It was already a pretty rough night for the Washington Capitals, as the team squandered a 4-1 lead against the mediocre Toronto Maple Leafs to lose 5-4 in a shootout (read more about that here).
The team’s reeling a slight bit with a three game losing streak, but the worst news is that they will be without one of their most defensively responsible players for four to six weeks, as Katie Carrera reports that Jeff Schultz will be out with a fractured thumb.
This is a pretty big blow to the Capitals blueline, as Schultz is one of the more underrated defensemen in the league. I’m not a big proponent of the stat because it depends so much on the quality of the team* around a given player, but his +50 was the best plus/minus in the NHL last season. That’s pretty impressive for a guy whose prowess is rarely praised around the league.
He also scored three goals and 20 assists for 23 points last season and while he’s not putting up the same eye-popping numbers in 2010-11 so far (zero goals, five assists for a +5 in 28 games), he will definitely be missed. We’ll keep you updated on his status over the next few weeks.
* Just look at the top four guys in that plus/minus category. The top four players in that stat category all came from the Presidents Trophy winning Capitals. This is not a coincidence.