The Capitals had a welcome sight during training on Saturday when Lars Eller wore a full contact jersey for the first time since the team’s west coast road trip and quarantine stint.
He was included in the NHL’s COVID-19 logs on November 16 and has not played since defeating the Penguins on November 14, two weeks before Sunday’s game against the Hurricanes. He tested positive with the team in Anaheim and was forced to quarantine for 10 days before returning to the area due to local regulations.
The vaccinated Eller has missed six games since testing positive. He’s hoping to play in the team’s game in Carolina on Sunday, or at least against the Panthers on Tuesday.
“Nobody on the team understood, nobody in my house got it,” said Eller. “I don’t know, I have no idea where I got it from. I mean, we’re trying to count, probably somewhere on this Detroit and Columbus road trip. But I was really only with my teammates and nothing else. So it’s really strange. I was just extremely unlucky, I think. “
Eller said he was symptomatic for the first three days of isolation and had no major symptoms. He felt like he had a mild fever or a cold for about three days, but said he never had a high fever or difficulty breathing.
When he was feeling better, he was able to bring a stationary bike and a couple of dumbbells to his hotel room to stay as active as possible. He took another test in the middle of his quarantine and the results were still positive.
“I try to find a routine with morning workouts and a lot of movies and shows in the afternoon,” Eller said. “And sometimes I would work a bit again in the late afternoon, before dinner and another movie and another show and reading and listening. All sorts of things. Try a little of everything, try to stay healthy. “
While in quarantine, he read Mark Messier’s book “No One Wins Alone” and watched “Succession” on HBO.
“It’s still a challenge because you feel like you’re wasting most of your time when you should be elsewhere, right?” Said Eller. “I hope I don’t have to do it again anytime soon.”
Eller, who scored one goal and seven assists in 15 games this season, ran second line in Saturday’s practice with Tom Wilson and a rotating duo of Connor McMichael and Daniel Sprong. If he faces the Hurricanes on Sunday or the Panthers on Tuesday, he will play on that line.
The Capitals still have to do without TJ Oshie, Anthony Mantha and Justin Schultz, neither of whom were in training on Saturday. Conor Sheary and Nicklas Backstrom participated and wore contactless jerseys.
That said, if the Capitals are able to get Eller back into the lineup, they’ll surely welcome the addition.
“I feel like my lungs feel good, but the game is obviously a different level,” said Eller. “So it might take a game or two to find that touch again. But it’s mainly the timing. I’m not too worried about my legs and lungs. Most of the time, it brings your head back up to that speed after you haven’t done anything on the ice for a while. “