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The Caps' Injury Situation, By The Numbers

Here are some interesting stats regarding the Caps' injury situation, which, as I'm sure you know by now, has reached ridiculous proportions.

Through 24 games, the Caps are 82 man games lost. A man game lost is counted when a player is unable to suit up because of injury or illness. Through the same number of games last year, the Caps had 48 man games lost. They had only 27 the season before that.

So, yeah, it's pretty bad. But not anywhere close to as bad as some of the injury-plagued seasons the franchise endured back in the late 1990's. Check it out:

Year: MGL
97-98: 476
98-99: 511
99-00: 251
00-01: 147
01-02: 255
02-03: 111
03-04: 331
05-06: 146
06-07: 244
07-08: 245

I'll have more on the subject in tomorrow's Post. And in case you're wondering, tomorrow's opponent, the Panthers, have been pretty banged up this year, too. They're at 80 man games lost.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 1, 2008; 5:11 PM ET
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remember when the Caps fired trainer Stan Wong because injuries were too common back then too?

Posted by: rh71 | December 1, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Here's a bit about it..

interesting read, blast from the past names. ;)

Posted by: rh71 | December 1, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

The medic on the Caps' bench always looks so pissed off all the time. I'm sure he's a nice guy, but when a player goes down he just seems furious, and also as if he couldn't care less all at the same time.

Posted by: Semvechkin | December 1, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

This really sucks, this season was supposed to the best ever but we won't know cause we're not at full strength.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 1, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

i dont know why you guys are all dissing smitty. all the guys love him and he just was in his 1000th game with the caps. dont think we need to blame him for the injuries

Posted by: JSeagull1 | December 1, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, I guess I'm unclear about your description. Clark and Schultz are on LTIR and are not eligible to be returned to the line-up. I'm assuming they count as MGLs, but its not crystal clear from your description. When you say "eligible" to suit up, I'm assuming you mean signed, not suspended, etc.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | December 1, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, remember though that those are the numbers for an entire season; we're not at the 1/3 mark yet and we've already lost 82. We're on pace for a good 250.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 1, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Most of the man games lost haven't hurt us that much. Clark, Pothier? Schultz is regressing and I'd rather have Sloan up here than him. The big loss upfront has been Semin obviously. But every team has injuries to top players, look at Carolina.
Defensively we're better without Greenie but obviously we have no one to rush the puck up ice so that hurts.

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 1, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, I think you're missing a "not" in this sentence. (Maybe you are banged up a bit too?)

"A man game lost is a term used when a player who is eligible to suit up does because of injury or illness."

Posted by: dezlboy1 | December 1, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

@ cstanton1

So if Schultz and Green are so inept on defense, why are they both career + players? I do not agree that Schultz has regressed. I see him playing tougher, using his wing-span to block passes and shots; I see him playing better positionally and knowing when to stay back and pinch better than last year. As for Green, he's going to win the Norris in the next three years. Green is a +6 last year and a +10 this year. He must be doing something right. That along with 7 goals and 9 assists this year. He rushes the puck up ice very well. He lays out some awesome hits. What's not to love?

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | December 1, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Through the same number of games last year, the Caps had 48 man games lost. They had only 27 the season before that.

So we're running at a bit under double the MGL we had last year at this time, and triple the MGL from two years ago at this time? OUCH!!!

I hope folks are getting better...

Posted by: irockthered | December 1, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

That 82 games includes Pothier's 24 and doesn't include Ovie's 2 games for personal reasons correct?

Posted by: ThePat | December 1, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse, because I got to 60 when I calculated earlier today but included Ovie and not Pothier, so just wanted to make sure I was correct.

Posted by: ThePat | December 1, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I cleared up the man games lost definition. Players on IR and LTIR such as Pothier, Clark and Schultz still count toward MGL.


Posted by: el_bashir | December 1, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

So without counting Pothier this year, we're still at 58 MGL? 10 worse than last year - still not cool, but not as bad... not good, though...

Posted by: irockthered | December 1, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

injuries are part of the game, granted we are excessively hurt. firing the trainer won't heal anybody. it needs to be managed better and it is a opportunity for someone to take someone else's job. who is going to step up and lead? As for Semin, Federov and Green, you need them at 100 percent. I would not shock me if Federov does not play until Christmas, as the same for Semin and Green. Things are mighty thin at this point and no trade is gonna fix all of this. Mcphee won't stand still if the losing continues on the road.

