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Thanksgiving Injury Update

Here's the latest on the Caps' injury situation, which at this point is bordering on the absurd.

*Defenseman Tom Poti, who left last night's game with what's believed to be a groin muscle pull, did not practice today and was moving slowly when he walked out of Kettler Capitals Iceplex. His status for tomorrow's game is unclear.

If he can't go, the Caps will be down to five healthy defensemen. Coach Bruce Boudreau didn't want to say what he would do in that situation, but winger Brooks Laich, who played a few shifts back there in Minnesota (after John Erskine and Jeff Schultz went down), appeared to get in a few minutes of work back there today.

Yep. With all the injuries, and the Caps' close proximity to the salary cap ceiling, it has, indeed, come to that folks.

*Center Boyd Gordon (back spasms) did not practice, but is probably the closest to returning. Perhaps as soon as tomorrow against Montreal, Coach Bruce Boudreau said.

*Winger Alexander Semin (upper back strain) did not practice and will not return until next week at the earliest.

*Defenseman Mike Green (bruised shoulder) did practice, but also won't be ready until next week at the earliest.

*Center Sergei Fedorov (sprained ankle) attempted to practice, but limped off after five minutes. He's probably out until next week.

*Erskine (mild concussion) probably won't play until Saturday at the earliest, but more likely Tuesday against Florida.

*And as you probably already know, captain Chris Clark (stress fracture in his right forearm) and Schultz (broken finger) were placed on LTIR yesterday and won't be back any time soon. Clark skated today with a cast on his arm, while Schultz told me that he has a plate holding his finger together.

"Other than that, we're fine," Boudreau cracked after providing an update after practice.

If Poti can't play -- he will be evaluated tomorrow morning -- the Caps will be short a defenseman. Boudreau said he would cross that bridge when he gets to it.

"You can't lose players like Semin, Fedorov, Green, that caliber of player, your core guys, and expect to win over the long haul," Boudreau said. "You can give it the old college try. In a short period of time, guys come up, play with great energy, their adrenaline is pumping high, and you can get by."

*Jose Theodore, meantime, is expected to start against his former team at Verizon Center.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 27, 2008; 11:02 AM ET
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Happy Thanksgiving to all and if someone would be so kind as to take the injury jinx off, we would give thanks.

Posted by: RichC3 | November 27, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

The Habs are a great 5 on 5 team. They aren't great on the PP which is good cause we aint that good on the PK.

We are at home and this is a very winnable game, if we...

A. Start strong
B. Get scoring from a secondary line
C. Get improved performances from the call-ups.
D. Have Theo continue to make some great saves.

Posted by: JSchon | November 27, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

E. Unleash the Hershey

Posted by: SA-Town | November 27, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I thought that Green was feeling a lot better last week and that for sure he would be back for tomorrow or Saturday? Why is he all of a sudden coming back next week at the earliest? The Caps need him back for tomorrow's game or they won't win. Montreal just beat Detroit in Detroit last night. Come back Green and Semin!

Tarik: You need to get an official update from Mike Green himself... please :)

Posted by: onthebeach96 | November 27, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I blame the training staff and the coaches for all the injuries. Our guys are clearly not properly conditioned so that they are more prone to injuries.

Posted by: DannyBoy1975 | November 27, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I'll say this, the rash of groin pulls tells me there is a deficiency in stretching / strengthening that area

(cue the jokes...) But I'm serious.

Posted by: MTB7 | November 27, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

you can't really fault the training staff and coaches for injuries. can you blame a player for diving in front of the puck to block a shot? Or might as well blame the opposing teams for playing physical against the Caps. It's just tough luck.

Posted by: blushfilms | November 27, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

And might as well say it now. I don't care how many guys we're missing we CANNOT KEEP PLAYING OVIE ON THE PK. I really can't believe Bruce (god bless him) lets this happen. It's not the same as Semin on the PK, who--despite his injury--clearly has a little more concern for his own body than the full-speed-ahead Ovechkin. This is a simple cost/benefit analysis and it's clearly a net risk.


