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Morrisonn Practicing, Pothier, Too (Updated)

Shaone Morrisonn is on the ice and appears to be participating fully after taking a shot off his foot/ankle last night in Buffalo. Morrisonn missed the final 1:07 of the game.

Tomas Fleischmann, who has missed three games with pneumonia, is also practicing with the team for the first time since getting sick.

Update:Brian Pothier is practicing with the team for the first time since suffering a devastating concussion last January. It was so unexpected, I did a double take when I saw him doing a two-on-one drill.

Update:Donald Brashear (leg bruise) did not skate with the team, while Karl Alzner (hand bruise) did. Alexander Semin (back) and John Erskine (concussion) are also practicing. No sign of Tom Poti (groin) or Sergei Fedorov (ankle).

I'll have more later.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 31, 2008; 11:09 AM ET
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Next: Wednesday Practice Update


The Caps are in FIRST heading into the new year baby.

Posted by: visionof75 | December 31, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Glad to hear about Flash and Mo. On hockey central last night Brian Engblom said that the Caps didn't have much depth at defenseman. While I think I know what he meant (after all, only Green and maybe Poti would get any kind of all-star attention right now), wouldn't you be inclined to say that they have a lot of depth since they've gone about 12 deep in the system and are still winning?

Posted by: ccCapsfan | December 31, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Outstanding news on Pothier.

Semin and Poti seem to be far away...oh well.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 31, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Holy cow!!!!!! If Pothier is that close to coming back the cap is going to become a serious issue!!

Posted by: PhilR | December 31, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Awesome, I hope Pothier is able to make a safe, healthy comeback in the new year.

Posted by: _jordan | December 31, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

ccCapsfan, that is a GREAT counterpoint to the former Mullet-head.

Posted by: Leeguru | December 31, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I doubt Pothier is "close"...but it will become a major issue if he tries to come back this season.

Posted by: jincargo | December 31, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Thanks again for the update, Tarik.

Several weeks ago, all I wanted to hear was that Brian was feeling better and able to return to normal living. The fact that he is skating *and* participating in team drills is a minor miracle.

Here's to a healthy and prosperous New Year!

Posted by: Terptwin | December 31, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: PothiersThumb | December 31, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Good news all around save for Poti and Feds....good to have Semin getting close and to have Alzner back on the ice.

Great job as always Tarik!!

Posted by: PhilR | December 31, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Tarik: Any Alzner, Semin, Federov, or Poti sightings? That's great news regarding Pothier. He's been out for a year though so how does he look out there?

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 31, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Man Tarik, you are so fast that you answered just about all of my questions as I typed them. Along with Pothier, how does Semin look. Are any of you fellow bloggers sitting at Kettler with your laptop and able to give your assessment on how Pothier and Semin look?

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 31, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Wow, amazing for Pothier! and really glad Semin's out there again.

Posted by: honed | December 31, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

The Russian reporter who did the interview of Semin's famous view of Crosby was on WPLive and said that he had spoken with Semin and that he believed that Semin would be back early in January. I hope he is right.

Posted by: opita | December 31, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Glad to hear both Semin & Poti are out there! Definitely shocked about Pothier. Although he could still be a little out of actually returning - guess we'll know more after practice.

Thanks for the updates, Tarik!

Posted by: ShariLeigh131 | December 31, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

good news about pothier, but THANK GOD semin is skating

Posted by: ahbest3 | December 31, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Results of The Great Jurcina Without Alzner Experiment: FAIL

Juice looked lost, took a bad penalty, apparently had the worst Corsi rating on the team...very interesting, very interesting indeed. (Though, perhaps that says a lot about T. Sloan too).

Pothier coming back creates quite an interesting dilemma.

Posted by: ThisGuy | December 31, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

A bit confused about Pothier. When you have a brain injury that keeps you out of hockey for a year, isn't it a risk to try to come back at all? I mean, I'd think he's just one missed check away from something life-threatening. I'm very glad to hear he's well again, but I just can't imagine ever playing professionally after something like that. The dude has a family...

Posted by: katzistan | December 31, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse


Was Erskine cleared for full contact? Assuming he was closer to that decision than Pothier is, but it's good to hear.

Posted by: Section117 | December 31, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

If Pothier is close to coming back, doesn't that force the Capitals' hand with Nylander?

When Pothier is "ready," wouldn't he take a conditioning stint in Hershey first?

Posted by: Cerealman | December 31, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

OK - clearly I can't read or have been reading way too many SEC filings this morning (which I have been.) Disregard my comment about Poti.

But still happy to hear about Semin & Pothier (regardless of cap problems it may cause - great to see him feeling better!)

Posted by: ShariLeigh131 | December 31, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Dagnabbit. Screwed by a new thread once again. Must repost.

Thanks for the stats. Very cool website. I'm glad to see someone has gone to the trouble to provide stats more meaningful than just the flawed plus/minus rating.

