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Pothier, Varlamov Rejoin Caps for Trip

Fifteen months after suffering the fourth -- and worst -- concussion of his career, Brian Pothier is on the verge of returning to the NHL.

His reconditioning stint with the Hershey Bears is complete. Pothier is a Washington Capital again and the veteran defenseman will accompany the team on its five-game road trip that begins tomorrow in Atlanta.

I'll have more on the Pothier development later.

Also, goaltender Simeon Varlamov has been recalled from Hershey. Michal Neuvirth, meantime, has been sent to the Bears. With back-to-backs in Atlanta and Florida, I have to imagine Varlamov will get into one of those games.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 15, 2009; 2:20 PM ET
 
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Next: Q&A With Brian Pothier

Comments

wont this mess up our salary cap alot with pothier back up?

and i'm looking forward to seeing varlamov back in net

Posted by: capsfan8 | March 15, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

It would be great to add a healthy Pothier as a contibuting member of the Caps defense!

Posted by: uncatim | March 15, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if we'll see Varlamov in net against ATL. and good for Pothier, I'm glad that he was able to play in hershey w/o any setbacks. however, the D situation is going to get messy with Pothier back...

Posted by: jogabonito | March 15, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

That blue sweater is like Avery's spinach.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 15, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

That is very exciting news about both of them! I just hope Pothier really is OK - I would hate to see him get even more seriously hurt.

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 15, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

"messy" isn't how I think of it. I like having options. We need to give him a look to see if he can contribute come playoff time. If he can, guys are going to have to earn their spots.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 15, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Boo-
Pothier looked very good in the two games I saw him in Hershey, although he didn't have to give or take any major hits.

Posted by: tess2201 | March 15, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Even though it worked out for us last night, I would like to see Backstrom in the shootouts instead of Ovechkin, who has a low success rate. Backstrom's last shootout attempt (he's only had a few) was a picture perfect goal. What do you guys think?

Posted by: chevychase10 | March 15, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

^you're right. if anything, this should encourage the other guys to play their butts off and like you said "earn their spots". we've already seen better play by most of our D, over the past few games. BB is gonna have some tough decisions to make.

Posted by: jogabonito | March 15, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

btw-that was for davethecapsfan :)

Posted by: jogabonito | March 15, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Ovie's success rate in the shootout isn't THAT bad. He just had a really rough stretch for awhile, I don't think he's been too bad at it this year.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 15, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Varlamov.


I love him.

nh.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 15, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

also, lol flyers.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 15, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Holding my breath on both both these moves.

Varly could be The One.

But Pothier could get The Fifth.

Anybody know any shamen/Voodoo practitioners?

Posted by: large23220 | March 15, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Glad Philly lost. Dangerous with that many games in hand we have enough to deal with with NJ and Boston

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 15, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

If the Pens make the playoffs - who wants to see them a 5th seed so they play the Flyers first round?

That would be awesome! ...if they are going to make the playoffs.

Posted by: _828 | March 15, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse


Glad Philly lost. Dangerous with that many games in hand we have enough to deal with with NJ and Boston

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 15, 2009 2:58 PM

Philadelphia could be the best team in the league and it wouldn't affect our place in the standings.

Posted by: SoylentMikeGreen | March 15, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Who is BB going to replace Pothier with? He seems to love the weak links (Schultz and Erskine).. Jurcina's been pretty solid and he likes Mo so it'll be interesting. Pothier's a puck mover so I'm guessing he'll split the pairings between he, Green and Poti. That will be 3 good pairings actually. I'm hoping Schultz or Erskine goes to the bench but I don't think BB will wanna lose any more physicality that this D already lacks.

Posted by: visionof75 | March 15, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

also hoping pothier is ok. seems like a real quick rush up. seems like just they other day they were saying he was wobbly. i dont want to see him get hurt again.

Posted by: am_jim | March 15, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

At this point in the season, Pothier's salary should not be a factor with Clark being out. If Clark comes back then there might be a problem. Good for him to come back. I hope he can play for many more years to come.

