December 2, 2021

Caps Practice Update: Eakin up, Halpern out for matchup with Ducks

It was a busy morning for the Washington Capitals.

The team recalled forward Cody Eakin from AHL Hershey and he is expected to make his NHL debut tonight when the Caps face the Anaheim Ducks (5-5-1-11).  Jeff Halpern will be scratched for the first time this season and took extra skating with other scratches after practice this morning, including D.J. King, who was waived yesterday but apparently cleared waivers and practiced with the team.

Former Capitals Captain Jeff Halpern (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

The team also returned defenseman Sean Collins to Hershey while John Erskine, who has missed every game this season rehabbing a surgically repaired shoulder, has been cleared for contact and will be in the lineup tonight.

Mike Green, who has missed the last two games with a right ankle injury, skated this morning — in sweatpants and a t-shirt — and will not play but told reporters he was “fine” and will be ready to play soon.

In addition, Tomas Vokoun (6-1-1, 2.15, .932) was the first goalie off the ice and told reporters he will be starting tonight.

With the shift in personnel, the Caps did not take line rushes at practice making it difficult to ascertain line combinations.  One guess is that Eakin will join Mathieu Perreault and Mike Knuble on the fourth line.  Knuble, who started the season on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, took some shifts on the fourth line in the loss to Vancouver and practiced there yesterday.

That combo gives the fourth line a much different look than in weeks past.  With Halpern out, though, it also reduces the Caps efficiency in the face-off circle, as he is easily the team leader in FO%.  In fact, Halpern is the only Caps player with more than 20 face-offs taken with a win percentage (65.2%) higher than 50 percent.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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