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Update on Eric Fehr

I just got off the phone with GM George McPhee, who told me that Eric Fehr's hip/back ailment is "not better but not worse."

The 22-year-old former first round draft pick is in Hershey, Pa., working out and getting treatment for what McPhee called "a compressed nerve."

The good news? The injury doesn't require sugery and will heal on its own.

The bad news? No one can say for sure when the right wing is going to be able to play. (He's been out since February.)

"He's not better but not worse," McPhee said. " We continue to try everything to make sure he'll be fine. We've been told the injury will resolve on his own. It doesn't require surgery. The questions is when will it resolve? Will it be another month? Another three months?"

Asked if he expects to see Fehr in Washington this season, McPhee said: "We're hopeful."

So there you have it, the long-waited update on Fehr's status.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 14, 2007; 2:15 PM ET
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Next: Jokinen: "Everybody has to be better"


That was long-awaited. Thanks.

Posted by: Rob | November 14, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

it was thanks, tarik. unfortunately it answers nothing really

Posted by: Anonymous | November 14, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse


Do you find the communication process ridiculous with Caps front office ?

I mean, the writers in TO & Montreal get more specific info, yet this GM provides nothing tangible.

People care about the team & the city, not GM & Ted. The players injury is not being scouted by the opposition and playoffs are only a pipe dream.

Posted by: Chief | November 14, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope he doesn't go the way of Pat Peake and have his career ended before it began.

Posted by: CantMissKid | November 14, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Tarik; do you know if this is true or not??

Marty York of Metro News is reporting that Dion Phaneuf and Alexander Ovechkin have rejected contract extension proposals from the Calgary Flames and Washington Capitals, respectively. Both players are due to be RFA next summer and could receive lucrative offer sheets from other teams. The Caps offered Ovechkin a five-year pact similar to the deal the Pittsburgh Penguins gave Sidney Crosby ($8.7 million a season), but the sniper is demanding between $9 and $10 million a year.

Posted by: Brad | November 14, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Well, this makes a lot of sense. I've seen how irritating compressed and pinched nerves can be, so now at least it's more understandable as to why he's out.

However, it seems like they should have done surgery as soon as they realized what it was. Get him in and out as quickly as possible so that he can start training again.

I hope that waiting this long hasn't seriously affected him or his career.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 14, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

What about my favorite player:

Alexander the Great Semin. Did he coming back this week?

Posted by: Semin fan | November 14, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, I hope you know that most people appreciate what you do. I know it's difficult with certain fans who are never satisfied and also with the Caps management who seem not to care, but we do appreciate the effort you give to provide the fans the information we are looking for. Keep up the great work!!

Posted by: TARIK IS THE MAN | November 14, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Asked if he expects to see Fehr in Washington this season, McPhee said: "We're hopeful."

Translation: He'll be back this year. I'm hoping I still have a job when he comes back.

Posted by: old time hockey | November 14, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Tarik for the quick response back to us rabid, and a li'l mad, Caps fans. Fehr's injury sounds like another tricky one to estimate his return back to the lineup.

And Chief, your post is what I was trying to get at, yesterday. :)

Posted by: Hattrick23 | November 14, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

@ Drinking Partner

Surgery on a compressed nerve???
I dunno Dude....that can be pretty dicey.
Were I a young athlete with my whole career in front of me, I'd probably elect to stay away from surgery too.

Anybody with any medical background that can speak in an educated fasion on this?

...and by the way, your cousin's sister's husband having a bruised hip does not constitute "medical background" in my humble estimation.

Posted by: pmoravek | November 14, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the updates Tarik! Much appreciated!

Posted by: Piper | November 14, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Hey Old Time,

"Translation: He'll be back this year. I'm hoping I still have a job when he comes back."


Posted by: pmoravek | November 14, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for answering my Eric Fehr questions/comments that I asked in the last blog post of yours!

Much appreciated!

Posted by: CapitalPunishment | November 14, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

@ pmoravek

While the fears are legitimate, nerve issues can last for years and years on end. Unless there's real hope of it healing on its own, i'd elect for surgery, myself, and I'm 22 as well. I've seen what a pinched nerve can do, and how much surgery helped it. So, i'm speaking from 2nd hand experience, not from any medical knowledge of Fehr's injury.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 14, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Someone just asked about Fehr out of the blue today in the AO contract blog. Weird. Nice to have an update and over all Id say a positive one on him. Thanks for your diligent work Tarik. Us out of town Cap fans rely on you even more.

Posted by: captnclark | November 14, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh CP, was it you who was "ERIC FEHR??"?

