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Caps Recall Collins (Updated)

It appears there is yet another injury on the blue line because this morning the Caps recalled Sean Collins from Hershey. I'm not certain which Washington defenseman is hurt, but I'm willing to bet that it's Tyler Sloan, who took a shot off the foot/ankle in Thursday's 5-2 win over the Islanders. He was walking around KCI with a pretty pronounced limp yesterday.

The 25-year-old Collins will wear No. 62. As you can see, if he plays tonight against Toronto at Air Canada Centre, it would be his NHL debut -- one year after splitting a season with the Bears and ECHL South Carolina. Collins would be the 11th defenseman used in Washington this season.

That right there says just about all that needs to be said about the state of the Caps defense at the moment.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 6, 2008; 9:40 AM ET
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Next: Sloan Questionable Tonight


WOW, will it ever end?

Posted by: sidehillman | December 6, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Collins has been playing very well in Hershey this season. And at times has been the most consistent player on the blue line. But I am sure he will be very nervous playing tonight.

Posted by: gman2797 | December 6, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Why dont we just send the Hershey Bears to Toronto and give the whole team the night off

Posted by: DCSPORTS | December 6, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

CRAP. This is unbelievable. And that really sucks because I happen to like Sloan on the blueline.

When will this end?

Posted by: kittypawz | December 6, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse


Thanks for your excellent reporting. I know you must be busier than ever.

I think it's time to hear from the trainers. How are they managing the team's injury crisis?

More importantly, we need to hear from the conditioning coach. What can he do to help improve the constitution of this medically fragile team?

I have the upmost respect for those people I mentioned above. However, I think that the team needs to become more proactive about addressing its alarming injury situation.

Bad home ice may be just one of several contributing factors. Conditioning and training may be others.


Posted by: Terptwin | December 6, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

DCSports: LOL!

I'm impressed that they are averaging about 500 through this spell.

They will play over .650 when most are back.

Posted by: HockeyAmor | December 6, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Thanks leetee1955 for the Farber article link. So, Olie says that OV has had a bad groin, I guess that may explain his beginning-of-the-season malaise.

And I can't help but think that Semin is getting close to returning. CSN reported that he wanted to be 100% b4 he returns, even though the pregame video showed him skating and pivoting pretty well, but I'm no Dr. We can only hope...

Posted by: Max23 | December 6, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

This is a very tough time for us Cap fans but if we can weather this and get everyone healthy in the near future we will be one hell of a hockey team. Sure happy to see Johnny back in net and looking good again. Hope Alzner can win one of the top six spots on D as I think he will be a stud down the road. Go Caps!!

Posted by: jgreif | December 6, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I think its time for all Caps fans to start geting in shape. If Semin , Green ,feds, etc., don't get well soon the Caps are going to start calling us up out of the stands.

Posted by: Puckthepens | December 6, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse


Poti's groin is the only injury where you could say it may have something to do with conditioning. Maybe Semin's back as well.

The finger on Shultz, the arm on Clark, Green got crushed into the boards, Federov's ankle..Sloan got hit by a puck...Erskine's head. Those cant be prevented...just bad luck...

As a hockey fan I try to ignore the injury stuff. It is very frustrating, and we cant do anything about it. Might as well enjoy whats suiting up. Then again if your looking to invest in tickets down the stretch, you have a right to want to know what product will be on the ice.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 6, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Terptwin: Agreed, but please understand that not all injuries are the result of poor training or conditioning. Getting hit with a puk in the foot sure isn't, and neither is breaking a finger.

Agreed, though, that I'd like to hear from the trainers and medical staff. How are they dealing with this?

Posted by: kittypawz | December 6, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

@puckthepens: LOL. I also have to wonder - poor Bob Woods up in Hershey. How is he managing with half his blueline in Washington? I know their record is pretty good, but I'd kill to know how he's doing it.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 6, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

The Wizards have had horrific injury problems the last couple of years and the Nationals had a ridiculous number of injuries this year. I'm beginning to think it has something to do with the water in DC.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | December 6, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

This sucks! This year was supposed to be the best ever, now everyone's hurt and we can't see this team at full strength.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 6, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

tarik, that is a cool site for hockey information. thanks.

