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Monday Morning Update (Update)

Of the three players who left Saturday's 2-1 win in Montreal early, only Nicklas Backstrom is back on the ice this morning. Backstrom had another bout with a migraine headache, an issue that forced him to leave a game at least once previously.

Sergei Fedorov and Tyler Sloan, meantime, are not skating. I'll try to get an update on the two of them after practice.

There's also no sign of Simeon Varlamov. I'm not sure if that means he's been sent down or not. I'll check on that, too.

Also, Tomas Fleischmann (leg), Jose Theodore (hip) and Eric Fehr (shoulder) are back, while Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin each appear to be taking a maintenance day.

One more thing: before the team took the ice, Brian Pothier (in warm-ups, a helmet and gloves) was working one-on-one with asisstant coach Jay Leach. It was the hardest I've seen Pothier skate and shoot since he suffered that devastating concussion a year ago.

Update:VarlamovMichal Neuvirth just came onto the ice.

Neuvirth was recalled from South Carolina to practice today. After practice, I'm told, he will be sent down and Varlamov, who is in the building, will be rejoin the Capitals for tomorrow's trip. Varlamov was technically "sent down" yesterday, but it doesn't appear that he ever left town.

More after practice.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 15, 2008; 10:35 AM ET
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Next: Varlamov: 'I Will Not Be Afraid of Anything'


Good morning!

Posted by: greenmachine | December 15, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

1) Geez as much as anyone would like to see Pothier back/healthy, having him return would put a serious crimp in the Caps salary cap structure!

Posted by: fauxrumors | December 15, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

It was the best of times it was the...FIRST of times? Stupid monkeys.

Posted by: ThisGuy | December 15, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

why oh why

Posted by: ThisGuy | December 15, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like 19 should talk to Terrell Davis for help on that problem.

Posted by: Section117 | December 15, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Having Pothier back at some point would force the Capitals' hand on Nylander, wouldn't it? :)

Posted by: Cerealman | December 15, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

The heck with worries about how to handle salary cap issues. They will be resolved when they come up. I think it is great that Pothier is able to skate like that. It wasn't long ago that the biggest worry was if he was going to be able to play with his kids or function in a somewhat normal life. He has obviously cleared a major hurdle and that is a good thing.

Posted by: _Mark | December 15, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Having suffered concussions before while playing collegiate sports, they're not fun and nothing to joke about. I was able to return to playing and haven't felt many effects since. Seeing Pothier back on the ice is amazing. I just hope he can get past the post-concussion symptoms.

Posted by: dcox50 | December 15, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

As a migraine sufferer, I sympathize for Backstrom.

As a Fedorov fan, I'm sad again.

Posted by: jen-s | December 15, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Also 19 might want to talk to Steve Francis, a local guy. I remember in an interview Francis mentioned he had terrible migraines that were related to his diet (mostly junk food) and that after he went to a more healthy diet they mostly went away. Not saying Lil' Nick has bad eating habits, but it couldn't hurt to mention...

Posted by: superpaqman | December 15, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad to see Pothier back out there, but if I were him I'd be seriously scared about putting myself in the position for yet another concussion. More power to the guy.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 15, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Giroux has looked good, but it will be nice to have Flash back in that 2nd line spot.

Posted by: stormblue | December 15, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Total 100% mismanage of Fedorov's injury. This is twice. Injuries are part of the game. Putting him back out there too early is not.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 15, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Three-or-more did not go to South Carolina? Crap!!!

Posted by: majiksea | December 15, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I also wouldnt read too much into Pothier coming back. He has been out so long. He would need at least 2 months of contact hockey before he plays with the Caps. Thats just in my opinion.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 15, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Brian is still along way from coming back and playing. I am happy to see him making progress but I still don't think he will be back this season.

Posted by: CalleJo | December 15, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

SA-town, what's to say Fedorov didn't ask togeton the ice? If he did who's going to tell him no?

