A big welcome back could be in store for Alex Ovechkin and Jason Arnott on Tuesday night at Verizon Center. Both seem likely to play for the Capitals against the Hurricanes, judging by the morning skate at Kettler.
Jason Chimera and Jay Beagle joined previous healthy scratches Tyler Sloan and D.J. King on the ice for the traditional scratches skate. That’s an indication that all will sit out the first game of this home stand – and more importantly for Washington that Ovechkin and Arnott will return.
Following the morning skate, coach Bruce Boudreau would not confirm his lineup.
“I’m not gonna say who’s in the lineup or who’s out of the lineup,” he said. “Just talking to the trainers and finding out who’s healthy and who’s not healthy and who’s ready to go, who’s not ready to go. The players will all know but you guys will know when you see it.”
Asked if reporters should read anything into who’s left on the ice for the scratches skate, Boudreau responded: “I just said, I’m not saying anything.”
Chimera and Beagle both confirmed they would not play, and the veteran winger in particular looked upset.
“I’d rather not talk about it,” he said. “If your boss came to you and said you were sitting out today, would you be happy?”
The (finally) healthy guys were tight-lipped about the situation, even though it’s almost certain both guys knew they would play against Carolina. Ovechkin said “maybe tonight” but deferred to Boudreau.
“Well, we’re gonna see what’s gonna happen,” he said. “It’s about coach’s decision, so we’ll see.”
Arnott – a veteran in everything, including not revealing too much information – said he didn’t know, either. But he’s feeling OK.
“It seems all right,” Arnott said. “I gotta talk it over with them and decide in a little while.”
Players around the locker room weren’t sure, or at least weren’t saying, but all seemed excited about the idea of getting Arnott and Ovechkin back.
“Two great, offensive goal scorers for us,” Jeff Schultz said. “With them now as close to 100 percent as can be, it’s gonna be a big plus for us.”