John Erskine skated and skated and skated after the Capitals’ morning skate Saturday. So did Tom Poti – along with healthy scratches Matt Hendricks, Jay Beagle and D.J. King. It meant they’re not playing against the Sabres, but Erskine said he felt good.
Erskine, who Bruce Boudreau and Ted Leonsis implied was injured in a fight with Columbus’ Jared Boll on Thursday night, is likely to return to the lineup very soon.
“He’ll be out tonight. I think it’s more of a precautionary thing,” Bruce Boudreau said. “He’s hurt, but at the same time, we think he’ll be able to play in Toronto Tuesday.”
A tight-lipped Erskine declared himself “ready to go” and seemed to agree with his coach’s notion about facing the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.
Poti skated hard, too, seemingly making progress to return from his groin injury. He was similarly unwilling to share anything about his comeback, saying only “it’s definitely a better sign” that he’s skated three days in a row and remarking that it was “tough to say” if Saturday was indeed progress.
“I think we’ll sit back and see how this weekend goes with everybody,” Boudreau said. “And then we’ll have to make decisions on what we’re doing on Monday.”
Dennis Wideman (leg hematoma) will obviously be out a while. Boudreau did give a small update on the injured defenseman on Saturday morning.
“He’s getting better. But as you guys all know now, it was a pretty significant injury,” the coach said. “We haven’t seen him here, so probably next week we’ll get a chance to see him and talk to him and hopefully he can start his rehab as soon as possible.”
As for the front line, Boudreau understands he has an extra healthy forward in addition to Beagle and King. But he hesitated to say he was rotating forwards out of the lineup each game. Saturday night it’s Hendricks.
“I think some guys that are struggling need the day off, and at the same time I think we had a few guys struggle and it’s worked for them,” Boudreau said. “With [Jason Chimera], he hadn’t scored in 25 games or something and we’d give him a day off.
“Sometimes you just get to watch from above and good things happen, and good things happened to him the next game. You don’t wanna sit out. We don’t want guys that wanna sit out. It’s sort of a rotation, but maybe Matt can see the same thing.”