Caps recall Kundratek, Laich exhausting options

Caps recall Kundratek, Laich exhausting options
January 21, 2013, 1:00 pm
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With defenseman Jack Hillen sidelined "week-to-week" with what is believed to be a left shoulder injury suffered in Saturday night's season opener, the Capitals have recalled defenseman Tomas Kundratek from the Hershey Bears.

Kundratek, 23, currently leads Hershey defensemen in goals (13) and ranks third in points (26).  Oates said that with the loss of Hillen the Caps needed a right-handed shot. Look for Kundratek to step into the lineup Tuesday night when the Caps open their home schedule against the Winnipeg Jets.

“I was working hard and I was really happy about it,” Kundratek said of his recall. “I wish my plus-minus [team-worst minus-13] would be a littler better, but it’s been good.”

Oates dressed seven defensemen and 11 forwards in Saturday night’s 6-3 season-opening loss to the Lightning, but look for that to change on Tuesday night, when Eric Fehr is expected to dress as a 12th forward against his former team.

Kundratek already has set career highs in goals, assists (tied) and points despite playing in just 41 games so far this season. He was named to the AHL Eastern Conference All-Star squad for next week’s 2013 AHL All-Star Classic.

Brooks Laich update: Oates said center/winger Brooks Laich is “kind of exhausting all options” with what is believed to be a groin injury. “He’s feeling better,” Oates said. “He wants to make sure it's going in the right direction and hopefully Wednesday he'll maybe skate for us.”

Because he was injured during the lockout while playing for the Kloten Flyers of the Swiss League, the Capitals are not required to pay Laich until he passes a team physical.

Ovi on Serena: Alex Ovechkin said his fiancé, Maria Kirilenko had “no chance” against American Serena Williams in her 6-2, 6-0 loss at the Australian Open early Monday. Ovechkin said he spoke with Kirilenko after her match, which lasted less than an hour.  “It was tough,” he said. “She just said it’s impossible to beat her.  She’s a great person and unbelievable athlete. Maria said it was very hard to play against her. No chance.”