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Boudreau: Clark Has Been Cleared

Captain Chris Clark could be back sooner than anticipated, Coach Bruce Boudreau said moments ago.

Clark, who has been out since late January with a wrist injury that required surgery, received medical clearance yesterday and could play in the first round, Boudreau said.

Boudreau also said he was surprised by the news. Word around here for the past few weeks had been that the rugged right wing would be ready until the second round at the earliest.

Clark, however, won't play tonight. He's on the ice with Brian Pothier and Donald Brashear, who appear to be the healthy scratches for Game 1.

"I envision it's a possibility," Boudreau said when asked if he might play in the first round. "I was a little surprised. It's good for us because it gives us another weapon if we need one."

Boudreau said he's not concerned at all about Clark's conditioning, even though Clark hasn't played since Jan. 27.

"His conditioning is outstanding," Boudreua said. "If you know Chris Clark, he works harder than anybody."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 15, 2009; 11:08 AM ET
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Next: Clark: 'There's No Lingering Pain'


WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wonder how this will shake things up?

Glad to have him back...but is he ready?!

Welcome back Captain Clark!

Posted by: CapsChick | April 15, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

yay Clarkie! (although that does result in some serious line juggling issues)

Posted by: RedBirdie | April 15, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Hmm... I kind of hate to say this, but both last season and this season, we played a lot better without Clark than we did with him. Granted, he was playing injured this season, but I'm still not convinced that putting him back in the lineup is a good idea at this point even if he's healthy.

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 15, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!" is right.
Beyond excited for this game. Really wishing I didn't have class tonight. Thank heaven for DVR.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 15, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Welcome Back Chris! You were missed!

Posted by: SPKK | April 15, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Tarik -

Does Clark automatically get a roster spot? Or will he need to prove he can contribute before they get him in the game?

I'm all for respecting tenure and experience - but we've been a better team since replacing Clark.

Posted by: patrone | April 15, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Great for Chris, but this couldn't have happened at a worse time.

Posted by: TheOriginalEgon | April 15, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

This is getting interesting....

Posted by: Bagher | April 15, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: sargeantmofo | April 15, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

This is nothing but great news. He is the friggin C of the team!

Posted by: mikebrady1 | April 15, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Since Clark is basically from Boston, I thought I would share this set of Bruins ads a friend sent me. Very funny stuff, even if I hate the Bruins.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 15, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

good, now nylander can sit

Posted by: _stevo | April 15, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

He may wear the "C" but he is not the captain.

Posted by: TheOriginalEgon | April 15, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Clark for Flash, anytime. The Cap's do not have enough of this type player for the playoff's.(Remember how he goes to the net?) Just hope he can get back in game shape in time to help.

Posted by: OldFan | April 15, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse


Welcome back Captain America!

Posted by: LIVINIT1 | April 15, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse


We would have been a better team with Clark before, but we did not know his injury required surgery, thus hampering his offensive play.

Posted by: bhound69 | April 15, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

After all the hype with Pothier, he's a healthy scratch?

What gives?

Posted by: FancyDan | April 15, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I will eat Crow. I was one saying that Brash had to be in the lineup..So either his knee is still hurting, or I was dead wrong.

We will have speed, speed and more speed out there today. Lets run em out of the building..

Lets go Caps...

Posted by: SA-Town | April 15, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse


You are wrong, and it will be great to have him back on the ice.

Posted by: mikebrady1 | April 15, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Is it 7 yet? I'm so jacked up I can hardly contain myself. I wish I could be at Verizon tonight but I will represent here in NY on April 22nd.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 15, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I'd be very disappointed with Pothier as a healthy scratch. He's been a steady player since his return.

Mixed feelings on Clarkie -- my hope is that it really was the injury that accounts for some mediocre play earlier this year, and that he'll be back gritty with some scoring threat -- but who knows where he is now?

Posted by: Sonyask | April 15, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Reposting below. Also, GREAT news about Clark. I hope he has a great game tonight. Poor guy, he has struggled with physical ailments for two years. The team needs its captain.

Boy, it looks like Wise's article touched a sore spot. I am not sure why people are so mad about this article (and some of my comments). He didn't trash anyone. He just made the same objective assessment every prediction or opinion column I read made.

