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Injury Update

Matt Bradley will have a pin removed from his broken finger six days from now and will be able to return to the lineup right away, he said yesterday. The checking line winger has missed 12 games, but could be back for next Tuesday's game against Philadelphia.

Left wing Alexander Semin, meantime, went for precautionary X-rays yesterday. Team officials wouldn't be specific about where Semin is hurt, but they are optimistic he won't miss any playing time.

"He'll be fine to play," Coach Hanlon said. "He's got a little nagging injury and he wants some reassurance that there's nothing the matter with him."

Left wing Alex Ovechkin also did not skate yesterday, but he was simply resting, Hanlon said.

The news is not so good regarding defenseman John Erskine, who still needs crutches to get around. He's missed eight games and might not be able to return until next month.

"That's not a good sign," Hanlon said of the crutches. "If he's still limping around, then he's not playing for the next little while."

Even after Erskine has the cast removed from his left foot, he's facing 7 to 10 days just to get back into shape.

Defenseman Bryan Muir, meantime, could be back from his broken foot in about two weeks, while right wing Richard Zednik (abdominal surgery) hopes to be able to skate on his own in 10-14 days.

On an unrelated note, General Manager George McPhee left yesterday for Sweden, where attending the World Junior Championships. He's scheduled to meet with center Nicklas Backstrom, the club's 2006 fourth overall draft pick.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 2, 2007; 1:04 PM ET
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It'd be nice if McPhee puts his cell phone to good use and gets a good defenseman in between WJC games.

The playoffs will slowly fade away with the D corps we have now, and chances weren't that much better when we had our regulars in the line up.

But we can still do this, just need to tighten up our play a little. Playoffs baby!

Posted by: Graham | January 2, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if getting embarrassed in the first round of the playoffs by Buffalo is going to do good things to our players confidence... It will likely just lead to the same hated sports personalities blasting the Caps and hockey in general after another early exit. If the playoffs come, hey great, if not, well, they come when you're ready. So far this team is not ready.

I love them anyway, faults and all. I can't help it. I've been going to long to turn on them now. Sigh. Over the years, the Caps seem to parallel my life. I'm excited, things can only go up!

Posted by: Kerplunk | January 2, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"Scheduled to meet with?" Tell more... Will he be asking Backstrom if he'll *definitely* be in the NHL next year? Because if not then GMGM needs to trade for a C pretty darn fast.

Posted by: Tyler | January 2, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I've come to wonder whether a new d-man even matters. Lately, our passing has been incredibly lousy. Whether it's just a little bit far, behind people, bouncing over sticks or flat-out to empty space, we're constantly regrouping now. Coupled with our season-long inability to clear the puck, we're giving up more and more bad breaks the other way. And its everyone, Alex Squared included, so its not just a lack of talent.

Posted by: tallbear | January 2, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Backstrom was our first overall pick, not fourth.

Posted by: By the way ... | January 2, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

he was the fourth overall pick, as in No. 4 overall.

Posted by: Tarik | January 2, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

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