Monday, February 12, 2007

Brashear Re-Signs, Kolzig Hurt

It was a good news, bad news day for the Capitals.

The good, being that enforcer Donald Brashear will be returning next season after signing a 1-year $1.1 million contract. After signing with the team last summer, he has fit right in providing the team with veteran leadership and a physical presence on the ice. In 52 games he has 2 goals and 5 assists along with 125 penalty minutes to go along with an even plus/minus rating.

The bad, being that the team will be without goaltender Olie Kolzig for at least the next three weeks after injuring himself in practice today. According to Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post, Kolzig hurt himself while moving laterally during a 2 on 1 breakaway drill early in practice.

The injury will give backup Brent Johnson the opportunity to get his game back into form. He has had a couple of minor injuries during the last month or so, limiting his playing time. Johnson has yet to display the spectacular outings he was accustomed to having in spot duty last season, recording a record of 4-7-3 with a goals against average of 3.86 and an .885 save percentage.

Frederic Cassivi should be recalled from Hershey and could see a few starts in net as well. He has been outstanding at the AHL level leading the Bears to the Calder Cup last season. Cassivi had just returned to action after suffering a broken collar bone in a game on December 23rd. So far this season he has a record of 15-7-4 with a 2.55 goals against average and a .916 save percentage in 28 games.

The Capitals will practice again tomorrow at their practice facility in Ballston before departing for the Sunshine state and a matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday night.

1 comment:

Mike said...

If the loss to the rangers wasn't the final nail in the coffin for the Caps playoff chances, the Kolzig injury certainly is.

It's not Johnny's talent that will hurt them. It's the mental letdown from losing the core guy on your team. I don't think the Caps will be able to recover from their recent streak of poor performances after suffering such a loss.

It looks like injuries are going to be the downfall of the Caps this year. Before Erskine broke his foot, and Pothier suffered his concussion, the caps were doing very well. But the loss of both of those defenseman has led to two things. (note: I've omitted Muir on purpose)

First, Jamie Heward has been forced on to the ice way too much. Frankly, the guy just makes so many mistakes that his play on the ice greatly offsets any other positives he brings for "veteran leadership" to the younger guys.

Second, despite the play of Nycolat and Shultz, they are still works in progress. Mike Green is further along in is development, but the defense is just way too young and, understandably, mistake prone.

So it looks like injuries are going to be the downfall of the caps playoff appearance. They were going to be on the bubble even if they were healthy all year long. Losing two defenseman (and zednik) for such long stretches, and Pothier and Kolzig for (hopefully) less time, was just too much for the young team.

If I were McPhee, I'd be looking to trade one of the young prospect D and maybe even a guy like Zubrus, by the deadline to try to pick up a defenseman that will stick around for awhile to act as the number 2 guy next to Pothier. doubt it'll be possible to find such a player, but it would go a long way towards helping the Caps out for next season.