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Pothier 'Probable' to Play This Week

A couple of quick notes from Philips Arena:

Pothier 'Probable'
Coach Bruce Boudreau said defenseman Brian Pothier is "probable" to play in one of the Caps' next two games. So that means the veteran could officially make his return to the NHL tonight in Atlanta or tomorrow in Sunrise, Fla.

Who Gets the Nod?
Boudreau wouldn't discuss his goalie rotation -- if there will indeed be one on the back-to-backs -- but I've got to imagine that the Caps recalled Simeon Varlamov with the intention of playing him either tonight or tomorrow (Varlamov, by the way, finally has a painted mask).

Fedorov Still Sick
Sergei Fedorov, who has missed the past two games with flu-like symptoms, is questionable tonight, Boudreau said. For that reason, Keith Aucoin remains with the team. Fedorov is on the ice for the morning skate, though, so it looks like he might be able to go.

Brash Update
Boudreau also said that Donald Brashear, who has been sidelined two games with a sprained knee, is officially day-to-day but could miss up to another week. I haven't seen Brashear, so I'm not even sure he's on the trip.

No Kovy
Atlanta Coach John Anderson confirmed that Ilya Kovalchuk is out tonight after aggravating an upper body injury. Jim Slater is also out with an upper body injury and Kari Lehtonen will start in goal.

I'll have another report after the morning skate.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 16, 2009; 11:50 AM ET
 
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Comments

From last thread:

@ SA-Town, I'd play Theo tonight. He is red hot and so are the Thrashers. I'd play Varly against the relatively cool Panthers. Unless Kovulchuk ans Slater are both out, then maybe. I'd hate to see Varly get lit up like Neuvy last week.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | March 16, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I want both Pothier and Varlamov in tonight! Let's see what we're working with.

Posted by: PonMan | March 16, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I'd play Varly tonight. Yeah, the Thrashers have been hot, but with no Kovy and with the Panthers still fighting for their playoff lives, I'd give Theo the nod tomorrow.

Posted by: sirbobalew | March 16, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

@JIMALL

I guess it depends on how Theo feels. Does he want the rest today, or tomorrow.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 16, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

despite it being the Thrashers, and despite it being Versus, this is the national TV game tonight, so I have to think BB and playing for a decisive win. And despite never quite knowing what Theo is going to do--6 goals? 1 goal? tying goal in the last 30 seconds? stonewalling in the shootout? Every game is a new and different Theo!--he is the #1 goalie and when he does stand on his head, well, the Caps win, simple as that.

Plus, maybe it would make the "Jose Theodore is the weak link on the Capitals because he's inconsistent" talking head crowd shut up (unlikely).

Posted by: RedBirdie | March 16, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see Pothier and Varlamov in tonight. Pothier still needs to get accustomed to the NHL level, and if he's going to help out in the playoffs, he'll need all the starts he can get.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 16, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Theodore's been playing pretty well lately, it would be tough to sit him tonight. With another game tomorrow I wouldn't want to throw off his rythm if he feels rested and ready to go. Even though Atlanta is out a couple players I'd rather go with Varlamov against Florida. They have offensive problems of their own. Horton still won't be back for some time.

Posted by: Stu_c | March 16, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

@RedBirdie

I don't think Bruce is going to make lineup decisions based on the scope of the game's broadcast or to prove something to the media naysayers.

Makes most sense for Varly to start this one and Theo tomorrow.

Posted by: chombie13 | March 16, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm in the Varly tonight/JT tomorrow. Yeah the Thrashers have won 5 on the spin but Florida will be more hungry/desperate for points tomorrow.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | March 16, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Redbirdie, I agree with some of those talking heads in part. Theo has been inconsistent. He's like a box of chocolates...

What's worse is that although he's been on a hot-streak in the past 2 or 3 games, and his longer-term numbers are giving him credit, he's slipping. Watch him in net--at LEAST he has finally stopped leaving the net so much, but he is sitting down a lot, and it takes him WAY too long to adjust when he does that. That's two bad things wrapped into one.

