First, Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom was sick, even though he felt well enough to play. Then goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who would have started Feb. 27 at the Philadelphia Flyers if not for his illness.
Right wing Troy Brouwer became the latest victim, missing the first game of his time with the Caps on Tuesday night against the Boston Bruins.
“I feel good,” Brouwer said after skating Wednesday. “The fact that was I was able to come to the rink today [is good]. Yesterday I wasn’t really able to get out of bed very much. Just real uncomfortable as anybody who has the flu knows.”
Brouwer expects to be able to play Thursday against the Florida Panthers. This weekend at the New York Islanders and then back home against the New York Rangers is up in the air.
“Yeah, I’ll be all right for tomorrow,” he said. “I’ll get some fluids in me and hopefully I can eat something in the next day or two, but it’s going to be tough with the back-to-back here.”
It was the first time Brouwer watched his team’s game from home since separating his shoulder two years ago while with the Chicago Blackhawks. Watching on television is a much different experience than even seeing a game from the press box.
“At least normally you can be around the guys at the rink and be a part of the whole ordeal,” Brouwer said. “But yesterday sitting on the couch with a blanket wrapped around me, it’s not a lot of fun sitting there, helpless.”
It might’ve been worse had the Caps not been able to turn a 3-0 deficit into an uplifting overtime victory.
“I watched the game, I stayed up for it, the guys did it great in coming back and hopefully it’s one of those wins that can help turn the season around,” Brouwer said.
Coach Adam Oates said Brouwer skated at Wednesday’s optional practice to “recover some energy.” Oates is hopeful Brouwer will feel well enough to play Thursday.
Oates cited Brouwer’s heavy workload in Winnipeg on Saturday and travel as a possible reason for the illness. He’s not worried about a flu bug or virus going around the locker room.
“I played a long time and I never saw it happen,” Oates said. “Every once in a while, a guy got sick but I never saw it go through the team. I’ve heard stories but it never happened to me.”