The Washington Times - March 28, 2011, 10:30AM

Alex Ovechkin and Jason Arnott sported baby blue practice jerseys Monday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. But the important part was that both big guns practiced fully with their teammates as expected – a big step toward returning to game action.

“They skated pretty good today, so they’re getting closer,” coach Bruce Boudreau said “I haven’t talked to [trainer Greg Smith] about the actual timeline right now, but they skated really well as part of practice and looked good.”

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Ovechkin sounded like he wants to strap on the full pads he wore Monday again Tuesday night when the Caps face the Hurricanes at Verizon Center. But that seems more like a competitive athlete itching to get back than a prediction.

“I just skating over there, like see if it bothers me or not. It’s not bothering me. I think I’m ready to go,” he said.

The superstar went on to say it’s not his decision. Boudreau was asked if the end of the week was possible for Ovechkin and Arnott to return, and he said, “Yeah.”

Asked the same sort of question, Arnott replied: “I think so. We had some good skates while the team was gone. We’ll just have to see how it goes.”

Defensemen Mike Green and Tom Poti seem much further off. Green (concussion) skated on his own before practice and said he’s still feeling symptoms “here and there, but nothing that’s progressing to get worse.”

Poti (groin) sounds even more like a player not ready to return to the lineup anytime soon. The veteran said he’s been able to skate hard one day before taking a day off.

“It’s definitely getting a little better. I’m able to participate in practices and not reinjure it,” he said. “It’s definitely getting better, but it’s not where it needs to be right now.”