Mike Green says he'll return for opener

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Mike Green knew right away that his latest blow to the head looked a lot worse than it actually was.

The Washington Capitals defenseman took part in the full practice Tuesday, three days after getting hit by a puck in the series-clinching win against the New York Rangers. He said he's good to go for the first game of the next series, whenever that happens to be.

"I'm fine, other than a bruise," Green said. "They make good helmets. This time it hit me in the helmet. I'm OK."

Green was struck by a shot from Rangers defenseman Matt Gilroy in the first period of Saturday's 3-1 win and did not return to the game. The impact sent small pieces of Green's helmet flying as he lay on the ice.

Green missed 26 of the last 28 games of the regular season with a concussion. He took a shot off the head Feb. 6 and an elbow to the head Feb. 25.

"The first one was a lot different than this one," Green said. "Right away I knew with the first one. This one I got up right away. Other than it stinging a little bit, I was fine."

Right wing Mike Knuble, who missed the last two games of the Rangers series with a suspected hand injury, also was on the ice and said he remains day to day.

"I'm encouraged by the way things are going," Knuble said. "There's a fine line between coming back and helping, and coming back and hurting."

Coach Bruce Boudreau said right wing Alexander Semin was absent from practice with a "little bit of the flu."

The Capitals recalled goaltender Braden Holtby from Hershey of the American Hockey League and were expected to add other players from the minor league affiliate. Hershey's season is over, and Boudreau said he wanted to have the extra players around in case of an injury.

As of Tuesday morning, the Capitals still were the only winning team from the Eastern Conference to have completed its series. Boudreau indicated he doesn't expect to host Game 1 of the conference semifinals until Friday, or more likely Saturday -- an unusually long gap between games.

"Three days is a long time," Boudreau said. "Four days you start going, 'OK, what's going on.' And by five or six days, your wives don't like you."