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Brian Pothier discusses his homecoming

"You're on a team and in a community, your kids are in school, you have a house, everything's normal," Brian Pothier said Wednesday morning at the Verizon Center. "And then in 10 seconds, you get the news that you're not gonna be there any more. And it's kind of upheaval. The world kind of goes out of control for a little bit, and you just find a way to deal with it."

Pothier was discussing his trade from Washington -- where he had spent most of four seasons -- to Carolina. He was standing in the other dressing room at Verizon Center, having walked in through the other entrance -- "still weird," he said. His jersey had a No. 5, even though his pads still had a faded No. 2, his old number in D.C. He said he's talked to almost all of his ex-teammates since the trade, and that he continues to wish them well, for multiple reasons.

"They're my friends, man," Pothier explained. "The last four years, I spent most of my life with those guys. They're all good buddies. I still keep in touch with guys I played in Ottawa with and that was four, five years ago. You meet a lot of good people around the league through your travels and you keep in touch with those guys, and they're lifelong friends....

"I want to see my friends play well and do well and succeed. I want to see them do well. And then on top of that, I want to see them beat everybody so they run away with the President's Trophy, so that we have a better opportunity to get in the playoffs. So a couple reasons why I'm rooting for them. But overall the Washington organization is a top shelf organization, and I hope they're very successful. I really want to see all those people succeed."

(Chip Alexander, the Hurricanes beat writer, also asked Pothier whether his years of practice against the Caps' offensive threats would be of aid Wednesday night.

"No, I don't think so," Pothier said. "These guys are so talented and so skilled. They're unpredictable, they really are. We'll see how it goes tonight. Just try to keep them to the outside. They're obviously special players, probably one of the best lines in hockey right now. It was fun watching them play ever night.")

Pothier played in 13 of the Caps' 14 playoff games a year ago, and was steady both on the ice and in the dressing room; most media members would say he was the most thoughtful quote. He was also one of the steadily decreasing links to the very different past; of the team's top 14 scorers in '06-'07, only Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Boyd Gordon and Brooks Laich remain.

I asked Pothier whether it will be hard to watch the Caps' next playoff run from the outside, but he wasn't ready to commit to that. Carolina's in 13th place in the East, nine points out of the playoffs, but the Hurricanes are one of the NHL's hottest teams, and Pothier's seen a late-season surge before.

"We're competing for a playoff spot here," he said. "It's an opportunity for me to go to a new organization and do something special with a different group of guys. From the moment I walked in the room, the guys have been great. And the coaching staff, they've all been really good and treated me really well. So far it's been a lot of fun. it'll be interesting to play against these guys tonight. We're not out of it; we're far from out of it actually. We're competing to win some games and put a string together, and we have a chance to see these guys in the first round."

His wife and three young children will remain in the D.C. area, visiting Raleigh as often as they can, and he spent Tuesday night at his old house. I suggested that he'd get a big ovation from the home fans Wednesday night; "no chance," he said.

Well, I respectfully disagree.

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 10, 2010; 1:33 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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I'll applaud at least.

Posted by: EricS2 | March 10, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I won't be there tonight - but I'd certainly give him an ovation. He deserves it. Good guy, good player. Thank you, Player formerly known as #2.

Posted by: DisgustedinArlington | March 10, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

If we hear his name announced over the PA tonight, I'll be clapping for him. Always a class act.

Posted by: Section104 | March 10, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Wish I could go to the game, but anyone who is going and reads this....please applaud. Pothier is class all the way. He worked his butt off for this team to come back from a a horrific concussion; the least we can do is give him a warm welcome back to show our appreciation.

Posted by: Gould23 | March 10, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I'd applaud him if I was going. Was very sorry to see him go, and still would take him over Juice, but that another story for another time.

I know the fans will all wish Pothier the best of luck in the rest of his career. His story of struggle and "rebirth" really resonated with caps fans and made him very likable.

Posted by: breaklance | March 10, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I will boo him loudly and lustily. I hate the Carolina Hurricanes and anyone affiliated with them.

Posted by: djdavew2002 | March 10, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I didn't applaud Bondra, I didn't applaud Kolzig, and I won't be applauding Pothier.

It isn't a reflection on him as a player or a person, I just don't applaud players on the other team.

