When it comes to the 2021-22 campaign, the Washington Capitals are no strangers to dealing with injuries and adversity up and down the lineup. On Tuesday, they got updates on a couple of key top-6 players who can bring a lot to the table when healthy.
Head coach Peter Laviolette said on Tuesday that T.J. Oshie is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Oshie suffered the injury in the Capitals’ 2-0 victory over New York on Saturday, playing just two shifts and 1:46 minutes in the opening first period before heading to the locker room. It is unclear what exactly happened, but it appears that Oshie was wincing a bit after trying to catch a puck up high.
The season hasn’t been an easy road for No. 77, who has been limited to just 18 games due to a couple of lower-body ailments, COVID-19 and the flu. Still, he has made the most of his ice time and has five goals and 13 points in his shortened campaign.
Meanwhile, Laviolette didn’t have too much regarding Anthony Mantha. The 27-year-old suffered a shoulder injury back on Nov. 4 against Florida that required shoulder surgery, and he has been out since. Laviolette said that Mantha is around, but is not close enough to return to skating yet.
“I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s an update. You’re right, he’s around and he’s in here doing some stuff but there’s nothing to give to you that like, ‘Yeah he’s a couple days away from returning to the ice,'” Laviolette said. “He’s still progressing. No real updates.”
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In 10 games this season, Mantha picked up two goals and six points. He came over last season from Detroit n the trade for Jakub Vrana, who has also been unavailable for the Wings due to a shoulder injury that also required surgery.
With Oshie and Mantha out, the Capitals have had to rely on its youth and depth players to step up and help fill the void, along with other core players like Tom Wilson. Garnet Hathaway is currently filling in on the top line for No. 77, and Aliaksei Protas has taken on a second-line role, with guys like Connor McMichael and Daniel Sprong also getting looks on the top-6 with Mantha and company out.
Meanwhile, Washington is also missing Conor Sheary and John Carlson from the lineup, as both remain on COVID-19 protocol.
The Capitals face off against Winnipeg on Tuesday and are looking to break out of a tough slide that has cost them five of their last six games. The team made quite a few changes to its combinations ahead of that matchup while seeking answers and a way back up the standings after falling into Wild Card position on Monday.