The Washington Times - September 17, 2011, 04:33PM

Every hockey team has players who deal with offseason surgeries to repair injuries that often nag them for a whole season. Defenseman John Erskine and recently acquired wing Troy Brouwer fit that bill for the Capitals, with both undergoing shoulder operations.

While Erskine wore an orange no-contact jersey on the first day of training camp at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, Brouwer said he as cleared for contact and feeling good.

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“For me, it’s coming close,” he said. “It’s still another week or two away. But I will be ready for the start of the season. Hopefully I can fit a couple exhibition games in as well.

Brouwer had been considered a possibility to miss a bit of the regular season, but his comments Saturday seem to indicate an even better timetable for full recovery that previously expected. He wasn’t part of “Group A” that included most regulars, but Brouwer seems to fit in as either a second- or third-line wing this season.

The Caps traded their first-round pick in June to the Blackhawks for Brouwer’s restricted free agent rights and then signed him to a two-year deal.