The Washington Capitals look like they can breathe a sigh of relief as goaltender Braden Holtby was at practice Sunday after Columbus’ Cam Atkinson accidentally put his stick through a hole in Holtby’s mask into his left eye, forcing him to leave the game. It’s still unclear if the goaltender would start against St. Louis on Monday, the first of a back-to-back set, according to Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post.
“Obviously anything with your eyes is a little scary,” Holtby said. “It’s fortunate that it wasn’t anything too serious. You just move on. … I didn’t have the sight to keep going. I just wouldn’t have been a benefit to the team. it was one of those things. Eyes heal quickly, so just 24 hours and I’ll be back to normal.”
The incident on the ice Saturday in the second period and the immediate thought looked scary with many worrying that the team’s star goaltender could miss a significant amount of time. However, it looks like the injury isn’t as serious as originally thought. Head coach Todd Rierden said that the team doesn’t intend to recall a goaltender from the AHL at this moment with the general belief that the team could start Pheonix Copley Monday and start Holtby on Tuesday against Nashville on Tuesday.
- While there have been reports out of Pittsburgh that the team may be ready to move a defenseman, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that general manager Jim Rutherford may also be ready to move third-string goaltender Tristan Jarry as well. The 23-year-old and second-round pick in 2013 is a solid prospect, but with 24-year-old Matt Murray locked in as the starter and the fact that backup Casey DeSmith was recently extended for another three years, Jarry could be a nice trade chip. He has one more year at $675K before he hits restricted free agency, although his two-way deal will turn into a one-way deal next season. NBC Sports’ Adam Gretz adds, however, that goaltenders don’t often bring a lot back in trades, pointing out that Filip Gustavsson was a better prospect and he was just one part of a package to get Derick Brassard last season.
- Sam Carchidi of Philly.com writes that Philadelphia Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk has a 50-50 chance of playing Monday after being banged up Saturday against New Jersey. Van Riemsdyk, who has struggled with injuries as well as production, had one of his better games of the season, playing 17:01 and scoring a goal and adding an assist, despite the loss. The 29-year-old has two goals and two assists in the last two games.
- Newsday’s Andrew Gross reports that New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey, who has missed 11 straight games with an upper-body injury, has had a slowdown in his recovery, according to head coach Barry Trotz. Hickey has been skating on his own, but was held out of the team’s last full practice on Wednesday. “We want to do what’s best for the player,” Trotz said. “I don’t know if it’s a setback. We just want to be cautious with it. He’s real important for us and we’re not trying to rush him at all. We back him off a little bit and that’s on trainers’ orders.”