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Notebook: Pothier ready to play again

Tarik's latest Caps notebook focuses on defenseman Brian Pothier, who looks to return tomorrow night against the Senators after missing 11 games with a cracked rib.

"Sleeping, breathing, coughing, sneezing, laughing, twisting, anything with your rib cage, it all hurt," he said of the ailment that landed him on injured reserve.

More, plus notes on contract extensions, goalies and demotions can be found here.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  January 6, 2010; 6:44 PM ET
 | Tags: Brian Pothier  
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Next: Morning roundup: Caps go for two in a row

Comments

I'll tell you what's really amazing: yesterday I made "dearth" the word of the day when I said the Caps had a dearth of centers compared to wingers (before Flash was converted). And now Tarik used the word "dearth" in Thursday's story.

Does this fall under "great minds think alike?"

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 6, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

never thought i'd be excited to see Pothier on the ice but he's an upgrade over Alzner. How does a kid who is considered "stay at home" end up getting caught flat footed in the neutral zone with a forward racing around him? Is that a product of being in Bruce's offensive-minded system or what?

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 6, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton - I am an Alzner fan, but I can't argue with your basic point. I don't know how to read his demotion to Hershey as anything other than an expresssion of team management's dissatisfaction with his play. I wonder, though, if maybe they should be more patient with him. Is the bouncing back and forth between DC and Hershey affecting his confidence? If he is as talented as many believed when they drafted him, maybe they have to live with some growing pains for a while as he develops.

Posted by: zmega | January 6, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

my 2 cents on alzner - he was highly touted for the same reason a Cam Barker was highly touted when he came out. There was little to no defensive competition that yr in the draft. Had Alz come out a yr later he probably wouldn't have been in the top 6 defensemen who got drafted. It doesn't mean he's a bad prospect per se but he just got lucky that he went that high. Sometimes its all about timing.

the second reason I think his play doesn't equate to his hype is something Alzner touched on himself. He said that it was easy for him in the junior leagues because strength was never an issue for him. He had an easy time being a positional defenseman and moving guys out of the play. His biggest adjustment so far is matching up with the bigger players in the NHL. He's not able to play the same style he did in the WHL and still separate forwards from the puck.

I just think if he does everything right and works out hard to gain more strength, then he'll fit in better in a yr or two. But right now, he's overmatched.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 6, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

i like that steckel got his 3 yr extension, but Tyler Sloan? The best game he ever played in the pros was his first game. Since that gm v Calgay he hasn't shown much. He's probably better as a 4th line forward than an NHL defenseman. He's like a bigger version of Lawrence Nycholat.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 6, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope for another good game tomorrow for the Caps. (Let's keep Ottawa on their skid.)

Theo is overdue to play well (or he'll really be down in the depth chart).

Hope Varly gets well soon. I don't want to be talking about Feb 14, 2010 being St. Varlamtine's Day because that's around the time he comes back. (But if Varly plays super well around that time, it would be a different story.)

I'll miss Alzner. But glad Pothier is coming back. (In the long run, we will need to clear some space on our blue line for Alzner and Carlson.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 6, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Why don't we give Alzner a little break...any young guy i going to have some ups and downs as he adjusts to being and NHL player. I also don't think it helps that he probably fears every mistake he makes. I wish he could get some prolonged time on the team...allow him a few rough spells and see how he can recover.

Posted by: capscoach | January 6, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

@dccitizen1 (from previous thread)

Like you, I'm glad Semin did well last night. (He also got the hard hat from the team.) Now his detractors can shut up again.

And on Ovi. He was wise enough to know that at 21 (having just turned), he was not ready to be captain. He knew his English wasn't that great; etc. Captains need a certain amount of gravitas, which 21 year old kids just don't have yet. (I think they made Crosby captain too soon as well.) But now it makes sense.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 6, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Alzner, he is a prior WJC captain for a gold-medal Canadian team.

Look at Carlson, he was overmatched when he played for the Caps then looked like a world-beater for the US U20 squad. They both probably need a little more time.

cstanton1: On Sloan - at $700K, he is a nice piece to the puzzle. Here's a guy who will be the 23rd guy on the roster and sit in the press box as needed. Then, due to injury, he can come out and be a 3rd pair D man or a 4th line LW. So, he's like having two guys instead of one and he won't complain if he doesn't play. Guys like him and Laing and Steckel are essential to win the Cup to offset the $6M and $9M salaries. He gives flexibility. He'll never be 1st Team NHL All-Star, but who expects him to be?