Posted by: captnclark | November 14, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so I'm a little slow in following the threads here:

1. Scoring is down in the NHL I read.

I'm going to guess the Cap's GAA is down this year?

If it's not down that implies defensive problems.

2. I don't buy arguments in favor of the "deals" we got for giving up All talent for All prospects.

What? We may have a terrible record but at least we got great deals on all of our players? Our 12 goal scorer costs 2% less than Dallas' 12 goal scorer. Nobody outside of Caps internal finance cares about that if that doesn't translate to WINS.

3. I like this blog for what it is but sadly I am beginning to think the only thing that will cause the obviously needed changeS is tanking ticket sales. Which is really disappointing since the fans Want to be able to cheer these players and crashing sales indicates notable loss of fan interest- which I'm sure the Caps org knows is difficult to come by in Washington in the first place.

Posted by: delayed penalty | November 14, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

What would the Caps look like if they had selected Getzlaf instead of Fehr?

Posted by: more goals scored | November 14, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

more goals scored,

What does a dead horse look like if you beat it?

Posted by: Stormblue | November 14, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse


It looks like the Caps.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 14, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I just spit coffee on my desk. Thanks Stormblue and Greg S.

Posted by: Steve R | November 14, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"I like this blog for what it is but sadly I am beginning to think the only thing that will cause the obviously needed changeS is tanking ticket sales."

Posted by: delayed penalty | November 14, 2007 03:52 PM

Wrong. What would help a lot is the media having guts and pointing fingers. Write a few nation-wide articles about how ridicolous coaching/GM are and I assure you it will be most effective. I don't see that right now (except Tarik did a good job on the Eminger article. Need more though).

Posted by: mauree | November 14, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse


Well, we sort of did get national coverage of our "GM" and "Coach" - Forbes ran one and raked them over the coals, and lambasted them. But this Blog's response (not Tarik, us commoners)generally responded back that they'll take hockey info from The Hockey News and financial news from Forbes.

I think that's very short-sighted as this is a business. They are the execs running said business. You can measure performance of execs readily by looking at certain metrics. Applying the methodology across the league or a representative sampling across an industry will show who's doing good and who isn't. The apparent result was that Caps Management sux - not was underperforming, or not the greatest, it bites the big Kahona.

Now presumeably, Teddy reads that. And unless Malcom (Forbes) and Teddy don't get along all that well, Teddy may want to take notice of that.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 14, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Didn't I hear once that Post mgt saw the spike in the poster count on this blog?

If things continue and fan interest wanes I wonder if there would be correlative effect on the poster count..

Posted by: Mongo only pawn in game of life | November 14, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse


I think it's "kahuna."

Another day, and nothing is done by Caps Mgmt to improve the team. No love.

Good points by all yesterday that it goes beyond GMGM and Hanlon. I do think, however, that the Caps have a great stable of young talent. It needs to mesh (and it will), but they need the right leader to show them the way. Set them up for success, rather than failure

Posted by: Lee | November 14, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Things for Brett Hull to think about... from Mike Brophy in the Hockey News:

Just for fun, let's look at what's in store for the Caps next year in terms of salary. 3 players will earn about $24 Million (AO at 10, AS at 8, OK at 5.5). Add in Poti, Pothier, Nylander, Kozlov and Backstrom all getting between 2.4 and 4.9 M. Let's also say that Kolzig is signed for the same as this year. 8 players will earn around $40M.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 14, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I thought Semin was getting like $4m?

Posted by: cpl cespod | November 14, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

You're right cpl...I don't think Greg realizes that AS has already resigned.

Posted by: Yosh | November 14, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Wow..I screwed that pooch, didn't I? Thanks! OK, they're at 35.5 M. But then you add in Clark (that I left out of the 2M club by accident), and we're back to $38M. Using round numbers.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 14, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

That's 9 players in the $2M and up.

We have a bunch of RFA's coming up over the summer. 8 to be exact.

Two (2) UFA's in Brashear and Bradley. I wonder if we'll make offers on them or trade them before season ends.

All this talk about Eminger. Eminger makes 1M and rides the bench with Erskine at 540K. Flash at 500K sees a world more ice than Eminger.

I'm a "bang for bucks" kinda guy. I'm not seeing a lot of bang.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 14, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse


Wow didn't know that Olie Kolzig earns 5.5M. Anyway, all those you mentioned will be worth the money IF there's real coaching. Otherwise it's going to be 40M down the drain.

By the way, the Panthers looked solid against Carolina. Wonder what's gonna happen tomorrow.

