After Friday's day off, the Capitals were back at practice on Saturday and John Carlson was with them, taking part in practice for the first time since Wednesday's exhibition game.
Carlson did not play the final 10 minutes of the exhibition after getting tangled up behind the goal line and falling to the ice. Both head coach Todd Reirden and general manager Brian MacLellan downplayed the severity of the injury and his return Saturday seems to confirm their optimism.
"John did practice with us today, as were all of the other players, and we'll continue to see how he does going forward here," Reirden said.
Despite his return to practice, however, Reirden stopped short of saying he would be able to play in the team's first round-robin game on Monday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"We're going to do what's right for us and for the player for the long haul here," Reirden said. "Obviously as long as he continues to progress then we'll anxiously want him in our lineup as quickly as possible, but at the same time we've got to make sure we're doing the right thing for our team and for our player."
It certainly sounds as if Reirden's hesitation is more about being cautious rather than a sign of any significant issue. As the round-robin is just for seeding and not part of a playoff series, clearly the team does not want to force Carlson back into the lineup if they don't need to.
If Carlson does miss Monday's game it will be the first game he has missed in the 2019-20 season. Considering how hard it has been finding a right defenseman just play on the second pair behind Carlson, Carlson's absence would be a huge hole in the lineup.
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