Goalie Michal Neuvirth revealed this morning after an aborted attempt at practice for the Washington Capitals that he is suffering from a bruised right foot, injured during the morning skate before the Caps game with Tampa Bay on Oct. 10. The 23-year old netminder has missed the last three games and from the sounds of his quotes after practice today, he won’t be back anytime soon.
“It’s a lot of pain when I’m putting my skates on, and that’s the worst,” Neuvirth told reporters this morning. “I can’t really push on the ice or anything like that. I feel a lot of pain right now.”
Neuvirth missed three days of practice completely, then skated for a little over an hour Saturday morning, working with goalies coach Dave Prior after the morning skate for the Ottawa game. Neuvirth was not available to reporters following that session. The entire team had Sunday off and this was Neuvirth’s first attempt to practice with his team since the injury. He lasted just 20 minutes, according to reports, before being excused.
The team still officially lists Neuvirth as “day-to-day”.
Coach Bruce Boudreau suggested that Neuvirth would have to be able to get through a complete practice before being able to dress for a game, so it’s entirely likely that Caps will need to recall a goalie to back up Tomas Vokoun Tuesday night against his former teammates, the Florida Panthers.
The Caps returned Dany Sabourin to AHL Hershey before today’s practice. Sabourin, 31, is 2-0-0 with a 3.50 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage with Hershey this season. Whether Sabourin or Braden Holtby gets the call for Tuesday remains to be seen. Hershey is off until Friday, when they travel to Albany for a 7:00 pm game. They then host games on Saturday and Sunday, so the Bears will need two goalies to play over the weekend. Phillip Grubauer was called up from ECHL South Carolina to fill in when Sabourin was up for the Caps this past weekend.
The Caps are fine with Sabourin riding the “Hershey shuttle” for the time being and Holtby getting the lion’s share of work for the Bears. The Caps don’t have back-to-back games this week, so if they need to keep recalling Sabourin to sit on the bench while Vokoun plays it’s not that big of a deal. But next week the Caps travel west to face Edmonton and Vancouver, so if Neuvirth’s injury lingers that far, Holtby could be the choice to travel with the team.
***Quotes borrowed from published sources.