Washington’s season opener is Wednesday against Boston at Capital One Arena.
Oshie’s right shoulder was crushed into the boards on Joe Veleno’s hit, which looked clean on the ice. There was no penalty on the play. He was expected to be reevaluated Thursday afternoon.
T.J. Oshie leaves Capitals’ preseason win early with upper-body injury
Orlov’s injury status is less clear. The defenseman finished Wednesday’s preseason game and did not appear to be in pain. Laviolette said Thursday that Orlov was “day-to-day” with a lower-body injury, though he also said Orlov’s absence from practice could be looked at as more of a “maintenance” day. It is unclear if he will play Saturday.
Orlov skated a team-high 21:25 minutes Wednesday against the Red Wings. The 31-year-old defenseman has rarely missed time because of injury throughout his lengthy NHL career.
Oshie’s injury could be a significant cause for concern in Washington. The Capitals are already without Tom Wilson (knee), Nicklas Backstrom (hip) and Carl Hagelin (eye, lower-body) to start the season.
Oshie, 35, has had myriad injuries the past few seasons and most recently underwent a core procedure in the summer. Oshie, who missed 38 games last season, did not participate in the skate test on the first day of training camp but participated fully in subsequent practices and preseason games.
Oshie’s list of ailments last season included a broken foot, back pains and core issues. Out for long stretches during the season, Oshie described the month of February as “pretty rough,” both mentally and physically, as he recovered from an undisclosed upper-body injury. Months later, finally working his way back to good health, it appears Oshie could have to start over the recovery cycle.
If Oshie’s injury is long-term, it would open up an immediate spot in the lineup. Washington has a couple of options to replace him but none more apparent than prospect Aliaksei Protas.
Aliaksei Protas is ‘working to make noise’ with the Capitals
Protas has impressed teammates and coaches during training camp, using his newfound speed and skating skills to get to pucks quicker and more effectively. The 21-year-old has looked the part of an NHL player, but there were questions as to whether Washington had an opening in its lineup. If Oshie is out to start the season, it could be Protas’s shot to make an early impression and prove why he should stay.
Washington will also have to find a new player to replace Oshie on the power play if his injury lingers into the season. Newcomer Connor Brown appears to be the front-runner. Brown played in Oshie’s spot on power play late Wednesday and scored the game-winner on the power play with his goal in front.
Brown said after the game he was comfortable playing in that “bumper spot” and had asked Oshie for advice during training camp on how to most effectively play the position. His footwork, he noted, was one of the biggest things to watch out for.
“Just setting yourself up in little spacings where you’re going to be open and stuff like that [is a big thing],” Brown said Wednesday. “It was nice to capitalize on one, and I’m feeling more and more comfortable in that spot as well.”