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 6, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Well, I'll join you. I was prescient with the Christmas gifts for our 3 sons. We gave them Caps jerseys:

Semin-Flash-Laich

The new high-scoring line!

Posted by: Steakum | January 6, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

OK, so who do they sign next?

Here are your choices:

1) Backie. He's playing just as well as both Kopitar ($6.875M) and Kane ($6.3M). The club offers Kane cash and the player wants Kopitar money. They settle at 11 years, $6.5M/yr to match length of Ovi contract.

2) Flash. The price goes up every game. I have him at three years, $3.3M per, based on average of six other comparables (names are on my desk at work). The high end is Pominville money (not one of the comparables I used) at $5.3. Low end is in the low 2s (can't recall name). Bottom line: Ink him quickly!

3) Fehr. Well, the price is falling. I had him at $2M a year for two years, but he's in a funk right now. Both the club and player might want to wait to get a better gauge. Maybe just wait until the end of the year. Right now: One year, $1.0-1.5M.

4) Schultz. Solid and consistent. I'm putting him close to Morrisonn, but not as much, as he has less service time, so two years at $1.75M each is what I have. I feel he'll be a better player than Mo when he reaches Mo's age (Mo is 27 July 1st and therefore UFA). If he continues, he'll get a nice 4-yr contract just before his RFA runs out. You go, Sarge!

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 6, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Anybody else read Ecklund on HockeyBuzz claiming Semin has illegal stick?

Posted by: kcbrichmond | January 6, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Just read it. Hadn't heard that before. They used to say Ovi's was illegal.

Posted by: Steakum | January 6, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

@kcbrichmond - There was a point last night when Semin lifted the puck almost straight up on a clear. The trajectory was unusual enough to catch my attention. Maybe that was what led to the HockeyBuzz claim.

@Tominfl - A friendly suggestion - maybe keep the CI GM spreadsheets and other hockey stuff in a drawer, not out in the open on the desk.

Posted by: zmega | January 6, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

I haven't heard of any player having the stick challenged in quite a while. I seem to recall Jagr would get challenged a lot, maybe even Bondra. Each challenge would result in two minutes one way of the other. I remember I think Caps challenging Jagr when he was a Pen.

Since I took lots of history in school, you can break history of Caps down thusly:

Stone Age - before Langway.
Enlightenment - 1982 thru 1990 (ECF).
Industrial Age - 1990 thru 2000. Lunch Pail Caps. Worked really hard. Mostly treaded water, although was good.
Dark Ages - the Jagr years.
Reformation - includes years when McPhee nails names of 99 players to be traded on the door to Verizon Center.
Renaissance - Czar Alex I and his Court come to town.
Space Age (yet to come). Alex raises Cup to the heights. I predict this will happen.

Signed,
NostraThomasinfl1

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 6, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

On Fehr: for being in a funk, he's done pretty good. He scored yesterday (and a fluky goal recently).

Okay, he had a bad game against San Jose and then got healthy scratched. (Must admit, that I didn't agree with that move.) And had been in a scoring drought, along with the rest of the team.

In any case, glad the guys broke out of their slump. Hope to see a win tomorrow as well.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 6, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

zmega: Good point. But, if you look at my desk, all you see is pieces of paper with numbers. So there is one little 3x5 sticky pad sheet with things like:

Pominville 5.3
Olesz 3.5

I don't think anyone at the Orlando facility but me would know what in the world that means.

BTW, my daughter is back in Canada from holiday trip here and says the olive oil is frozen in her kitchen. She is on the Skype now. Oh, and she says people at work "congratulated" her on US U20 win and she didn't know what they were talking about. I told her if they do that tomorrow, just smile and say, "Carlson, eh?"

It is so cold in Orlando that I am USING the fireplace. We are talking BRUTAL cold here in the upper 20s. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 6, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I hope it warms up in Florida in time for my trip down there next week.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 6, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1:

I'm headed to Naples on Friday - guess it's chilly there, too....

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | January 6, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75: This is one of the worst cold spells ever. In a normal year, there are 3-5 days where it doesn't hit 60. We have had already 8-10 days like this since mid-Dec. Tomorrow maybe 60 then another cold front Friday. Monday is up to 60 again and then 70 by next Wed. Normal high in January is about 72. We are NOT designed for this. I have to run pool pump from midnight till 9 am and leave the tub faucet on slow drip to keep pipes from freezing.

