Things had been going a bit too smoothly of late in Washington. The Caps got Alexander Ovechkin and Jason Arnott back from injury and Mike Green was continuing to improve in his recovery from a concussion to get back in the lineup. All the while newest Cap defenseman Dennis Wideman had put his minus days in Florida behind him while filling Green’s shoes for the time being on the blue line.
Now the Caps are going back to square one from where they were before on defense as Wideman will be out week-to-week with a lower body injury. Stephen Whyno of The Washington Times hears from Caps coach Bruce Boudreau about Wideman’s status.
“It’s just he’s not ready for tonight and he won’t be ready for Saturday, so it has to be week-to-week,” Bruce Boudreau said.
Asked if Wideman could return before the end of the regular season, the Caps coach couldn’t give a straight answer.
“I couldn’t tell you that right now,” he said. “I wish I was a doctor, but right now I don’t know.”
Imagine Bruce Boudreau as a doctor. Who wouldn’t want to go see him just for the laughs he’d provide? Not to mention his office would probably have plenty of free candy. Alas…
With Wideman out and Green without a real timetable for his return, Tyler Sloan will fill in on defense. If you think that doesn’t bode well for the Caps power play, you’re probably right. Wideman’s shot and ability to run a more effective man advantage have helped the Caps somewhat snap out of their power play funk they’ve had most of the season.
For Sloan this is about as big of a chance as he’s had this year to show the Caps and Caps fans that he’s got something positive to provide the team. Sloan has a goal and five assists in 30 games this year and is a -5 in plus/minus. If Caps fans are not going to pine over Green and Wideman, those numbers will have to improve.
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks
A statement from Raffi Torres:
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.