The Washington Times - December 27, 2011, 11:10PM

It has been 2½ months since Jay Beagle agreed to fight Arron Asham and suffered a concussion. Now, finally, the Washington Capitals forward appears close to returning.

Beagle skated for another hard, full practice Tuesday and did not rule himself out from playing this weekend. That’s no assurance of anything, but this week is certainly a good time for optimism about the concussed 26-year-old.

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Beagle has been cleared for everything. At this point, it’s a matter of getting into game shape, as Beagle spent a significant amount of time off the ice.

With concussions unfortunately you don’t do much training. You can’t,” coach Dale Hunter said. “So it takes a while to get in shape.”

Hunter has seemingly also discovered Beagle’s reputation as a tireless worker – a well-earned one at that.

He works his tail off here in practice. It’s like he’s in the seventh game of the Stanley Cup Finals – in practice,” the coach said. “I like his work ethic. That’s why you want to get him back in the lineup.”