BALLSTON, Va. - Sunday is normally a day of rest for the Washington Capitals, but after returning from a three-game road trip with a 0-3 record, they held practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. All players - with the exceptions of Mike Green and Jay Beagle - were on the ice and head coach Bruce Boudreau once again shuffled his forward lines with one notable change:
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Brooks Laich - Mike Knuble
Cody Eakin - Marcus Johansson - Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks - Jeff Halpern - Mathieu Perreault - Alexander Semin
Semin's designation to the fourth line raises some questions as to his status for Monday's game against the Phoenix Coyotes. Usually, when four players skate on the fourth line during practice, one of them will be scratched. Semin does not exactly fit on a line with the other three, so it can be inferred that Semin will either be demoted or scratched Monday. Semin leads the Caps with 14 minor penalties and finished the road trip with one goal, a minus-2 rating and six PIM.
When asked if Semin could be a healthy scratch Monday, Boudreau was noncommittal.
"Infer what you want," he said. "If everybody's healthy, two guys gotta sit."
Semin eventually joined the third line to fill in for Ward, who left the ice for "precautionary reasons," according to a team spokesman. After practice, Boudreau said Ward wasn't feeling well. Erskine also left the ice after taking a bump on his shoulder, but Boudreau said both Erskine and Ward should play Monday.
Meanwhile, on the defensive end, Dmitry Orlov practiced Sunday after being recalled from AHL Hershey. He primarly skated in a pairing with Karl Alzner. Roman Hamrlik skated with Dennis Wideman, while John Erskine skated with John Carlson. Jeff Schultz rotated with Orlov, so perhaps he could be the defensive healthy scratch against the Coyotes.
Boudreau also provided an update on Mike Green, who has yet to skate since injuring his groin last Friday. Boudreau did not sound optimistic when discussing Green's status.
"It hasn't worsened," Boudreau said of Green's injury. "It just hasn't improved at the rate that we would've liked it to improve. We're hoping that he skates at some point this week."