Mike Green reported progress Friday, but the injured Washington Capitals defenseman remained questionable for Saturday afternoon's game against the New Jersey Devils.
Green, who's officially listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury, has missed the past two games.
"You've got to play it smart," Green said. "It's better I be safe than sorry and be out for longer. We've done this right, we've done the necessary steps and I feel good. So it's been a quick turnaround."
Quick enough to allow him to play Saturday remains to be seen. Even if the Caps need him, they understand Green rushing back could have negative long-term ramifications.
"He plays in every situation, plays a lot of minutes," coach Adam Oates said. "When you play that many minutes, you're expecting so many decisions based on that because of who he is and how many good decisions he makes, it helps our club."
Without Green, defenseman John Carlson played a season-high 30:34 in Thursday night's 3-2 loss, and others on the blue line were tasked with bigger roles.
It becomes a trickle-down effect.
"Yeah you worry about tomorrow: 30 minutes and tomorrow how's [Carlson] going to feel at noon? It's all cumulative how it adds up, right?" Oates said. "And you don't want to put guys in situations that they're not used to."
Green is used to being out of the lineup having now missed 82 of the Caps' past 180 games because of one injury or another. But he felt like he was able to do more on the ice during Friday's practice.
Returning Saturday is a possibility.
"We'll see, yeah," Green said. "I'm hoping."
Goaltender Braden Holtby will make his sixth straight start Saturday, Oates confirmed. It's not a surprise as the Caps try to build something with his solid play as a foundation.
Oates, who was an assistant with the Devils for two years as future Hall of Famer Marty Brodeur was the go-to guy in goal. He likes the idea of a team knowing who the goaltender is.
"I think both guys will get their chance to accomplish that and [Michal Neuvirth] will get his chance. He had it already and he'll get it again," Oates said. "But right now, I've got to go with Holts. He's playing good hockey for us."
Part of what has made Brodeur so good is the defensive system around him. Oates is happy with how the Caps have limited chances against for Holtby in recent games.
Fehr earns promotion
Following Thursday's loss, Oates switched up his forward lines, promoting Eric Fehr to the second alongside Nicklas Backstrom and Troy Brouwer and demoting Wojtek Wolski to the third.
"I want to give Fehrsie a few more minutes playing with Nick and Brouwer just because I thought that he's been playing some really good hockey for us and I want to test chemistry," Oates said.
Wolski, who doesn't have a point in the past seven points, played just one shift in the third period against the Devils. The demotion has a purpose.
"It gives WoJo a chance to take a step back and play with two different guys and maybe try not to be too fancy and simplify his game a little," Oates said.
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