Joel Ward skated lightly in a track suit Friday as his Washington Capitals teammates went through practice, his first time on the ice since suffering a bruised left knee Sunday.
The Washington Capitals right wing does not appear close to returning to game action. Coach Adam Oates said he did not know how long Ward would be out.
“He’s a good part of our team,” right wing Troy Brouwer said. “He’s been very consistent this year, playing good hockey. He’s a great guy to have in the room, always joking around, keeping the guys light and having fun. His work ethic and consistency, we really miss that.”
Ward blocked a shot from Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Sami Salo on April 7 and left the game. Oates said the 32-year-old was waiting for the swelling to go down in his left knee area before skating.
Though he was on the ice, Ward did not take part in team drills as the Caps had their first full practice since March 29.
Left wing Martin Erat (left leg) participated and did rushes with the second line. He could return Saturday night against the Lightning as the Caps go for their seventh win in a row. Aaron Volpatti split rushes on that line in case Erat is not ready to play.
Every player on the roster was on the ice except for forward Brooks Laich, who has not skating since suffering a lower-body injury April 4 against the New York Islanders. Oates said Laich suffered an injury that negatively affected his groin.
Here’s a look at the lines that are likely to be in place Saturday night vs. Tampa Bay:
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Alex Ovechkin
Martin Erat / Aaron Volpatti - Mike Ribeiro - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Eric Fehr
Wojtek Wolski - Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle
Karl Alzner - Mike Green
John Erskine - John Carlson
Jack Hillen - Steve Oleksy