Tom Poti

Reports: Capitals D Tom Poti fails physical, will likely be placed on long-term injured reserve

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As many probably expected, it appears that Washington Capitals defenseman Tom Poti’s health status remains an issue. Various sources report that Capitals GM George McPhee revealed that Poti failed a physical today, which means the team is likely to place him on the long-term injured reserve as he tries to fight back through injuries stemming from the 2010-11 season. Poti didn’t appear on the ice during training camp today.

It’s sad to look on the bright side of a troubling injury situation, but the Capitals should get some salary cap relief from Poti going on the LTIR. CapGeek lists them as a bit more than $890K above the salary cap ceiling at this moment, but with Poti’s $2.875 million cap hit (temporarily?) off the books, the team should have wiggle room for injury and prospect-related roster moves. Poti will continue to try to work his way through his injury issues.

Poti played parts of the last four seasons with the Capitals, although he missed a significant amount of games. He missed 114 games during that span, with the 2010-11 season being the most troubled yet. Poti played in just 21 games last season, scoring two goals and five assists for seven points and a -4 rating.

When healthy, Poti can be an effective (if occasionally error prone) offensive defenseman. He logged at least 21 minutes per game for Washington in the three seasons before 10-11. Poti’s contract expires after the 2012-13 season, so the Capitals must continue to watch his progress.

A healthy return might cause some questions for the Caps’ brass – much like Sami Salo’s situation did for a while with the Vancouver Canucks last season – but here’s hoping that Poti can get his career back together soon.

There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

Connor McDavid
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Jack Eichel didn’t disappoint in the preseason, finishing with six points in four games, including two shorthanded goals.

Tonight in Buffalo, his NHL career will start for real when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators in regular-season action.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on that ice and making the NHL,” Eichel said, per “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but you’re finally playing hockey for a living and everything you’ve done your whole life is to get to this point. It’s pretty special.”

The 18-year-old’s debut was front-page news this morning in Buffalo, where the Sabres have been among the NHL’s worst teams since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.

Eichel front page

Granted, even with the additions of Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Robin Lehner and Cody Franson, expectations for 2015-16 remain modest for the new-look Sabres. Certainly, a spot in the playoffs would count as a surprise.

But for the fans of a team that’s barely possessed the puck the past couple of years, it’s night and day.

“People are excited,” GM Tim Murray said earlier this week. “It’s great. They think we’ve improved, and there’s a real positive vibe, I believe.

“That’s what I said to our coaches, ‘I want everybody to be positive. I’m the only guy in the organization allowed to be negative.’ That’s the way I wanted it. If I’m the most negative guy in the city about the team, that’s pretty good.”

Sutter: Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

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Lost in the various controversies (see here and here) of last night’s game in Los Angeles was a pretty dismal performance by the Kings, a team that should’ve been especially motivated to start the season after missing the playoffs last year.

The Kings were hammered, 5-1, by the visiting Sharks. They were outshot, 32-20.

“If you don’t check, you don’t have the puck enough,” said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. “If you don’t have the puck enough, you can’t score.”

“We were pretty sloppy. Sloppy on our rushes, sloppy in our D-zone,” said forward Dustin Brown. “That’s probably most of it, but the other part is compete – in the corners and making hard plays coming out of our zone, going in. We didn’t play very well.”

Obviously, much credit has to go to the Sharks. Like the Kings, they missed the playoffs last year and came into 2015-16 looking for redemption. But the Sharks haven’t won two Stanley Cups in the last four years, and they weren’t the home team.

“Gotta check,” said Sutter. “You don’t check, you can’t score. We had a lot of guys, especially top guys that weren’t interested in that part of the game.”

The Kings get a visit from the Arizona Coyotes on Friday. If they don’t dominate that team…