Posted by: x1232 | December 6, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I suggest that we play all Games at Sibley Hospital so we can get home bed pan change advantage.

Posted by: RichC3 | December 6, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I also have to wonder - poor Bob Woods up in Hershey. How is he managing with half his blueline in Washington? I know their record is pretty good, but I'd kill to know how he's doing it.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 6, 2008 10:21 AM

Posted by: tess2201 | December 6, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

With the way hershey has been playing why dont we just play the whole hershey team plus Ovie because thats what is going to be in a few weeks. when you start calling guys up for your call ups you know you have a problem. The all start beak cant come soon enough (and that is what over a month away). this is like worst case scenario for this years team. the good part is, they are still winning and still leading the division, if carolina was any good the caps would be in huge trouble.

Posted by: QuintenD | December 6, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

@tess2201: Thanks. Doesn't tell me that much, though.

I guess the one good thing is that we as fans are getting a really, really good idea of where our blueline is headed and how it's going to shake out in 2-3 years.

And bluntly, I think I'm gonna need a pair of shades. Any team that can hold its own at 500 with a blueline as decimated as this one has got a lot going for it. The more I think about it, as a fan it's incredibly frustrating and frightening to see all the injuries, and yet we're somehow managing anyway. But ... what can we do about it? Nothing. Just sit back and cheer our guys on and get them to put forth a 100% effort every night during this stretch. That's all we can do.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 6, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

@opita and Leetee1955
regarding posting returned as emails. The WP does not check for valid email accounts, so you could give them a fake one.

Posted by: x1232 | December 6, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse


I listened to a portion of Ted's interview on XM this week and he is frustrated with the fans blaming the ice. The ice is checked with the NHL on ice officials before the game and the phone booth is right in the middle of the pack. Of course they would like to be on the upper end to provide a better surface, but it's a multi-use facility and so it may not be possible. What I do agree with though is some of Terptwin's ideas. Can you and/or Vogel do an article on sports injuries, more specifically teams that have fired their entire training staff and had success afterward :)

Seriously though, the groin strains this year are out of control. No one can control being checked, or how your hit blocking a shot and stung after that. Those are the typical day to day injuries. Muscle tears, strains, pulls, deep contusion bruises, anything ankle related those are the players that need to be on the IR.

I, and all that read your column, are greatly appreciative of the work you do and the information that is provided. At this point I think we need to be more realistic with our injury lineup. Green and Sloan are the only ones going to be back anytime soon. We are not going to surprise anyone with listing people as D2D. Teams are way to smart to know where to go for "insider" information. How many more people can Hershey sacrifice for the near term? Pull the draft pick Carlson over to the ECHL and move more up to Hershey, if that's possible. We just need to get through December, then lets ROCK the Red and the league in '09!

Posted by: caps28fan | December 6, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

@ Terptwin - Our ice is rated middle of the pack in the NHL. Besides, almost all of our injuries are either traumatic injuries (Green, Shultz) or happened on the road (as per this blog previously).

Having said that, of our dmen we started the season with:

Green out
Erskine out
Poti out
Shultz out
Jurcina has been out of it all season

Now add Sloan to that list.

At the beginning of the season if you told me that we were within striking distance of the division lead and even sniffing a playoff spot in early Dec. while using a d comprised of Mo, Alzner, Lepisto, Helmer, Jurcina and Collins I would have been ok with that. But to be up by FIVE POINTS in the division and clearly in the top 5-6 in the conference, I would have said you were nuts.

On top of all this, Hershey is kicking but while missing half of their players and practically of their d. Truly a tribute to the talent we have, the job done by GMGM and especially the use of bailing wire by both coaching staffs.


