SUNRISE, Fla. – On Wednesday night, Bruce Boudreau talked about scoreboard-watching making an impact on his roster for the final regular-season game Saturday night at the Panthers.
Turns out at least decision was made before the Capitals left Washington on a flight for Fort Lauderdale on Friday: Mike Green would not be playing. Green didn’t travel with the team and won’t be in the lineup at BankAtlantic Center on Saturday night.
“I just thought it was the best thing for him right now,” Boudreau said before the Caps’ morning skate. “He practiced hard [Friday]. He’ll have two more good practices with contact and scrimmage situations. We didn’t wanna foolishly take a chance, and, after talking to Mike, that somebody would A. shoot a puck off his head accidentally, or needlessly get hit in the wrong, vulnerable position.”
Green has been out with a concussion since Feb. 25 and only recently returned to full practices with his teammates at Kettler. His first game back since the injury will be a playoff game against either the Carolina Hurricanes, or the same New York Rangers team that knocked him out.
But Boudreau isn’t concerned.
“If he wasn’t in such great shape and he wasn’t such a great skater, I would be worried a little bit more,” the Caps’ coach said. “But in this situation, I’m not worried. If you ever look at Mike’s history, his first game of the year – whether it’s preseason or whether it’s regular season – is always really good. I think he’s just so excited to play and he’s ready.”
But he – and a few other veteran players – won’t be in the lineup at Florida. Boudreau said he’d give guys a rest like he did with Jason Arnott and Scott Hannan on Wednesday.
“We made some changes, and we’ll see,” he said. “Some guys that haven’t been playing will be playing and some guys that had been playing that can afford to take a rest and not think they’re gonna lose any of the momentum that they’ve gained will sit out.”
Asked which players that will be, Boudreau said, “You’ll have to wait.” It does seem like Alexander Semin will get another game’s rest, with Alex Ovechkin possibly joining him. Jay Beagle and D.J. King are shoo-ins to play Saturday night.