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Q&A With Brian Pothier

Brian Pothier just did a conference call with reporters from Atlanta. Here's some of what he had to say:

Q: What went through your mind when you were called up from Hershey?
A: It's been a long time coming. You can practice all you want, shoot as many pucks as you want. But as soon as you get someone skating in to get you, give you a hit and bump you and give pressure, things change. Getting on the plane today was just the next step in the process and obviously I'm really excited about it. I'm looking forward to playing real soon.

Q: Have you talked to Coach Bruce Boudreau about when you might get in?
A: I haven't. I played in Hershey last night and just drove back. I just got on the plane. I'm sure we'll sit down and chat real soon.

Q: Did you take any hard hits in Hershey?
A: Yeah. I actually had a few good collisions. I took a couple of big hits and gave a couple. I was real excited about it. I was relieved. You go in and you don't know what to expect. You haven't had a hit in a while, and when you do get hit, you realize that I'm not damaged goods, I'm not fragile and everything still works real well. Getting hit is part of hockey and once I took a hit, it was kind of refreshing. If you had some anxiety and fear about it, once you get that first hit, all of that sort of lifted. That first hit was out of the way, and now it's let the instincts take over and just play."

Q: Are you ready to play in an NHL game right now?
A: Yeah. I played four games in Hershey. Each game I got better. At that level, I felt like I was effective. I felt up to speed. Now the next step is to play in a National league game and get acclimated to that level. I'm hoping that happens real quick.

Q: Are you wearing contact lenses on the ice?
A: Yes. Glasses are a lot more effective than contacts because the eye is actually warped. Having glasses are a lot sharper. But wearing contacts is better than nothing. I have been wearing the [contacts] on the ice and it has helped me.

Q: When did you know that a comeback was possible?
A: Once I put the glasses on in [December] with Dr. Susan Durham [in North Carolina] she gave me a full two-hour exam, trying to figure out what exactly was going on. At the end of it, she sat me down at a computer screen and she had me look at the screen. The letters were kind of gray and pink and blurry. Then she put these glasses on, and I mean, it's hard to explain, but instantly, everything, even the letters changed colors. The letters turned crisp and dark. Instantly, all the pressure and headaches and tension in my head was gone. As soon as two days later, I was able to get on a bike and a couple of days after that I was able to skate. It progressed so quickly. I was so excited because I knew what she had found was the issue. At that moment, I knew that was it. Now it was just a matter of getting back into shape."

Q:Has anyone urged you not to come back?
A: Everyone has their opinion, but most people I've come across have been really excited. There are risks that are involved and some people have felt they need to talk about those risks a lot, and some people just have said, 'Hey, great, go for it.' There have been a bunch of different opinions, but mostly positive encouragement and everyone is really excited about it.

It's just something you can't think about it. You can't think, 'Oh my goodness, this could happen or that could happen.' Because, honestly, it could happen to anybody. Any injury could happen to any guy at any time. If I go out and play tentative, I'm opening myself up to more chance of injuries.

Q: Did you have to sign a waiver or anything?
A: No. It came down to I had a concussion last year. I developed an astigmatism in my eye. If you look back, the concussion resolved itself within two to three months and we were unable diagnose the astigmatism until December. That's the thing that was causing all of the headaches and all of disorientation and the lack of coordination. If you look at it that way, it's not a huge injury. Just because the length of time I was out, people have made this out to be catastrophic injury. But I don't think it's as big a deal as people are making it out to be.

I'm looking at it like this: the time off gave me more time to rest the actual concussion and I would say that I've been symptom-free for almost a year from my concussion. Plenty of time to rest. I feel like I'm as healthy as I've ever been and I'm in as good a shape as I've ever been because I've been skating so much."

Q: What's been your family's reaction to your return?
A: Everybody is fired up. My wife is really excited. It's been a long year and I'm sure she's just happy to get me out of the house. We're all excited.

I'll have a full story in tomorrow's Post (it will be on the web, sooner, however).

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 15, 2009; 6:05 PM ET
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Next: Morning Reading List: Pothier Returns


Good Luck,Brian. Let's Go Caps! Hope Ovie gets #50 in Hot Lanta.

Posted by: ridgely1 | March 15, 2009 6:18 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

Posted by: rachel216 | March 15, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

My wide is really excited.

lol. ;) Tarik you might wanna fix that.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 15, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Good luck, my friend!!! May the force be with you...

Posted by: wutzthedeal | March 15, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

That's what I'm saying, ridgley1! If it ain't broke... don't destroy the gd thing. Geez.