Posted by: RichC3 | March 15, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse


GOAL SCORERS

BOS: Recchi, M. (01:06 in 1st)
PIT: Guerin, B. (00:50 in 1st)

Posted by: richmondphil | March 15, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Word on the street is that Green is battling a cold, and as much as I'd hate for him to not play, we can't afford for him to get seriously ill. Perhaps Bruce'll sit him and put Pothier in? Green's as stubborn as they come, though, so we'll see.

Posted by: RtR52 | March 15, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Happy that the Rangers beat Philly, but conflicted about the BOS/PIT game. Hmm ...

Tess:
Glad he is playing well - can't wait to see him again for myself! I just hope he is really OK to be playing.

From the previous ...

richmondphil:
I don't recall the ice being particularly worse than usual, but my subconscious must have - I had a dream last night that it looked like a frozen "pond" that was very clear with blue water and very thin white/translucent ice, so much so that you could see big air bubbles underneath it (no joke!).

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 15, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

On the Comcast feed they said something about cleaning it differently and that helped it a bit. Sucks that our place is known around the league for notoriously bad ice. But we aren't alone in that at least.

I went to the Richmond Renegades game the other night, and saw nothing but a sea of red with Renegades jerseys speckled throughout. It was pretty funny, I was counting jerseys. Of course Ovie won, but Backstrom was a surprise second over Semin and Green.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 15, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

@Soy

With as many games in hand that they had (starting to catch up now) I didn't want them to suddenly win 4 in a row and have them in the discussion with NJ for the Atlantic. Much easier just trying to catch NJ and not worrying about them. 9 pts back of NJ now they shouldn't be a concern the rest of the way.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 15, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

why do we need to catch NJ?

Posted by: richmondphil | March 15, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Boo-
Have to say go B's, I am fine with everyone working to keep Pitt out of the playoffs. Now if Philly would just start to lose
:)

Posted by: caps28fan | March 15, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

We don't have to Phil, but I'd like to have home ice for conceivably the first 2 rounds that comes with the #2 seed.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 15, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Wow didn't expect that happening so fast, for both.


Posted by: mauree | March 15, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm excited to see Varlamov up again.

Does anybody know which side the caps shoot at for 2 periods on Apr 5? I'm getting tickets on ticket exchange and I want to be on the more exciting side :)

Posted by: ryssa | March 15, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil

Agreed. I'm less concerned about catching NJ than I am with avoiding an opening-round matchup with PIT or PHI. If we can avoid PIT/PHI, I'm OK with 3rd place.

13 points folks!

From previous, I'll make it quick and then stick it somewhere else for now. I fully understand how Abe saved this team from relocation. I applaud him for building the Booth with his own cash (though, being in the construction business has it's own benefits). But I'm just not willing to give him a free pass when the policies of his company, WS&E do not give the Caps the leeway to be a profitable AND successful franchise for an extended period of time.

I'll just be happy when this team can be successful and turn a profit without HAVING to reach multiple rounds in the playoffs.

Alas, my ire currently is focused squarely on WMTA. Their handling of the commute to DC events yesterday was atrocious. Was the first time I have ever missed the drop of the puck and the first time I have ever gotten home after midnight. How about we don't schedule track maintenance when theres: 1) Globetrotters, 2) Shamrock Fest, 3) Capitals game.

Posted by: FFSEnough | March 15, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

ryssa:
Caps shoot on the goal by 103-109 twice.

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 15, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

they shoot towards the 408 section twice.

there is usually a map for you.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 15, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

sometimes I think the side that the Caps have to defend twice is the more interesting side. I mean, you never know when the D is going to suffer and epic meltdown, when Theo is going to let in 6 goals, or when Theo is going to stand on his head and remind us of why he won the Hart. You just never know!

Posted by: RedBirdie | March 15, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

ryssa

Caps seating chart on their website has a little star where they shoot twice. Though, I can't find the chart anymore.

Looking at Ticketmaster's site...