Regarding Erskine's rating, he does have the lowest (worst) rating for Quality of Competition so that might explain why his GAON/60 is the lowest on the team. Collins is the other D man who has a lower COMPGFON than COMPGFOFF but he his QUALCOMP is higher than Erskine's.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | December 31, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Pothier said in the interview they had with him a few weeks ago that he wasn't even thinking about hockey again at this point. This was right before he first got back on skates. He said that basically his first goal was to be able to live a normal life and play with his kids. There had been new treatment he had been getting with his vision and the skating was the first test. He basically said that he wouldn't even think about the decision as to whether or not he'd play again until the time came at that was no time soon.

So, while its great that he seems to be improving and is now out there skating and now practicing and doing drills etc, I still don't think it means he's anywhere close to having to decide whether or not he can and wants to play agan.

Bruce mentioned in one of the post game or practice interviews that he didn't think the Pothier decision was something that would be happening this season. I think they are just glad he's improving.

Posted by: Ames00 | December 31, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

If Pothier comes back, can we PLEASE get rid of Schultz?

Posted by: capsfan55 | December 31, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Minor miracle? I call it spectacular. Good on him, and a comeback would be absolutely amazing stuff. Keep in mind, though, Pothier still has a big decision to make. With his problem to all appearances solved and him getting better and better and better, he needs to think about whether he wants to retire from the game for the sake of his kids, and it looks like he'll make that decision sooner rather than later.

Tarik, is he still wearing the glasses?

@ccCapsFan: We don't seem to have much depth at defense? lolwhut, Engblom. We dressed 11 Dmen before New Years and still hit the 50-point mark. Do we have a big pointed cap and a stool in the corner for him?

Good news all around save for Poti and Fedorov, but the blunt truth is that I'm not in a big hurry to rush any of them back in. It's great that we might be getting healthy soon, but let's make sure these guys are completely healed and ready to go for the playoff stretch run. I don't really expect to see Poti or Feds anytime soon and I don't expect to see Flash or Semin for at least another couple of weeks. (Could be wrong.)

Posted by: kittypawz | December 31, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Last update was that Pothier was having vision problems (when it comes to playing NHL hockey). I'd think that that alone will keep him from coming back this season. It's good news that he's participating, though.

Posted by: StageHand | December 31, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse


Name one team that we can work with on Nylander.

Would YOU give up picks for him? Because we need cap space so we don't want a body in return.

Do YOU have cap space on your team to afford Nylander WITHOUT giving up anyone because we don't want anyone.

Do you not think that other teams see the same stuff we do? I'm confident that the clubs have extensive information on players that we don't even get a sniff at. So who would trade for him? WHY would they want/need to make the trade?

IF Pothier does come back this year, it does generate a crisis on the salary cap.

I also don't see why Pothier would want to risk the serious medical consequences considering how much Bettman hates hockey players (determined by his lack of punishing all the head-hits).

Posted by: Greg S. | December 31, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

If Pothier comes back, can we PLEASE get rid of Schultz?

Posted by: capsfan55 | December 31, 2008 11:59 AM
Age, health and cap reasons would dictate otherwise.

Posted by: Section117 | December 31, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Sure glad Alzner didn't suffer the same fate as Jay Mckee.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | December 31, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

And the new post bites me, too. LOL!

I was playing with statistics... I can tell I'm bored. Here's the recap; I posted the whole thing on the last post.

When it comes to giveaways vs. takeaways (ONLY - not discussing what happened after said giveaways and/or takeaways):

Helmer: 3 GV, 6 TK = .5 (WOAH! Go Brian!)
Morrisonn: 10 GV, 8 TK = 1.25
Lepisto: 5 GV, 4 TK = 1.25
Poti: 13 GV, 9 TK = 1.44
Green: 39 GV, 15 TK = 2.6
Collins: 10 GV, 3 TK = 3.33
Schultz: 10 GV, 3 TK = 3.33
Jurcina: 27 GV, 7 TK = 3.85
Sloan: 21 GV, 4 TK = 5.25
Alzner: 20 GV, 3 TK = 6.66
Erskine: 8 GV, 1 TK = 8.0

So yes, Green gives the puck away more than any other D-man. BUT his takeaway percentage is higher than all but 4 others.

Lies, damn lies, and statistics, anyone? ;-) All this means in the long run is that IRockTheRed is bored at work on New Year's Eve, with a printer and a yellow Sharpie highlighter, LOL!

Re: Pothier - Glad to see him skating. He said earlier, I believe, that he's waiting until he's healthy to make the decision about retiring... we'll see what that decision is soon enough, but he seems the sort to weigh things and make the decision that best benefits his family.

Re: Semin - Please, please, PLEASE don't rush back!!! Ditto with Erskine and Flash!

Posted by: irockthered | December 31, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad Pothier can decide on skates, rather than from a hospital bed. But since each concussion makes the next one likelier and worse, I hope he switches to scouting/coaching.
I'd sooner drop plodding tanglefoot Erskine (speaking of concussions) than Schu-u-ultz. It'd be nice if he hit someone each month, but his positioning and wingspan make him quite annoying for opposing forwards.
Content to sit Semin until CBJ (1/9), rather than have Philthy send him to LTIR on the 6th.
Rock the Red (Cross)...

