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Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky has cast removed, recovery remains on schedule

Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky has cast removed, recovery remains on schedule

Andre Burakovsky’s recovery from injury reached a milestone this week: the Capitals winger had the cast removed from his right hand.

“Things are definitely moving in the right direction,” Burakovsky told CSN in his first public comments since getting hurt. “I’m on schedule. But [a return date] is a doctor’s decision; there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s going to be pretty soon, a couple of weeks.”

Burakovsky was injured while blocking a shot against Detroit on Feb. 9. He’s missed the last eight games.

The 22-year-old winger said he knew right away that he was injured badly.

“I was in a lot of pain,” Burakovsky said. “[Head Athletic Trainer] Greg Smith came over and he was like, ‘Okay, let me see your hand.’ Tom Wilson was sitting right next to me and he was like, ‘Oof. That’s not good at all.’”

He added: “You could see, if you were looking close, my whole knuckle was kinda destroyed, was gone sort of. So I had like four knuckles.”

Burakovsky said he opted against surgery since a procedure would not have significantly reduced his recovery time.

“It’s a part of the game,” he said. “Injuries are coming all the time. It just sucked it happened when I was on fire, sort of. I was feeling really good. I was playing good. Everything was good. And obviously, our line was doing really good.”

In the 12 games prior to the Detroit game, Burakovsky had registered six goals and seven assists.

If there’s a silver lining to the injury, it's that Burakovsky expects to have fresh legs when he returns to the lineup later this month.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I can’t wait to get back in the lineup and play games again. It’s really tough to sit out and watch the guys play. It’s not fun. I’m going to be ready to get back in and I’m going to be hungry.”

RELATED: CAPS SET A FRANCHISE RECORD

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Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Brett Connolly

Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Brett Connolly

As we skate toward the start of the 2017-18 NHL Regular Season, our CSN Capitals team of Jill Sorenson and Tarik El-Bashir detail and analyze the Capitals roster.

They will take a look at breakout candidates, prospects on the rise, players in need of improvement and a look at the rest of the Metropolitan Division, all leading up to the start of the NHL regular season.

Up first are the Capitals breakout candidates.

First, we previewed Tom Wilson.

Today we are looking at Brett Connolly.

YOU CAN WATCH TARIK AND JILL'S FULL BREAKDOWN OF BRETT CONNOLLY IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.

2017-18 CAPITALS BREAKOUT CANDIDATE: Brett Connolly

Position: Right Wing
Age: 25
NHL Seasons: 6 (276 games)
2016-17 Stats: 15 goals, 8 assists, +20 plus/minus

Tarik El-Bashir's Breakout Preview: 
After playing the last three seasons on one-year deals, Connolly finally has a little security after inking a two-year, $3 million contract with the Caps earlier this month.

It’s a hefty raise over the $850,000 he earned last season, and it’s emblematic of the higher expectations that he’ll shoulder in 2017-18.

Connolly’s first season in Washington was a strange one. It began with him sitting out as a healthy scratch, and it ended with him sitting out as a healthy scratch. But in between, the former first round pick was remarkably efficient, scoring a career-high 15 goals in 66 games, while skating fewer than 11 minutes per.

Next season, Connolly’s role and playing time are expected to increase … and so, too, are his numbers.

Jill Sorenson's Keys to Breakout:
1.  Maturity: "He's finally settling in and understands what it means to be a pro hockey player. He feels like this is a good fit for him. He's ready to handle the increased pressure and increased responsibillity."

2.  Comfort Level: "He feels like Washington is where he wants to be. He has a nose for the net, and with that comfort level now with this team, that natural scoring abillity I expect will come through."

Prediction: Total Points
Tarik: 21 goal, 16 assists
Jill: 20 goals, 18 assists

RELATED: TEN BEST CAPITALS PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME

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Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Tom Wilson

Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Tom Wilson

As we skate toward the start of the 2017-18 NHL Regular Season, our CSN Capitals team of Jill Sorenson and Tarik El-Bashir detail and analyze the Capitals roster.

They will take a look at breakout candidates, prospects on the rise, players in need of improvement and a look at the rest of the Metropolitan Division, all leading up to the start of the NHL regular season.

Up first are the Capitals breakout candidates. The first of the three selections is Tom Wilson. 

YOU CAN WATCH TARIK AND JILL'S FULL BREAKDOWN OF TOM WILSON IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.

RELATED: TEN BEST CAPITALS PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME

2017-18 Capitals Breakout Candidate: Tom Wilson

Position: Right Wing
Age: 23
NHL Seasons: 4 (313 games)
2016-17 Stats: 7 goals, 12 assists, 133 penalty minutes

Tarik El-Bashir's Breakout Preview:
After mustering only seven goals in 82 regular season games, Tom Wilson scored three times against his hometown Maple Leafs in the opening round of the playoffs.

Was the offensive outburst a blip, or the start of a trend? The Caps, obviously, hope it’s the latter—and there’s reason to believe it could happen. The 23-year-old former first rounder is entering a contract year but, more important, he’s expected to play a bigger role in 2017-18. Bigger role + better linemates + more ice time = more goal production.

Makes sense, right?

Jill Sorenson's Keys to Breakout:
1.  Health: "This will be only his third season fully healthy. I look at that, from a chronological standpoint as a reason to up his production."
2.  Responsibility: "He would be a good addition on the power play in front of the net. he has that net-front pressence and they like when he plays on a line with Alex Ovechkin."

Prediction: Over/Under 18 Goals
Tarik: 18. Push.
Jill: 21. Over.