The Washington Times - January 24, 2012, 10:17AM

Alex Ovechkin was on the ice for Tuesday’s morning skate, despite being suspended Monday for the Washington Capitals’ next three games. That was not all too surprising, as suspended players can practice with their teams.

But the player who was absent came as a surprise: Jeff Schultz was not on the ice. A team spokesman said he was out with an illness.

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Schultz has been a healthy scratch for 18 of the past 20 games. The Caps called up 21-year-old Tomas Kundratek to play over Schultz. Kundratek was sent back to Hershey of the American Hockey League on Monday.

It was already assumed that John Erskine would play Tuesday night against the Boston Bruins. The team has only six active, healthy defenseman available if Schultz cannot play.