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Capitals' T.J. Oshie is 'ready to go' despite latest injury scare

Capitals' T.J. Oshie is 'ready to go' despite latest injury scare

T.J. Oshie will return to the Capitals’ lineup Wednesday night against the Penguins after sitting out Monday’s game because of an upper-body injury.

“I feel good,” the Caps’ third-leading goal scorer said. “I skated in Montreal [during the morning skate] and I felt like I could play. [But] they wanted me to sit out. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t have missed anything except for that third period. I feel great. I’m ready to go.”

He added: “They wanted me to sit out and rest a little bit. But just being cautious; it’s a long year and we want to go deep here.”

RELATED: REPORT: CAPITALS COULD HOST OUTDOOR GAME AT NAVAL ACADEMY

Oshie, who has 13 goals and 20 points, said his latest injury was “not really” connected to the shoulder ailment that sidelined him for seven games earlier this season.

He also said acknowledged that he got dinged twice against the Senators—the first time on a hard, open ice Dion Phaneuf hit and the second time on a hit moments later. The Phaneuf cross check on his final shift of the night, Oshie said, was not connected to forcing him from the game.  

“The second [incident] was actually someone else got me on the way into the zone,” Oshie said. “I just kinda tweaked something. It was gone 10 minutes later but I looked at the clock and there was only a minute or so left, so I figured I'd go into the training room for the first one. Neither was a bad play.”

Asked if he felt he was targeted by Phaneuf, Oshie said he did not.

“He’s a left defenseman [and] I’m a right wing, so we were matched up,” Oshie said. “I don’t think there’s any beef. He hit me after the whistle on an offsides a while back that people keep bringing up. But it’s over and done with. So we’re all good.”

Oshie did not return for the third period of Saturday’s game and did not practice on Sunday. Coach Barry Trotz also said the decision to hold him out against the Canadiens was out of an abundance of caution.

“It was more precautionary,” Trotz said. “He was very close to [playing]. That was more of a coaches’ and trainers’ call. He wanted to play the other day. He wasn’t far off.”

Oshie is expected to skate on a line with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, who is one point from 1,000 for his career.

MORE CAPITALS: 3 bold predictions: A big night for Ovechkin

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Evgeni Kuznetsov glad to see the Caps rely on youth more

Evgeni Kuznetsov glad to see the Caps rely on youth more

The Caps' offseason roster turnover has been well-documented, but Evgeni Kuznetsov doesn't think that's necessarily a bad thing. 

Speaking to Igor Eronko of Sport-Express, Kuznetsov took a more optimistic approach to what'll be a much different looking team come October:

RELATED: PREVIEWING THE METRO DIVISION 

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The 25 most important players for the Caps: No. 21 Devante Smith-Pelly

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USA TODAY Sports

The 25 most important players for the Caps: No. 21 Devante Smith-Pelly

Every player on an NHL team plays a role. Some play bigger roles than others.

In the coming weeks, Jill Sorenson, Tarik El-Bashir and JJ Regan will rank the 25 most important players in the Caps’ organization, from least to most important, weighing factors such as past production, future potential and intangibles. 

Today’s player: No. 21 Devante Smith-Pelly.

Will Devante Smith-Pelly manage to ressurect his career this season?

After getting bought out by the Devils on June 30, Smith-Pelly signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Caps a few days later. The deal will pay him $650,000 in Washington and $300,000 in Hershey.

RELATED: WHY THE CAPS NEED TO WATCH OUT FOR THE BLUE JACKETS

It's a significant paycut from the $1.25 million that Smith-Pelly, 25, earned last season, and the contract offers less job security. But he's got another chance, much like the one the Caps gave to Brett Connolly a year ago, to seize a spot in the bottom six and reestablish himself in the league. Connolly, after being cut loose by the Bruins last summer, took full advantage of his opporrunity here, scoring a career-high 15 goals in 66 games and earning a two-year, $3 million extension from GM Brian MacLellan.    

When training camp opens in mid-September, the Caps are going to need a pair of wingers to play with center Jay Beagle on the fourth line. There will be no shortage of competition for those positions, with Smith-Pelly expected to battle Anthony Peluso and forward prospects Nathan Walker, Chandler Stephenson, Riley Barber, Travis Boyd, Liam O’Brien and perhaps others.

Smith-Pelly would seem to have the inside track based on experience alone. He’s played in 266 NHL regular season games and 24 playoff contests. (Peluso, 28, has played in 142 games, while no one else I mentioned has appeared in more than 14.)

Smith-Pelly, a 6-foot, 214-pound righty, has also had some eyebrow raising stretches in his career. In the 2014 playoffs as a member of the Ducks, he amassed five goals in 12 games while averaging 4.4 hits per. In 2016, he was dealt from Montreal to the Devils late in the season and ended up racking up eight goals and five assists in only 18 games.

So, Smith-Pelly has been productive. He just hasn’t been consistent.

Will that change in Washington? That’s yet to be determined. But we can already surmise this much: he's got a pretty good opportunity in front of him and he's probably running out of chances.

Check out the full list of the Caps most important players as it comes out here and check out previous player profiles below.

— No. 25 Aaron Ness
— No. 24 Chandler Stephenson
— No. 23 Riley Barber
— No. 22 Pheonix Copley