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Update From the 'Plex

Injured defensemen Bryan Muir and John Erskine participated in today's practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, marking their first time on the ice with their teammates since December. Muir has been out with a broken foot; Erskine, he revealed today, has been sidelined with a broken ankle.

Although neither lasted the entire session, both players said they expect to be back in the lineup within the next 7-10 days. I know it seems like we've heard that before, but General Manager George McPhee confirmed the time frame after consulting with athletic trainer Greg Smith.

Also, defenseman Brian Pothier, out since suffering a concussion Jan. 18, skated on his own prior to the team practice. It was his first time on skates since being drilled into the boards at Carolina. McPhee said he's hopefully about 7-10 days away from returning, too.

It may be too late for the to make a late Caps' playoff push, but getting any of those three back into the lineup can only be a good thing.

Backup goaltender Brent Johnson also participated fully in practice and will be available for tomorrow's game against the Kings. He's missed four games with an undisclosed injury.

Much more on the injuries in tomorrow's paper.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 7, 2007; 1:32 PM ET
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only problem with these guys returning..
they still all suck.

Posted by: caphcky | February 7, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, I saw you at practice today and meant to introduce myself. I was the one wearing the Capitals winter coat.

It was good to see Erskine, Muir,and Pothier on the ice. The defensive will only get better when they return to the lineup.

Capital Fanatic

Posted by: Capital Fanatic | February 7, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Tarik: Obviously the cap-light/depth-short Caps have had trouble with injuries. But how have other injury-racked teams around the league done under the cap? Seems to me not much better: Look at how the Ducks struggled when they were missing key players, for example.

Posted by: Tyler | February 7, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Good news... With playoffs out of question (but fight to the end, boys) they hopefully help Alex to finish ahead of Crosby in points. I know, it is almost as feasible as playoffs.... :-(

Posted by: | February 7, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse


Why doesn't Hanlon give one of the other goalies a chance at the big show? With the season now shot, it would be interesting to see Machesney or Daigneault for a few games, just give them a taste. What's the point of putting Olie out there every night? It's not like there's anything left to gain by winning this season, and couldn't hurt to give one of the prospects a preview. What do you think?

Posted by: katzistan | February 7, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, can you get a feel for how Ovie is handling his scoring slump? He is probably stressing too much about it, due to all of the pressure on him, and he is such a young guy. I hope he knows that this will pass, and he'll be back in the saddle shortly. I was hoping he would have scored in the shootout last night, which would have helped him tremendously.

Posted by: Kenhockey | February 7, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

The D line is coming back? Praise all that is good. No wonder Erskine was out so long.

Playoffs shot? The're drifting farther away by the loss, but they aint dead yet. Come one, this aint the Terp men's team we're talking about. 3 points in two games is not bad. It's not great, but it's not bad. Win the next 2 home games and we'll have 7 of 8 on the homestand.

Posted by: EricS | February 7, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Kenhockey -- Alex is going to be fine. he was down in te dumps after losing to Boston, but he's not the type of guy who lets slumps eat him too much. He was back to smiling and dropping funny one-liners today.

katzistan -- Neither Machesney nor Daigneault are ready for NHL action. imagine if Hanlon threw them out there and they surrendered 8 goals on 10 shots. that doesn't help anyone.

Capital Fanatic -- You should have come and said hello. I look forward to meeting you soon.

Tyler -- Great point. The cap is making depth an issue around the league. if you've got $21 mil tied up in three players like Tampa, it's tough to go out and get depth.

Posted by: Tarik | February 7, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tarik,

Do you think Muir or erskine will get sent to hershey on conditioning assignments once theyre healthy? Schultz getting all this ice tiem recently leads me to believe that GMGM wants to evaluate him more.

Also, will there be any hierarchy on the roster? By that I mean will they send down waiver exempt guys before they consider waiving a potentially worse player? Or will they try to keep the better players up regardless of waiver status?


Posted by: Graham | February 7, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Hi Caphcky!

Posted by: FS | February 7, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Hi Caphcky!

Posted by: FS | February 7, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Thank all that is good and holy that Erskine will be back soon. I'm just curious to see if the D will settle behind his presence, as it seemed to before he got injured. Remember back then, when the Caps were winning games?

Posted by: Caps fan in ID | February 7, 2007 7:30 PM | Report abuse

hey FS,

Can you stop with the "Hi Caphcky!" post. Its annoying.

Anyway, thanks for the update, Tarik.

Posted by: ritdude | February 7, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Much more on the injuries in tomorrow's paper.
By Tarik El-Bashir | February 7, 2007

OK Tarik,I read the Feburary 8th article and no mention of Johnsons injury. So what is up with him? Just that he is returning. Have the Caps ever said what was wrong?

Posted by: JR4Caps | February 7, 2007 11:47 PM | Report abuse

the caps never said what was wrong with him and neither would he. the team rarely comments, unless its obvious. and sometimes players won't either.

Posted by: Tarik | February 8, 2007 1:48 AM | Report abuse

Hi Caphcky!

Posted by: FS | February 8, 2007 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, there is lots of grumbling in the cheap seats (400 level where I have season tics) about Coach Glen. Your post about shoot outs just added fuel to the fire. Can you do a blog about the players and what they think about the coaching? There heve been times, like with Butch, where the problems were obvious, but practice with this guys seems to be sort of uneventful. I wonder if he just knows the caliber of his players and trieds to do the best he can. I mean welcome to Hershey Bears South!

Posted by: Bob | February 8, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

The Caps BOD believes that getting these players back will not help them in their playoff push. Granted getting Erskine back will add what this team needs, and that is more grit. They are damaged goods and getting them back will keep players who need more seasoning at the top level. Muir was not that great before he was injured.
What we need are players who are gritty and play with toughness and grit.

Caps BOD

Posted by: Capitals Board of Directors | February 8, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

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