The Washington Times - November 12, 2011, 02:41PM

It was Mike Green’s first game back after a 20-day absence with a right ankle injury. But Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t consider dressing seven defensemen, just in case.

“I think we’ve got 13 really good forwards right now. It’s not like we’re thin on forwards and we’re strong on defense,” Boudreau said. “I think we’ve got really good depth at forward position so it just doesn’t seem like it would be something that I would want to do. Sometimes you have that real heavyweight type of guy and you might sit him out to go seven D. We don’t have that.”

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Green got hurt again Saturday, so Boudreau said Jeff Schultz jumps back into the lineup Saturday night.

But what about Brooks Laich? Could the Caps feature the defensive-minded forward on the blue line in some capacity?

It makes a lot of sense, especially if John Erskine, who just returned a week-and-a-half ago from a shoulder injury, isn’t 100 percent.

“He’s a little sore,” Boudreau said of Erskine.

Boudreau wouldn’t hesitate to use Laich on defense if he had to in a pinch.

“You trust him. I do. I trust him a lot,” the coach said. “I know that if he’s going to make a mistake, and we all make mistakes, at least it’s going to be a mistake of effort.”

Laich has played on defense before because Boudreau trusts the responsible forward in that spot. Sergei Fedorov had also been used in that “slash” role.

“They pay attention to detail when you talk to them, they’re quick learners. They’d be good students in school,” Boudreau said. “When you ask them to do something, they’re what coaches like because they grasp it and they pay attention to it and they do it and they do it right.”

If Laich plays defense, that could mean both Cody Eakin and Mathieu Perreault are in the lineup. It was unclear from the morning skate which young forward would be scratched.

And with Boudreau praising his team’s forward depth, that would provide chances for both to get ice time. Everyone knows Laich can handle responsibilities no matter what position he plays.