The 409/106 side is where they shoot twice.

Posted by: FFSEnough | March 15, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I know Pothier's return is somewhat complicating our blue line and, assuming he sticks, pretty much puts fork in Alzner coming back for the stretch run. Given all the hype over him, I think most of us want to see him more in red.

That said, I hope Pothier is along for the duration. The guy has been through a ton and the fact that he didn't chuck it, take the insurance and get on with his life, speaks volumes about his commitment. I'm not sure he's a long term member of the team, but here's hoping he's got another decade in the league in him...

Posted by: oldtimehockey | March 15, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Yes, they shoot twice on the 405-409 side. I've sat on both ends at some point this season and both sides have their charms. The 405-409 end has a better atmosphere in the stands. The other end (424-429) has a lot of fans of the team other, groups from out of town, puckbunnies, people who got their tickets from work, corp types, and other people who are either casual or cheering the other team. Not too many ardent Caps fans. The 424-429 is pretty interesting to watch, though - plenty to watch like someone else said.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 15, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm a bit disappointed to see Neuvirth sent down. I think that's bad for him; he didn't get another chance after a tough outing and being dealt a lot of bad cards in that run. Did we have to bring Varlamov up before giving him one more start? Tough break for him, and less than he deserves.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 15, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

;( I wanted to see Michal in one of the back to back games. I agree with kittypawz, he deserved another chance. :(

Posted by: rachel216 | March 15, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I want Boston to win, cause I HATE the Pens. And honestly, I don't care to be first, as many here have said, being first would result in too much high expectation, I'd like us to fly under the radar. Plus, #1 seeds seem to go out quick, in all sports.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 15, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

a healthy pothier is a very good thing. He'll be great on the second/third pairing. After all that time, a distorted eye was the culprit. Science is an amazing thing. Hail 21st century!

Varlamov; "well see," said the zen master.

Guerin and recchi, huh, Richmondphil? And Andropov last night as well.
The best thing for the caps would be Philly and Pitt facing off first round. Two birds, one stone.


Posted by: oo7 | March 15, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm mildly thinking Pens, solely because I'd like to see them climb a spot in the conference. A Pitt/Philly match would make me beyond happy.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 15, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

SO excited to hear that Varly & Pothier are coming back.

I don't quite agree that Neuvy should have stayed longer because he "deserved" another chance. First of at this time, so close to play offs, every game counts and BB can't take chances. And, though Neuvy has a very bright future before him, to my thinking he had too many little "melt down" moments to convince me he was ready. Also, if he had another loss before he was sent to Hershey, it could be discouraging.

chevychase10:

Ovie has been pretty good at shoot outs since the All Star games.

Posted by: caraveli | March 15, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse


Who would have thought it!! We actually have a goalie now who is pretty good at shoot outs. I can't remember us ever having confidence in shoot out situations where Kolzig, Johnson or Huet were in goal. Now I can sigh a sigh of relief.

rachel216:

I agree with you. I don't want us to be first in the Eastern conference either. The expectations would kill us, just as they contributed to our recent slump.

Right now, in "if the Stanley Cup Playoffs started today," the Caps would be playing against the Pens. I am fine with that. We have a pretty good record against the Pens. I wonder how we would fare against the Devils with Brodeur in goal.

Posted by: caraveli | March 15, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

It's silly to think of trying to dodge anyone. Let the chips fall where they will, I'm sure the matchups will switch about a dozen times before the end of the year and the seeds are set. It would be so much sweeter to get a series win against Pitt or Philly though.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 15, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

New acquisitions Kunitz 3 goals, Guerin 1. PIT leading BOS 4-3.

Posted by: mauree | March 15, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

PIT: Guerin, B. (00:50 in 1st), Kunitz, C. (PPG, 16:04 in 1st), Kunitz, C. (PPG, 00:43 in 3rd), Kunitz, C. (01:01 in 3rd)

lol.

crosby finally has some wingers who can score, huh?

Posted by: richmondphil | March 15, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Well he did get an assist on 3 of those.