Posted by: superpaqman | December 15, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

As far as Nylander, the Caps can't force anything. He holds the NTC. The club can reduce his minutes, hide his equipment, and make hime feel unwanted and unhappy, but it is his decision. I am just glad that I am not the one to have to figure out how to make it all fit and who to move, if anyone will be moved. I am glad Nylander is a cap and hope he remains with the team.

Posted by: _Mark | December 15, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

@jen-s: Amen to both of those comments.

@superpaqman: If you talk to 20 different migraine sufferers, you probably find 20 different things that trigger them. Once you figure out what causes them, you can figure out how to manage them.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 15, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Great news about Pothier. Here's hoping he continues to progress. Being able to skate a couple of days in a row and now shoot is a long, long way from returning to the lineup.

Posted by: Ames00 | December 15, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon: LOL

I've had a migraine once or twice in my life. They SUCK and he's got my sympathies.

As for Pothier - let's cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, it's awesome to see him just skating and shooting. I don't think we have a real concern right now - he's still a long, long way from being ready to suit up. A LONG way. Even when he is fully healthy and has no more symptoms, he still has a lot of rehab and work to do to get into playing shape. Right now, I'm juset impressed that he is on the ice at all and hopes he doesn't push it too hard, and wish him all the best for a full recovery.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 15, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of migrains....there are a few people in here that give me my migraines. Really just kidding...I love you all! You are all capital fans, in some sort of way!

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 15, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse


Fed's may be to blame too. Im not pinning it anyone in particular. Im not really upset either. Just sad to see the injury mismanaged. Doctors are to blame in my opinion. They should be on top of this.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 15, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Tess, I'm right there with you, I'm just saying since they're both kind of similar in circumstance (young high-level athletes) so maybe it's something he could check, but yes migraines can come from any number of thing, like all that hair he has. Ok maybe the joke wasn't so funny,

Posted by: superpaqman | December 15, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Having a healthy Pothier on the cap is NOT a bad thing. You can get rid of Erskine and Morrisonn while keeping Alzner.

Posted by: Semvechkin | December 15, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse


If you really want to make headlines today, throw a shoe at someone during a post-practice interview.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 15, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse


Erskine now is essentially unmoveable and morrison is going to be gone after this year. I would love to get B-pots back but a concussion that bad...i doubt it

Posted by: _stevo | December 15, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Anyone notice how Cheef and Windjam aren't around after the Caps win

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 15, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Let's hope that Cheef and Windy are gone for a long time

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | December 15, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

So, if Sloan is out for any games, I vote Collins for the call-up. He was steady.

Posted by: Ames00 | December 15, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Also, the whole Neuvirth/Varlamov thing is probably just salary cap monkeying right now.

Why didn't they send Stretch out for practices instead? :)

Posted by: kittypawz | December 15, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone else kind of feel bad for Neuvirth in this whole situation? Granted not bad enough to sour the wins or anything, but the kid wants to play.

Posted by: superpaqman | December 15, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Well I can tell you why windjammer is quiet. As far as Dr. Windjammer was concerned we had seen the last of Green because he had a season ending injury. Even though some in here are complaining about Green's play I am GLAD he is back and hope he's back for good.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 15, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town: Docs cannot read Fedorov's mind on something like this - they have to rely on him, and given his enthusiasm and his age, I think he's underestimating. He wants to get back into the game, and the fact that he is healing as slowly as he is drives him NUTS.

I wonder if the best move is to put him on LTIR? That'll help him sit long enough to heal fully and without reinjuring and give us a hand with the cap situation.

We're also assuming that this is actually his ankle again :)

Posted by: kittypawz | December 15, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Ugh I'm so tired of the injuries. I'm glad to hear about Pothier though, I don't think it would be wise to put him back on the ice in a game right now, but maybe in a couple of months if he keeps improving and going to therapy.

And I get migraines all the time, they're really awful (mine stem from a car accident injury). But Excedrin Migraine works wonders.

Posted by: Caps1Fan | December 15, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"Does anyone else kind of feel bad for Neuvirth in this whole situation?"

@superpaqman: Yes. I was kind of hoping to see Varlamov and Neuvirth both in Hershey this year. I'm not a Machesney fan. Don't ask me why; I can't really put my finger on it, but I just don't see him as a future Cap.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 15, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Cheef and all his alter egos probably didn't pay his interweb bills. Don't get him all riled up about how the equipment manager is the reason why they've been losing games.