Posted by: redlineblue | December 31, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Re: Jay McKee - YEOWTCH!!! That's not cool at ALL!

Posted by: irockthered | December 31, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

irockthered, is your company accepting applications?

Posted by: superpaqman | December 31, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

@superpaqman - If you're serious, email me privately at irockthered {at} gmail {dot} com.

Posted by: irockthered | December 31, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

@irockthered- Interesting, but I am skeptical about takeaway/giveaway/hits stats - all those things are so subjective and vary from counter to counter in each arena, in the speed of a game, rarely are they very clear. And while it goes for all stats, it's certainly more acute for those like "giveaways" - a lazy pass in the neutral zone does not equal centering the puck in front of your own goal. Very tough to compare with those stats.

Posted by: katzistan | December 31, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I think Pothier and the team will do what's right when the time comes. They'll figure it all out. In the meantime, let's all appreciate that he seems to be returning to health and understand that the likelihood of him coming back this season is pretty slim. I expect this might be a decision for the offseason, myself. If it happens sooner, great, but no worries if it doesn't.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 31, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse


a better stat is giveaway/minutes played. Green plays so many more minutes that he's bound to have absolute stats higher than others.

Aside the loss to Philly, where he played really bad, Green is not a liability on D imho. And what he brings to the offense by far compensate it anyway.

Posted by: mauree | December 31, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

@katzistan - As I said, it means nothing other than an amusing foray into "lies, damn lies, and statistics." Given access to the statistics, I can prove anything. Of course the stats aren't perfect; they're gathered by humans!

If I wanted to, I could go into the play-by-play listings and determine how many of these giveaways/takeaways then resulted in the next play listed being a goal for either team, but... well, I may be bored, but I ain't THAT bored, LOL!

In all seriousness, someone declared Green the Giveaway King, and I went looking for stats to prove/disprove this commentary. That is all.

If I had a week or three before this thread ran out of steam, I could go through the play-by-plays and argue that the number of times Green's given the puck away, while high, has only mattered on the scoreboard X-number of times, but I don't, and it would be an exercise in futility - and a huge headache - to research that.

So I provided the stats for amusement value, nothing more. :-)

Posted by: irockthered | December 31, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

@mauree - That's basically what I was working towards. I don't consider Green a liability at all; I rather like him, and as soon as I have a couple hundred bucks lying around, I'll be showing up for home games wearing a #52 jersey. :-)

I'm basically saying that the stats can be used to prove any point, in any direction. That's all. :-)

Posted by: irockthered | December 31, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Terrific to hear about Pothier!

Posted by: elicea | December 31, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

1) Just a tad of reality for all those who are thinking that the caps may need to trade Nylander.
a) He's got a NO TRADE CLAUSE! He's not going anywhere unless he wants to. why would he? He chose DC over Edmonton. Accepting LESS money in the process. He has like 5 kids in area schools he won't want to uproot
b) He makes like 4.5 million this AND the next 2 seasons afterwards. A big money commitment for a team to take on for a 36 year old
c) Nylander hasn't played well. Who wants an overpaid old man? How many teams have ANY cap space other than bottom feeder teams that are probably looking to unload older players

Posted by: fauxrumors | December 31, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Pothier skating? It's a Festivus Miracle!!!!

Posted by: superpaqman | December 31, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

So our D-men are young and inexperienced... what's the point? Caps are 4th in the NHL in points.

Posted by: _828 | December 31, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

@_828 - Exactly.

People were ranking on Green this morning, and I, for one, am tired of hearing it. So he's not perfect. We're doing just fine!

* 4th in the NHL in points
* Over 50 points before 2009
* 9-1-0 in our last 10 games
* Top of the Southeast division by 12 points
* Ovi is sneaking up on Crysby in points, 49-50; he has 25 goals and is 2nd in the League.
* Semin is STILL 5th in the league in +/- and he's only played in 21 games!
* Bäckström has 31 assists and is 5th in the league
* Among D-men, Mike Green is tied for 5th most goals, with 8
* Our PP% is 4th in the league, at 23.6%
* We have the 2nd-fewest major penalties in the league, with only 13. The Red Wings have 7.

I could keep going, but the Caps are rocking my socks this year so far! WooT!

Posted by: irockthered | December 31, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

SDR Getting some attention. Hope to see him in a Caps uni in the future!

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 31, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

How long does the team spend on the ice in a morning skate?

Posted by: miseaujeu | December 31, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I am so glad that Pothier is skating. Considering what he felt like just a couple of months ago he must be on cloud nine.

About Pothier coming back this season, please remember he has not played in over a year. He also has not been working out since maybe about a month or two ago. It will take time for him to get into shape period not just game shape.

I do think he understands that the next concussion could ruin his life never mind his career. But I think he really loves to play hockey and that is having a hard time giving it up.

What would you do if you had a job that you loved so much but where you got injured? Would you still want to come back?

Posted by: estuart0 | December 31, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse


Morning skates are usually 1/2 hour to 45 minutes long. The team may work on a few things but the main reason to have the skate is to get the legs warmed up.

Posted by: estuart0 | December 31, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

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