The joy of completing a playoff series early is that it gives your team time to rest up and buy time for players who are hurting to get back in the lineup without burning playoff games to do it. In the case of the Washington Capitals, the time off after finishing the Rangers off in five games is allowing a couple of key players the rest time they need.
Defenseman Dennis Wideman missed the entire first round with a hematoma and forward Mike Knuble missed the last two games against the Rangers with what’s believed to be a hand injury after taking a shot off of it in Game 3.
While they had a chance to work out for a bit today, coach Bruce Boudreau says to Katie Carrera of The Washington Post that he is hesitant to say when they’ll return to the ice.
“None right now,” Boudreau said when asked if he had any expectation to when either would be ready to play again. “It’s just good to see them out there skating in full gear and participating with the team. We haven’t set a timetable yet.”
Wideman’s continued absence is rough because of Mike Green’s condition after taking a puck off his head in Game 5. You’d have to assume that Green was concussed by the shot, but that’s unknown as of yet and he did not skate with the team today. A Wideman return would help bolster their blue line should Green be out for a stretch.
As for Knuble, his work around the net and on the power play is important for the Capitals and if he should miss any time in the second round against whoever they might end up facing, his abilities will be missed. Fortunately for the Caps, they’ll have until the end of the week to get things worked out with both players to see how far away they might be from playing, if at all, in the second round.