Count your blessings and cross your fingers folks. The Caps/Bears will both make major playoff runs if everyone gets healthy.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | December 6, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse


I e-mailed Monica Norton at the Post yesterday about the situation and I noticed that her response came back looking a little strange. I ran a full scan of my computer overnight and my security system had quarantined three Trojan Horse viruses from the e-mail "replies" I received. Don't know if opita and I were targeted, but be careful if you get any kickbacks saying an e-mail you sent couldn't be delivered to either Tarik or Katie.

Posted by: leetee1955 | December 6, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I think we need to look at these injuries as a blesing . . let me explain.

First, we are lucky because the SE division stinks. We can win it with Hershey plus OV.

That being said, we should be able to win our division, which means a third place going into the playoffs which means home ice. And we all know how tough the guys play at home.

For Federov, Semin, Green and gang the two or three week "rest" will benefit us in April and May.

The fact is we are in a weak division that we can win with our B team (maybe C team)

Posted by: hnosh | December 6, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

last post: 'On top of all this, Hershey is kicking but while missing half of their players and practically of their d.'

Should be ...'kicking but(t)'

Should be ...'practically (all) of their d.'

Posted by: waitingsince75 | December 6, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

@ Steve R.
It just occurred to me that you're the jerk who criticized me on two occasions for praising Oscar Osala six ( 6 ) or seven ( 7 ) months ago. Your comment was something to the effect of, why was I so "Obsessed" with such an "Obscure" draft choice. Well, he sure as heck ain't "Obscure" any more. Is he? Heck, EVEN YOU are now anxious to see him in a Caps sweater, I'll bet. Hahaha! Fact is, as you're so painfully aware, Puckguru makes a habit of being far ahead of the pack when it comes to accurate talent appraisals, and assesments. AND IT DRIVES YOU CRAZY! Well, buddy THAT'S why they call me "Puckguru." Because I am.

Posted by: Puckguru | December 6, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Not for nothing, but I wish that the HNIC broadcast on the NHL Network wasn't blacked out tonight.

Posted by: Section117 | December 6, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Fun times. I follow the Caps super closely and when I read this I went, "Who?!!!"

Having said that his NCAA numbers actually look very good. Seems like he might be a D with good offensive instincts. Who knows? Sometimes there are very good players stuck in lower leagues for various reasons. This kid's college hockey numbers look much better than those of a typical ECHL defenseman. From my experience college hockey produces more NHL ready players than Canadian juniors although that may have to do with the maturity level. College players are typically a couple of years older when they enter the NHL.

The whole trainers at fault crap is annoying. As others have explained most of our injuries have nothing to do with conditioning. Also, it might seem to you like it's just us cuz you don't follow anyone else, but take a look at other teams. Many have been hit by injuries about as bad as us. Carolina and Dallas are just 2 that come to mind off the top of my head.

Who's starting in goal tonight? I would assume it's Johnny.

Posted by: ranndino | December 6, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Once again I've mistakenly misspelled Osala's first name. It's Oskar, not Oscar, as I seem to have some sort of subconcsious desire to have it be. My bad.

Posted by: Puckguru | December 6, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse


Since I'm in Boston that's what I'll be watching it on. Hockey Night in Canada in full HD, thank you very much.

Actually that reminds me. Does anyone else have Center Ice with Comcast and unable to get any games in HD on it? Channel 635 is listed as GAME HD and is supposed to show some game in HD (2 Caps games were on it so far), but shows up as unauthorized (like any channel that I don't subscribe to). Of course no one at Comcast knows anything about this.

Posted by: ranndino | December 6, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

As Will Ferrell did in Semi Pro. PANICCCCCCCCCC there's a bear on the lose. The injuries are mounting. Run run run run. What will we ever do?

Ok ok I'll kidding aside this injury situation is beyond insane. However, it's part of the game and the team continues to play and deal with them. I know many of you like myself are probably frustrated and concerned but keep an eye on this team's record during this stretch of so many man games lost due to injury. It'll be interesting to see how the team continues to respond.

