It’s been a tough season thus far for the Washington Capitals, who sit three points out of the New York Rangers and a Wild Card spot in the East and six points back of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes for a spot in the Metropolitan Division. No team will ever make excuses, however injuries have been unrelenting for Washington even before the puck dropped on the 2022-23 season. The organization expected a tough go of it early on without some of their stars and all things considered, 30 points in 29 games is not half bad. They’ll have to have a strong season the rest of the way to get into the postseason, but as of right now, injury updates look positive.
Earlier today, the Capitals placed defenseman Alexander Alexeyev and goaltender Darcy Kuemper on IR and recalled defensemen Lucas Johansen and Dylan McIlrath. For Kuemper, that’s not expected to be much of an issue, eligible to come off of IR as soon as Tuesday, and according to NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti, the netminder participated in the team’s morning skate today for the first time since suffering the injury. Also from Gulitti, veteran Dmitry Orlov, who has not played since November 5th due to a lower-body injury, also skated this morning. Perhaps the best news, even if nothing is imminent, is forwards Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson skated this morning in non-contact jerseys, traveling with the team on the road for the first time this season, which appears to be the norm going forward. Both core pieces of this generation’s Capitals squad, getting either back in the lineup would be a massive boost not only to on-ice production, but to off-ice morale too. Still, one bit of bad news, both Alexeyev and Martin Fehervary did not skate this morning, and fellow defenseman Erik Gustafsson left practice early, head coach Peter Laviolette telling Gulitti the Capitals and Gustafsson are “working through some things.”
- The Winnipeg Jets will be without forward Saku Maenalanen and defenseman Logan Stanley when they take on the Capitals this evening says Scott Billeck of the Winnipeg Sun. No update beyond that was given by associate coach Scott Arniel. Billeck adds that the Jets are trying to get an additional player called up from the Manitoba Moose to join the Jets at home this evening. Billeck adds the Moose, who actually share an arena with the Jets, are on their way to Calgary, however getting a player back from Calgary to Winnipeg by tonight shouldn’t be an issue. As for the injured players, Maenalanen has impressed in a depth role for the Jets this year, recording six points in 25 games, averaging 11:30 a night, his first NHL action since a stint with the Carolina Hurricanes back in 2018-19. Unfortunately for Stanley, who missed a-month-and-a-half, was able to play just two games after coming back before being forced out of the lineup once again.
- The St. Louis Blues confirmed defenseman Torey Krug would rejoin the lineup Sunday after missing two games with an upper-body injury. The veteran, much like his Blues, has had a shaky start to 2022-23, recording 11 points in 24 games, but comes with a -22 rating, the worst mark in the league. Even amid his struggles, if the Blues hope to re-write their 2022-23 story, it’s more likely than not that Krug will have to be part of the solution, and having him in the lineup would be a start. Though Krug is back, forward Pavel Buchnevich, who also hasn’t played since December 5th, will not play this afternoon, the Blues announced.