I haven't yet bought tickets for Caps at Tampa next Tuesday. I'll need to get on this.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 6, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

DevilsCapsGal: The west coast of FL usually maintains the warmth a little better than east coast due to the Gulf stays warmer than the Atlantic. Keys are best bet.

Are you in Tampa on Tuesday? Should be a bunch at the game. I need to order tickets. I always park at the aquarium and walk about 1/2 mile. Only five bucks.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 6, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75: This is one of the worst cold spells ever.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 6, 2010 9:18 PM

it's cold here too - not 20's - well not even 40's - but still colder than i like.
i blame this on global cooling - i just might have to contact my representative about this

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 6, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Carlson getting some luv from the worldwide leader in sports... who says they don't cover hockey

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4801691

Posted by: joek443 | January 6, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

DevilsCapsGal: The west coast of FL usually maintains the warmth a little better than east coast due to the Gulf stays warmer than the Atlantic. Keys are best bet.

Are you in Tampa on Tuesday? Should be a bunch at the game. I need to order tickets. I always park at the aquarium and walk about 1/2 mile. Only five bucks.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 6, 2010 9:26 PM

Unfortunately, I'm only going to be there for the weekend, leaving on Sunday. Otherwise I'd love to go to the Tampa game!

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | January 6, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Just thought I would mention that it will be in the mid 30's tonight in the Tampa/St Pete area. It hasn't been this cold for this long in the alomost 20 years I have been here. Also, it normally doesn't get cold until late Jan to early Feb here. Can I send this weather back north please?

Posted by: realoldcapsfan | January 6, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Can I send this weather back north please?

Posted by: realoldcapsfan | January 6, 2010 10:08 PM

you have my permission to send it north - just not west

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 6, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey Bucci,

Working up a midseason review of the Capitals campaign for WeLoveDC. If you have a moment to answer a couple questions, I'd appreciate it:

1. Biggest surprise from the Caps' season so far?
2. Player to watch (aside from Ovechkin) as the season grinds into the second half?
3. Take on the Clark/Jurcina for Chimera trade?
4. Best upcoming matchups on the schedule?
5. Biggest disappointment so far? If you could slip me your answers/comments by Monday, Jan. 4, that'd be awesome.


1. Nicklas Backstrom. He has brought his game to another level and, as he improves, brings the whole team to another level. That's the power of young, elite players.

2. Whoever the goaltender is.

3. I thought it was cruel. Chris Clark represents everything good about a hockey player. They save a few cap pennies, and if that's the difference in adding a defenseman, I guess it's OK.

4. At Chicago, March 14; it could be a preview of the Stanley Cup finals this spring. That game, and all of the games against the Penguins.

5. I was hoping Boyd Gordon would score a goal so I could call him Oil Can Boyd Gordon on "SportsCenter."

Posted by: joek443 | January 6, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

As Caps fans, we get more pleasure from reading TSN's midseason awards than ESPN's. And from an expert perspective, I don't think there's any confusion who's the more credible source. Ovie for Hart and Green for Norris. Check it out:

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=304975

Posted by: jakopz | January 6, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Laing and Steckel as key pieces of a successful team who don't make a lot of money? yes

but Sloan isn't in that category. When we lose a Laing or Steck out of the lineup its visible. When Sloan isn't in, not a big deal. He is literally a dime a dozen player.

I know he's versatile in that he can play multiple positions (he even played center on the 4th line briefly in Hershey). But as a defenseman he's below average. At least he has size and can skate. Better than Bryan Muir and Doiger !

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 6, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1:

I'm headed to Naples on Friday - guess it's chilly there, too....

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | January 6, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I just spent half of December in Naples. Weather sucked! cloudy, rainy.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 6, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

As Caps fans, we get more pleasure from reading TSN's midseason awards than ESPN's. And from an expert perspective, I don't think there's any confusion who's the more credible source. Ovie for Hart and Green for Norris. Check it out:

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=304975

Posted by: jakopz | January 6, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

1. these mid-season awards are like first period NBA scores - totally meaningless.

2. but unless you're a total homer and just wanna see Caps' players being mentioned for these things, you gotta be nuts to think that the TSN page is better than the ESPN page.. whether you agree or disagree, at least ESPN gives you explanations for their choices. TSN gives you no such explanations, looks like a high school paper compared to ESPN.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/columns/story?columnist=lebrun_pierre&id=4799407

Posted by: joek443 | January 7, 2010 5:55 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 hit the nail on the head. Sloan is so versatile and he's a bargain. We can play him on either side of the blue line or not play him at all. Handy guy to have around, particularly give the seeming rise of injuries league-wide

Posted by: Sonyask | January 7, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

You guys are missing the obvious with Alzner...he was paired with Erskine...who couldn't play for my daughters U14 team.

