John Erskine

Erskine is ‘top four’ on Washington’s blue line, says coach Oates


Veteran defenseman John Erskine is in no jeopardy of losing his spot in the Washington Capitals’ top four, according to head coach Adam Oates.

“He’s not losing his job,” Oates said, per CSNWashingtoncom. “He’s not. It’s not even up for grabs. He’s top four on our team.”

Erskine is a big, tough defensive defenseman who led all Washington blue-liners with 91 hits last season while providing what forward Troy Brouwer calls “that presence on the ice.” (See: image to the right)

The Caps do, however, have a couple of young d-men in Dmitry Orlov and Tomas Kundratek; hence, the speculation about Erskine’s role with the club for 2013-14.

Washington’s three other top-four d-men are Mike Green, John Carlson, and Karl Alzner.

Related: Watch Erskine rob the Jets…twice

Blues’ Shattenkirk suffers lower-body injury

Kevin Shattenkirk
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This hasn’t been the best night for St. Louis sports fans.

Obviously, the MLB’s Cardinals getting bounced from the playoffs is a bigger deal, but the Blues face bad news, too.

While they’re currently leading the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-3, they’ll need to hang on without Kevin Shattenkirk, whose night is over thanks to a lower-body injury.

There’s no word yet on how severe the issue might be.

Naturally, the Blues must hope that it’s minor, as Shattenkirk is one of the NHL’s truly underrated assets on the blueline.

Stephanie (@MyRegularFace) tracked down a moment when the injury may have happened:

It’s not all rosy for the Flames, either, as Lance Bouma suffered an injury as well.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning


In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.