Posted by: mauree | March 15, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow - just looked at the score - 4-4? Sounds like an exciting game!

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 15, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

It is a good game. Now Pens on a 17 secs 5 on 3.

BTW gamecenter is free today.

Posted by: mauree | March 15, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

5-4 Pens now. Crazy game.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 15, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

ffsenough,
In other words, what you would like is for ws&e to drop all of its business plans or at the very least schedule all of its events around the Caps. It does not matter if the ws&e loses money as long as the Caps makes a profit. Sound like a winning plan, can't think of any reason why ws&e does not follow your advice. You do know that Ted is a part owner of ws&e, don't you? Maybe you should email him.

You are barking at the wrong tree when you accuse Mr. Pollin of not caring. Try the following for facility complaints:
Peter Biche - President, Business Operations/Chief Financial Officer of WS&E
Gary Handleman - President of Facilities for WS&E
For schedules complaints:
Try the Caps scheduling guys (whoever they are).

Posted by: hock1 | March 15, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Stupid Penguins. Hate them.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 15, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see Varlamov back. I just hope he's fully recovered from the injuries. I assume he'll start one of the back to back games, probably the one vs Atlanta. (I had originally assumed they would give him a little more time in Hershey before coming up.)

It will be interesting to see how the defensive pairings will shake out with Poti back. While many of our forwards have gotten better with defense since starting out (Ovi, Semin, Backstrom; etc.), they still think like offensive men playing defense (i.e. concentrating on take-aways; etc.) so we definitely need some D-men who concentrate on defense.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 15, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Rachel216. Don't like the Penguins. The disputes that Ovi has had with Malkin and Crosby remind me of disputes my younger daughter had with some rivals back in middle school. My dislike of the Penguins is personal.

As for the Flyers, they are Philthy. Just like them to acquire more goons at the trading deadline as if they need more goons. (They'll probably finish safely in 4th for the conference, and out of the Caps hair in the first round.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 15, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Personally I like the idea that we can close the gap to 5 points tomorrow with the B's.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 15, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Boo-
Pothier looked very good in the two games I saw him in Hershey, although he didn't have to give or take any major hits.

Posted by: tess2201 | March 15, 2009 2:32 PM

good luck wiht that in the nhl

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 15, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Avery had one heckuva game for the Rangers today in beating the flyers. That was one great game to watch, looked like a playoff game 7 or something

noticed that kunitz has been a really strong addition to the pens lineup as well.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 15, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

As for the Flyers, they are Philthy. Just like them to acquire more goons at the trading deadline as if they need more goons. (They'll probably finish safely in 4th for the conference, and out of the Caps hair in the first round.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 15, 2009 5:29 PM

what goons? carcillo you mean? he's not a goon. They had to make that trade for salary cap reasons and they traded a better established player in upshall for an up n comer in Carcillo who by no definitions meets the criteria of a "goon". Goons don't score hat tricks or play on the PP and PK and get 18 shifts a game. He's a tough ornery kid who can play minutes. Doesn't make him a goon. He's no more a goon than a caps prospect like Della Rovere :)

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 15, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Pens won again, huh. DAmn. I'd rather Boston win than Pitt. I hate Pitt. I want them to win nothing, ever. THey finally got Sidney the wingers they needed. Satan was destined to be a flop. Kunitz, though. That was a good move.

We'll see.

Posted by: oo7 | March 15, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Man, I'm getting tired of new Caps fans being "ok" with facing the Pens in the first round. Let other teams take them out and spend their own energy doing it. I'd rather beat a depleted, battered Pens team if they have to be faced at all. Screw em. Their streak is worrisome. Only 12 games left.

Posted by: oo7 | March 15, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

That's great news about Pothier. Varlamov's call up is a little surprising though. I thought they'd leave him in Hershey to get in as much work as possible before the playoffs.

I just watched the last 5 min of the bos/pit game. I'm afraid of Pitt and NJ right now. I don't want to see either team in the first round. Luckily I don't think we'll be seeing them until the second round at best. Here is how I think things will shake out.

