The question on every fan’s mind following Monday’s 1-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild wasn’t whether Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz would bench star forward Evgeny Kuznetsov for the remainder of the season after the forward left the game in the first period. Instead, it was whether Trotz was going to keep Kuznetsov out of the lineup and risk further injury, or whether he was going to play the better man and go with a line that kept its top playmaker in the lineup.
That question will need to wait — Kuznetsov will miss Wednesday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Capitals announced Thursday. Trotz called the forward “day-to-day” with an upper-body injury and said he didn’t know if Kuznetsov could play Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a game that’s certain to be a showdown for the division lead.
Kuznetsov didn’t join his teammates in the dressing room following the loss in Minnesota and didn’t speak to reporters following the game.
Kuznetsov had a goal and an assist on Feb. 2, which marked his first game back after missing four consecutive games with an upper-body injury. But he has struggled to the tune of just seven points in his past 18 games and has been held without a point in five of those outings. He currently leads the Capitals with 46 points and trails NHL points leader Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov by just 10 points.