BALLSTON, Va. - All but two members of the Washington Capitals participated in Friday's morning skate as the team prepared for its game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mike Green (groin) and Matt Hendricks (knee) did not skate and will not play tonight. Roman Hamrlik, however, did skate and head coach Dale Hunter said after practice that Hamrlik will return to the lineup Friday after missing four games.
"Yeah, I'm cleared to go," Hamrlik said. "I feel much better."
Hamrlik said that he hopes that he will play Friday and that the injury wasn't serious enough to keep him out of the playoffs if it occurred in the spring.
"I want to be 100 percent and it feels like it," Hamrlik said. "I'm ready to go today."
With Hamrlik's return imminent, Jeff Schultz took in extra work with assistant coach Jim Johnson and will likely be the defensive scratch. Schultz played only 3:55 in Wednesday's 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. Schultz did not want to dwell on Wednesday's lack of ice time and said that he's working to regain the confidence that led him to a plus-50 rating two seasons ago.
"It's getting back to where I played a couple years ago, that breakout season," Schultz said. "It starts in practice and doing the things working with Jim [Johnson] afterward, just getting back to that confidence level that I know I can play at."
Meanwhile, Jay Beagle participated for about 25 minutes before stepping off the ice. Beagle said that he is not cleared for contact yet, but skating with the entire team is a positive step.
"It was really good," Beagle said. "It was a lot of fun to be out there with the guys. It's a good step to go out and kind of skate for 20, 25 minutes and feel good."
Beagle hasn't played since October 13, when he suffered a concussion in a fight with the Pittsburgh Penguins' Arron Asham.
Tomas Vokoun left the ice first and will earn his second straight start. With Vokoun in goal, the lineup should look the same as it did Wednesday:
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Alexander Semin
Troy Brouwer - Marcus Johansson - Jeff Halpern
Jason Chimera - Brooks Laich - Joel Ward
Cody Eakin - Mathieu Perreault - Mike Knuble