BALLSTON, Va. - The Washington Capitals had their first full practice since Monday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and there were plenty of changes in the lineup.
Alex Ovechkin returned to his normal place on the left side of the first line as his three-game suspension expired Wednesday. He will play his first game since January 22 Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens.
Meanwhile, Marcus Johansson moved to the center position, while Mathieu Perreault returned to his normal bottom six role on the third line:
Ovechkin - Johansson - Alexander Semin
Matt Hendricks - Brooks Laich - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Perreault - Mike Knuble
Keith Aucoin - Jeff Halpern - Joel Ward
Joel Rechlicz and Jay Beagle skated in powder blue jerseys, but after practice, the team placed Rechlicz on waivers, according to head coach Dale Hunter. Rechlicz will return to AHL Hershey if he is not claimed by noon Saturday.
"Well, he's on waivers more than anything else to give us some more room if somebody got hurt or something," Hunter said of Rechlicz.
Rechlicz appeared in just 4:26 in two games for the Caps this week, but Hunter praised his efforts despite not making much of an impact on the ice.
"He was vocal, he took the body," Hunter said. "On the road, there wasn't no physicality going on or nothing. He took care of that, so he was a force out there."
For what it is worth, Hunter denied that Rechlicz's call-up was related to the Caps' game against the Canadiens, specifically Rene Bourque, who knocked out Nicklas Backstrom with an elbow to the head January 3. Backstrom has yet to play since.
Meanwhile, Mike Green skated for about 20 minutes before practice, marking the fourth consecutive day he has done so, including the second straight day in full equipment.
According to Hunter, Tomas Vokoun will start in goal for Washington Saturday.