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Capitals Training Camp Notebook: Eller Leaves With Injury, Lapierre Digs In At Center



Capitals center Lars Eller

The Washington Capitals continued training camp on Monday at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. Washington is coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins in their preseason opener and went right back to work.

Here are some notes from what went down at the team’s on-ice session on Monday.

Eller Leaves Mid-Practice Due To Injury

Lars Eller left the ice early due to a lower-body injury, per The Athletic‘s Tarik El-Bashir. However, the team called the decision a precaution, and we’ll see if he returns to the ice tomorrow.

The Danish center has been one of the best players at camp, in my opinion, leading the way in skate tests and also playing with speed and confidence. In Sunday’s game vs. Boston, Eller wore the “A” and led all forwards in ice time with 21:07 minutes. He also led the team in shots (5) and won 15 of 23 face-offs (65 percent).

With Nicklas Backstrom listed as week-to-week, losing Eller could leave another major void in the team’s center depth, especially with him being a player that could fill in on the top-6 while No. 19 is out. Peter Laviolette said wingers could potentially play down the middle if need be. Michael Sgarbossa has also gotten reps with Garnet Hathaway and Carl Hagelin as a potential fourth-line center. Plus, Connor McMichael and even Hendrix Lapierre have made strong cases at camp so far.

Lapierre Works On Face-Offs

Lapierre was among the Capitals’ best performers against Boston, picking up two helpers and generating several scoring chances. However, he won just two of the 11 draws he took against the B’s.

The 19-year-old has been having a great camp and is coming off a strong rookie camp as well. He’s skating with confidence and playing the game with speed and skill.

On Monday, Lapierre appeared to be working on draws and his face-offs during practice with assistant coach Blaine Forsythe.

“[I’m] pretty comfortable,” Lapierre said. “Still got a lot of things to work on. I think I can get better at face-offs and you know breakouts and stuff like that, but it’s definitely my position. I get a lot of puck touches and I feel comfortable at the center position.”

The Capitals’ next preseason game is Wednesday vs. New Jersey at Capital One Arena. They will practice Tuesday and Wednesday and have off Thursday before returning on Friday. Washington’s new team pup, Biscuit, also made his intro on Monday.

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