Posted by: MTB7 | November 27, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

@DannyBoy1975 --

Yes, because we all know that a fractured forearms, broken fingers, concussions, and strained backs from being freight trained into the boards by Pronger are all the result of poor conditioning. (insert rolls eyes smiley here)


Posted by: s1c00554 | November 27, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse


Make T-Shirts

"Unleash the Hershey"

is priceless

Posted by: JSchon | November 27, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

and i disagree with blushfilms when it comes to the rash of groin injuries specifically...

Posted by: MTB7 | November 27, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

So, if Brooksie is moving back to the blueline, who gets the nod if Gordon's still out? Or do we skate short a forward?

It's deeply worrying that Bruce doesn't even seem to have a contingency plan here, at least not one that he wants to talk about. It's more worrying that he's bracing us for a lot of potential losses.

Let's just hope that Thanksgiving isn't when this team turns around 180 degrees this year too, since they started out facing the right direction this time.

Posted by: KurtNYC | November 27, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse


Green was not the only guy that Pronger checks hard into the boards. So how come the others didn't get injured when Pronger hit them hard?

Ankle twists, back muscle strains, groin pulls, are all condition-related injuries that could have been minimized or prevented if the players were train properly.

Posted by: DannyBoy1975 | November 27, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: onthebeach96 | November 27, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree about taking Ovie off the PK. I've been screaming about this all year.

It's not like our PK is particularly great with him on it anyway, or that he has a bunch of SH goals...

Posted by: Hatfield223 | November 27, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

If Feds is still hobbling that badly he needs to go to LTIR and rest. He should have been there a week ago. I'm not a big fan of Brooksie playing D. It's one thing for Feds to play D because he's one of the all time greatest but Brooksie...not quite. Lets bring up Godfrey and give him a taste. It's still November and the Caps are in good shape, standings-wise, to expose some of these young guys to the show- guys who normally wouldn't get a shot this early in their careers.

Posted by: meagle | November 27, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Habs are paper tigers, but the Caps right now are missing some claws. It will be a tight game.

Posted by: cirrus_nine | November 27, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

If your blamming the training staff/coaches for injuries you need to get a clue. Are you related to Cheef??

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | November 27, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Realize that this is some very tough luck but as a long time Caps fan...can anyone recall such a rash of injuries AND to very key players???

Posted by: ralCapsFan | November 27, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Happy thanksgiving to all!

Deeply grateful for the Washington Capitals :)

Here's to a quick, healthy return of all the injured *raises a turkey and a beer*

Posted by: mauree | November 27, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Can LTIR be retroactively invoked as they do in baseball?

Seems like there is a lot of salary capped being burned by Semin, Green and Feds. (oops, that's right, Federov tried to come back already; so don't yell at me already!)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by: Landshark | November 27, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I'll drink to all that,mauree!

Posted by: uncatim | November 27, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

LTIR can be retroactive but only for the games and days that need to be missed. The salary cap relief is not retroactive. So, Feds could go on LTIR retro to his last game in Cali but the Cap relief starts on the day he is put on.

Posted by: ChrisAm | November 27, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Didn't we have some injury problems the year before we went to the finals? I think either the Caps or Habs led the league in man days missed/injury days, it may still be a record today. I think that year we had so many guys injured that we on certain nights struggled to get 4 lines out. At the end of the season the whole fitness staff were changed out and strengthening exercises were the focus on high risk muscles/body parts. Dare we also bring up the ice again at Verizon, another groin injury this time to Poti. Don't understand why semin and Green aren't back yet though, sounds like all the facts aren't out in the open here.

Posted by: Kiltmon | November 27, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

@ralCapsFan: Yes! It was 2001, the first season with Jagr, and pretty much everyone went down with an injury, including Calle Johansson (all season) and Steve Konowalchuk (half the season). I'm pretty sure they led the league in man-games lost.

Interestingly enough, I read an article the following year about how the Caps beefed up/changed their conditioning and strength coaching department in response, and placed a stronger emphasis on "core" training, to reduce injuries.

Posted by: jaschobm | November 27, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

we are starting to look like Carolina of the last couple years

Posted by: UMWHockey | November 27, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

We need green and semin back.

Posted by: sprkatya38 | November 27, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Kurt, the coach does not and cannot have a plan for this. He simply takes the ice with the players GMGM tells him to play with. Bruce does not worry about salary caps, etc. As others have pointed out it is stupid and pointless to blame the injuries on anyone (perhaps Pronger), but this is what happens when you play right up against the cap.