Posted by: ergoroc | December 1, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

MGL can be a misleading stat, as it does not address depth issues that may be caused by multiple players being out at the same time.

Using MGL, one assumes losing a player like, say, Boyd Gordon for an entire season (82 MGL) has the same impact as losing, say, Ovechkin, Green, Semin, and Backstrom for a quarter of the season, say a 20-game span (80 MGL). Of course, that's a preposterous claim, but there's no player rating association with MGL that helps measure the true impact of injuries.

The Caps are hurting because these injuries are occurring simultaneously, and at the same position. They entered the season with six blueliners and one pseudo-backup. Four of those defensemen and the backup (who just happens to be the second line center) are injured. That's just not a sustainable situation, regardless of MGL.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 1, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the clarification.

Posted by: ThePat | December 1, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

If my math is correct 80 MGL at this point puts us on pace for 280 for the season which leads one to ask who the hell was playing for the Caps in the first two seasons Tarik listed above.

Also, since no one really expected Pothier to come back this season while technically the games he misses count we should subtract them to get a more objective view of the situation.


Only the ignorant idiots are blaming the trainer for the rash of injuries. He obviously has absolutely nothing to do with it and these are just not very bright people looking for a scape goat. Typical behavior of those whose only use of the head is for wearing a hat.

The same goes for those who keep insisting that we're a better team without Green. Yes, we're better defensively without someone who is by a country mile our best defenseman. That makes sense in some people's world, apparently.

Posted by: ranndino | December 1, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

ranndino, not so fast. It depends on the injury; conditioning or lack of it under stress does affect the severity and frequency of certain injuries. Not all of them, certainly, but some of them, yes. Good and carefully constructed conditioning programs can and do prevent or lessen strain-type injuries. We've had enough strains, especially groin strains, that I see a pattern that warrants a second look.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 1, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Going off topic for a bit..

Per Sports Illustrated

Semin had tugged on Superman's cape, but his comments also advertised that he hasn't figured out that winning in the NHL is less about aesthetics than about Crosby's mix of prowess, passion and commitment. Says Kolzig, "It shows Semin's not all about hockey, not a student of the game."

To me, it sounds like Olie is insulting Semin, but I may just be misunderstanding it. What do the rest of you think??

Posted by: elicea | December 1, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Here's the deal on Semin. More than likely it involves slight tears in his shoulder that will probably require surgery. Remember last year the Nylander issue. Tried to play and they had to shut him down with surgery. Same for Semin. Of course they will give it up to 2 months before they shut him down. They know they stakes are high.

With Green it is obvious he has a slight seperation and can play once he can tolerate the pain. Reminds me of Jason Whitten from the Cowboys earlier this year -- same deal except the Greeny is no football player. He will play sooner than later and will be in and out of the line up. Probably won't be his usual self though.

Posted by: windjammersouth | December 1, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey SteveR,

Is that seat still avail. for tomorrow night's game?


Posted by: SZALACH7 | December 1, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Watching the Ducks/Wings game (very interesting). I like how the Ducks PK doesn't let their points to "walk the line" - they're so aggressive even up high near the blue line.

Posted by: mauree | December 1, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you. Based on the "Semin interview" I read, I have to say that those remarks by Sports Illustrated and Kolzig are idiotic and nonsensical.
It seems as if the writer of Sports Illustrated is still offended by Semin's opinion of Crosby; and, Kolzig? well, like all Has-Beens, he seems to be envious of Semin success.

Posted by: opita | December 1, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse


Just about the exact same thoughts going through my mind. And in all seriousness, If Yahoo had posted the whole interview, not just the bit they took out, this whole Semin calling Crosby out BS wouldn't have come up, IMO. In the original interview-well to me anyway- Semin was basically just stating that he wasn't that big of a fan of Crosby's style.

Posted by: elicea | December 1, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

in 1998-99, 41 different player played at least one game for the caps..41! this includes a goalie named martin brochu (2 gm) and a goalie name mike rosati (28 mins). ken klee played 78 games to lead the team. bonzai missed 12 gms, oates missed 13, gonch missed 29. only 5 guys played 70 or more games...brutal. team won 31 games.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 1, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

One thing that I am curious about is if anyone has analized the age of each team. A younger team will heal quicker in general than an older team IMO. Any thoughts?

Posted by: RichC3 | December 1, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse


probably... but I bet a younger team is more prone to injuries.

