Caps practice is underway here at Kettler in Arlington. Alexander Semin is on the ice — he missed the past two games because of an undisclosed injury/illness. Boyd Gordon is not practicing — clearly his back problems are a little more severe than we might have oringially thought.
Here’s how the forwards look:
Eric Fehr was on the ice (briefly) in a green jersey with the third line, but he’s not out there now.
UPDATE: Eric Fehr returned to practice — he just had a skate problem. Mike Green left practice early. Bruce Boudreau said he was sore, but made sure to point out it wasn’t his knee (stemming from the knee-on-knee hit the other night) that was sore.
Boudreau said Boyd Gordon’s back injury isn’t really worse than previously thought, but it just continues to linger. Gordon has already missed four games, and it certainly looks like he’ll miss a fifth tomorrow night.
Gordon’s absence is one factor in the Caps’ awful night in the faceoff circle against the Islanders, but there were plenty of other reasons as well. David Steckel pointed out that the linesmen were not doing the road team any favors to put it lightly and Dean Evason pointed out there were several 50-50 draws that are always going to go to the home team on the stat sheet.
We’re going to dive depper into the faceoffs issue in tomorrow’s paper. Yes, the Caps have two of the best guys in the league in Steckel and Gordon, but Nicklas Backstrom’s struggles in the circle (40.8 percent) are severely limiting the offense at this point.
Not winning draws leads to chasing the puck all night, and it is a way for an inferior team like the Islanders to muck it up and keep the Caps from really imposing their will.