Connor McMichael While Scratched For Capitals



Capitals vs. Stars

ARLINGTON, V.A. — In the Washington Capitals locker room, Lars Eller is one stall down from Connor McMichael, and with Connor Brown out long-term, he’s now right next to the 21-year-old, who will be a healthy scratch for the seventh time in eight games to open the 2022-23 campaign.

Going into training camp, Eller and McMichael were both competing for a center role, as Eller wanted to maintain his spot and showcase his top-6 potential while McMichael also wanted his chance at pivot. Ultimately, Eller kept his position, Dylan Strome won the 2C role and McMichael became the odd man out.

When it comes to McMichael, Eller hasn’t talked to him too much about his time out of the lineup. However, as a veteran presence, the Dane did have advice for McMichael as he navigates a series of scratches and adversity in his young career.

“It’s just about doing the same as [Matt Irwin]. When you’re not playing, trying to control the things you can control,” Eller said. “And that’s your attitude and positive influence around other people and at the same time just being yourself, being who you are. And I think when his chance comes, he’s got to be ready whenever that is.”

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In one game so far this season, McMichael had his first career NHL fight but didn’t do much else in 8:33 minutes of ice time in his season debut. Eller, meanwhile, has four points in his last four games.

While the 2019 first-rounder, who had 18 points in 68 games in his rookie season last year, isn’t playing, he has been practicing and staying on for extra work. There was speculation was thrown around that he could head to the AHL’s Hershey Bears to get games in and continue his development with more ice time, but as of right now, there are no plans to send him down.

“No. He’s here. He’s part of our 23 right now,” head coach Peter Laviolette said of No. 24. “Things always change from guys going into the lineup or somebody gets injured or decisions in the roster that have to be made. There haven’t been any decisions, and there hasn’t been any conversations about that right now.”