Uh oh - they're on the road the next two days. TIME TO STEP UP AND BRING MORE ENERGY. This isn't the time to be lethargic on the road.

Ice Breakers Goal Shakers.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | December 6, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

@puckguru: Yeah, you're smart. We get that. Get over yourself, please. No matter how good you are or how much you know, nobody will listen to or appreciate you if you continue to insist on parading yourself like Mardi Gras beads at Carnivale. Saying "I told you so" is obnoxious, immature, and unnecessary, and won't get you the friends you so obviously crave.

Try being interesting and fun instead of a know-it-all, and things might just look up for you :)

Posted by: kittypawz | December 6, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Theses injuries are beyond ridiculous.

Posted by: elicea | December 6, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I called Comcast last week, & asked if CentreIce was in HD, but they didn't know.(lol) So, I checked the Comcast Help Forums, & it looks like it depends on the Comcast market, that you're in. I don't think CentreIce is HD, in my market- Montgomery County. I hope it chnages to HD someday soon, I'd subscribe if it was.

Posted by: Max23 | December 6, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Thursday's win was good for 2 big reasons IMO, 1. They came back from a pathetic loss to a team the should have crushed, and crushed a team they should beat, even though have their team was minor league. Now that I'm caught up....

Injuries are bad. yeah, definately bad.

Posted by: Leeguru | December 6, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

OSU.....same time as Steckel I wonder? May be a good tie-in there.
Just curious and not sure how to find out - can one play in a "pro" league like NAHL or USHL and retain college eligibilty??
Anyone know how that works.

Posted by: googlio | December 6, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Line all the players in bubble wrap. Damn

Posted by: washingtoncapitals | December 6, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse


Helmets have nothing to do with concussions. Helmets do not and cannot protect from concussions. Helmets protect from cuts and bruises. That's it. Concussions are sustained as a result of your brain bouncing off the insides of your skull when your head rattles as a result of some kind of impact. No helmet can be designed to protect from that.


I have seen Kugryshev quite a few times (both for the Russian junior team as well as CSKA Moscow) and agree with your assessment.

BTW, y'all can see him play for Russia in this year's WJC, which as I posted previously, will be broadcast on the NHL Network in the US this year (all US and Canada games + all elimination round games).


At least you've admitted that what you said before about Semin was indeed idiotic. Good for you.


I generally agree with your comments about the East teams with the exception of Boston. Since I live here I can't help, but watch most of their games (especially since all of them are available in HD) and they just might keep this up. They're extremely deep offensively (have guys on the 3rd line who can score 20 goals), big, strong, fast... Probably have the best goalie tandem in the NHL with Thomas and Fernandez. People always doubt Thomas, but all he's done his whole life is prove everyone wrong. He's a tremendous and very underrated goalie. The guy never gets any credit. Every night he makes a number of saves of a "you've got to be f'ing kidding me variety", and is very consistent actually over his career everywhere he's played. Their D is very good also and deep. The 3 kids up from Providence due to injuries are looking very good (as I've posted recently).

Posted by: ranndino | December 6, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for replying, but I don't think you understood what I meant exactly. While all of the CI channels are not in HD this year Comcast has added 1 HD channel (635 where I live) that is marked as the HD channel for CI. So some selected games are broadcast on that channel in HD according to Comcast's own cable guide and their online TV listings. However, this channel is turned off / not working and no one at Comcast knows anything about it. I've tried everything, even had a cable guy come out to my place. Still off. Sucks.

Posted by: ranndino | December 6, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I believe I heard on NHL-Live, that Comcast has bandwidth issues, so in many markets, they do not have all of the offerings that you may find on other providers.

