By Sky Kerstein

Brooks Laich missed practice today after leaving in the second period yesterday after taking a hit on the boards in the Caps 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins.  Laich didn’t return to the game with a left knee injury and left Verizon Center yesterday on crutches.

“He’s day-to-day and it’s not major so that’s good news,”  Capitals Head Coach Dale Hunter said today following practice.

Hunter added Laich has not seen the doctor yet and will see him this afternoon.  Hunter also added that Laich was walking on his left knee today and said “oh yeah” when asked if he was relieved it was nothing “major”.

In his NHL career, Laich has only missed four regular season games due to an injury and that occurred during the 2009-2010 season when a John Carlson shot went off the goal in practice and hit him in the face.

Caps defenseman Mike Green didn’t skate for the third day in a row today.

“He’s on track, he’s just working out in the gym,”  Hunter said on Green.  “He’s feeling better every day.”

Green is expected to return in two-to-four weeks while recovering from abdominal surgery.

Nicklas Backstrom hasn’t played since January 3rd and also hasn’t skated in a few weeks after suffering a concussion.

“He’s progressing, he’s getting better,”  Hunter said on Backstrom.  “So that’s the good news.”

The Caps forward lines today looked like: Ovechkin-Johansson-Brouwer, Chimera-Perreault-Semin, Hendricks-Halpern-Ward, Knuble-Aucoin-Beagle.

All seven healthy Caps defenseman skated today including Dmitry Orlov who took a puck to his face Saturday breaking his nose and then re-injured his broken nose on Sunday.

Orlov said after practice that he was going to see a doctor today and is expected to play tomorrow, but will be wearing a full cage mask.

The Caps have exactly 15 home games and 15 road games remaining and host the Southeast Division Florida Panthers tomorrow.  The Panthers lead the Caps by one point and have a game in hand, but the Caps have three more wins.

“100 percent these are must wins,”  Caps defenseman Karl Alzner said on the two upcoming home games which includes the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

“These are the games [against] the teams that we know we can beat and we have to beat in order to have any sort of dominance,”  Alzner added on playing Southeast Division teams and trying to win the division for the fifth straight year.

Listen here to what Dale Hunter, Alex Ovechkin, Troy Brouwer, Karl Alzner, Jason Chimera and Mike Knuble had to say following practice today.

Dale Hunter Practice Audio

Alex Ovechkin Practice Audio

Troy Brouwer Practice Audio

Karl Alzner Practice Audio

Jason Chimera Practice Audio

Mike Knuble Practice Audio


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