There wasn’t the ovation from teammates upon stepping on the ice that Jay Beagle got last weekend – his first appearance there in three weeks. But the Washington Capitals were more than excited Friday morning to see the concussed forward join them for just about a full morning skate.
Beagle did admit to getting a lot of high-fives though.
“I think I scored on my second shot. They were pretty fired up to see that my shot went in,” Beagle said. “I was obviously fired up, celebrating like I scored in the Stanley Cup Finals. It was fun.”
Beagle skated for about 25 minutes Friday, and though he didn’t exert himself completely, the practice marked significant progress as the first time he was out there among the Caps since suffering a concussion Oct. 13.
“It’s a little bit different on your head when you’re out there all by yourself. It’s just you and no distractions and when you’re out there with the team it’s a little different,” he said. “But it was a lot of fun – my head felt great and I’m taking it as a positive.”
Beagle doesn’t know how many more times he’ll have to go through these kinds of on-ice workouts without contact before moving on to full practices. That’s up to trainer Greg Smith and his doctors.
“I’m not cleared for contact just yet,” Beagle said. “You’ve got to take all the steps and so far everything’s been going good. It was exciting to be out there with the guys.”
Brooks Laich has said recently that trainers and doctors are there to protect hockey players from themselves. The NHL’s concussion protocol helps, too, as Beagle won’t be allowed to skip any steps along the way.
“I basically just do what I’m told. If it was me, I’d want to play tonight. I want to play hockey and I love to play the game,” Beagle said. “It’s their job to delegate when I’m going to get on and when I’m going to be cleared for contact. I’m just going to keep doing what they tell me to do and trust in them and so far everything’s been good.”