RALEIGH, N.C. — Michal Neuvirth wasn’t feeling quite right after taking a puck to the mask in Saturday’s morning skate in Buffalo. Neuvirth had a headache Sunday, and it was enough of a concern that the Washington Capitals scratched him.
But it didn’t take long for the pain to go away.
“I took a long nap Sunday afternoon, and when I woke up I felt good,” Neuvirth said.
The 25-year-old goaltender didn’t feel any symptoms after that nap and returned to ice with his teammates Tuesday morning.
“Just had a little headache, we wanted to make sure that everything’s good,” Neuvirth said after skating at PNC Arena. “Wanted to be careful, and I’m feeling good now.”
There was concern about a concussion and the Caps went through the proper protocol before Neuvirth was cleared to practice.
“He had to go through the tests,” coach Adam Oates said. “It is the injury of sports right now. Obviously you see it in football, but for us in the contact games, nobody has the magic answer on concussions.”
This injury scare cost Neuvirth another start. He has just two starts in the past 25 games as Braden Holtby emerged as the clear No. 1 goaltender.
Missing Sunday’s game at the Philadelphia Flyers was probably a necessary precaution, given that Neuvirth did not feel well even the morning after taking a shot from Alex Ovechkin that knocked his mask off.
Neuvirth said he was “in shock and in pain” when Ovechkin’s shot hit him.
“You’ve just got to be careful next time, maybe got [to] stand up because he’s got a pretty hard shot and it hurts when you get hit in the head,” Neuvirth said. “I think when you get hit in the chin it’s the worst.”
Oleksy stitched up, ready to go
Tough-guy defenseman Steve Oleksy has needed 20-plus stitches before, so getting six or seven Sunday night after fighting Flyers winger Jake Voracek was nothing.
“To be honest, it just kind of blends together,” Oleksy said.
Tuesday morning the 27-year-old’s left eye had a fresh shiner, too, as a result of the fight. Fans at Wells Fargo Center cheered as Oleksy went off with blood pouring down his face, but it didn’t surprise him.