He skated by himself for almost two months, but Tuesday Tomas Fleischmann was back on the ice with his Washington Capitals teammates for the first time this season.
And he couldn’t have been happier.
Fleischmann was grinning from ear-to-ear for most of the 1-hour, 20-minute practice. It didn’t matter that coach Bruce Boudreau was skating his team pretty hard - Fleischmann was enjoying every minute of it.
“I was skating for almost two months by myself, so this skate wasn’t hard for me,” Fleischmann said. “I was just smiling, to be with the guys on the ice and have fun.”
In place of the injured Corey Masisak (day-to-day with an undisclosed illness), I’ll have more on Fleischmann in Wednesday’s paper. But first a couple things from practice:
Boyd Gordon was out yet again dealing with back problems.
“He’s obviously not as good as we’d like it to be,” Boudreau said. “[His back is] still stiffening up, and he’s had the same problem in the past. We’re taking it a little slower this time to make sure he gets it right.”
This practice was tough. Boudreau had his shades of Herb Brooks thing going with the suicide sprints. It was a conditioning thing, everyone said, because of big breaks between games early in the season. Players were falling all over the ice near the end, but Fleischmann and Brian Pothier (among others) said it wasn’t that bad of a practice.
“We’re trying to build a good physical foundation,” Pothier said. “When we have an extended little vacation, [Boudreau] makes it tough on us to make sure he’s keeping us honest and we’re in good shape.”