Posted by: wutzthedeal | March 15, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to Atlanta for tomorrow night's game, can't wait. I expect alot of Caps fans will be there.

Posted by: gtydings | March 15, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

whoops my last post was not to ridgley1, but rachel216 my bad!

Posted by: wutzthedeal | March 15, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Bears up 3-1 on the Sound Tigers at the end of the 2nd. Goals by CBo, Osala, and Giroux. Cheez is in net with 20 saves so far. A Bears win will reclaim the #1 spot in the East from the Tigers with 2 games in hand.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | March 15, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse


It's in the team's best interest to have Varlamov up here, but you're right they should have let Neuvy at least play another game so he doesn't go out on such a sour note. Still I'm excited for Varly and even more excited for Pothier. LET'S GO CAPS!

Posted by: dcfury | March 15, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back Brian and Simeon. I'll be sporting my Ovechkin jersey seven rows behind the Caps bench in Florida on Tuesday night. LET'S GO CAPS. LET'S GO CAPS.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | March 15, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

How can anyone not be rooting for this dude. Am so supportive!!!!

Posted by: ralCapsFan | March 15, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Just hope he doesn't get another concussion.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 15, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad to see Pothier back as well. Hopefully he'll be able to contribute on the ice. What a difference a year and half makes. He used to be the whipping boy back on the blueline....

Posted by: Don-Ald | March 15, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

rachel216 maybe you should stay in the kitchen. do you not understand the game? this will not mess with his confidence he was only up with the caps because varlamov was injured.dont read into someting that does not exsist this is not days of our lives!

Posted by: rcc11 | March 15, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

As mentioned in the previous post, Pothier could get a big hit in the AHL or the NHL, what's the difference. He is a great addition to the big club. Like a trade deadline acquisition. He has so much energy now I believe the rest of the team will feed off it.

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

It is the right move to bring up Varly now to get some NHL games in before the playoffs. He will be the backup at least for the 1st round so he needs to get up here. Neuvy does not necessarily need to have a nother chance now. His time will come. If he can't take being sent down then he sure as heck can't take the pressure of the SC playoffs.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | March 15, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

pothier will improve all phases of our defense without having to give up prospects or draft picks.if he plays at his level than we could not have done any better.kudos to gmgm.

Posted by: rcc11 | March 15, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the Bears get a lot of penalties called against them. 9 PPs against including 2 lengthy 5-3 against. Bears won 3-2 with the only goals from Tigers on the 5-3.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | March 15, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Wait ... I'm confused ... am I the only one who did not know about this eye issue? I thought ALL this time off was due to a MAJOR concussion. If he was only out for that for a short time, then I feel a lot better about him coming back. Guys get concussions all the time; being out a short time for that is not a big deal - being out for over a year due to a concussion is a big deal. But if he was out primarily for an undiagnosed astigmatism, well, that is not nearly as disconcerting. Ya know?

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 15, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Neuvy is being sent down so he can get some action. Right now, he is just a hood ornament for the Caps and NEEDS playing time. He needs to get better. He barely plays... so, he is being sent down to play a ton of games for Hershey. Varly may get 1 or 2 starts up here, but the bottom line is, these kids need to get some playing time. Varly has been hurt for I don't know how long, but so far, he has played more games than Neuvy since Neuvy has been with the Caps. It's not rocket science.

Posted by: _828 | March 15, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Great story. The question I wanted asked was "What was the reaction of the guys in the room/on the plane when you stepped on board. I'm sure the 3rd pairing doesn't necessarily want the competition, but is he a popular enough guy to be welcomed back? I hope so.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | March 15, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

When Pothier plays, I just wish they would sit Schultz, but you know they'll sit Erskine.

I don't get all the Penguins haters who want them to lose. Look, I hate them too, and I don't like 8-0-2 in the last 10, and clearly the moves at the trade deadline made them better. But we WANT them to play well. We WANT them to finish 4th or 5th so we don't have to play them. Plus, they're not going to win their division, so whoever plays them in Round 2 will have home ice. The point is, it's good for the Caps for the Pens to finish 4-5, not 6-7.

