Several times this year, the Washington Capitals had optional morning skates with less-than-stellar attendance on days of big games. Thursday was another optional workout, but only one player chose not to participate.
Alexander Semin was the only skater not to go on the ice for the full team skate, joined only by injured goaltender Tomas Vokoun. Injured defenseman John Erskine (lower body) was on the ice.
More importantly, so was Troy Brouwer, who took a “maintenance day” Wednesday. The big right wing took a nasty tumble into the boards in the third period Monday night.
Brouwer is expected to play Thursday night against the Florida Panthers as the Caps could potentially clinch a playoff spot. To do that, they need to win and have the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Buffalo Sabres in regulation.
Dale Hunter confirmed that Semin would play.
To win the division, the Caps need to win in regulation Thursday night, the Panthers to lose in regulation Saturday vs. Carolina, and to win Saturday at the Rangers.
The Caps did not do line rushes at Thursday’s morning skate.
POSSIBLE LINEUP FOR THURSDAY NIGHT VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS, 7 P.M., VERIZON CENTER:
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Marcus Johansson
Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Alexander Semin
Matt Hendricks - Brooks Laich - Troy Brouwer
Keith Aucoin - Jay Beagle - Mike Knuble
Karl Alzner - Dennis Wideman
Roman Hamrlik - Mike Green
Dmitry Orlov - John Carlson