ARLINGTON, Va. — Washington Capitals forward Lars Eller and defenseman John Carlson fully practiced with their teammates Monday for the first time this preseason, on day four of practices at the team’s training camp at MedStar Capitals Iceplex.
Both players missed the start of camp with lower-body injuries. Coach Todd Reirden had kept them off the ice as a precautionary measure.
Eller’s injury doesn’t bother him anymore, he said, and he sustained it from “pushing it a little too hard at times” during individual training in the offseason.
“It was caused by myself, sort of,” the Dane quipped.
Carlson was more mum about his circumstances, but said he was glad to return to the ice with his teammates. So was his coach.
“We’re just making a smart choice right now in these first couple games in easing them back in and make sure that everything’s good to go,” Reirden said. “But I was impressed with both of their practice today.”
Although they only missed three days of camp, Eller and Carlson still felt like they’re already behind their teammates in their conditioning.
“I think I’ll catch up fairly quickly, but right now I’m just a couple steps behind the rest of the guys,” Eller said. “But I think in a couple weeks I’ll catch up.”
“(Other teammates) got their jitters out and their skates out and they feel a lot more comfortable than I did today,” Carlson said.
In the long run, that time apart won’t make much of a difference. For now, the Capitals will be happy to have all of the projected 23-man roster healthy at once before the regular season starts Oct. 3. Reirden did add winger Mathias Bau to the injury report, day-to-day with an upper-body issue.
Everyone will get a day off Wednesday after the Capitals’ first home preseason game Tuesday night against the Boston Bruins.