At a Presidents’ Day practice, the Washington Capitals saw a sight they haven’t seen since 2020-21: their full lineup on the ice together.
Anthony Mantha wore a non-contact jersey and skated with the team for the full practice for the first time since Nov. 4, when he suffered a shoulder injury against the Panthers that would ultimately require surgery and hold him out of the lineup.
Meanwhile, T.J. Oshie also joined the group for the first time in over a month. He last skated with the team on Jan. 15, skating just 1:46 minutes against the Islanders before exiting with an upper-body injury. Vitek Vanecek (upper-body) and Justin Schultz (day-to-day, upper-body) were also on the ice. All three were in full contact jerseys.
“We’re still not there — there’s still a lot of question marks out there,” head coach Peter Laviolette said of the lineup. “But it was nice to get everybody out there and practice.”
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The Capitals have not been immune to injuries or adversity this season, seeing multiple players draw in and out of the lineup. It began with training camp when Nicklas Backstrom missed the start of the season while rehabilitating a lingering hip injury. Then, Oshie, Mantha and more were in and out of the lineup due to more ailments and bouts of COVID-19, leading to several rookies stepping up and making their NHL debuts.
However, it looks like the Capitals may finally be closing in on getting their full lineup back, something that’ll be a major boost as the team looks to find consistency after a bit of a rough stretch to open the new year.
“Yeah it’s great,” Nicklas Backstrom said. “I think all year, it’s been guys in and out of the lineup and we haven’t really played with our full lineup yet this year. I mean, it’s nice to see. Mantha’s back to practicing, too, Osh, it’s fun to see those guys. They obviously mean a lot to this team.”
Laviolette said he isn’t sure yet who will be in for Thursday’s game against the New York Rangers. However, Mantha remains unavailable.