Posted by: mauree | December 1, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else think less of Kolzig now that he has made those idiotic comments? I guess I should have guessed that he would sound like a bitter washed up goalie. After all, he is bitter and washed up.

Posted by: kvarnson | December 1, 2008 11:26 PM | Report abuse

I missed it - what comments?

Posted by: Boo- | December 1, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

It's midnight and the boo(gy)woman suddendly appears... :)

Yeah I missed those comments too...

Posted by: mauree | December 1, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Hey, that's a good user name!! ;-) I've been lurking - just busy. Another late night after a late night with another to follow ... :-/ I need a vacation!! Anyway, just tried to google Kolzig's comments but could not find them. Frankly I feel kinda sorry for him - hopped from one rebuild to another. How depressing ...

Posted by: Boo- | December 1, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

comments are in a SI article. check out he has the article.

Posted by: kvarnson | December 2, 2008 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, although I don't think it's that bad - he praises him as much as he picks at him. It is certainly no worse than what Semin said about Crosby. They were just making observations and sharing their opinions - they are entitled (just as we are and do here every day! :-)).

Posted by: Boo- | December 2, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: 202-206 | December 2, 2008 1:35 AM | Report abuse

How many more points do we have this year at this point than last year, and the year before?

Posted by: Whitermage | December 2, 2008 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Thanks - read it. What did you think of it?

Not sure of the points, but weren't we bottom of the league at this point last season?!?

Posted by: Boo- | December 2, 2008 1:51 AM | Report abuse

@ ranndino,

I read up to your post and I didn't see a single person actually pointing at the trainer. I brought it up in post #1 because the Caps actually fired one as a result. Smitty was subsequently brought in as his replacement. I don't know how any of this translates to us, the fans, actually blaming all this on him.

Posted by: rh71 | December 2, 2008 1:57 AM | Report abuse

In terms of where we were at this point in previous seasons (i.e after 24 games played):

06/07 9-9-6, 24 points, 68 goals scored 78 conceded

07/08 8-15-1, 17 points, 57 goals scored 72 conceded

08/09 13-8-3, 29 points, 77 goals scored 75 conceded

So we are pretty consistent when it comes to conceding goals, but have seen a 35% increase in goals scored from this point last year. 35%! I wish my salary had risen but the same amount in the last 12 months!

1.51am! You really do need a vacation. Somewhere hot and exotic!

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | December 2, 2008 5:23 AM | Report abuse

I wish my salary had risen by the same amount in the last 12 months!*

Maybe this lack of proof-reading skills is the reason why I've not had a 35% raise.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | December 2, 2008 5:29 AM | Report abuse

I hear Bogota is nice this time of year... maybe even Karachi...

Posted by: JSchon | December 2, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Man, you're starting to sound like Sombrero and JSchon with all those stats!! See, I knew we were in good shape (despite all the injuries) - all is well. BTW, I prefer cold and dreary ... ;-)

Posted by: Boo- | December 2, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I blame these injuries on not having the guys train with yoke on in a siberian barn, that would toughen them up.

Posted by: superpaqman | December 2, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I don’t post much, but I feel compelled to after reading some of the comments of the past few days.

1) Players want to play. That’s what they do. IMHO suggesting otherwise (like sitting out for no apparent reason) is not prudent or wise.

2) Injuries are part of the game and every team has to go through it, some worse than others. It is not to be used as an excuse. This team is supposed to have depth and now is the time to prove it. Other players should accept the challenge and step up and do what it takes to win.

3) I didn’t see any or much credit being given to Columbus. They played an excellent game and their goalie played extremely well. The Caps weren’t sharp and didn’t play with the same amount of intensity.

4) The Caps need to address their road play. Everyone (coaches and players alike) should access what they can to better to correct this issue.

5) I don’t understand all the knocks on Schultz. Sure he’s made mistakes, but so have Poti and Green. I’ve seen the guy play the 5-on-3 in textbook fashion. BTW, notice that he is out there on the 5-on-3? Does that tell you anything? Hint: maybe Bruce Boudreau is seeing the same thing I am.

6) IMHO suggesting that an NHL player is a wuss is not prudent or wise. You don’t just wake up in the NHL. You play on travel teams from pee-wee through juniors and/or college. Believe me you’ve taken quite a beating and are not a wuss if you made it though all of that.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFederov | December 2, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

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