The Washington Capitals held a 40-minute practice Wednesday at KCI, but with a tough stretch of games coming up, Alex Ovechkin, Brooks Laich, and Dennis Wideman were all given the day off by coach Dale Hunter. Hunter explained that at this point of the season the coaching staff likes to give players off during tough stretches. The Capitals schedule for the next few days include games on Thursday, Sunday, and Monday, with travel involved. That can wear players out so they need a break every now and then.
Ovechkin played by far his best game of the season last night, with two goals in 20 minutes and 15 seconds of ice time. Ovechkin played a high tempo game that was reminiscent of two seasons ago, as well as throwing the body around and causing turnovers.
Laich played 9 minutes and 28 seconds during Tuesday’s 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers. Laich also suffered a knee injury on Sunday against the Boston Bruins, so he was given the day off simply to rest and get the knee back to full strength.
Wideman leads the team in ice time this season and played a solid 18 minutes and 41 seconds last night so he is deserving of an off day.
Despite the absences from the ice, the Capitals ran through practice with the same line combinations they used last night with open spaces for those who had the day off.