Capitals to activate Alex Alexeyev while Oshie, Backstrom, Wilson make progress

Caps to activate Alexeyev while Oshie, Backstrom, Wilson progress originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

ARLINGTON, Va. — Alex Alexeyev will make his season debut for the Capitals on Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the defenseman confirmed. Washington hasn’t yet made the official transaction to activate him off Long-Term Injured Reserve, which will require a corresponding move.

“I’m pretty excited actually,” Alexeyev said following morning skate. “It’s been a pretty long time since I’ve been here so it’s really exciting and I’m ready to go.”

Alexeyev, 22, also revealed the details of his left shoulder injury that required labral repair surgery. After returning home to St. Petersburg, Russia for the offseason, he played a pick-up game of 5-on-5 where an opponent knocked him off his skates and separated his shoulder. Alexeyev went under the knife in June and said he feels back to 100 percent ahead of his return.

“Just getting him playing,” head coach Peter Laviolette said of the decision to activate him. “He’s, I think, somebody who’s been kind of tough. He’s had to deal with that injury. He’s back. He’s healthy and played some games down in Hershey. He’s back here with us now so wanted to get him out there.”

Though he’s appeared in just one NHL game, Alexeyev began the season on LTIR and would have to be placed on waivers to be sent down to the AHL. Injuries to defensemen John Carlson (lower body) and Dmitry Orlov (lower body), both of whom will not play against Pittsburgh, allowed the Capitals to insert Alexeyev right into the lineup.

Washington also received some other positive news on the injury front Wednesday with winger T.J. Oshie taking the ice for the first time since he suffered a lower-body injury in a game against the Nashville Predators on Oct. 29. He still has no timeline for a return.

“He is progressing,” Laviolette said. “His status still remains the same and it was good to see him out there but obviously he didn’t make it all the way out with our guys. But progressing.”

Laviolette also went on 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies and discussed the small steps winger Tom Wilson (torn ACL) and center Nicklas Backstrom (hip resurfacing) have taken toward their respective returns. He wouldn’t say which player was closer to returning, but said they’re doing “pattern skating” and “feeling their edges” on the ice.

The Capitals are still one of the most injured teams in the NHL. According to the data-tracking website Man Games Lost, they entered the week with 66 man-games lost to injury this season. That ranked fourth highest in the league behind only the Montreal Canadiens (78), Toronto Maple Leafs (69) and Philadelphia Flyers (67).

Though Oshie, Backstrom and Wilson still have more work to do before they will be ready to return, Alexeyev will be the first of what Washington hopes are many players rehabbing their way back to the ice.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up