Photo: John Walton
Per The Washington Post’s Katie Carrera, the Washington Capitals’ brand new toy, Evgeny Kuznetsov, will make his NHL debut tonight on the Capitals’ fourth line tonight. As we discussed on the podcast, that’s probably the smart thing to do.
Brooks Laich will be a game-time decision. He is still not feeling 100% and did not participate in the morning skate. Aaron Volpatti (long-term injured reserve) filled in on the top line this morning.
Jaroslav Halak appears to be the starting goalie, ready to take his second consecutive start as Holtby rides the pine. Expect Oates to switch up goalies for Tuesday.
Oates seems to intend to ease Kuznetsov into big-league play. On the fourth line, Kuznetsov will get light ice time and against weaker competition. That’ll give him time to prove himself, learn the system, and assimilate himself without the burdens of being on a marquee scoring line.
It also gives Oates the flexibility to adjust lines without demoting the rookie. It’s unlikely Kuznetsov will spend the rest of the season on the fourth line, but in the meantime, Tom Wilson‘s linemates are about to get a whole lot better.
Oates: “I think it makes sense to start him on that line no matter what in fairness to the other guys….he’s got to earn his stripes.”
— Katie Carrera (@kcarrera) March 10, 2014
We’ll add video of Oates’ presser once it’s available.
2PM Update: Here you go.