- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 9, 2014

Mike Green will not play in the Washington Capitals‘ season-opener on Thursday as he continues to recover from an unspecified upper-body injury.

Green was injured in the Capitals‘ preseason victory at Boston on Sept. 26 and did not play in the final four games. He skated with John Erskine, who will be a healthy scratch, as a fourth defensive pairing during Thursday’s morning skate.

“I want to make sure that I can battle and play the game tough,” Green said. That was the decision we made — more so Barry [Trotz, the coach] just being smart about it.”

Trotz said the decision to hold Green out on Thursday is because the season is “a marathon, not a sprint, so let’s do the right thing.” There’s a chance he returns Saturday when the Capitals return to Boston for their second regular-season game. If not, he should be able to play by the following game, Tuesday at home against San Jose.

Nate Schmidt will take Green’s spot and join Jack Hillen as the Capitals‘ third defensive pair. Schmidt, a left-hander, will play on the right side; he played in just three of nine games this preseason.

“[He’s] a very good skater, and he’s shown a little bit of offensive flair as well,” Trotz said. “He’s played well to this point, so I don’t see that changing.”

In addition to Green and Erskine, forward Michael Latta will be a healthy scratch, leaving Liam O’Brien, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Chris Brown on the fourth line.

O’Brien, who spent the last four years playing juniors in the QMJHL, signed an entry-level contract with the Capitals on Monday after attending training camp on an amateur tryout.

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