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Capitals Notebook: Samsonov, Others Miss Optional, Kempny, All-Stars Skate

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Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov

After a busy All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas, the Washington Capitals got right back at it with an optional skate on Monday and got some familiar faces back in the mix, too.

Michal Kempny returned to the ice for the Capitals for the first time since entering COVID-19 protocol back on Jan. 28 against Dallas. The Czech blueliner has been with Washington since coming up from Hershey in late December following the holiday break. Through seven games, Kempny has one assist and a +/- of minus-1, along with 13 blocks and 14 hits.

Alex Ovechkin, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, did not practice. He did come in for testing and his status for Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets is unclear. However, due to travel restrictions, he will not be able to play in Montreal on Thursday.

In addition to Ovechkin, there were other names missing as well. Pheonix Copley and video coach Brett Leonhardt were the goaltenders, with Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov both not skating. Connor McMichael was also not on the ice, nor was T.J. Oshie. Washington recalled Copley earlier on Monday.

Nicklas Backstrom also hit the ice after the All-Star Break to get some practice in, along with linemates Daniel Sprong and Conor Sheary. Herndon, V.A. native Joe Snively also hit the ice, as he remained up with the team after the taxi squad disbanded. Peter Laviolette was also leading instruction and drills at the optional.

READ MORE ON WHN: Capitals’ Ovechkin TBD vs. Blue Jackets, Out Vs. Habs

Kuznetsov and Wilson were both in attendance for the Capitals optional skate on Monday, which was well-attended (all things considered). Both were integral in helping lead the Metropolitan Division to its All-Star Game victory with two critical goals against the Pacific and Central Divisions.

Wilson made All-Star Game history on Saturday with the fastest goal in the history of the game’s 3-on-3 tournament, and Kuznetsov picked up two points. Kuznetsov also came in last in the fastest skater competition, while Wilson passed the century mark in the hardest shot contest.

The team is also waiting on test results for a few players.

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