Yesterday at practice, I caught up with a few of the Caps that missed some significant time due to injury that have returned recently, only to then sit again during the four-day All-Star game break.
Jeff Schultz: "It felt good to be out there but the legs and wind aren't quite where they were, but it was a good four days that guys use to rest, the heal some bumps and bruises. We'll have a good morning skate and we'll be ready for the game.
"I played enough games before the break that I kinda got back feeling good and where I like playing at, so I still used the four days to get away from the game and refocus, and now we're back at it and time to go for the home stretch."
Matt Bradley: "I think I've been very well rested over the last six weeks so I have no excuses as far as being out of shape or anything like that. During the break I did some stuff, you know, rode the bike and working out -- trying to stay on top of a couple things. But it felt good out there [at Monday's practice] and we're ready to go for [Montreal]."
Boyd Gordon: "I played a lot of games there before the break and I probably didn't need it [the break] but I'm sure it didn't hurt either way. I should be fine. You get it back relatively quickly."
"It's never fun sitting out watching games with injury. But things happen, and hopefully I'll stay healthy the rest of the season and contribute when I get in there."
Yesterday, the team recalled C Mathieu Perreault and D Tyler Sloan from AHL Hershey. This morning, they brought back F Jay Beagle as well.
Alexander Semin took part in practice yesterday, spending a considerable alount of time working with the first line power play unit, but with Beagle's recall -- and Coach Boudreau's insistence that Semin "will let us know when he's okay to play" -- it's still cloudy whether the enigmatic winger will return to the line-up tonight.
Michael Neuvirth practiced too, but during a skating drill it appeared that he was still laboring with his "lower body injury." "I made it through [practice] so that's a big step for me," Neuvirth said, "Still hoping it's gonna get better. I was a little rusty but I had a good practice."
Tom Poti and Eric Fehr skated ahead of practice, and neither are expected to return anytime soon. Boudreau "guessed" after practice that Poti might be able to play next week, and Fehr the week after that, but he had no hard timetable.