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | December 15, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

SO was Neuvirth just recalled to test him out and see how he fared against NHLers in practice? Like a test drive?

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 15, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I wish I had seen that Canadiens' game, I was out in the middle of nowhere and they didn't show it. I like Varmalov from what I saw definitely.

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | December 15, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Caps1Fan: I don't want to burst your bubble on that, but Excedrin Migraine has the exact same ingredients as Excedrine Extra Strength - Acetaminophen 250 mg; Aspirin 250 mg; Caffein 65 mg. I have read over the labels and can't find a difference in these two products.

You can also "make" Excedrin if you don't have it: one Tylenol tablet, one regular aspirin and a tall glass of iced tea.

Hopefully with Fedorov he'll be ready for the playoffs.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 15, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

@superpaqman - Re: Backstrom - you may have something there, regarding eating habits... he looked like he'd put on a few in the off-season.

Posted by: irockthered | December 15, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse


I know it's probably exactly the same, but the point is, it works.

Posted by: Caps1Fan | December 15, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I had headache issues while playing, it turned out my helmet needed to be adjusted. It was a little too tight.

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 15, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Excedrin Migraine never worked for me. I use prescription meds for my migraines.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 15, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I just want to state I am seriously concerned Pothier is trying to play again, or at least getting on the ice. It just takes one more big hit to become a vegatable and in hockey, those chances of a big hit are pretty high. Sure he still may be a few months away from a possible return but I encoruage shutting it down and discouraging him now before we have to 'cross that bridge.' Besides, I dont think he would add much to the roster anyway so he should just focus on being healthy and starting the next chapter of his life - pre/post game analyst on CSN ala Ronnie Thompson for the Wiz? (as he was prior to his concussion).

Also, with all this goalie shuffling and stuff at the end of last week and then again today, is there any chum in the waters re: trade? Seems a bit fishy to me they would call up a guy for practice when they have another one sitting in the back room they called up on fri. Odd stuff but I have in GMGM

Posted by: ThatGuy2 | December 15, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm taking a maintenance day.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | December 15, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

A quick peek at the Mayo Clinic site for migraines shows about six types of triggers for migraines. Certain types of food (red wine, aged cheeses, MSG) as well as skipping meals are triggera. So are bright lights or unusual smells, missing sleep, getting too much sleep, and changes in the weather. The two most promising candidates in this case might be stress - anger, depression or excitement, or stress followed by relaxation - and intense physical exertion. Think about it: he scored in the first period, and went off sometime during the third.

Good thing it doesn't happen too often because we want him to keep on scoring goals!

Posted by: RedRocker1 | December 15, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

As a new migraine sufferer (who knew at 56 yrs old), they are no fun. Maybe Backstrom needs a haircut? Okay....dumb comment.

Maybe? we can blame Theo's poor play in goal on his hip flexor? If he's been battling it all season? If the Caps brought up Varmolov need season, would they find a bidder for Theo?

SA-Town: nice shoe comment! :-)

Posted by: dezlboy1 | December 15, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

This place sounds like WebMD! Lets talk hockey boys and girls. :)

Posted by: RedRocker | December 15, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Migraines can also be caused by injury, in my case, extreme whiplash.

Posted by: Caps1Fan | December 15, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

@ThatGuy2: I understand what you mean, but I think discouraging him and shutting him down is a little bit out of line. That's not your or my decision to make. Don't think he doesn't know the risks, probably better than any of us. he also knows what is at stake, better than you or I. Have faith in him that he will make the right decision when the time comes. You can't and shouldn't tell him what to do - the best any of us can do as human beings as back in him whatever he decides to do. It's his path.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 15, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Fine fine. In any case, the game Thursday is on Versus, right? How much does Versus cost a month? I don't get it :(

Posted by: Caps1Fan | December 15, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse


