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Sick To Their Stomachs -- Literally

Still waiting to hear which players will be able to suit up for tonight's game in New York.

In case you missed it, Matt Pettinger, Steve Eminger and Brian Sutherby all sat out Friday's 4-3 loss with a stomach virus that causes nausea and diarrhea. As the night wore on, Mike Green, Brian Pothier, Chris Clark and Brent Johnson came down with the nasty bug.

This couldn't be happening at a worse time for the Caps, who were already reeling from injuries to three key players. And now this. In the middle of a four game in five nights stretch, all against teams ahead of them in the standings.

The only good news is that despite losing three in a row, and five of their last six, the Caps are still only two points out of the playoffs as the season nears its midpoint. They are also facing a Rangers team that has dropped seven in a row, including a 1-0 loss in Ottawa Friday night. It was the second straight game the Rangers were shutout.

Think things are bad around here? I just read this quote from Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr in this morning's NY Daily News: "When I don't play good, the team doesn't play good. That's even tougher. It's my job. It's my responsibility. And I take my job seriously. I love this team. And I would do anything for it. I cannot do it right now. I just hope (tonight) is going to be a different day and I'll be able to stop it. Because it's not funny anymore."

Jagr, who still earns more than $3 million a year from Washington, has one goal in his past 10 games and no points in the past three.

Okay, back to the current Caps. It's going to be interesting to see who's out against the Rangers and who, if anyone, gets called up from Hershey. I'd imagine they are at least going to need a goalie to back up Olie Kolzig, perhaps Daren Machensey. Johnson looked terrible after the game.

As for the recent call ups, I thought Lawrence Nycholat really distinguished himself against the Devils. Yeah, he had a couple of issues in his own zone. But he got pucks on the net and scored his first NHL goal. He also had an assist and nearly tied the game in the final seconds while skating 20 minutes 57 seconds. That led all blueliners.

"It was a pretty special thing," Nycholat said of his goal, which came at age 27. "It would have been nicer had we won the game. Us guys from Hershey we're all really excited to be here and help the team win."

Center Dave Steckel and defenseman Jamie Hunt were okay, I thought. As for defenseman Timo Helbling, well, he just looked out of his depth most of the night.

I'll try to update with any scratches/callups.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 30, 2006; 1:22 PM ET
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Hope you stay away from that flu, Tarik!

Posted by: Fred | December 31, 2006 8:21 AM | Report abuse

The recent flu bug and injury outbreak that has beset the Caps raises a issue regarding what type of players should be getting called up from Hershey. Last night was a perfect expample of what can happen when your enforcer gets booted from the game and there is nobody else left on the bench to protect the assets. With Erskine, Bradley, and Sutherby out the Caps were left without a backup to Brashear. It's disgusting the liberties the Rangers took with Ovechkin (and also the ref's indifference). If the league has no interest in protecting Ovechkin McPhee should which means when the muscle goes down to injury or sickness they must be replaced with muscle.

Posted by: Darryl Hockey | December 31, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

YES,,,the caps need more muscle....Id like to see them get a young up-comer who Brashear can "mentor" for a year of so.

I think the bright side to all the holes in our roster due to injuries and sickness is that we, and more importantly others in the NHL get to see what some of theses recent draft picks are capable of in the early stages of their development. I am a draft and develop kind of guy, but anyone who thinks that all of these guys are going to stay in the organization for the rest of their career or that we can fill all of our needs from within is being unrealistic.

Posted by: LIVINIT | December 31, 2006 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Happy new year.

I love they way the Caps play, hard nosed old time hockey. Great game last night even though they were down a few men.

Brashear is a thug, I hope he gets 10 games off. He is out of control. AO caught the brunt of his insanity late in the game. PLEEZZZZZZEEEEE, this guy is an Assistant Captian?

AO could be the best player in the game, if he would just keep his check. He cost the Caps 3 goals last night by trying to run guys over, yea he made the hit, but the Rangers put the puck in the net every time thay had the chance from his vacated D zone.

Posted by: Lorenzo | December 31, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Sick to their stomachs like I was after watching "Caps Post Game Live" yesterday? My god Koken...and Reekie too. They lost a hockey game....tell us why instead of butt-kissing this ownership.

Posted by: caphcky | January 2, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

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