Practice is just underway here at Kettler for the Caps. Tomas Fleischmann and John Erskine skated before practice — it would sure look like Erskine isn’t going to be able to play tomorrow against the Sharks.
Tom Poti and Boyd Gordon are back on the ice. Here are the forward lines from this morning (same as yesterday with Gordon added):
More in a bit after practice is over.
UPDATE: Boyd Gordon left practice early, but Bruce Boudreau said it was just a precautionary move. Boudreau also said it is unlikely John Erskine will play tomorrow night.
Tom Poti said he is feeling better and he completed the full practice.
Boudreau lit into the boys a little bit midway through practice, equating work ethic in practice to playing well for a full 60 minutes (something that has been an issue of late). He said afterwards it was genuine.
“I was pissed off at a couple of guys,” he said. “They’ve got to work harder. I was always taught … it is not like a tap — you can’t just turn it on and off. You create the habits that you do. If you have a bad work day here, then it is going to start off as a bad work day tomorrow. You have to have the good habits of working hard all the time. The practices become shorter as the year goes on, but still the work ethic should be at a high level. When it’s not, I get mad at people.”
FANTASY TIP OF THE DAY: Another night and another big injury in the NHL. Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek is expected to miss “weeks” with an upper-body injury. Vanek is a goal-scoring machine, so the question is who will pick up the slack for the Sabres? Vanek was skating with Derek Roy (whose value takes a little hit here) and Drew Stafford.
It appears that both Clarke MacArthur and Jochen Hecht took shifts on the top line after Vanek went out. No definitive word yet on who gets that prime spot moving forward, and another name that could be in the mix is diminutive dynamo prospect Nathan Gerbe. Stafford (owned in 37 percent of Yahoo! leagues) could be a guy to add because he’s also on the top power-play unit and will have to score more. If MacArthur (2 percent) earns the gig playing with Roy and Stafford, he should be picked up, but if it is Gerbe or Hecht it might worth waiting to see how it goes. Hecht has never been a consistent scorer and Grebe hasn’t proven he can do it at this level.