Laich to go on trip with Capitals

Laich to go on trip with Capitals
December 28, 2013, 1:00 pm
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Laich's injury means Caps must adjust

Capitals center/left wing Brooks Laich will travel with the team to Buffalo later today and could be back in the lineup Sunday after missing Friday night’s game with a recurring groin injury.

“We’ll see how he is [Sunday] morning,” Capitals coach Adam Oates said. “I hope so, but I can’t tell you yes or no.”

Laich has missed 12 of the past 13 games with groin pain. He skated with the fourth line on Saturday. But with back-to-back games in Buffalo and Ottawa, the Caps might opt to delay putting Laich back in the lineup until Monday night.

[RELATED: Capitals' Laich back in 'a holding pattern']

“I want to say it’s [a hiccup],” Oates said. “It doesn’t seem as bad as it was last year, no it doesn’t. I hope so for his sake. It’s hard being hurt a long time It’s very difficult. You get excited, you feel good, you play and then the next day it’s not quite right and you start to doubt yourself.”

Rookie center Michael Latta [lower body injury] also skated with the fourth line on Saturday but is not making the two-game trip, which means the earliest he can return to the lineup will be Thursday at home against Carolina Hurricanes.

If Laich can play, he’s likely to take Aaron Volpatti’s spot in the lineup, which is what happened Friday night when Laich returned for one game against the Ducks. 

Oates said he is undecided on a goaltender for Sunday's 5 p.m. game in Buffalo, but it appears Philipp Grubauer [5-1-1] will get his seventh start in 10 games.