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Boswell on the physical pain of hockey

In this series, Cap players were criticized, accurately but facilely, for not going to the net enough to create more vision-obstructing traffic in front of hot goalie Jaroslav Halak. But at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Friday, the physical pain of hockey was on display. Each player develops his own level of tolerance for the terrors of his game. It's hard to change your risk profile on demand.

In Game 2, Eric Belanger had eight teeth knocked out by a Habs player's stick. He had exposed roots in his teeth trimmed between periods and returned to the game.

"I was dreaming about raising the Cup. When you don't, it's hard to swallow," said Belanger, just minutes after having explained that he still can't swallow without pain.

Belanger's injury was a nick compared to what happened to Tom Poti, who now has four titanium plates and about 12 screws in his face after a Montreal shot deflected off a stick in Game 6. Doctors said he escaped being blinded by "a couple of millimeters." Poti spent the next 30 hours with no vision in his right eye and only started seeing shadows as he was going into surgery.

Yet the defenseman was back at Verizon Center to see Game 7 and, provided his blurred vision returned in time, he planned to play later in this postseason run with a cage on his face. Doctors say he should begin to regain the feeling in the left side of his face again in about two months.

Of course, Poti also arrived for the team's final meeting, though under orders not to lift anything or even bend over.

In light of the physical price they all pay to play and the pain they all now feel, perhaps the Caps are entitled to interpret their collapse in any light that eases their burden. And so they will.

Look for more on how the Caps are dealing with their loss in Boswell's column tomorrow.

By Thomas Boswell  |  April 30, 2010; 6:51 PM ET
 
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Comments

Plenty of toughness on the Caps. So no reason why they couldn't have transformed themselves for the playoffs into the shot-blocking machine that Montreal did, or at least something close to that. But I guess that just wasn't part of the plan.

Posted by: bbposter09 | April 30, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Poti is a real MAN for showing up and talking to the reporters despite the gruesome injury... unlike #52, a coward who didn't wanna talk to anyone after stinking up yet again in the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | April 30, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Poti is a real MAN for showing up today and talking to the reporters despite the gruesome injury... unlike #52, a coward who didn't talk to anyone after stinking up yet again in the post-season.

Posted by: joek443 | April 30, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

yeah i thought it was a poor move on green's part to not show up. you show up whether you win or lose. be man enough to answer the tough questions.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 30, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Alex will be dancing in a Moscow disco. Nice.

Posted by: caps1974 | April 30, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Halak is mortal after all. He's already given up 2 goals and it's only the first period. Dump and Chase guys, dump and chase.

Posted by: diner99 | April 30, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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