Audio courtesy Sky Kerstein
As the Washington Capitals gathered for team picture day at Kettler, there weren’t any changes on the ice as the forward lines and defensive pairings for practice were all the same as they have been lately while the Caps have been continuing their pursuit of clinching a playoff spot, which they can do Tuesday night against Winnipeg, the team directly behind them in the standings.
Head coach Adam Oates did talk briefly about the two key injured players on the roster: forwards Joel Ward and Brooks Laich. Oates indicated there were no changes with Laich and that he will not skate again until he’s pain-free. Laich ahs missed the past eight games after missing the first two months of the shortened season with his groin injury.
Ward has missed six games with a knee injury and still isn’t back to practice, something Oates thought would happen sooner than it has. “Obviously we thought he’d be probably back by now it just hasn’t gone away,” said Oates. The coach couldn’t put a timetable on Ward’s return and wouldn’t speculate if he’d be available for the playoffs — should the Caps qualify.
“[Ward]’s got to be able to practice a couple of days and get his conditioning,” Oates said. “It’s been too long a time. He needs to feel pain-free and be able to skate.”
Oates’ full comments, plus remarks from Alex Ovechkin, Troy Brouwer, Matt Hendricks and Jack Hillen can be found at the links below.