Posted by: Max23 | December 6, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

randino, helmets can protect against concussions. are you suggesting that i would be no better off hitting my head against a wall w/out than i would with a helmet? that said, no amount of protection is going to totally prevent a concussion, but it can prevent some and lessen the severity of others by diffusing the impact of a hit. one item that has been provent to help prevent/reduce concussions are mouth pieces, which help set the jaw to lessen the impact. not enough guys wear mouthpieces (although i did notice OV wearing one and i'm not sure he has in the past).

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 6, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

First half of my 8 major thoughts during this injury deluge. Second half in post immediately following. Curious what folks think:

1) We're a better team without Chris Clark at this point. He wasn't part of last season's magical run, he hasn't played at an NHL level this season, and yet he remains our captain because Bruce understands the loyalties to Clark's efforts in the lean years. I appreciate what Clarkie has meant for the Caps, but he's no longer the true captain of this team and we don't need his skill-set. With health, I think all this (except the captaincy bit) directly applies to Nylander as well

2) Jurcina is far better when not on a line with Erskine. I know people will probably disagree with me here, but I've seen him take the body and play the puck better paired with the controlled and S@H style of Alzner. I believe Erskine is the weakest link on our backline -- making his contract all the more baffling

3) Fehr is a Cap to watch. Much like Fleischmann last year, Fehr is starting to show flashes of NHL readiness as a scorer. His goal last night was John LeClair-esque...super soft hands on a big frame. In addition, Fehr simply outworks people to get the puck. Mark my words, if we give him the ice time to develop he will be a gifted and major impact player for us -- he's a potential playoff warrior. We need to remind ourselves that this represents his first healthy season playing on the big squad.

4) Ovechkin is a pure warrior. He's hurt. He's got nagging injuries. We all know it. We all saw it last season through the playoffs. But, he is toughness personified. If he were alive during the era of the Visigoths and Mongols, he'd have been a Russian warrior on the front lines...a legend whom Russians would still be telling stories about around the camp fire. He would have battled and turned away the original Greek Alexander the Great!

Posted by: MTB7 | December 6, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Second half of my 8 major injury-deluge thoughts:

5) The Caps are incredibly deep. We are playing FOUR defensemen right now who weren't up with the team on opening night: Sloan, Alzner, Lepisto, Helmer. We've cycled in Borque, Mink, and Aucoin on the forward lines. Meanwhile, despite their absences from Hershey, the Bears continue to dominate -- starting with the increasingly stellar play of netminder prospect simeon varlamov

6) Bruce hates losing.

7) The Caps don't have a #1 goalie right now. Theo gets a shutout but sits the following night to watch Johnny and the caps lose to a woeful Blue Jackets team. Johnny wins last night and yet who goes against Toronto is up in the air. This doesn't bode well for long-term success...does it?

8) The player we still miss and have missed for a number of seasons now is a stud physical veteran defenseman. We talk a lot on these boards about various D-men not being ready or just being plain bad. How many of them are over the age of 27 though? We all know it takes far longer for defensemen to develop in this league and yet we consistently ask our young 20-something corps to know when to be physical, know when to pinch and know when to fall back and shut things down. All three of those skills are learned on the backline over time and experience. Some many never learn but I think we ask too much from our young guys w/out a veteran to lead the corps. Anytime Poti is considered your veteran D leader, you've got a problem. I like him and he's important, but he's just not that player.

Posted by: MTB7 | December 6, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"they" dont call you puckguru, you call yourself puckguru. as always, those who give themselves nicknames like "guru" and "chief" rarely are.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 6, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Things aren't that bad. Remember the first 20 games last season. That was bad. Semin was hurt then, too.

Posted by: SuperG5 | December 6, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

@ Kittypawz,
What's obvious to me is that you OBVIOUSLY FAILED "Psyche 101." Try again.
You're right about one thing though. I AM good. VERY! I imagine it does get to you after awhile -------- me being right so often. Well, imagine that. And, eat your heart out too. As far as no one listening is concerned, it's quite obvious YOU ARE. Which most definitely constitutes a contradiction where I'm from. Poor baby. I'll pray for you.

Posted by: Puckguru | December 7, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

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