Posted by: majiksea | November 27, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to you for working on Thanksgiving to give us the update, Tarik.

Posted by: jen-s | November 27, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

This getting ridiculous now semin isn't even practicing 2 post's ago he was almost ready to play the last two he doesn't even skate and next week the "earliest" does not sound good at all!!!! same thing for green almost ready to not ready to which one is it ? might as well list semin as sidelined indeffinately he's been day to day for what three weeks now !!!!

Posted by: stockrock70 | November 27, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I think the injury curse is from Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. I noticed that most of the injuries started after Semin's statement about Crosby. It is time to put the hex back on those Penguins! I am putting my voodoo on those "flightless fowls" in Pittsburgh now!!!! Down goes Crosby! Down goes Malkin! Down goes Staal! Down goes Satan! Satan?!? No wonder they are winning! Mario Lemieux must have sold their souls a long time ago in order to have Satan on their side! Hang on Caps!

Posted by: JohnWWW | November 27, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

You guys taken Dannyboy1975 seriously?
Obviously the guy has never played a sport, let alone play hockey. Same goes for "cheef"

Posted by: MNMNT | November 27, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

i think it's fair to question whether ice conditions contribute to the ankle/groin injuries. i also think it's fair to question whether training/conditioning could also contribute to the rash of groin pulls. not saying they are, but it does beg the question. i think ice conditions are truly suspect, here and at other rinks.

stress fractures, greens injury, semin, broken fingers, etc. just hockey injuries. just so happens they are all occuring at once. lets hope the odds even out and we'll be healthy when it counts...april, may and beyond..

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 27, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm bringing this up again, as I seem to have to do every year.

As much optimism as I have about this team, there still is The Curse of Scott Stevens to deal with.

You can't get rid of a guy like that and expect to win a championship within the next 100 years. And now look at what's happened with all the injuries.

However, there is some serious talent in Hershey, and it's good to get a chance to see how they do up here. And we still have Ovechkin. And we have Bruce. Will it be enough to reverse The Curse of Scott Stevens?

I hope so..


Posted by: TheRealOneal | November 27, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

i think the team needs to looks at the trade deadline and which defenseman becomes available, but Alzner needs to stay and Lepisto needs to show that he belongs once and for all. If the situation does not improve and we do not shore up the defense I think you have to go and get a guy for the run, and that includes a goaltender. Defense wins championships. We have the offense to get us there.

Posted by: ergoroc | November 27, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Happy Thanksgiving to all you Yanks!

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 27, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Ate way too much, but isn't that the point? Nice turkey on the grill (charcoal, not gas), bottle of wine, etc...

Here's to all of us! Whether we know what the hell we're talking about or not, ain't it great to be a Caps fan!

And Steve. If Fehr IS going to make a move to take over for Kozlov, this is the time to do it. Kozlov's UFA at the end of the season.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 27, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Heavy Drinking will be a must to manage tomorrow's game. Boudreau may have to log some minutes on the blue line.

God help us on Sat night after 3 more guys go down. I can only laugh at this rediculous injury situation.

Posted by: SA-Town | November 27, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

@DannyBoy1975 -

So how come the others didn't get injured when Pronger hit them hard?

Because Mike Green LOST HIS BALANCE, per his own statement.

Go ahead. Blame conditioning and training.

I-C-E. Anybody can slip.

Posted by: irockthered | November 27, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

"A very winnable game"?? You are kidding with that attitude. The defense might be Morrisonn, Jurcina, Sloan, Alzner, Lepisto and Laich.

Montreal is a good team instead of the bad team Atlanta is. Montreal is rested instead of the played last night Thrashers.
Ov scored 3 to get the win. Its very unlikely that he scores 3 two games in a row.

By the way. The Caps had no healthy scratch for Atlanta. If Poti is out and Laich is on defense, the Caps will be forced to play one player short. 17 skaters. 11 forwards and 6 defense.

Posted by: txpd | November 27, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Naysayers say nay...

Ah, piece of cake. (wink wink, nudge nudge).

Posted by: Greg S. | November 27, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

I love Brooksie, but Brooks on defense against Montreal, yikes!

