Jay Beagle makes his triumphant return to the Washington Capitals and the NHL on Wednesday night, a positive sign for a team in need of them. The 26-year-old forward is set to be in the lineup against the New York Rangers, his first game since suffering a concussion Oct. 13.
Beagle was coy about his status, but coach Dale Hunter confirmed Beagle would play after missing 31 straight games.
“When someone gets an injury – that type of injury – he’s one of these kids that want to play,” Hunter said. “You see how hard he works in practice, by watching practice, that he wants to play. He’ll give us some energy, he gives us size. Especially against the Rangers, the third, fourth lines are big guys and we need some size.”
Mathieu Perreault, who suffered a spleen injury Monday night against the Buffalo Sabres when he was struck by his own stick as part of a collision, steps out to make room for Beagle. Hunter said Perreault’s injury wasn’t serious.
But Beagle was ready.
“He’s been skating hard,” Hunter said. “Health-wise he was ready but conditioning was the thing.”