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Clark: 'There's No Lingering Pain'

Chris Clark said he doesn't know when -- or even if -- Coach Bruce Boudreau is going insert him into the lineup. But the team captain said a few minutes ago that he's ready and anxious to suit up for the first time since Jan. 27.

It won't be tonight. But if things don't go well in Game 1 against the Rangers, it's possible Clark could make his return from a 33-game layoff with a wrist injury. He plans to speak to Boudreau and GM George McPhee later today.

"I wanted to know if I could do some battling drills," Clark said of his conversation with a team doctor yesterday afternoon. "By the end, he said, 'Yeah, I think you can do that. But I think if you are able to do that, you should be able to play. So go ahead.'"

Clark still is wearing a hard plastic brace on his wrist and said it's stiff. But he took slap shots for the first time this morning and said there was no pain.

"Range of motion is there, but it's still a little stiff," he said. "I think it's going to be like that for a while because of the immobility because of the cast and everything. But there's no lingering pain."

Because today was a morning skate, Clark didn't have any hard bumps with any teammates. That, he said, will be the test he'll need to pass during tomorrow's practice.

Clark, 33, has played in only 50 games the past two seasons because of an array of injuries, including a groin tendon ailment that contributed to keeping him out of all but 18 games a year ago. Being sidelined with the wrist injury, he said, allowed him to continue to work on strengthening his groin muscle. As a result, this is the healthiest he's felt since 2006-07.

"I would definitely be a little bit rusty," said Clark, who, because of the injuries, hasn't played in a game that has mattered in Washington since joining the club before the 2005-06 season. "But I've been skating with the guys for the past week [to help] me with the timing. So it's just a matter of jumping back in it eventually."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 15, 2009; 11:59 AM ET
 
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Comments

From,previous thread..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 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully it will be a long run and he's a great asset to have when he's fully ready.

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

As someone said, Clark's leadership and run with the Flames undoubtedly will help our younger guys. We've got a sticky situation.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 15, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

You never forget how to get in front and do the dirty work and that's where he can be an asset. Great to have more ammunition.

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

From previous thread - Puckguru, why pine away for Huet? He's now the backup goalie in Chicago and why do you think he would have done a better job for us than he did for the 'Hawks this year?

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | April 15, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey LeftCoast, saintex will 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.

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

saintex agrees.

Posted by: saintex | April 15, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Clarkie's a factor for rounds 2 3 & 4. What's the lineup tonight?

Posted by: Sonyask | April 15, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

SOOO Looking forward to tonight! Just finished the logo stencil to paint on my head. Hope it turns out ok! I'll be in 103, red bald head, blue Goatee, Eagle on the forehead! C-A-P-S, CAPS, CAPS, CAPS!

Posted by: jdhoover | April 15, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

caraveli:
(from 2 threads ago)
is it possible theo gets discouraged at the poor play in front of him sometimes? all the odd man rushes? it could work both ways, this could be a vicious circle!

me thinks Wise is not so wise :)

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 15, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

ROCK THE RED _ BE LOUD AS HELL TONIGHT!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 15, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

jdhoover:
that's dedication!! i'll be looking for you on tv

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 15, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=418300&navid=DL|NHL|Home


Also, if you guys want to get down on Theo...What the hell happened to Giguire? At least we aren't all duck fans, we would be foaming at the mouth with their goaltending situation.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 15, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Brashear: "Avery is dead to me."

Posted by: richmondphil | April 15, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I fear this is going to be a difficult series. The Rangers are an improved team and have the better goalie. Sorry, shaky Theo, but it's true. A hot goalie trumps the home-ice advantage.

If the Caps can win this series, no matter what else happens, this season is a success. It'll be their first playoff-series win since 1998. That's something to build on.

If the Caps fall, 50 wins and a division title will seem hollow, as silly as that sounds.

I've been a Caps fan since 1982, and I've lived through all the playoff failures. Let's not have another one, boys.

Let's go Caps!

Posted by: gaspeny | April 15, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I fully expect Wes to start reading the starting lineups and then... "Wait a minute, that's Captain Clark's music!"

Posted by: koalatek | April 15, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 15, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

To balance out gaspeny: I don't think there's anything to worry about in this series. We've got nerves, as fans, and it's getting the best of us. I've held since about mid-season that the second round is going to be a bear, no matter who plays who across the Eastern Conference, but this isn't a series to worry about...at all.

Color me rosy.

Posted by: saintex | April 15, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

We take it seriously and we take this series. Begins tonight! Let's go!

Posted by: Sonyask | April 15, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

top shelf, short-side.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 15, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

From the Bog:
"...the best part of the morning was seeing the Caps' prospective lines on a white board in the Rangers dressing room. Hershey's Keith Aucoin was listed as the fourth-line center. Mike Green's name was spelled "Greene." And Shaone Morrisonn's last name was spelled "Morrison."

Posted by: _newt_ | April 15, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Avery is already a player in this contest... you are all giving him the notoriety he lives for!!

As for Ovechkin, he better stop worrying about the size of Henrik's "equipment"... paging Dr. Freud...

Posted by: incognito2 | April 15, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Well yeah..of course Avery and Lundy are getting the attention. Who else on your team is going to be? Gomez? Rossy? Redden? haha

Posted by: richmondphil | April 15, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

redden was the best offseason free agent signing...