Hey, nothing was said today but did anyone else think that Steckel looked a little out of sorts last night? Seemed slow. Hubby and I wondered if he might also be hurting or if maybe had the flu bug.

Turkey is not turkey unless it is smoked on the grill. Oh, and I make the best sweet potato dish ever. Seriously. we all really have to tailgate sometime. I will bring the ribs!

My house raised many beers, and three junior beverages to our troops overseas today and our beloved Caps.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and we will rock the red with all of you tomorrow.

Posted by: Kim-3 | November 27, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and just fair warning. My nine year old says she will personally check anyone who tries to start the wave during the game on Friday! Trust me, she hits like Pronger not like Schultz!!

Posted by: Kim-3 | November 27, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Not looking like Caps are going into tomorrow night's game with very good odds. That said, there is still that chance to win. Will it be difficult? yes. Does it seem impossible? yes. But this team has shown it can make the impossible, possible.

@ kim. RE Stecks:

You're not the only one. I, too, thought he was a bit out of it last night. I watched a reply of the game today, and there was definitely something going on with him. I hope it's not an injury and he was only having a bad night.

Posted by: elicea | November 27, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Three awesome things came out of yesterday's game. First, the Caps got a much need win. Second, OV and his entire line were unbelievable. Third, I think Bruce has created a new line (out of necessity at first) that clicks. Nylander, Flash, and Fehr looked great. The passing was crisp and the goal they got in the first was the sickest since the Backstrom/Semin goal last year in the playoffs against Philly. Nylander has earned his stripes the last half dozen games in my opinion. I hope he doesn't move now. Let's look at the bright future when our wounded return. First line of OV/Backstrom/Kozlov, second line of Federov/Semin/Laich, and a third line of Nylander/Flash/Fehr. Like I said in a post yesterday, we just need the temp line-up to manage to stay .500 and within a few points of the divison lead. When we get our guys back, and we will, the gap can again be closed and they'll begin the playoff run. I'll tell you what too, the play of Alzner, who in my opinion did a great job making Jurcina look good Last night, let's the Caps move a Jurcina or a Morrison when the defensive corp gets healthy.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 27, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Tomorrow night kind of scares me. Hopefully we're getting all of our injuries for the season over with at once.

That Brady Boudreau Kid Reporter video they played on Wednesday night was pretty funny. Has anybody seen it online anywhere?

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 27, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse


Who is the guy that Bruce was talking about who never played junior or college hockey, was working and playing senior amateur hockey and is now playing as a pro? (during the post game press conf).

I listened to it a few times, but couldn't catch the name because it was in the reporter's question and it's impossible to hear.

Posted by: ranndino | November 27, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

The Caps seem to play the best when the odds are against them - hopefully that means we'll be in for some good hockey tomorrow!! :-) LET'S GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: Boo- | November 27, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

ranndino, he was talking about his son, Ben Boudreau.

Posted by: elicea | November 27, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Let's see who we take to Columbus next week. These lame road losses must stop. It's great to be able to hold serve at home, but we have got to be a better road team or we will get bounced from the playoffs.

Posted by: ergoroc | November 28, 2008 6:35 AM | Report abuse

ergoroc: I really, really think that a lot of this last road trip was just plain rotten luck with injuries. Losing Green, Semin, and Fedorov all at once is killing us, and let's face it, Fedorov is 39. He WILL take longer to heal than our young guys. That's the way it goes, and him trying to come back too soon did not help.

I am also wondering if maybe some of these injuries are a conditioning issue and maybe there's some work that can be done in that department. Certainly not all of the injuries can be blamed on that, not even close, but I would say that it's worth stepping back and evaluating it.

Let's evaluate our fitness and conditioning and just try to tread water for a little until we can get some of our key guys back.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 28, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Also, can we pretty please just put Fedorov on LTIR for now? It's clear that he keeps trying to come back too soon and he's just hamstriging us and himself. Put him on LTIR, get him off the ice and let him heal fully, and bring up a couple more of our Hershey guys.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 28, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

My issue isnt with the injuries...they happen...

The problem is Green, Semin, and Feds are not getting better. Every day it gets worse...not better.

Posted by: SA-Town | November 28, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

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