I shouldn't complain, though, since saintex has elevated me to the same level as a professional columnist: "The problem with writers like this Wise - and caraveli - is that they are obsessed with numbers that mean nothing...Well, by caraveli and Wise's ideas ..." I am flattered.

Actually, what I find insightful in Wise's columns is that he does NOT base his analysis merely on data or a single factor. On the contrary, he considers the whole picture, especially intangibles like team dynamics, psychology, leadership, relationships etc.

Far from obsessing with numbers, in fact, he makes the point: "Because it's not about astonishing saves and goals-against ratios as much as it is morale."

We have all talked about lack of morale of some sort(drive, motivation, confidence, hunger etc.) in trying to explain unexpected defeats to lesser teams. Theo's inconsistency looks to be tied to some kind of mental fragility--overthinking things, zooming in and out of focus, losing confidence quickly, etc. I didn't say that he is the only cause of our success and failure. Just that, being the defense's last stronghold and main anchor, this position is especially important in influencing morale and attitude.

It is great, however, that Boudreau puts a lot of trust in him, as he does with most his players. The flip side of Theo's mercurial personality is that, given his skill, he can swing the other way and play inspired, brilliant games in the playoffs.

I have a question about Avery and NHL regulations. Are there no penalties for things like hitting Tim Thomas' helmet? I always have a hard time understanding where the line is drawn. We have gotten penalties for goalie interference for much lesser things, like when one of our players slipped and accidentally fell on the goalie. What are the boundaries with regard, for example, to intimidating goalies and other players? Can someone help clarify?

Posted by: caraveli | April 15, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm're crazy if you don't think Clark can bring more to this team that how Nylander or Flash have been (or even over Bradley). Clark is a guy that will go to the front of the net...screen the goalie, battle the D-men, and slip in some rebound goals (a la Laich lately). The dude scored 30 goals just 2 seasons ago. He'd be the guy in front on the PP2 long as he comes back healthy.

I for one am excited about this news. This makes us a better team.

Posted by: rocketsREDglare | April 15, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I wonder why Brashear isn't playing...I thought we'd have his presence in the first game to set a "tone" and make sure neither Avery or the other Rags thugs started taking cheap shots. Is he not yet ready or is this a strategic decision by Bruce?

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | April 15, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse


Avery did get a penalty for hitting Thomas' helmet. I think those sorts of weird, random infractions come under the heading of unsportsmanlike conduct. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, though.

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 15, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

it never hurts to have a guy who's been to game 7 of the cup finals on your playoff roster. guy will show the others what it takes to get it done in the playoffs. with all respect to ovie and brooks, clark is the captain and i would expect him to show it in the playoffs.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | April 15, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

It's not "wrong" or "crazy" to be concerned about what this kind of effect this lineup change would have. Everyone's entitled to an opinion, whether it's based on statistics or simply on our experience of having watched this team both with and without Clark over the past couple of seasons.

I admit I'm skeptical, but I'm putting my faith in BB; if he thinks that having Clark in the lineup is what's best for the team, then I'm going to trust him and hope that it turns out to be a good move. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 15, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Please don't put him in the line-up.

The Caps have done great without him and when he's been in, all he does is seem to take timely penalties. Go watch one of the few games he's played this season if you don't know what I'm talking about. The guy is useless. Don't wreck the chemistry we've got going for us....

Posted by: wesvenis | April 15, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Game notes -- Caps 12-1-0-2 against the Rangers at home over the last 15 games.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 15, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse


I think the strategy is to turtle, and try to get on the Power Play at every chance. We dont want to get into shoving matches...matching 2-min's for roughing...ect.

We want to win with skill, and speed....I was thinking along the same lines as you, but with Brash out..this must be our strategy.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 15, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Game note 2 -- before coming back to win 5-4 in December, Caps had a 7 game losing streak at MSG

Posted by: Sonyask | April 15, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town - that strategy sounds great to me. The more PP's we get and the fewer penalties we take the better we are. I guess the idea is ignore them, take the cheap shots and the power plays - now let's see if they can follow that and not lose their collective cool. It's these times that I wish they all understood as little English as Semin and Varly!


Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | April 15, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Game note 3 -- Bruce Boudreau is 5-0-1 lifetime against the Rangers

Posted by: Sonyask | April 15, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Love the stat's and theories

Posted by: bhound69 | April 15, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

games notes are up:

Refs: Mike Leggo, Tim Peel
Linesmen: Brad Kolvachik, Jean Morin

Bob McDonald will sing the anthem :)

Notes were printed before Clark was cleared, he's still on the injury list.

Thursday 11 am practice at Kettler; Friday 10:30 at Kettler.

Posted by: RedBirdie | April 15, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Thanks RedBirdie. I love Bob McDonald - he gets the crowd pumped up like no other anthem singer - I'll never forget him pulling open that tuxedo shirt and revealing the Caps jersey underneath!

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 15, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

If you believe that his play can be entirely attributed to his injury - that's true.

However, both the trainers and the caps administration thought that Clark should have been able to play through the injury. It was only when he struggled for months on end that he was shut-down for the season.

The counter argument here is that Clark kept the injury away from trainers and the admins - but I don't buy it. It's really tough to keep an injury away from a trainer - they aren't stupid. Protecting players from themselves has been their number one job their entire career.

It's more likely that Clark was shutdown because of his lack of production. Yes he did have an injury - but how much did that injury contribute to his lack of production?

Like it or not, I have a feeling we're about to find out...

Posted by: patrone | April 15, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"Caps 12-1-0-2 against the Rangers at home over the last 15 games."

Now this is IMPRESSIVE

Posted by: caraveli | April 15, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I've been waiting ( And praying ) for my boys to raise The Cup since the 1974 - 75 season. And, I'm still waiting. While I like the team's offensive prowess, I don't believe the current roster has enough "Character guys" --with the necessary edge and grit to their game ---- to be considered serious contenders. Needless to say, I hope they prove me wrong.
The less Pothier and Chris Clark play, the greater their chances of succeeding will be. Pothier, because he's ALWAYS sucked, and Clark, because you simply don't sit collecting rust for virtually a season and a half, and then suddenly ( Overnight ) become a big time contributor.
Sadly, B.B. won't have to make the decision ( In my view it was a no - brainer that he SHOULD HAVE PLAYED IN LAST SEASON'S PLAYOFFS ) whether or not to play Laing. His character, grit, and unselfish team play are EXACTLY the attributes this team woefully lacks.
Lastly, it's no secret that Puckguru is no fan of Jose Theodore. He feels that GMGM made a monumental blunder by not resigning Christobal Huet. In the end, it'll be Huet's absence that sinks the Caps this time around.
Obviously, I hope I'm wrong, wrong, wrong!! NO FAN thirsts for Lord Stanley's Cup more than Puckguru. So, LET'S GO CAPS!! MAKE ME PROUD!! LET'S DRINK FROM THE CUP ----- At last.

Posted by: Puckguru | April 15, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

These are all good stats, but the playoffs are a different animal, so regular-season stats are only informative up to a point. Hopefully the Caps aren't getting cocky; this isn't going to be a cakewalk.

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 15, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Based on BBs "words", Clark is cleared to get in some full contact work and could play in the first round. I wouldn't expect to see him tonight.

As Parcells (sort of) said, "you are what your record says" - I equate that to Clark...he wears the C, he is the Captain.

Posted by: saintex | April 15, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Right on, Puckguru.

I haven't been a fan since 1974-75 because, well, I wasn't born then. But my family has had season tickets for over 20 years and the better part of my life has been spent waiting for the Caps to win the Cup, so I feel the thirst too!

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 15, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Man, puckguru has gone third person on us.

Posted by: saintex | April 15, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Good article on ESPN about which goalies could get hot in the playoffs...check it out (need an Insider account, but you can sign up for a free one for 30 days).

Posted by: GoodThingHeSigned | April 15, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Captain, my Captain! Great go have Captain Clark back. To the naysayers, quit being such greedy lil' buggers. He's on the team. Quit treating them like your fantasy hockey team, trading willy nilly.

Let's GOO Caps!