Posted by: _stevo | April 15, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Just watched again the highlights of the 5-4 win in NYC. A third of the team were the replacements (Alzner, Giroux, Sloan, Helmer, Collins, A.Gordon)...and still we won. The most fun is to see the happiest bench after scoring and of course the final pile on top of Morrisonn... I remember how after the game my daughter and I only could say: "What a team!!!"

There is no way Caps are worse now than back in Dec. And this makes me happy.

Let's go Caps. Rock the Red.

Posted by: fnralch | April 15, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

_stevo, Naw, I think Avery was.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 15, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

One week - bust your tail for one week and the series is ours... Wed to Wed - Caps in 4!!!

Posted by: _828 | April 15, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

@jmu

well you know i like avery, but redden may be the worst free-agent signing i have seen in at least 5 years (not including nylander)

Posted by: _stevo | April 15, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Any chance Geroux and Alzner will see any action in the playoffs for the Caps?

I don't know how the roster limits and cap limits work for the NHL in the playoffs. If anyone can clue me in, I'd be much obliged.

Posted by: rb-freedom-for-all | April 15, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

freedom - there are no salary cap issues during the playoffs... if someone gets hurt, Alzner may come up... Giroux will probably not, but, it depends on who gets hurt. For every player on the Caps, there is a 'twin' on Hershey that can try to fill their skates.

Posted by: _828 | April 15, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

_stevo, I, too, like Avery. Think about the level of screwup Redden has had for NYR vs Avery for the Stars. At least Redden is still playing for them. They could be paying a chunk of his salary for him to be playing elsewhere.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 15, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

@rb-freedom-for-all
The Caps are apparently limited to four non-injury post-trade deadline callups (and Pothier may have counted as one callup). No salary cap for the playoffs. As the team will actually have some healthy scratches, I doubt you'll see anyone coming up. Unlike, say Columbus, the Caps are interested in Hershey winning as well.

Posted by: koalatek | April 15, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

That 5-4 game was unbelievable. The following morning I printed out that picture of Laich, Ovie and Backstrom jumping on Morrisonn, and it's been tacked up to my bulletin board at work ever since, along with the one from the final regular season game of last season with all the guys getting ready to jump off the bench and BB pumping his fists in the air. I hope I get to add to my little art collection with some memorable shots over the next few weeks...

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 15, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

@jmu

ahh thats right, for some reason i forgot the whole avery/stars debacle

Posted by: _stevo | April 15, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Clark can't displace anybody on our top 3 lines. I don't mind BB sticking him in for Bradley, for example. But the only real lineup wish that I have is to get Aucoin back instead of Brashear. Rangers are pretty fast, not that physical, what the hell do we need him in the lineup for?

Posted by: VladG | April 15, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Would it be too much to ask that Brashear just clobbers Avery with a clothes line or something, taking Avery out of the game and/or series? Then we lose Brashear for a bit and get Aucoin in? Spoken like a true fan with no real idea of what he's talking about but it'd be nice. I'd prefer to ignore Avery while he's lying on his bed in his silk bed linens laughing maniacally as he watches the Capitals destroy the Rangers. Wishful thinking...

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | April 15, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

@ VladG : a healthy Chris Clark could replace Vozlov (with how poorly he's been playing) or Nylander.

Posted by: nag1055 | April 15, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

@LeftCoastCapsFan

Ordinarily I wouldn't approve of such a tactic, but just this once, I might be willing to make an exception.

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 15, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Rangers not physical? Look at their hits from Girardi and Staal. And Dubinsky is a hitting machine. Fighting is not the only way to be physical people. Tortorella has them being a very aggressive forechecking team with the green light for hitting.

Posted by: chuckatcws | April 15, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Depending on which Flash shows up, I guess Clark could replace him too. Really though, a Laich-Nylander-Clark line might actually work.

Posted by: koalatek | April 15, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

@VladG: Rangers are pretty fast, not that physical, what the hell do we need him in the lineup for?

Clark's job is the same as Laich's and Fehr's, IMO - to screen Lundqvist. Lundqvist doesn't handle heavy net traffic all that well that I have observed, and getting a screener in front of him could really, really help us out.

Posted by: kittypawz | April 15, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I guess BB is pretty much set on 8-19-25 and 21-91-28. Of course if a situation requires a sudden punch, then he would switch Kozzy and Semin but generally BB seems to be quite comfortable with the first two lines EVEN with Kozzy not showing much recently (4 points in last 5 games and none in previous 4). The other lines are always open for quick fixes though...

Posted by: fnralch | April 15, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I ask you good Caps fans this. And Perish the thought it would happen. My biggest fear is a first shot by the Rangers and it goes in. The Caps have got to man up on D from the first drop. Let Theo get a couple of saves and I think we're good.

Posted by: ridgely1 | April 15, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

@ridgely1

That has happened so many times this season, and yet we still managed to win plenty of those games, so even if that does happen, hopefully we'll put it behind us quickly and win anyway. But I agree, perish the thought - Theo needs all the confidence he can get, and that wouldn't help one bit.

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 15, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

@ridgely...happens too often to both Theo and Brent when he was playing. I think the team takes a bit to get rolling and they often enough get caught on an early shot by the opposition. I'm sure if IRTH is out there she'll pull some early goal numbers - seemed like it happened a lot early in the season.

Posted by: saintex | April 15, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

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