Morning skate for the Washington Capitals was rather encouraging today, as several injured players were on the ice. Tarik El-Bashir of The Athletic reports that Tom Wilson, Nicklas Backstrom, and Dmitry Orlov were all skating with their teammates, though none are ready to return just yet.
For Wilson, it’s the first time he’s joined the group since undergoing ACL surgery last spring. Coming off a career-best 24-goal, 52-point season, the physical winger is one of the most important players on the club, and has been sorely missed through the early part of the year. The Capitals are 12-12-4 on the year and have struggled to find much consistency from the lower half of their forward group, with Wilson, Backstrom, and Connor Brown all out.
Backstrom has joined the team a few times as he deals with his own rehab and is optimistic he will return at some point this season after hip surgery. There is no clear timeline for either player, but getting them around practice again will be sure to lift the team’s spirits, given how important a role they play on the ice and in the dressing room.
Orlov, meanwhile, has been out for more than a month with a lower-body injury. He too is coming off a career year, with 12 goals and 35 points, and had been averaging a ton of ice time through the early part of the season. If the Capitals are able to keep their head above water until they get these reinforcements back, they will still have a shot at the playoffs. As it stands right now, they are sixth in the Metropolitan Division, ahead of only the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets.