Nicklas Backstrom

Caps recall Schilling because Green can’t go (Update)

Considering the fact that the New York Rangers played last night, the Washington Capitals are the “rested” team coming into Wednesday’s game. It might be a stretch to argue that they’re healthier, though.

As the Washington Post details here, the Capitals’ defense is facing a bit of injury turmoil during what’s been a remarkably healthy season. Mike Green and Brooks Orpik appear to be game-time decisions for tonight’s game against the Rangers, thus necessitating a recall of Cameron Schilling (pictured) today after brining up Nate Schmidt on Tuesday.

This doesn’t confirm that Green or Orpik will be out, but it obviously is an indicator that Washington believes they’re both questionable.

Despite this tough stretch, blueliner Karl Alzner told the Post that he hopes the team’s general run of good injury luck can continue.

“It’s been ridiculous, I think, how nice it’s been,” Alzner said. “There’s been nothing too major, and you knock on wood obviously, but I think that’s what’s helped us play so good.”

Update: Green told Prewitt he cannot play tonight. Nicklas Backstrom is also a game-time decision as he struggles with an illness.

Ovechkin (lower body) to miss first game of the season tonight


Earlier today, Brough passed along news that “banged up” Washington captain Alex Ovechkin was questionable for tonight’s tilt against Minnesota.

Well, now you can rule him out officially.

The Caps have just announced that Ovechkin will miss his first game of the season with a lower-body ailment (per Caps PR). He’s also listed as day-to-day, meaning he might also be unavailable for Saturday’s game against Buffalo.

Ovechkin, who leads the NHL in goals (43) and points (67), has been remarkably durable this season… though that goes across the board for Washington. The Caps have had tremendous luck in the health department this season and currently boast nine players — Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, Marcus Johansson, Troy Brouwer, Joel Ward, Matt Niskanen, Karl Alzner and Brooks Orpik — that have appeared in all 65 games this season.

That number, of course, will drop to eight after tonight.

Capitals call up Burakovsky


The Washington Capitals recalled forward Andre Burakovsky on Thursday as they ready for a game against the Minnesota Wild.

It may be a sign that Michael Latta could miss some time after Tuesday’s violent contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets (with a Jared Boll hit possibly being what’s causing him his biggest issues), as the Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt notes.

To some degree, it’s almost a little surprising that Burakovsky was demoted in the first place. The 20-year-old has been a quick study at the NHL level in many ways, showing some ability to skate with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom (among other positive signs).

The Capitals sent him down to make sure he had playing time, however, and Barry Trotz provided some glowing remarks about Burakovsky to Prewitt a few days ago.

“Every time we’ve put him in the lineup, he’s done a fantastic job for us. And he’s still learning. He’s still learning. He’s bright,” Trotz said. “I’ve got Burt penciled in for top-six forward for the next 15 years in his career. That’s where he’s headed. Is he there? Some games he’s there; some games he’s not. He’s still in the development stage. But you’re not going to find a better person or a better player who’s eager to do well.”

Let us all note that his nickname is “Burt,” by the way. That information could be exceedingly useful in the future …

Trade: Capitals land Glencross, Flames get two picks


The Washington Capitals acquired forward Curtis Glencross from the Calgary Flames on Sunday, according to various reporters including TSN’s Darren Dreger.

Update: Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports that the Flames received a second and third-round pick (both Capitals’ picks* in 2015) for Glencross. No salary was retained in the trade, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

Glencross, 28, is in the final year of a contract that carries a modest $2.55 million cap hit.

He has nine goals and 28 points in 53 games so far in 2014-15. His best work came a few seasons ago, particularly when he generated 26 goals and 48 points in 67 games during the 2011-12 season with Calgary.

One could see Capitals head coach Barry Trotz deploying Glencross in a number of ways. The most tantalizing idea is that he could finally give Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom a stable linemate, as they’ve seen a parade of wingers on their line in 2014-15. Glencross could also ease some of the pressure on that duo by bolstering Washington’s scoring depth.

Quick note: TSN’s Bob McKenzie points out that the official call hasn’t happened yet:

* – Washington has a third-rounder from Buffalo, but Calgary was unable to pry that one loose.

Capitals ‘face reality’ after three straight losses


Friday night, facing the Carolina Hurricanes, the Washington Capitals recorded their third consecutive loss. And it has that team, in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race, asking plenty of questions and searching for answers on how to end this sudden slide.

The Capitals got off to a slow start, with only four shots on goal in the first 20 minutes, falling behind by a goal. The deficit increased by one each period. In the end, they were unable to get anything going offensively in a 3-0 loss to the Hurricanes.

In terms of the playoff race, the Capitals sit seventh in the East, seven points up on the Boston Bruins, who were victorious in New Jersey.

It’s enough of a cushion to withstand a small slide. Anything greater, and teams out of the playoff picture might be able to catch up.

“You have to face reality,” Nicklas Backstrom told the Washington Post. “If you’re not good, you’re not good. We’ve got to look ourselves in the mirrors and know what we did wrong and we’ve got to correct it, because this is not going to be [enough] in the playoffs either. If we make it there.”