On Saturday, Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette spoke to the media ahead of tonight’s preseason finale against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Capital One Arena (7 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Washington). He gave brief updates on players and what the team will be considering with prospects as they finalize the roster ahead of the regular season opener next week.
The team hosted an optional ice skate this morning. Right winger TJ Oshie (upper body) and defenseman Dmitry Orlov (lower body) skated; However, both wore non-contact jerseys. Neither will play tonight.
“The fact that they’re out here competing and doing a good training – that’s really good for us and hopefully it will continue like that.”
Laviolette remains hopeful they can qualify for the first game of the 2022-23 season on Wednesday when they host the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena (7:00 p.m. ET, TNT), saying, “It’s still Day after day, but they’re out here.”
After Saturday’s game, they will resume training on Sunday. The team has Monday off before holding one last practice session before the regular season opener. “We’ll see where things are and see how they feel and then we’ll make decisions.”
Referring to center Lars Eller, who missed Friday’s practice session due to illness, Laviolette confirmed the 33-year-old is out tonight but noted he is “doing fine”.
“There will be a couple of youngsters,” Laviolette said of today’s lineup, adding that “it’s still a training camp” and the Capitals are “still evaluating.”
Laviolette also confirmed that goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper will be in the net and play the full 60 minutes. “I feel like we’re in a good position with the goalkeeper, but he has to make sure he has his game. Again we saved those last two games to get to this point and somehow got him to play the games.
He said that Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren “played extremely well” during those pre-season games.
The capitals will face tough decisions about prospects as they finalize the official lineup for next week. Laviolette said: “Those will be decisions that we’ll have to come to terms with on Sunday morning… the training camp plays a part, how they’ve fared in the games, what kind of camp they’ve had overall – all of that will factor in. what we need, our needs up here, roles, needs and all these factors go into the decision making.”
By Della Young