ARLINGTON, V.A. — Washington Capitals head coach pulled Lucas Johansen, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, Brett Leason and Henrik Borgstrom into his office on Saturday, sitting them down across the table. It wasn’t an easy conversation, but a necessary one as he explained that they would be on waivers and headed back to the AHL’s Hershey Bears, not making the final cut.
As a player, it’s a story that Laviolette had heard many times. And as a coach, it’s not any easier. Especially when players have made it all the way to the end of training camp.
“[I tell them] my office privately. I don’t take it lightly,” Laviolette said. “For a guy who was sent down every year, I understand exactly what they’re going through. Sometimes you don’t understand but I do. And the conversations are real. Emotions are real. I understand that and nowadays, for the most part, everybody works really hard to try and attain their goal. When you’re close, it’s you can feel that. It’s real.”
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T.J. Oshie and Dmitry Orlov, who are day-to-day, participated fully in a heavy contact practice on Sunday. Assuming they get the green light — which Laviolette expects they will — Johansen, Borgstrom, AJF and Leason will hit the wire by the 2 p.m. deadline. If they clear, it’ll be back to the AHL.
On the flip side, Aliaksei Protas and Joe Snively appear to have made the cut, though Laviolette said it is still camp and that nothing is permanent. Therefore, he hasn’t touched base with them on cracking the 23-man opening night roster, which is due on Monday at 5 p.m.
The Capitals will open the season on Wednesday, Oct. 12 against the Boston Bruins. The puck drops at 7 p.m. at Capital One Arena.