Alan May: Caps need more discipline
News and notes from the Capitals’ practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex Tuesday morning:
Kuznetsov coming? Traktor Chelyabinsk lost its final KHL game of the regular season on Tuesday to miss the playoffs and already there are reports out of Russia that Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov will be joining the Capitals before the end of the week.
Kuznetsov, 21, is eligible to join the Capitals once his commitments to the KHL are over. If he is signed by the Capitals he is expected to carry a $900,000 cap hit. In 30 games in the KHL this season, Kuznetsov has seven goals and 13 assists in is a minus-9.
No Laich, no Grabo: Brooks Laich sat out practice with what the Caps are calling a maintenance day. He was replaced by rookie left wing Nicolas Deschamps on a top line with center Nicklas Backstrom and right wing Alex Ovechkin. Center Mikhail Grabovski [ankle] also sat out practice. He was re-injured on Wednesday in Florida.
Hillen ready? With defenseman Dmitry Orlov suspended two games for checking Flyers center Brayden Schen from behind, Caps defenseman Jack Hillen practiced alongside Mike Green on the second pairing. He’s looking to play in his first game for the Caps since breaking his right leg on Oct. 3. John Erskine and Connor Carrick practiced on the third pairing.
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Caps line combinations:
Nicolas Deschamps – Nicklas Backstrom – Alex Ovechkin
Marty Erat – Marcus Johansson – Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera – Eric Fehr – Joel Ward
Aaron Volpatti – Jay Beagle – Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner – John Carlson
Jack Hillen – Mike Green
John Erskine – Connor Carrick
Suspended: Dmitry Orlov
Braden Holtby – Michal Neuvirth