Posted by: jhamond1 | March 15, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

I don't get all the Schultz haters... especially coming from Caps' fans. He is 23 years old. I remember when everyone was hating on Semin when he was 23 and now I see so many Semin jerseys. But, Semin grew up and now he is showing signs of being one of the great players in the league. I'm not saying Schultz is an all star - I am just saying, he is 23. If Bruce believes in him enough to put him on the PK in OT, then that should tell you something.
As for the Pens... I don't care where they finish. Have to beat the best and get over the fears if you want to get anywhere in life. So, bring them first round, bring them second round... I don't care. But, according to most of these people on this blog - the Caps are not going to make the 2nd round because of defense and goaltending... so, what does it matter if the Pens make it to the 2nd round?
The point of this years playoffs is to gain more playoff experience. Right now, most of the young kids only have 7 games of playoff experience. So, the more games, the better we become for the years to come.

Posted by: _828 | March 15, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Saw Pothier play in CLE vs. Lake Erie last Sunday and he looked solid. Good luck! It's been a long road back.

Posted by: ruggz | March 15, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I thought his career was over. This is good, more depth on defense. Just in time for the playoffs. It should be interesting to see how Valarmov plays. pitts-burg in the first round - wouldn't that be sweet.

Posted by: noreaster1 | March 15, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

It's good to hear that his long absence wasn't caused by the concussion per se, it was a vision problem. I'm much more positive about his coming back now. Who is he going to replace on the blueline?

Posted by: isaacc7 | March 15, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

It's not about demoting Neuvy. Clearly, Varls has always been the priority between those two. Relax.

Posted by: BigMogilny | March 15, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

varlamov played against grown men last year in Russia and generally has more experience than Neuvy.

Varlamov also has more upside than Neuvy, but both will get ample time to prove themselves.

Right now, you have to go with varlamov who was in pressure situations last year and went into montreal earlier this season and stole a game for the caps in a hostile building. Trust me, I have been there. Not a fun place to play for the opposing team.

Posted by: O-V-P | March 15, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Not that it was anywhere near as bad as Pothier's, but I hadn't realized my astigmatism changed and it caused dizziness when I tried to look at something. Its a relief to figure out its something so easy to correct. It will be interesting to see how he does.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | March 15, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

rcc11 needs to go back to his cave after a comment like that to rachel. thanks for making people feel welcome to comment, butthead. maybe instead of club scarlet they need club caveman for those guys who just don't want girls in their treehouse.

Posted by: spinner-33 | March 15, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I feel much better about Pothiers' return after reading that. Now I wont be holding my breath every time he gets hit. This should bolster the d who played incredibly well against Philthy last Thursday!!! LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Puckthepens | March 15, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

rachel216 maybe you should stay in the kitchen. do you not understand the game? this will not mess with his confidence he was only up with the caps because varlamov was injured.dont read into someting that does not exsist this is not days of our lives!

Posted by: rcc11 | March 15, 2009 7:13 PM

Before anyone heads to any kitchen you might want to try heading into an English classroom.

Posted by: jec4p | March 15, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

"rachel216 maybe you should stay in the kitchen...this is not days of our lives!"

I hope you were mocking sexism with those shameful statements you just made. Unreal.

Posted by: large23220 | March 15, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Good to hear Pothier is feeling better, lets just hope both he and Varlamov are up to speed.

Posted by: superpaqman | March 15, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse


Sorry, buddy. I'd rather the Pitts lose like a ginormous amount of games. I want the Pitts team to get so pi$$ed off at Crosby that THEY start taking potshots at him on the ice. I want Crosby to get his front teeth knocked out by a puck. I want Crosby to be caught in a videotape with Paris Hilton and to have it "accidentally" mailed in to Don Cherry's office for his next Grapevine show. I want Guerin to get upset with the ginormous amount of games they're losing that he outright states that he wishes he got traded to the Caps. I want everything that could hilariously go wrong to go wrong for them. I want to see Crosby once again knock someone in the nads like he did and for Cherry to finally eat his words and go, "Don't be like this yahoo. Hitting someone in the jewels is just wrong, no matter how skilled a hockey player you are."

You really needed a clarification for the loathing of Pitts? There you have it! =P *giggle*

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 15, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

rcc11 = Don Cherry

Both went to the same school in the Mesozoic period. There exists a picture of the two of them, standing shoulder to shoulder, with their clubs and their animal skin togas.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 15, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

rcc11 is an idiot. We'll leave it at that.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 15, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Yes, LeftCoastCapsFan, I can't say I'm too fond of Pittsburgh either. Their current cast of characters reminds me of my younger daughter's middle school rivals, complete with all the smack talking. I personally would rather see Pittsburgh either out of the playoffs or finishing 5th and be stuck playing a very hard 7 game series against Philthy, with the winner having nothing left in the tank for Round 2. I personally dread seeing the Caps playing Philthy in the playoffs although last week's victory made me feel a little better about their chances.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 15, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

I think it's safe to say that LeftCoastCapsFan is not a secret lurking Pens fan. Open up LeftCoastCapsFan, tell us how you really feel, stop holding back.

