The Washington Capitals appeared to potentially be getting a number of key assets back in the lineup against the St. Louis Blues on Friday. However, they got a bit of unwelcome news, and in turn, more transactions.
Washington placed forwards Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie on the injured reserve on Friday. In addition, they added Dennis Cholowski and Martin Fehervary to the active roster and assigned Michal Kempny to the taxi squad.
Backstrom and Oshie both skated on Thursday after being out with non-COVID illnesses since Sunday. Backstrom said he had been struggling with the flu and had been rehydrating and resting, but felt good getting back on the ice. It is unclear if Oshie also had the flu.
Head coach Peter Laviolette had said after practice that it was unclear whether or not either of them would make the road trip as the team embarks on a back-to-back against St. Louis and the Minnesota Wild.
Backstrom has appeared in just three games this season, racking up three assists. T.J. Oshie has played in 16 games, dishing four goals and 12 points. Without both of them in the lineup, the Capitals will again be without one of their usual top-4 centers and without all of their usual first power-play unit players.
In other news, the Capitals made a number of adjustments on the blue line. Martin Fehervary and Dennis Cholowski have been added to the active roster after both went on COVID-19 protocol over the holiday break. In turn, Michal Kempny, who got called up to help fill the void with three of the usual top-6 defensemen out, has been re-assigned to the taxi squad.
Getting Fehervary back should be a major boost for Washington. The 22-year-old has been outstanding on the top pairing with John Carlson and plays a key shutdown role. He leads all blueliners with 85 hits and ranks second with 46 blocks. Cholowski, meanwhile, has played in five games, picking up one assist, seven blocks and three hits. In three games up with the big club, Kempny recorded an assist, six hits and five blocks.