A day after dropping a 3-2 decision to Vancouver, the Washington Capitals were on the ice this morning at Rexall Centre in Edmonton. Just about everyone went on the ice, save for Brooks Laich, Mike Knuble and Brendan Morrison. Most of the players stayed out long enough that Bruce Boudreau said he was going to have to go drag them off the ice.
The ice surface here in Edmonton is historically something to be seen. The local media says it has dropped off in the past five or six years because the building is aging, but it only takes about 30 seconds to see that it is vastly superior to some of the sheets the Caps see in the Southeast Division.
This is Bruce Boudreau’s first trip to Edmonton. Here and St. Louis are the last two NHL buildings he’s never been to as a player or a coach. Boudreau was a big Wayne Gretzky fan, and this building has a lot of history in it, obviously. When you walk toward the Oilers dressing room, there are five replicas of the Stanley Cup there to greet you.
As for the Caps, it looks like Michal Neuvirth will get the start for the third time this season. He’s 0-2 so far and yielded six goals on 36 shots his last time out in Toronto. Boudreau said he needs to take advantage of his opportunity. Boudreau also said Semyon Varlamov didn’t feel comfortable after skating yesterday — though he did skate again this morning.
It also looks like there will be a bit of a shakeup on defense. Milan Jurcina and Tyler Sloan will be back in, and it appears that John Erskine and Shaone Morrisonn will be out. Kyle Wilson was also skating after everyone else had left the ice, so either Quintin Laing or Boyd Gordon could be coming back from injury to take his place.
The Oilers have lost two straight games and are struggling to keep pace in the deep and talented Western Conference without a few key injured players, including Ales Hemsky and goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.