With all this time between the end of the first round and the start of the second, the Capitals’ walking wounded have the benefit of a few extra skates before games start up again. But that doesn’t mean Mike Knuble and Dennis Wideman are ready to step back into the lineup immediately.
Knuble skated with the “Black Aces” Wednesday morning while the rest of the Caps practiced afterward.
“He’s still not ready to go in but he’s skating and keeping his conditioning up,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I don’t have a timetable, but it’d be sooner than later. I think he’ll be available in the second round at some point.”
Wideman (leg hematoma and compartment syndrome) had targeted the end of the week for practicing full-go with the team. Boudreau said that’s unlikely.
“There’s one more practice; that means he’d have to practice with the group I don’t think he’ll practice with the group [Thursday],” the coach said. “After that, all doors are open.”
Eric Fehr is the lineup replacement for Knuble at the moment, but if more injuries happen the Caps have some more options thanks to call-ups from Hershey. Forwards Mathieu Perreault and Steve Pinizzotto arrived at Kettler for Wednesday’s workouts along with defenseman Patrick McNeill and goaltender Braden Holtby.
Now, it’s their job to stay in shape and be ready if called upon the rest of the playoffs.
“I told them this morning, I said, ‘You may not play till June 8, if we’re lucky. But on June 8, you better be great. So you’ve gotta stay in great shape; this isn’t a vacation up here – this is hard work for something that who knows might happen,’ ” Boudreau said.