The oddity of it all is we can't know if he's going to really firm his game up unless we play him lots and just watch, but if we play him lots and just watch, and we don't even make it to the 2nd round, how many will wish we had tried Varly or gave Neuvy another chance? All life is a gamble, I spose.

One more plug for my video of OV highlights here (I have no shame): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17s_NJd2_78

Posted by: wutzthedeal | March 16, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Plus, maybe it would make the "Jose Theodore is the weak link on the Capitals because he's inconsistent" talking head crowd shut up (unlikely).

Posted by: RedBirdie | March 16, 2009 12:00 PM

I was part of that crowd and Theo was the weak link until recently. I would never call him a "weak link" now. He has clearly found his rhythm and confidence and seems to be on a roll. It looks like he hasn't even hit his stride yet, and will continue getting better and better. I hope so.

At their best, Varly & Theo should make a great pair. If they each get one of the back-to-back games, it will be very interesting to watch.

Posted by: caraveli | March 16, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I suspect we'll see Varly tonight and Theo tomorrow. Especially with Kovalchuk out.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | March 16, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

No Kovalchuck should make this game a gimme...

Posted by: redskins91 | March 16, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Since this is the last back-to-back for the season and with 12 games to go, I'd imagine BB would like to give JT60 a few breaks before the playoffs. JT seems to be a goalie that really likes to play every game so I don't think he'd get more than two off prior to the end. Plus, Varly needs to get a few under his belt if Brent isn't ready for the playoffs. I'd definitely think he'd get one of the next two off, there are only two games next week with a two-day break so he'll probably play those; only two games the following week, and four to finish. I say Varly tonight and at Atlanta again on April 7th - JT pulls the rest. Of course, when Brent is ready that might change.

I'm also pretty hotted up about the Caps getting through the season with no losing months. We've made it through the first five and then snookered ourselves by losing four to open March. We're back to 3-3-1 now with six to go only one at home. It'll be tough but I think they can do it.

Posted by: saintex | March 16, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Whats up with the stupid schedule?

We have 4 games this week, and then 4 games total in the two weeks after.

The Bruins only play 2 games in the next 12 DAYS!

Starting tomorrow the Devils play 5 games in 7 days.

What a mess that is.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 16, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"No Kovalchuck should make this game a gimme..."

And when was the last time the Caps beat a team they "should" beat? Squeaking by the 'Canes? Preds?

With their remaining schedule 2nd place in the conference is well within their reach. They need to develop a winner's attitude and crush the lesser teams... starting tonight, then tomorrow, then Thursday, followed closely by Saturday. This road trip can set the tone for the remainder of the season and in to the play-offs. All within in the division, all within teams that sat our the play-offs last year.

Posted by: Dave_in_Alexandria | March 16, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Sa-Town, I kind of see the schedule as a blessing. Let the guys get rested up for the playoffs and heal all those bumps and bruises. Some may see it as a curse not playing on a consistent basis but I think these guys need the rest.

Posted by: PhilR | March 16, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

@crooks_c .........I am not talking about normal hitting in the course of the game. You are right he has to hold his own there. I am talking about someone taking a run at him. Do not think for one minute there is not some idiot in this league that would run him just to prove something, Alvery comes to mind as do a few others particularly in the playoffs when the intensity goes up. Normal hitting is one thing, running someone is another, it is like porn, you know when you see.

Posted by: RichC3 | March 16, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Where has Pothier's thumb been hiding at?

Posted by: Steve_R | March 16, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Apologies if it has already been posted (I'm sure most of you are on top of this), but how can we afford to play Pothier?

I know we have Clarkie and BJ on LTIR, Alz in Hershey, but do we really have that much cap-room? Obviously we do, but just curious how? Thanks.

Posted by: jerry2178 | March 16, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

he said porn.

Posted by: wutzthedeal | March 16, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Man I wish the season ended today. It would be awesome to draw the Habs and knock them out in the first round during their 100 year anniversary. Especially after that joke of an All-Star game selection that overlooked Backstrom for Habs that shouldn't have even been in the All-Star game.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 16, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

@dave in alexandria

totally agree, lets focus on the teams in front of us instead of worrying about who is hot among the teams behind us.