That being said, Pothier was a decent guy who made an amazing and inspiring comeback from a brutal injury. I certainly wish him the best of luck, unless of course he's playing against the Caps.

Posted by: CapsNut | March 10, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait to give him the respectful Caps alumni cheer when he has the puck! Woop-woop-woop.

Best of luck Brian! Maybe we can get you on a Jurcina style rebound.

Posted by: md268 | March 10, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

That's not a Caps alumni cheer; Larry Murphy first heard it in a Caps uniform (for being...Schultz) and we kept it up after he left.
It's a Turkey call. Unless you think Pothier's a turkey, save your chords for Goat support!

Posted by: redlineblue | March 10, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

If I'm sitting behind any "whoopers", I'm accidentally spilling my drink on them.

Posted by: capsfan77 | March 10, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I hope he gets support from the people at VC! I cheered for Olie and I cheered for Bondra, thats what you do to show respect to players who worked hard for your team and were traded (note: not players who asked for trades).

And md268, as capsfan77 is implying- Whooping is for players we dont's not exactly the sign of respect you seem to be looking for!

Posted by: mrszilla | March 10, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Best wishes for Pothier, he deserve it.

Posted by: guer_j | March 10, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I stood and cheered for you tonight Brian Pothier; good luck to you and your family. I appreciate the time you gave to the Capitals.

Posted by: hlalor | March 10, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Pothier did get some cheers tonight, which is unusual in a barn better known for booing the other team. Appropriate - Pothier has been a class act with the Caps and I will miss him. I'll never forget the night he scored that first goal after coming back. That was just awesome.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 11, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, prior to the game when the announcer at Verizon Center reads out the opposing lineup, a couple guys in my section ALWAYS yell "suck" after each and every name. Tonight when Brian Pothier's name came up all I heard was appreciative cheers.

Posted by: letsgocaps3 | March 11, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

I think it's sad that all these people do the wooping at some of these classy guys.I bet most of those fans don't even know the orgin of it. Guys like Pothier didn't ask to be traded and they played well here. I won't even woop Gonchar and he's a Penguin. Now guys like Witt and Jagr, when he was still in the league, deserve all the wooping we can give them. But it is ignorant to act like that to guys who wanted to be here and played well. These are the same idiots who do the 1-2-3 all your fault. And taunt every goalie after even letting up one goal. Come on Caps fans, some of the things getting yelled @ the games are pretty embarassing. Please stop.

Posted by: C-A-P-Scapscapscaps | March 11, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

The "1-2-3...all your fault" cheer, is a college cheer and that's where it should stay! I just don't like it because many people probably think it's clever and original. Anyone familiar with college hockey is familiar with this chorus, and it's much more affective when EVERYONE is doing it in a more intimate setting where you are essentially on top of the opposing goalie.

There are definitely a lot of things that newer hockey fans do at caps games because everyone else is doing it. I guess it's better to get involved, even if you don't know what you're doing, than to not get involved at all.

Last night my buddy was about to stab the guy next to him for calling out every player by their nick-name every time they touched the puck. Literally EVERY time. It was obvious this was a TV fan who finally had his chance to come to a game...but it was definitely annoying.

Posted by: Rainier1 | March 11, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Pothier was the best d-man on the ice last night.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I was at the game and didn't hear any whoop-whoop directed at Pothier. I'm glad. Now if we could stop desecrating the National Anthem ...

Posted by: pirate1 | March 11, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you on that one pirate1. I cringe when I hear the "OH's" during the Anthem; it's disrespectful.

Save the boo's for the Flyers or the Penguins but don't boo individual guys like Pothier or Olie just because they got traded. It diminishes us all and all the good they did here.

Posted by: AmyS1 | March 11, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

@pirate1 and AmyS1 - the "OH" thing originated out of Baltimore during O's games. When they started doing that here for Caps games back after the lockout (I don't remember hearing it before then), I wondered what the hell was wrong with people. Military folks will tell you that it's disrespectful toward the anthem to even so much as TALK during the singing of it.

I was really thankful that there was no (or minimal) whoop-whoop for Pothier last night. He's a great player who didn't ask to be traded from here.

Posted by: EddieP1 | March 11, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I know he's not on our team anymore but way to go Pothier!! Game winning OT goal against the team that shall not be named. Good for him.

Posted by: letsgocaps3 | March 11, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

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