P.S. Hope you all are rockin' the red today! I'm wearing a red dress shirt, with red and blue tie, with a Weagle pin. =) Forced my best friend to also wear the Capitals t-shirt I got him, even though he's a Ducks' fan. Boo. =P

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | April 15, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I am pretty sure Clark is in Good cardio shape as a wrist injury does not stop him from skating and running etc. However I am sure sure about upper body as how much weight training can anyone do with a wrist injury? Frankly the team is the 2nd best in conference without him, he should sit until the team is down a game or two in a series and then insert as a booster. Just one persons opinion.

Posted by: RichC3 | April 15, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

for you really think that the difference in the Caps success in the playoffs is down to Theo v. Huet? That's a pretty straight-forward call: if we had Huet we'd go deeper than we will this year. We'll see.

Posted by: saintex | April 15, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse


I'm under the impression that Clark was made captain more for his locker room leadership than his on-ice talent. Not to minimize how important locker room leadership is - of course it's vitally important, especially in the playoffs - but I don't care about the letter on his jersey if he can't contribute on the ice. Hopefully he'll be back to his old self now that he's fully recovered from the injury.

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 15, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Mikebrady1 finds it amusing that puckguru talks about himself in third person.

Posted by: mikebrady1 | April 15, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse


I'm wearing a red sweater, red headband, and red earrings. (I hope nobody I work with reads this blog, because I totally just outted myself!)

I hope I don't get made fun of for wearing a white jersey. I got it when they first changed the colors, before the whole "Rock the Red" thing started, and it's autographed, so I'm reluctant to give it up...

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 15, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

At the end of the day all your analysis means nothing.

Caps play tonight. You guys should watch it maybe.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 15, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Don't be such a party pooper, richmondphil. It's either this, or actually get some work done, and the latter isn't nearly as much fun. :)

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 15, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey LeftCoast, I'll be wearing an AO practice jersey...

Of course, your shirtdress and blue tie will stand out in the halls...we'll all say hi if we see you.

Posted by: saintex | April 15, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"Dad would love a shutout" - Eby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh.

saintex agrees.

Posted by: saintex | April 15, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

lol @ saintex

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 15, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

The coach said that Clark's poor production had everything to do with his injury and, given Clark's great performance two years ago, I tend to believe him.

But, more importantly, isn't Clark supposed to be a great captain? From what I have read, it sounds like he is respected, leads by example, commits to games 100%, puts his neck on the line for the team etc. If it is true, the team could use a good leader now. I wish him the best.

Posted by: caraveli | April 15, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

puck"guru" says the team doesnt have enought character guys w/ grit and then suggests that he doest think clark should play. clark, who's whole career has been bulit on grit, character and hard work. i think that sums up the "guru" thought process. anyone who calls themselves "guru" and refers to themselves in the third person should not be taken seriously.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | April 15, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Having Clark return is nothing but positive news. A few "shallow" fans are basing their comments on his point production this year, as opposed to the other elements he brings to the game - the grit, drive, and leadership this team needs heading into the playoffs. The spirit and confidence in the locker room will, no doubt, be at a season high. Funny how quickly people forget what a great asset a "healthy" Chris Clark brings to the team.

Posted by: gonchpup | April 15, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

He's been out for so long, you'd figure he is extremely rusty. Start him on the 4th line and see what happens.

Keep the PIMs down Clarkie.

Posted by: greener1 | April 15, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Puckguru-About your Huet vs. Theo comment...George had more to think about then just which player he wanted more such as having the cap room to sign Backstrom and Semin after next season.

Posted by: ph0082 | April 15, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

@ Saintex,
I'll give you a "Straight forward" one word answer, "ABSOLUTELY." The last time I looked, Goal Tender was still the most important position on the team. Theodore can't hold Huet's jock strap.

@ ph0082,
THE FUTURE IS NOW!! Your argument, IMHO, is lame and weak at best. No! I'll go even further than that. It's just plain assinine. IMHO. Whatever you do, PLEASE DON'T TAKE THIS PERSONALLY. I don't know you from a can of paint. What I DO KNOW is that you don't forfeit TWO WHOLE SEASONS on the "Chance" that you might sign ANYBODY not named Ovechkin, Gretzky, Bobby Hull, or Maurice "The Rocket" Richard. Get it?

Posted by: Puckguru | April 15, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

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