John Erskine skated before Thursday’s practice before leaving the ice but did not experience a setback in his return from injury, Washington Captials coach Adam Oates said.
Erskine, who has missed 10 games with an apparent left hand/wrist/arm injury, did not take part in team drills.
“He was here [Wednesday] when everybody had a day off. So he went at it pretty hard,” Oates said. “Just giving him a little rest today, see how he responds for tomorrow.”
Oates reiterated that he was hoping to have Erskine available by the weekend, either Saturday at the Buffalo Sabres or Sunday at the Philadelphia Flyers. But the Caps’ coach had been alluding to Erskine making a return for each of the previous two weekends.
Defensemen Tomas Kundratek (sprained MCL in right knee) and Tom Poti (back) took part in practice. There’s no official timeline on either one being able to return.
“I do not feel 100 percent yet,” Kundratek said. ‘I didn’t battle yet in the corners, definitely my battles and sprints. That’s the problem areas still.”
Poti missed two full years with groin injuries and a fractured pelvis. Neck and back injuries have limited the 35-year-old to 16 games this season.
“It’s very frustrating,” Poti said. “But it’s the nature of the game and that’s the stuff that happens. Good thing is it’s not too bad and I’ll be back soon.”
Right wing Eric Fehr, who fell awkwardly Sunday night at the New York Islanders, was not on the ice for practice. It doesn’t sound like he’ll be back anytime soon.
“Still day-to-day, upper body,” Oates said. “Getting better, but still a ways away.”
Defenseman Jack Hillen missed practice with an illness.
Lines were the same as Tuesday night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders. Expect Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth to play games over the weekend at the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers.
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Alex Ovechkin
Brooks Laich - Mike Ribeiro - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle - Wojtek Wolski