The NHL adores the matchup between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins because of the star power involved. Sidney Crosby vs Alex Ovechkin is about an easy of a sell as there is in the league, and both star players have plenty of backup to boot. Washington will be without some of their reserve start power when they take on the Penguins tonight, as Mike Green won’t be able to play in the contest.
Head coach Adam Oates spoke to Adam Vingan of NHL.com about Green and his injury:
Not ready, not 100 percent ready. He could go, but you know what, [the Penguins are a] really good team and [we] don’t want to put him in a position where he’s behind the eight-ball a little bit.
Green echoed his coach’s sentiment, but indicated that he was feeling better than he had been:
Mentally I’m in a good place, when you’re getting better and you can actually get back on the ice and work on your strength. This is my second real day where I’ve actually skated. Yesterday was a good one. Today was even better. I don’t think one practice would have been enough.
He hasn’t played since November 12 when he was injured in a contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Washington has won both contests since Green went down though, and have really been coming on strong in the offensive zone as of late. If the Caps were struggling on the power play or to score, maybe the 28-year-old defender would be in tonight against the Penguins.
Oates has every reason to be confident in his group as-is though, and it seems that Green will be back for the Caps once he’s 110% sure that his legs are back under him and he has his conditioning to where it needs to be.