Green pain free, but will he face Penguins?

Green pain free, but will he face Penguins?
November 19, 2013, 1:00 pm
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Caps top 5 plays of the week: 11.18.13

After missing two games with a lower body bruise, Capitals defenseman Mike Green said he skated pain-free on Tuesday, but coach Adam Oates seemed hesitant when asked if his top defenseman would be in the lineup Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins [8 p.m., NBCSN].

“He’s missed a lot of time and it’s a big game,” Oates said after an 80-minute practice at Kettler.

“I don’t want to put him in a situation where he’s behind the 8-ball. He hasn’t been able to do a lot of cardio, so I’m a little worried about his conditioning.”

Green, who leads all Capitals defensemen in points [11 assists] and ice time [24:28], was injured in the Caps’ 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Nov. 12. He is eligible to come off the injured list in time to play in Wednesday’s game, but since Tuesday marked his first full practice in a week, the Caps are being cautious.

“This is the first day I felt good as far as the injury and I was able to actually push and skate and try to get my wind back,” Green said. “[It’s] just a matter of getting back into game shape and that’s it.”

[RELATED: Caps Carlson makes strong pitch for Team USA]

Oates said the Caps will wait to see how Green feels on Wednesday morning before making a final decision.

If Green cannot play, it appears likely Tyson Strachan will remain in his spot on a second pairing with rookie Nate Schmidt. In two games Strachan has no points, one shot and is even while averaging 20 minutes.

If Green is cleared to play on Wednesday the Caps would need to assign one of their defensemen to the AHL Hershey Bears. If it’s Strachan he would first need to clear NHL waivers.

The Caps’ forward lines and defense pairings looked like this on Tuesday:

Forward Lines

Marcus Johansson – Nicklas Backstrom – Alex Ovechkin

Marty Erat – Brooks Laich – Troy Brouwer

Jason Chimera – Mikhail Grabovski – Joel Ward

Aaron Volpatti – Michael Latta – Tom Wilson

Extras: Jay Beagle, Eric Fehr

Defense Pairings:

Karl Alzner – John Carlson

Nate Schmidt – Mike Green

Alex Urbom – Steve Oleksy

Extras: Tyson Strachan, Dmitry Orlov


Braden Holtby – Michal Neuvirth

As for the Penguins, this is how they looked in Monday night’s 3-1 home win over the Ducks:

Forward Lines

Beau Bennett – Sidney Crosby – Chris Kunitz

James Neal – Evgeni Malkin – Pascal Dupuis

Jussi Jokinen – Brandon Sutter – Brian Gibbons

Tanner Glass -- Joe Vitale - Craig Adams

Defense Pairings

Paul Martin – Brooks Orpik

Deryk Engelland – Kris Letang

Olli Maatta – Matt Niskanen


Marc-Andre Fleury – Jeff Zatkoff


Mike Green practicing at Kettler Capitals Iceplex (Photo by Chuck Gormley)