On the same day Capitals defenseman Mike Green declared himself “100 percent” and forward Marcus Johansson participated in a full practice, center Nicklas Backstrom stayed home with an illness and left wing Jason Chimera left practice early with a lower body injury.
The status of all four players will better be determined on Tuesday before the Capitals take on the Carolina Hurricanes at Verizon Center.
“[Backstrom] wasn’t feeling good so [trainer Greg Smith] sent him to the doctor just to make sure that it’s not a food allergy or anything like that,” Caps coach Adam Oates said Monday. “He wasn’t feeling good last night.”
With Backstrom missing, Johansson took his spot on a line with Troy Brouwer and Eric Fehr and had plenty of jump after sitting out the past six games with an upper body injury. Oates said Johansson needs to pass a test before he is cleared to play but would not elaborate.
“Marcus is progressing,” Caps general manager George McPhee said. “We’re see how it is in the next few days.”
McPhee said Chimera’s injury, which appears to be a groin issue, is “nothing major” and that the veteran forward was just being careful.
If Johansson is not ready and either Chimera or Backstrom is unavailable, the Caps will be forced to make their first forward recall of the season. McPhee said he has a few players under consideration but would not elaborate.
The Bears’ leading two scorers, Jeff Taffe and Jon DiSalvartore, are under AHL contracts, which means Casey Wellman [10 goals, 24 assists, 34 points] and Ryan Potulny [10-18-28] are the two most likely callups.
“I’d rather not say,” McPhee said, “because if they don’t get the recall we’ll have some disappointed people over there.”
The best news to come out of Monday's practice was Green saying he will play Wednesday after missing the previous three games with a groin injury.
“Even from Saturday warmups to today is night and day,” Green said. “Those two days to rest was perfect. My decision was a wise one. I’m 100 percent and ready to go.”
Meanwhile, Brooks Laich continued off-ice treatments Monday for the ninth straight day. He’s been sidelined all season with what is believed to be a groin injury. McPhee said Laich is halfway through a two-week treatment program.
“I’m concerned about it,” he said. “We certainly would like to have him in there. We’ll cross our fingers. He’s trying a different kind of treatment. We’ll see how he responds to this particular treatment.”