Thursday, February 22, 2007

Inside Capitals Defenseman Brian Pothier

A nice article that talks about Pothier's move to Washington and his adjustment to life in Alexandria. Article courtesy of
(Photo Courtesy of

From Defenseman To Daddy
Brian Pothier juggles family life with Capital career.
By Greg Wyshynski
February 21, 2007

Brian Pothier had picked the right time to have a career year. A defenseman for the NHL’s Ottawa Senators in 2006, his 35 points were more than his previous three seasons combined. His quick puck movement and smooth skating made him a prototypical player for the league’s new offense-friendly rules that were established during its season-canceling lockout.
All of this pointed to a windfall for Pothier as he entered free agency in the off-season.
But the lockout produced a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that had established a salary cap, and Pothier witnessed the league’s altered financial landscape firsthand — as much as the Senators wished to keep him, they couldn’t fit Pothier’s salary demands within their already inflated payroll.
“Things just didn’t work out in the negotiations with Ottawa. I loved it there, my family loved it there. We wanted to go back, but they just didn’t have room,” he said. “We decided we wanted to go to a place where we’d be a big part of it — step in, play some more minutes, contribute a little more.”
That place was Washington and that team was the Capitals, who had given up 306 goals the previous season — second-worst in the league. Looking to upgrade their defense, the Caps quickly signed Pothier last July to a four-year, multi-million dollar contract. “Brian is a mobile, puck-moving defenseman who has performed well in the new NHL,” said General Manager George McPhee at the time.
Pothier, 29, and his wife Gwen came to D.C. around July 15 and spent five days searching for a new home. Scouting Vienna, Bethesda and Arlington, they felt something different when they visited Alexandria.
“Just driving through the Old Town area, we really gravitated toward it,” he said. “Every time we said we were thinking about Alexandria, people would be like, ‘Yeah, it’s really neat.’”
The Pothiers and their sons Jake, 3, and Luke, 1, purchased a house in the Rosemont section of Alexandria, near Del Ray. “The kids just love it. There are trains going this way, planes flying at you, bulldozers everywhere,” he said. “The biggest thing for us is safety, first and foremost. We wanted great schools. And location is important — I don’t want to be driving an hour [to work] every day.”

THE CAPITALS RELOCATED their practice facilities this season from Odenton, Md. to Northern Virginia. After a few months practicing in Ashburn (“That was pretty intense,” said Pothier), the team moved into its new facility atop the Ballston Mall in Arlington. Pothier can get to the Kettler IcePlex in about 15 minutes from his home; on gamedays, Pothier said his trip to the Verizon Center is just 20 minutes.
When the Capitals have a home game, Pothier will wake up with his boys at 7:30 a.m., have breakfast, and be out the door at about 8:30 to fight traffic for practice at 10:30. He’ll have lunch at the rink with his teammates and arrive back at home at 12:15 p.m. for some time with his sons and wife.
“I have an allotted two-hour nap time, but that doesn’t always happen that way,” he said. “Whatever my body needs, it’ll take it.”
Pothier will wake up around 4 p.m., grab a cup of coffee, hang out a little more with the family, and then head out to the arena for that night’s game.
It’s a routine, but not a rigid one.
“There’s a lot of guys who do the superstition thing,” he said. “I try to stay as far away from that as I can.”
So his superstition is not having a superstition?
“I say that all the time.”

DURING HIS SENIOR year at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY, Pothier returned home to New Bedford, Mass., for Christmas break.
That's when he met a girl named Gwen. About seven months later, they were engaged.
Less of a sure thing for Pothier after RPI — where he played hockey and majored in financial management — was his career in the NHL. He signed with the Atlanta Thrashers as an undrafted free agent in 2000, and quickly discovered he needed some additional experience. “In my first training camp, I was blown away. These guys were just too good.”
He was sent down to Orlando of the International Hockey League, where he tallied 41 points in 76 games was earned the league’s rookie of the year honors.
After bouncing back and forth between the minors and the Thrashers, Pothier was traded to Ottawa in June 2002. It was like hitting the reset button: Pothier went from being a Top 4 defenseman in Atlanta to about 10th on the Senators’ depth chart. But he fought his way through the ranks, earned a shot with Ottawa and excelled for parts of three seasons before leaving as a free agent. The NHL’s new rules that emphasized speed and agility favored Pothier. “Personally, I love it,” he said. “But I’ve seen a lot of guys who don’t love it as much. If you’re a bigger guy who relies on grabbing and getting guys in a corner and shaking them down, it’s a big change for them.”
This season, Pothier has 19 points, including 10 on the power play, in 48 games. He recently battled through a concussion, missing several games for the Capitals.
In Ottawa, Pothier played with several star players; none compared with the wattage of his Capitals teammate Alex Ovechkin. “Ovie’s energy is different. Those guys are more laid back, stars in their own right. Ovie’s 21, and full of life,” said Pothier. “Not only in all the pictures do you see him, but he’s the face of our team. We want to play like he does — full of energy.”

POTHIER SAID choosing Alexandria as a home was the right decision. He’s enjoyed breakfasts at Mancini’s on Mount Vernon Ave. He’s gotten together with teammates who also live in town — including team captain Chris Clark — at places like Bugsy’s and Landini Brothers in Old Town. “There’s such a small-town feel. Such great hospitality,” he said.
Unless they make a late push for the postseason, the Capitals will end their 2006-07 campaign on April 7. “Almost everybody goes home. Especially the Canadian guys. They always seem to have a cabin somewhere up there,” he said.
He his family won’t be leaving town this summer. Because for Brian Pothier, Alexandria is now home.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Concussion in the NHL may be worse than the NFL, unfortunatley the same person is medically in charge of both leagues. Elliot Pelman is both the medical advisor to the NFL and NHL. If the powers that be in both leagues don't change the current policy maker, they are doomed to the same failed policy. He is not even a legitamate doctor, his degree is from Mexico, and his Resume and Studies have been found fruadulent. Congress may be the only power that is willling to right this wrong. Players like Rob Dimiao and Wayne Crebet have a major bone to pick with the so called advice they have been getting. The catch 22 is the leagal ramifications to be dealt with going forward. When you know something and you withhold fron those who you are supposed to be protecting, leagally your done. The studies in question are now found to be fraudulent and statistical evidence of a medical device used by the N.E, Patriots has been omitted for reasons of association. To associate football concussions to boxing concussions is suicide for the NFL. Numerous studies have been done on the neurological damage done to boxers. Blows to the jaw are the origin of a majority of these concussions. A properly corrective medical procedure has been the reason the N.E. Patriots have the lowest concussion rate in the league. The only players who recieve concussions are the ones who either take a blow to he head or are not wearing this retainer like mouth guard. This can all be confirmed by video replay and medical records. On that note the doctor has a testimonial that states Ted Johnson never had any conussions while wearing the mouth guard. We feel the concussion he had were events produced from his tackling style, he split a helmet one time, blows to the crown of the head are now being related to a cord attached to the pituatary gland. ESPN will be reporting on this very issue and the difference in the symptoms between the two concussion types. Hockey concussions are a majority of blows to the jaw, since head contact is not the objective blows to the jaw are most common. Pelman had denied the connection until a recent Feb 06 story in ESPN, since much more damaging info has put him on the hot seat. It is time for a new regime, his work is a miseable and costly faiiure in many peoples minds.. Go to for more info