Posted by: mauree | November 14, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Toss Kolzig out

Posted by: Finn | November 14, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Nice work. Thanks TEB.

Posted by: pch49 | November 14, 2007 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Kolzig will make a lot less next year.

Some other real questions: Sutherby, Laich and Gordon are all RFAs. Would the caps offer 1 of the 3 or 2 of those 3 contracts? I expect Gordon, but Suts and Laich are probably goners.

Morrisonn and Eminger are also RFA's on defense. If I were the Caps, I'd get rid of Mo and keep Emy. You have Alzner and Godfrey in the wings, no reason to keep slow-Mo.

Posted by: Rob | November 14, 2007 8:24 PM | Report abuse

By the way, what I meant by Kolzig making a lot less...I didn't mean he has a contract that will see him make less. What I meant is that he is the 6th highest paid goalie in the league, and there is no chance he stays in that area next year.

To give an idea of that awesome contract, he is two years older than Brodeur and makes more than him, and that is ridiculous.

Posted by: Rob | November 14, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't think simple math is going to give you an accurate figure. The CBA has all kinds of ins and outs as to what counts against the salary cap and what doesn't.
Tarik has a more inside view as to what that may look like.

What chaps my a$$ is that Ted still has to cut Jagr a check every now and then.
That guy has been killing us for fifteen years!!! (one way or another)

Posted by: pmoravek | November 14, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

laich has earned his keep, shows effort, etc. he's a keeper.

Posted by: jim | November 14, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Tarik for the update on Fehr.

Posted by: Bears Woooo | November 14, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

not saying they should, but if jagr qualifies for his extension so ted has to keep paying him for an extra year, can the caps recall him from new york or does the new york contract keep him even if ted has, in effect, renewed his part of the contract?

Posted by: jim | November 14, 2007 11:27 PM | Report abuse

@ Rob, Mauree, Finn, Greg S. (who apparently really doesn't have ANYthing else to do), Lee, etc....

You all have each, individually, spent waaayy more time thinking about salaries and salary caps then the esteemed management of the Washington Capitals in total.

For your consideration:

Hugs and his crew are still flummuxed by the paper bag that they have been in since February.

gmgm is happy to hang out with his buds (we don't discuss the terms).

And President for Life (because he is related to hockey greatness), Dick Patrick, is happy to rest on his throne.

My conclusion: until the PAID staff shows some work product, you should keep your council. I am now convinced that they can't do it without your help!

Posted by: Clarendon | November 15, 2007 12:09 AM | Report abuse


yes, that was indeed me. heh.

Posted by: capitalpunishment | November 15, 2007 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Just wanted to chime in on the rules changing to create more scoring. Wouldn't this make any record asterisk worthy, actually creating an entire new era that has its own, yet to be established, records? That commercial on NHL Network would mean nothing. While we're at it why doesn't baseball make steroids legal to create more home runs, oh, wait a second, it may as well have and now look at the joke that record has become. And while turning gold into water, why don't we make tackling illegal in football it impedes the scoring ability of so many runners why don't we just take it out of the game. In fact, why don't we lower and widen the net in basketball to make it easier to score. Come to think of it my golf game would improve immensely if I were hitting a volley ball into a larger hole.
The game already seems like a college football game in overtime with the number of ridiculously weak penalties they hand out (it's your turn to try and score, and now its your's, and now its your's, and so on) the thing about the college football game is they went through regulation to get to that point. They need to rethink the lockout changes and not add new ones.

Posted by: Bobby | November 15, 2007 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Had Benjamin Franklin (I believe it was he) gotten his way, and the turkey had been selected as our National Emblem, in favor of the Bald Eagle, would a turkey be the Caps mascot?

Posted by: Wanda | November 15, 2007 5:51 AM | Report abuse

Well, if it's any consolation, Tampa routed the 'Canes for the second recent win against them. I feel a little less angry about our last loss...but then more angry when I realize we've beaten both teams this season.

Hanlon Job Watch: Day 16

Posted by: keef | November 15, 2007 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Dear Santa: All I want for Christmas is:

1) For Alexander Semin to get better
2) A new GM and Coach for the Washington
3) A few wins for the team*

* I'd settle for 1 win

Posted by: wishfulthinking | November 15, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

PS I have been a very good Caps fan.

Posted by: wisfulthinking | November 15, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

The ONLY possible explanation for Fehr's mysterious injury is the Curse of Scott Stevens.

And if you don't believe me, check out the video of Ovechkin's shot hitting Clark in the head. Bizarre? Unlucky? Or is it something more..