Posted by: mikebrady1 | March 16, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I would start Varly in goal in ATL, Theo has a lower GAA when he plays FLA. ATL might be hot right now, but with a couple of their "stars" out tonight, I think this game might be better suited for Varly. Just my opinion, I will leave it up to the experts...the coaches.

Posted by: NatyBG | March 16, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

@ PhilR
I would tend to agree with getting them some rest.

Anyone heard if Green is over his cold yet?

Posted by: caps28fan | March 16, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

It shouldn't matter who they play in the first round. If you want to call yourself champion you need to take on whoever it is. It's like Ric Flair says, if you want to be the man, you've got to beat the man. Something like that I think.

I just like the comfort of not having to worry about getting into the post season. The drama of last season was exciting, but cool confidence is more comforting.

Also, it's been so long that I don't remember what type of player Pothier is.

Posted by: lornemyoung | March 16, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and speaking of salaries, caps, and the CBA since I know we have some smart analysts on the blog, what's the deal with Avery? How is the that whole money thing working? Big contract in Dallas, cut, sent to AHL (Rangers org.), onto waivers, brought to New York. I'd like a little money timeline on who's paying what to whom (who? whom? whatever).

Posted by: saintex | March 16, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

@lorne,

I thought Ric Flair only did the WHOA! video for the 'Canes game. I didn't know the 16-time World Champion was a philospher. I'll add that to my book of quotes.

Posted by: saintex | March 16, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

my prediction is pothier plays a game here or there, doesn't meet expectations and doesn't make the playoff roster. you heard it here first ! :)

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 16, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I agree, though. Lesser teams need to be dealt with and reminded why we're ahead of them. Crush them. I'm hoping the Caps know better than to play with their prey. C'mon, Caps! Obliterate them...please. Roll some 6 or 7's with these johnny-come-lately's. It's our show, not theirs.

Oh, and I'd like to see Varly play tonight. Thanks.

In Bruce we trust.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 16, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1:

What a way to kick a guy when he's down. Classy.

I'm hoping for the best for the guy. Hopefully, he still has it and if his doctors think so and his team thinks so, then who are we to even make such dire predictions. For the record, their losses feel just as bad even if you never made such a prediction. Way to go, dude.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 16, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Ric who? What was he champion of?

Since the Caps seem to have a hard time "getting up" for lesser opponents I see BB putting Varlamov in net tonight? Why? Because the boys will play EXTRA hard to make sure the rookie's confidence doesn't get shaken.

FYI, last week when the Caps were headed into Nashville I was confident they'd win but thought that having to claw for wins now would get them ready for the playoffs. Well, they've done a great job, winning each of the last 4 by one goal each. The problem. My hair is going to fall out. So, I'll take it back. How about we get some blow-outs so I can sit back and laugh as the clock runs out. LET'S GO CAPS!!!! By the way, was Verizon rocking during the shoot-out Saturday night or what?

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 16, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

@fan,

WHOA! Sorry had to do it.

It would be nice if they'd won the last four by one goal each, but it's only three. Maybe you're prophetic and we'll get another tonight and then we'll throw our thanks.

The games have been intense and a few easy one would be easier on all of us.

Posted by: saintex | March 16, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

@saintex - Avery's salary, for the remainder of his contract, is split 50-50 between NY and Dallas.

Posted by: ds_kelly | March 16, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

@ds_kelly,

Thanks. So the NYRs get him back for a pretty small number for the remainder of the season? The Stars were on the hook for most of the money while he sat on his can not playing hockey. Brett Hull must love that. How does next season work if Avery comes back? Do the Rangers have to pay the Dallas-Avery contract numbers to keep him?

Posted by: saintex | March 16, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Some other Ric Flairism's

Stylin' and profilin'

You gotta walk that aisle!

She wants to ride Space Mountain!

and of course, the famous----to be the man you gotta beat the man.......

All that being said....Go Caps!

Posted by: PhilR | March 16, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Ric Flair didn't say, "Whoa!" That is pronounced, woe-uh. He said, "Wooooooooo!" prounounced Wooooooooo.

Caps are gonna WrEcK shi7 tonight!

Posted by: wutzthedeal | March 16, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

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