And since when is spending 700K a good thing for a guy who NEVER PLAYS...we have spare parts in hershey that can do that job better and cheaper...

I wish I could get ONLY 300K to sit and watch hockey, get a free workout everyday, and free top of the line hockey equipment. That signing is a JOKE!

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 7, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Say what you want about Erskine, but he is our biggest strongest d-man. Who do you suggest move and check a power forward parked front of the net come playoff time?

Posted by: SA-Town | January 7, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Reformation - includes years when McPhee nails names of 99 players to be traded on the door to Verizon Center.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 6, 2010 8:40 PM |

You sir- have made my day. I was also trying so hard to add something to this, but it's not even worth it.

Genius.

Posted by: Fro_ | January 7, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Say what you want about Erskine, but he is our biggest strongest d-man. Who do you suggest move and check a power forward parked front of the net come playoff time?

Posted by: SA-Town | January 7, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Juice plays prety physical. Oh wait....

Posted by: cainoo7x | January 7, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Fro_, the history of the Caps as posted by Tominfl1 belongs in the HOF of Capology. Truly laugh out loud material!

Posted by: dccitizen1 | January 7, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Re the stick: Its not an illegal stick until someone calls it.

Seriously, the way these guys muck with their sticks, who knows what's legal and what isn't.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | January 7, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of sticks...if a broken stick is an auto penalty...why dont players take a cheap or lightly cracked stick out at certain times to try and draw the power play?

The way I see sticks break, I wonder if some of them arent "softened up."

Posted by: SA-Town | January 7, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

clarification...Im referring to a stick check that gets called for slashing.

Posted by: SA-Town | January 7, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

clarification...Im referring to a stick check that gets called for slashing.

Posted by: SA-Town | January 7, 2010 9:51 AM |


Interesting point. Although, you're screwed if it gets broken and doesn't get called. See Knuble on Markov.

Posted by: Fro_ | January 7, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1: "but Sloan isn't in that category. When we lose a Laing or Steck out of the lineup its visible. When Sloan isn't in, not a big deal. He is literally a dime a dozen player."

But in the age of the salary cap, the fact he can play multiple positions (and play them well) makes him worth his weight in gold. Instead of having a two guys on the rsoter at $500k, we have one at $700K. Leaves a roster spot open for someone else that could be a difference maker

Posted by: jmurray019 | January 7, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

No game day updates yet!?!? What the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks?

Posted by: eorr53 | January 7, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Tonite the Caps play the Senators...whose logo features a legionnaire with a gold helmet...Why dont the Senators wear a gold helmet?? Why pray tell are the visiting team skaters required to wear a white helmet?...Aren't the Boards and Ice White enough? How come no team is allowed to put a stripe or design on their helmet...other than a logo the size of a quarter visible only from the front row? The helmet is central to the brand in football...The NFL is much smarter than to require all visiting teams to wear a white helmet...Helmets could be part of every NHL brand too..as it is in college hockey....see the University of Michigan...see Notre Dame...Why dont the caps put a stripe on their helmets?? If every club just picked up the same stripe as is on their socks the game would look better...If Red is Caps hockey...how about ba red stripe!!!..In the NHL, it would afford the opportunity to contrast clubs...If the Hurricanes wore a white helmet all the time....we could tell them from the Red Wings!...When the Caps played a West Coast swing last year they faced the Ducks, Kings and Sharks on successive nights...the Caps in white with white helmets and each opponent in all black....WOULD THE WORLD COME TO AN END IF ONE OF THEM WORE A DIFFERENT COLOR HELMET? Hell you dont need HDTV to watch hockey now ....you dont even need a color TV...
My suggestion again ....A contest in every NHL city...to choose the single helmet to be worn by the club...with one alternate if necessary but without design or color restrictions...It'll improve the brand identity of each club and the look of the game...both live and on HDTV. Interestingly the producers of the Winter Classic agree and forced the NHL's hand a year ago....and had the Red Wings wear their red helmets with their white jerseys.... Of course...Goalies could still do what they have been allowed to do...with their own individual design...
Frankly. the league's neanderthals wont change unless somebody like Comcast or Versus forces their hand

Posted by: Naptowner2010 | January 7, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

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