Posted by: Oneal | November 15, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

lol, Oneal; it's a thought that's hard to deny.
And thanks for the morning chuckle, Wishful!
And that Tampa Bay win last night, was gr8 2c!

Posted by: Hattrick23 | November 15, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse


Nice piece for today's paper. I am amazed at the play it got on the page. Well done.

I am amazed that gmgm really believes that injuries are the fault of the Caps woes (going back to February!). yeah, that's right it's not his fault. He can't help that his trades and draft picks can't step up to the Show. His BFF, Hugs, is really doing the best that he can. And Dick and Ted are happy to pay for this drivel. Why won't the fans do likewise? Maybe it is because we actually have to work for our money.

I do feel badly for the players who are caught in the middle of this mess.

Posted by: Clarendon | November 15, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, yesterday you said you'd ask GMGM about Ovechkin's contract situation. Did you?

Posted by: Finn | November 15, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

If Franklin had his way:
the emblem AND the name would be turkey. The national televised NHL game would be on Thanksgiving, Anaheim Ducks vs Wash Turkeys. And we'd be stuck with Hanlon/GM forever cause it's the doomed turkey's destiny.

Posted by: mauree | November 15, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

And my high school swim coach (Murray Goff)would be doing skating drills instead of swimming laps, and saying, "skate you fat turkeys!" and throw sticks at them.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 15, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

and Washington w/o a key player would be called "going cold turkey"

Posted by: mauree | November 15, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Vegas odds makers have us winning the cup at 85/1. The only longer shot out there is Phoenix at 125/1

Posted by: Steve R | November 15, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what the odds are of GMGM and Hanlon lasting out the season?

Posted by: Steve R | November 15, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse


Nice headline on the article today. Just out of curiosity, do you write those yourself, or does the ed staff come up with eye catching ones?

Posted by: Schultz for Calder | November 15, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

About that article...why is it ok for Hanlon to say that the fact that they aren't scoring goals is mystifying...mystifying!?!? You're the head should have more of a clue then that. Unfortunately it sounds as though the players are standing behind the coach...that doesn't bode well for those of us who want Hanlon fired. Oh well. At least I'll be able to save money next year when I don't renew my season tickets...

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

What are the odds of the Caps even making the play offs?

Posted by: Finn | November 15, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I am not necessarily defending Hanlon here, but is his "mystifying" comment really that false? I mean, the Caps have the knack for making the opposing goalie look better than he is nearly every night, no? You look at guys like Kozlov, for example. He has had TONS of shots, TONS of great chances in close, and he can't routinely put the puck where it needs to go. This happens all the time. Get one or two of those pucks up, and the result of a game changes.

Are there problems with the PP? Are there other problems with the team? Absolutely. Changing the coach may help with results, but at the same time if the players could put the puck where it needs to be (think the Toronto game) the Caps would be in much better shape. The coach can only do so much...if his players can't finish under pressure, I don't really see how that is his fault.

Again, I'm not saying Hanlon is fantastic -- or even saying he should be around at the end of the season...but if the Caps are really behind their coach and want him to stay, then it's on the players to start finishing the chances they get (and they have had MANY chances).

Posted by: Jeff | November 15, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Finn, can't find that info. But another source had the Oilers with longer odds than us.

Posted by: Steve R | November 15, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

What is the world coming to? We are comparing our odds to Phoenix and Edmonton. But not too long ago everyone was laughing at the Oilers...

Posted by: Finn | November 15, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

You just proved it's false with your own theory. You're saying that their shots aren't getting in - so there's no mystification. They need to practice on shooting the puck around the goalies instead of into them.

Posted by: keef | November 15, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"But not too long ago everyone was laughing at the Oilers..."

...and the Caps have now taken up that post.

Posted by: keef | November 15, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Folks, it's pretty clear why we can't score goals. All of our shots are from the outside. We have noone crashing the net. We have noone in front of the net on the PP. Why do you think Brash is on the PP? How many times this year has the net been dislodged by the caps this year in the o-zone? I mean, besides AO.

Maybe tonight we will see a frenetic pace that has been missing. We need some 'reckless abandon' from our forwards in the offensive end. That is exactly what TB did to us in that third period the other night.

Posted by: kenwood | November 15, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I like the idea of reckless abandon but question whether the team will play with that intensity after four days off. They haven't been doing well with downtime.

I'm eager to see how much of a boon Clarkie is to the team. In my opinion, we're going to be at full strength tonight since Semin's been out this season, and this is the type of play we can expect from them moving forward - without anyone throwing down the injuries card.

Posted by: keef | November 15, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

...and without an AHLer on the first line.

Posted by: keef | November 15, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

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