The Washington Capitals have made several moves in preparation for tonight's game against the Boston Bruins, and some changes to the lineup might be in order tonight.
-The Washington Capitals have signed D Steve Oleksy (not Olesky) of the AHL Hershey Bears to a 3-year deal worth $1.6 million and recalled him to Washington. According to Adam Oates, the right-handed defenseman, who leads the Bears in fights and penalty minutes, is definitely not going to fight tonight in his NHL debut against the Big Bad Bruins Oates says "he helps us with the balance" on defense. He will skate on the third pairing with Tom Poti, meaning left-handed Jeff Schultz, he of just one NHL fight, will be sitting out.
-Goalie Braden Holtby refuses to name the dirty players on the Bruins, instead calls the entire team dirty. He will be in net tonight behind defenseman Steve Oleksy, who he says will keep those cheap-shotting Bruins honest.
-In other news, the Bruins insist they are over last year's playoff series loss, the one where they were the defending Stanley Cup Champions with home ice advantage and lost in overtime in game 7 of the first round. They're definitely over it.
-Troy Brouwer was sent home from the morning skate with an illness. Brouwer is a tough, physical player who wasn't afraid to mix it up with the Bruins in last year's playoffs, so the chances missing a big game like this are practically nil unless he's in the hospital. If for some reason Brouwer can't go, it's possible Wojtek Wolski will get back into the lineup. Wolski, a former 20-goal scorer, hasn't scored in a while and his confidence has looked shot at times this season. It's also possible Caps General Manager George McPhee will call up another Hershey Bear with a lot of penalty minutes (who also definitely won't fight) to leapfrog Wolski before the game, too, as long as he's a right-handed shot.
-Aaron Volpatti, who fought in his first game in a Capitals sweater on Saturday, is definitely playing tonight.
-The Capitals waived defenseman Roman Hamrlik today. The 38-year old defenseman had only played in 4 games this season while making $3.5 million, about as much as defensemen like Dan Girardi, Rob Scuderi, and Niklas Hjalmarsson, you know, defensemen who play.
-Capitals Defenseman Mike Green was placed on injured reserve with that lingering groin injury and will be eligible to be activated on March 7. Smart money has him returning closer to April 7. Meanwhile, Brooks Laich, Jack Hillen, Marcus Johansson, and Dmity Orlov are still not playing.
-On an historical note, the last time the Capitals and Bruins faced off for the first regular season game after a playoff series was November 21, 1998, and the Capitals had just beaten the Bruins in 6 games, winning the final game in overtime in Boston, and Adam Oates had set up the winning tally. That November 1998 game featured 12 players getting ejected after all 12 players on the ice got into fights and a total of 270 penalty minutes.