NEUVIRTH RETURNS: Friday morning the Washington Capitals received an encouraging sign when goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who hasn’t suited up for a game in a week and a half, participated during the full morning practice session.
A bruised right foot has kept Neuvirth out of the lineup since early last week, forcing the Caps to recall Braden Holtby and then Dany Sabourin from the Hershey Bears to back up starter Tomas Vokoun.
“I’ve gotta believe he’ll be ready to play in a game next week on the trip,” said Boudreau according to the Washington Post, referring to the team’s two-game road trip to western Canada late next week. Boudreau said he did not expect Neuvirth to serve as the backup for tomorrow night’s home game against Detroit.
Neuvrith offered a more glowing assessment of his status, saying “I’m feeling better and I can’t wait to get back on the team.” He said the decision on his status for Saturday would be decided by athletic trainer Greg Smith.
Vokoun has played extremely well and the Caps have a four-day layoff after the Detroit game, meaning Neuvirth was under no rush to return. His full participation in practice was therefore a sign that he is truly healthy, and not simply being rushed back into active duty to spell Vokoun.
BEAGLE DOWNGRADED: While Neuvirth has returned, fourth-liner Jay Beagle appears to be nowhere near the active lineup. Beagle’s status was downgraded from “day-to-day” to “week-to-week” today, a week after his last game.
Boudreau told Mike Vogel of washingtoncaps.com that Beagle was downgraded because he had already missed a week and would need at least a week of practice time before he would be game ready. The forward was knocked out last Thursday in a fight with Pittsburgh’s Arron Asham, and his conspicuous absence from Kettle Iceplex and the Verizon Center has led many to suspect Beagle is suffering from a concussion.
The Capitals’ team policy is to not disclose injuries, meaning we can only speculate on the true cause of Beagle’s absence unless he or the team chooses to break their silence. For the time being, Boudreau has given no indications of an expected return date for Beagle.