As the Capitals leave for a road trip that includes three games in five nights in Nashville, Winnipeg and Toronto, they do so with six healthy defensemen. That means no Mike Green, and “healthy” includes Roman Hamrlik and John Erskine.
But the Caps did not see a need to call up an extra defenseman from the Hershey Bears, just in case, something Bruce Boudreau explained Monday.
“If we were playing back-to-back games I would say yes. But we’ve got a day off in between, so I don’t think it’s necessary,” the Caps’ coach said. “We always, wherever we were, [could] just fly somebody in on the off-day.”
Flights are easy to get to Nashville, where the Caps will be Tuesday before their game at night and then again Wednesday for practice. If a defenseman were to get hurt before the game against the Predators, Brooks Laich could probably be counted on to slide back there as he did Saturday.
Wednesday into Thursday becomes more of a travel hassle. The Caps fly to Winnipeg after practice Wednesday and will be there until after their game against the Jets on Thursday night. It’s not exactly no-man’s land in today’s world of charter flights and more, but it’s one of the harder places to get a call-up (such as Dmitry Orlov, Sean Collins or Patrick McNeill) if an injury happens.
The Caps will be in Toronto for practice Friday and then their game against the Maple Leafs on Saturday, again not a hard place to get to for reinforcements.
For what it’s worth, Boudreau said he hoped that Green joins the Caps along the road somewhere. If he doesn’t, it’s incumbent on the other defensemen to not get hurt and set any call-up contingencies in motion.
But players insist they can’t worry about trying to stay healthy.
“If you start thinking that way, I think it takes away from your game, especially the way we want to play. We want to try to be more aggressive and play as hard as possible that if you start thinking like that, it’s going to put a little bit of a hinder in your game,” Karl Alzner said. “We don’t want that. We want everyone to play hard; if you get hurt, you get hurt.”