The NHL lockout meant a lot of things to a lot of players.
For Alex Ovechkin it meant returning to Russia and playing in front of his friends and family for the first time since 2005.
For Troy Brouwer it provided a chance to spend quality time with his newborn daughter, Kylie Marie.
For Mike Green, it was a chance to fully recover from the Jan. 17 sports hernia surgery that sidelined him a total of 50 games last season.
Green skated with the rest of the Capitals on Saturday, the final day of informal workouts before NHL training camps officially open on Sunday.
Asked how long before he felt 100 percent recovered from the surgery, Green said, “Probably about a month ago, to be honest. That’s when there was no more pain and my mobility was good again and I had that pop in my step I didn’t have before.”
Although Green returned from his surgery in mid-February and played the final 22 games of the regular season and all 14 playoff games, he lacked the explosiveness that made him one of the most dangerous offensive players in the league.
In those 36 games after his surgery Green managed just two goals. The Caps were so convinced Green would return to form that they re-signed him over the summer to a three-year contract worth $18.25 million.
Green spent most of the lockout in the D.C. region, skating at Kettler with Jay Beagle, Jason Chimera and John Carlson. He said it was tough to stay disciplined during that time and is anxious to begin a new season under a new coaching staff headed by Adam Oates.
“Structure’s good,” Green said. “For us to get back on the ice and have the coaches guide us and get back in the flow of things is exciting.”
Green did not participate in informal workouts on Thursday and Friday because he underwent Lasik eye surgery on Thursday. He said he had the surgery because the puck seemed blurry to him “and I need to see it clearly.”
Green accidentally bumped into goaltender Michal Neuvirth on Saturday, saying he didn’t realize Neuvirth was as close to him as he was.
Loose pucks: Neuvirth and forward Wojtek Wolski participated in their first informal workout with the Caps on Saturday. A total of 20 players skated, with Braden Holtby, Brooks Laich, Marcus Johansson and Mike Ribeiro taking the morning off. … Ovechkin returned to the ice after taking the day off on Friday. Laich [apparent groin injury] has not participated in any contact drills and there is a chance he does not hit the ice with the group on Sunday. … Prospect Tom Wilson picked up a goal and an assist on Friday night with the Plymouth Whalers and is expected to arrive in camp in time for Sunday’s practice. … The NHL is expected to release its 2013 schedule sometime Saturday evening. The Caps are expected to start the season in Tampa on Saturday, Jan. 19, with their home opener expected to be Tuesday, Jan. 22 at Verizon Center.