The Washington Times - April 4, 2009, 01:38PM

Sergei Fedorov skipped out on practice pretty quickly today, and Viktor Kozlov missed some time last night. Bruce Boudreau said Fedorov blocked a shot in the game against Buffalo, but told his coach he would be ready to play tomorrow afternoon against Atlanta. Boudreau said it was precautionary with Kozlov, and he went through the whole practice today.

The Thrashers are on the ice here in Arlington now after dealing a blow to Florida’s playoff hopes last night in Sunrise, Fla. Atlanta has won 11 of 14 games, which is a feel-good story for the players, but it might not be the best thing for the long-term health of the franchise.

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Instead of “competing” with the Islanders, Avalanche and Lightning for the top two picks in the draft (and potential franchise players John Tavares and Viktor Hedman, the Thrashers are currently up to 26th in the NHL standings, which would net them the No. 5 pick if they don’t win the lottery. Granted, their will be some great options available at No. 5 (or 6 if a team below them wins the lottery), but Tavares and Hedman are considered a cut above everyone else.

Meanwhile, the Caps will officially be eliminated from contention for the top spot in the Eastern Conference today if the Bruins get at least a point against the Rangers (the B’s are up 1-0 through 20 minutes), but their focus has been on the No. 2 spot for quite some time now. The Devils are in Buffalo tonight to play the desperate Sabres. Both teams are playing the second of back-to-back games. New Jersey tried to give Martin Brodeur a rest last night, but Kevin Weekes was injured and he had to play.

A possibly important development for the Caps last night was Tomas Fleischmann collecting his first post in more than a month. He and Eric Fehr seem to click together when put on the same line, but both have been struggling to collect points of late. More on them in the paper tomorrow.