Mike Green is out of the lineup for the third straight game because of a groin injury. The Washington Capitals will face the New Jersey Devils on Saturday without their No. 1 defenseman
Green took warm-ups and rushes alongside Karl Alzner, but ultimately the team and the 27-year-old decided he wasn’t able to go.
“He can’t be almost ready to go, he’s got to feel that he can go play and play 100 percent because I can’t have him go two shifts and then get hurt,” coach Adam Oates said.
The Caps are playing it safe. It helps that the next game isn’t until Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Green missed 41 games with a groin injury last season. It’s not clear which groin is sore this time, but the Caps have to be cautious.
“It’s tough with a groin injury because [in] two more days we could be having the same conversation in two days,” Oates said. “How long do they take? Sometimes you’ve got to get back in there, and that’s why it’s a tough decision.”
With Green out again, it could be another long afternoon for John Carlson, who played a season-high 30:34 Thursday night against New Jersey.
Carlson said he had to treat the day between games differently, but a heavier workload doesn’t change much for him on game day.
“Just bury your head and play,” Carlson said. “There’s not much else you can do.”
Carlson said he goes on the ice when his number is called. Managing Carlson’s minutes is a job for Oates and assistant coach Calle Johansson.
“Absolutely. That’s a lot of minutes,” Oates said. “We’ve actually already talked about it to see how he feels and how much jump he has, etc.”
How do the Caps do that?
“You hope the game’s going your way, that you can pull him back a little,” Oates said.
Carlson enjoyed playing the minutes but also knows it’s taxing.
“You want to play as much as you can, obviously,” the 23-year-old said. “That’s everyone’s goal. But I didn’t even think about it really at all during the game.”