Posted by: TheCapitalist1 | March 15, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

rcc11 is an idiot. We'll leave it at that.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 15, 2009 9:27 PM

It's hard to disagree...

Posted by: fnralch | March 15, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone noticed that we can clinch the division with a regulation win tomorrow?

Carolina is already out. Florida is out with a Caps win or a Panther loss.

Let's show up in force tomorrow and lock up a top 3 seed!

Posted by: patrone | March 15, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

We cannot clinch until 6 games left... as of now. 6 games is 12 points. Right now, we are 13 points up. Basically, these next 6 games for the Caps are pretty important. The more points we are ahead of the other teams, the sooner we clinch.

14 points ahead - 7 games left
16 points ahead - 8 games left

Posted by: _828 | March 15, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

oops..i neglected april. doh

Posted by: patrone | March 15, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I will be at the game April 4th against ATL.

408 forever.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 15, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Did you really go there?

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 15, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Boo, you're not the only one who didn't know about the astigmatism. I wonder why they kept quiet about it?

Posted by: theGelf | March 15, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Rcc, you sound like a Pens fan. What a classless comment. If you are indeed a Caps fan, I'm ashamed.

Posted by: CapCup | March 15, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

@rcc: gosh, man, we're just past that. Come onboard, eh? I know plenty of women who do plenty of things better than plenty of men.

@theGelf: I'm thinking you didn't hear it because it wasn't entirely true. I'm thinking the concussion might have either caused the astig. or been just a non-related incident, so now they are playing down the concussion(s) and claiming a simple solution. I don't feel comfortable with it, but as long as the man and his docs feel he's ready, I can't argue. I just think it would not hurt, even a little, to keep him in a less intense arena until next season. I would not have brought him up yet.

Go CAPS!!! Oh, and I made a video you guys will love: Tarik, get this to OV!!! He will hire me to be his videographer!!! Hope y'all enjoy!

Posted by: wutzthedeal | March 15, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

828-I don't get all the Schultz haters... especially coming from Caps' fans

Why would non=caps fans hate on Schultz? what the heck would a pittsburgh or flyer fan give a rats a__ about one of our fringe defenseman. The reason Caps fans hate on Schultz is because more often than not he plays the game with little or no heart and enthusiasm and hangs his goalie out to dry and he's not making dramatic strides forward. One can even argue and say he's regressed in some ways.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 15, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Boo, you're not the only one who didn't know about the astigmatism. I wonder why they kept quiet about it?

Posted by: theGelf | March 15, 2009 10:57 PM

Did they keep quiet about it as on lets keep it away from the press? or the reporter just did not ask? I think it speaks volumes ...

Posted by: opita1 | March 16, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

whoops my last post was not to ridgley1, but rachel216 my bad!

Posted by: wutzthedeal | March 15, 2009 6:35 PM


Ridgley1 = rachel216 = wutzthedeal ???

Not important, it is late and I am going to bed.

Posted by: opita1 | March 16, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

I think it's great to see Brian back up with the guys. It will be almost like a boost from a trade because he hasent played in such a long time. He has been practicing for quite some time but game speed is different. I think he needs 10 game to "re-adjust" to NHL speed.

As far as the goalie swap. Varly is better tested for the NHL game right now. He has had better prep time from playing in the russian elite league. If Jose went down in a play-off game , I would feel better having Varly in the nets then Neuvirth.

Some people were suggesting that his confindence might be "ruined" from the way. If he losses his confindence from being sent down and then he isnt the golaie for us.

Pens, but are playing for there play-off lives, much like our stretch run last season. I still think our toughest matchups are Flyers and Devils.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | March 16, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

i think most of you missed the point in rgards to rcc comments. i believe he was stating that she should learn how the game works.these MEN ARE PROFEESIONAL they are not playing pee wee. to think that a players confidence is shot because he was returned to the bears is stated before he was only here BECAUSE OF INJURIES THAT'S IT!!

now why do you clowns still shout "whoop whoop" every time one of our old players touch the puck? how many times do they have to score before you idiots realize that it makes us TRUE CAPS FANS LOOK LIKE penguin fans.

Posted by: caps67 | March 16, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

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