I just read an article on Brian Pothier and they were interviewing him about when he might come back or if he's going to retire. He definitely understands the risks - he said he thinks about retirement every day because he's got a wife and kids and wants to be able to spend time with them as a fully-functioning person. (

Posted by: Caps1Fan | December 15, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

@Caps1Fan: Sure, agreed. But that's his decision to make, and it's not our place as fans to try to steer him one way or another. Do I think he should retire? A month ago I would have said absolutely yes. Now, seeing him come as far as he has, it's a definite maybe. Even a probably. But ... again, it's his call and his family's and the coaches' call, and I'll back whichever way he decides to go with it.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 15, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

@Caps1Fan - you beat me to it. Pothier has also said that if/when he does retire, he wants to do it healthy. I can understand that completely, and respect him for it. He wants to be able to play with his kids, and says that's the most important thing. Sounds to me like his heart and mind are in the right place, and he's being smart about it. I admire the heck out of him for his attitude there. :-)

Re: Migranes. As a migrane-sufferer, I can throw in one for bright lights and glare being a nasty trigger, and the lights on the ice are pretty bright. We don't know what triggers Backy, but I hope he gets something that will calm them down, if only for his personal comfort - to hell with being able to play. When you'd rather curl up in a dark corner and puke, it's no fun at all, for anyone! :-(

Excedrine migrane is a joke, though. All it is is extra-strength Excedrine in a different package. It's asprin, tylenol and caffeine.

Posted by: irockthered | December 15, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Tuesday's game is on Versus. Thursday's game is at Verizon center (for me at least). Those watching on TV have to listen to Joey B talk about everything but hockey on Comcast(HD).

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 15, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

@Caps1Fan - Versus is a package deal; I don't know who your provider is, so I can't answer better than that, unfortunately... Call your cable provider; they can get you a quote and turn it on pretty quickly... :)

Posted by: irockthered | December 15, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Maintenance Day!! Sounds like the boys had a bunch of fun sampling the Montreal nightlife. And so they should, emotional win, Varlamov's first of many we hope and the Donald acting as tour guide and bodyguard to the boys sampling the nightlife. If anyone has been here they know what I'm talking about. i watched the game here in Canada and the refereeing was onesided. The 4minute double minor was a bad call as well as several others. Call it the Habs Hometeam bias which i've witnessed a few times watching games here. Just as well their PP is anemic. Varlamov played well but being so aggressive though fun to watch is risky once guys get to learn the book on him. Not sure why he drops his shoulders when facing shooters, the Brisebois goal went over his shoulder and in which shouldn't realy happen. All in all a good effort and when they interviewed Federov after 2 periods you could see him limp after the interview was finished so bum ankle has come back. Nyls's goal was not pretty but if you look at it he has great hands and while falling played it back through the crease and was rewarded. Heads up play from a savvy veteran, I for one want him to stay for the season. It's nice to have the depth we have.

Posted by: Kiltmon | December 15, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh, whoops, I had meant Tuesday, not Thursday. Apparently I need some more coffee.

Posted by: Caps1Fan | December 15, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Interesting to bring in Neuvirth for practice. I think they should rest Johnson for the week and go with Theodore and Varlamov backing. This week they've got games against the Islanders and St. Louis. If Theodore can't go I'd have Varlamov starting with Neuvirth backing. If there was ever a good week to give your goalies a chance to recover this would be it.

I might even give Varlamov the start against the Islanders with either Johnson or Theodore backing just to rest them. May have been taking a look at Neuvirth to see if they need to risk playing either of their top 2 if they aren't completely ready to go. No point in making the injury situation worse if you can avoid it.

Posted by: Stu_c | December 15, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Wrt Hab ice advantage -
From what I could see, the high sticking double minor on Ovi was a blown call for two reasons: 1) Ovi was getting bear hugged by a Hab and 2) it wasn't Ovi's stick that caught the Hab player, it was that of another Hab.

The lopsided refereeing made their win all the more sweet.

Anyone else think that the picture quality of CSN+ is horrendous? I'm planning to submit a complaint.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | December 15, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse


The sound quality on CSN+ is also awful. So tinny.

Posted by: Caps1Fan | December 15, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

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