Capitals send Tom Poti to AHL Hershey for conditioning


Capitals defenseman Tom Poti hasn’t played since January 2011, but his road to recovery is almost at an end.

Washington announced they’ve assigned him to AHL Hershey on a conditioning assignment as Stephen Whyno of the Washington Times shares.

On the upside, Poti passed his physical so he is healthy, but on the downside he’s got to spend time in the minors. At most, he’ll be in Hershey for 14 days for conditioning purposes. It’s possible he could be waived to stay down there longer.

If Poti can prove he’s all the way back and capable of contributing to an NHL roster, it’s possible Washington could move him. After over two years away from playing in the league, however, that might be a hard sell.

Ray Emery successfully clears waivers so he can begin conditioning in AHL

Considering how many players have been snatched off of waivers this season, the Anaheim Ducks must be relieved that Ray Emery cleared waivers so he could begin his conditioning stint with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch today.

Emery is currently attempting an impressive recovery after dealing with a hip injury that ended the athletic career of two-sport star Bo Jackson in the ’90s. He last played for the Philadelphia Flyers during the 2009-10 season before he needed surgery on that hip.

Adding Emery with a low-risk contract makes a lot of sense for the Ducks, as Jonas Hiller has been having some health problems and the team rarely turns to backup Curtis McElhinney. Emery could be a valuable insurance policy for Anaheim or he could be little more than an inspiring story. Either way, he’s worth a shot.

Sami Salo return watch intensifies as he begins conditioning stint with AHL’s Manitoba Moose

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The short term tension of Sami Salo’s impending return was reduced because of Alex Edler’s lengthy injury, so the Vancouver Canucks can ponder the defenseman’s comeback without reaching for an antacid or two. At least for now.

Salo began one of the most substantial parts of the rehab process today, as the team assigned him to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose (minor league sports teams have the best names, don’t they?) for a conditioning stint. The Globe & Mail reports that he might actually dress for the team’s game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tonight.

His most recent NHL appearance came during the team’s playoff run in May. The hard shooting Finn hasn’t hit the 70-games played mark since the 2003-04 season. He played in 68 games in 2009-10, scoring nine goals and 19 assists for 28 points. Salo could be a valuable commodity if he can get up to full speed by the playoffs, even if his $3.5 million cap hit can cause almost as many headaches as his slap shot.

We’ll keep you updated as Salo approaches in return with the big club.

James Reimer ripple effects? Jonas Gustavsson sent down to the AHL

In case you haven’t heard, James Reimer pitched a 27-save shutout last night. If you live in or around Toronto, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about it. (Maybe even 27 times at this point?)

While the Maple Leafs claim that they’re sending (or “loaning”) goalie Jonas Gustavsson to the minors for a conditioning stint, it appears that they really did so to give him some reps and maybe restore his wavering confidence. Yet Chemmy at Pension Plan Puppets brings up the interesting possibility that Gustavsson could face the possibility of being outplayed in the AHL by Jussi Rynaas and therefore might not resurface in the big leagues this season.

It’s been a nasty season for “The Monster,” as he put together a 6-13-2 record with ugly individual numbers (3.29 GAA and 89 save percentage). Meanwhile Reimer is becoming a minor sensation, going 5-3-0 in nine appearances with a 1.96 GAA and a 94 save percentage.

Reimer is on a darling run right now, but maintaining such numbers is unlikely. The question is: how far is “this” Reimer from the goalie we’ll see once he regresses to the mean?

Leafs fans are satisfied to get a little excited about this small sample size, though. After all these years of frustration, can you really blame them?