Holtby practices after hit to eye
WASHINGTON — Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby practiced fully Sunday morning, apparently no worse for wear after Columbus Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson inadvertently wedged his stick through a hole in Holtby’s mask, injuring his left eye in the second period of Saturday night’s 2-1 overtime loss.
Holtby didn’t return to the game, and it’s unclear whether he’ll start against the St. Louis Blues tonight, the first game of a back-to-back set, but coach Todd Reirden said the team doesn’t intend to recall another goalie, indicating Holtby is at least healthy enough to dress. Washington could choose to start Pheonix Copley against the Blues and then have Holtby in net against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
“Obviously anything with your eyes is a little scary,” Holtby said. “It’s fortunate that it wasn’t anything too serious. You just move on. ... I didn’t have the sight to keep going. I just wouldn’t have been a benefit to the team. it was one of those things. Eyes heal quickly, so just 24 hours and I’ll be back to normal.”
Holtby, who has had Lasik surgery on his eyes in the past, intimated that his vision isn’t quite 100 percent yet, but “it’s progressing the right way, obviously,” he said.
Said Reirden: “It’s something you’ve got to be extremely careful with and cautious. He’s had some other work done on his eyes in the past, so it was a serious situation for us at the time that we needed to make sure we handled properly and went through all the proper steps to make sure there was no further issues. ... We’re going to see how it is tomorrow still. Just with the sweat and all that, it’s going to get re-evaluated.”
Third-line center Lars Eller missed practice for what the team said was a maintenance day for an undisclosed “upper-body” injury. Reirden said Eller is “day to day” and “getting ready for a back-to-back here.”
Defenseman Christian Djoos, who’s missed the past 14 games after left thigh surgery last month, skated for the first time before Sunday’s practice, but general manager Brian MacLellan previously indicated that it’ll be another two weeks before the Capitals have some clarity on his timeline to return. TV: Radio:
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby leans over after taking a stick to the eye during an overtime loss Saturday night.