1) Bos
2) NJ/Was (Was has a much easier schedule but NJ has 2 games in hand and a point in the standings)
3) NJ/Was
4) Pit
5) Philly
6) NYR
7) Florida
8) Carolina

I think Montreal is out at this point - they are just awful right now. 3 Teams from the SE - pretty cool eh?

Posted by: patrone | March 15, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

God I love my Caps but two major mistakes here:

1. NOT NOT NOT a good idea to bring Pothier up yet; first hard check = career over. At the lower level of play, with the requisite respect for his condition, he had a chance to ease into it and start at 95% next season vs. 60% now. This is a DUMB MOVE!!!

2. As others here have said, Neuvy should have had another chance. You can't take him out after a loss then demote him; his confidence is shattered and he IS a good goalie that could be great. I'm so disappointed.

Anyhow, I hope for the best, and the CUP!

Posted by: wutzthedeal | March 15, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

they had to bring Pothier up unless they wanted to put him throuigh waivers. there is a limit to the time a rehab assignment to minors can last (5 games i think)

Posted by: mikebrady1 | March 15, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

wutzthedeal: Agreed. I HATE that. How do you think he felt? Right before they go on a 5 game roadie and they demote him and bring Varly up... what's that saying? That they need a backup goalie upgrade? There was no need to bring Varly up. Just keep him in Hershey and give Neuvy another chance. It's not like Neuvy is injured! Now he will be forever scared whenever he is called up because he fears if he makes a mistake they'll send him down. Not a good move, to just send him down and bring Varly up when everything was fine.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 15, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Well the initial plan was the leave him in there for 20 games and start him next season, so I'm not understanding something regarding the waiver.

Posted by: wutzthedeal | March 15, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Penguins winning is great for the Caps! Now that they are breathing down the throats of Phillie for home court advantage, they will most likely play each other in the first round. Let them kill each other off and let the other teams pick the off the wounded winners in the playoffs! Bah ha ha ha! Even when the Pens win, they lose!

Posted by: JohnWWW | March 15, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Whether Pothier gets a bad hit in the AHL or NHL, what is the difference? He is a great addition to the big club.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | March 15, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

patrone

Montreal out? hmmm.

Posted by: mauree | March 15, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Let the Caps worry about the Pitts on the ice. We'll worry about the Pitt Trolls that desecrate our blog. Let's take on the Pitts whenever we have to. It'll make our road to the Cup that much more sweeter. We'll bragging rights to hold over their heads.

Let's GOO Caps!

Oh, and yeah, I'm cool for Varly and Pothier coming back up. My condolences to Neuvirth but he knows how it goes. Hopefully he knows that it's not really a personal thing. He'll get his time up again for sure and prove his worth to the team on a full-time basis. Great job, Neuvy! We'll see you soon, buddy!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 15, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Whether Pothier gets a bad hit in the AHL or NHL, what is the difference? He is a great addition to the big club.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | March 15, 2009 7:09 PM

who would he replace? and who is he currently better than? we're not talking about a stud defenseman coming back into the lineup here. We're talking about a player who even when healthy would have a hard time cracking a decent defensive lineup and certainly not in the top 4.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 15, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Wutz and Rachael do you not understand that this is a PRO TEAM NOT PEE WEE. If he can not handle the demotion then he needs more help than either one of you could provide.Where does it state that he or anyone else has a right to another chance? This is about what THE TEAM(GMGM & BB)FEEL THEY NEED TO IMPROVE THE CAPS! When you two are capable of running a PROFESSIONAL SPORTS TEAM then you may have the oppurtunity to run that team on:I HOPE WE DO NOT HURT HIS FEELINGS!

Wutz, Pothier's main issue was astigmatism not post concussion syndrome.He will be at risk whether it is this year or next.We need him now.Next year we have some youth who can replace some of the older defencemen if they prove they are capable.

Posted by: caps67 | March 16, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

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