The Caps (24-17-2, 50 points) host the New York Islanders (16-21-6, 38 points) tonight to try and sweep their four game home stand, but the big news is the loss of Mike Green for an extended amount of time. The Caps announced yesterday that Green would have an abdominal surgery today and is out for four-to-six weeks.
Capitals General Manager George McPhee spoke to the media today about the injury and said that initially the doctor, Dr. Michael Brunt out of St. Louis, didn’t think the surgery was necessary, but parts went well during Green’s recovery and one part didn’t go well saying, “It’s never really healed to the point where he could play with it, effectively.”
McPhee also called the injury “basically a sports hernia”.
McPhee went on to say about Dr. Brunt, “We think he’s the best at this particular surgery.”
On when Green might return, McPhee said that Green should be skating in a “couple” of weeks and added if everything goes well, “Could be ready [to play] in four [weeks] and the outside six [weeks].”
McPhee also said “we hope not” when asked if Green will have to deal with this injury again.
With the surgery, which is taking place today in St. Louis, McPhee described it as, “They put some mesh in there to make the stomach lining stronger.”
George McPhee also went on to talk about Tom Poti, who hasn’t played in over a year due to a groin injury, saying on if he is fighting to come back. “Yes he is, Tom’s been working at it, improving, but I don’t know if he’ll ever get to the point where he can play again”.
He also added that at some point Poti also had a fracture in his pelvis and said the Caps aren’t counting on Poti to return.
Finally McPhee talked about Nicklas Backstrom, who suffered a probable concussion on January 3rd , and when he could return to the line up, “Nick’s doing really well, feels good and I’m I guess happy to report he’s progressing.”
McPhee added on Backstrom, “Obviously we’re going to be real careful because we want this to be a one time thing, something we never have to worry about again.”
McPhee also said “not necessarily” when asked if Backstrom would be out until after the all-star break and added, “Whenever he’s ready to get going we’ll get him going.”
The Caps are 9-1 in their last ten home games, 7-3-0 overall in their last ten games, and woke up one point behind the Panthers for tops in the Southeast Division. The Caps are 17-5-1 at home this season, but only 7-12-1 on the road and take off after the game tonight to head to Montreal to play the rested Canadiens tomorrow.
The Caps forward lines tonight likely will be: Ovechkin-Johansson-Semin, Knuble-Laich-Brouwer, Chimera-Halpern-Ward, Hendricks-Eakin-Beagle.
Mathieu Perreault, Jeff Schultz and John Erskine all took the extra skate today. Tomas Vokoun (19-10-0, .252 GAA, .918 Save pct.) will be in goal tonight for the Caps while making his tenth consecutive start.
The Islanders are 5-5-0 in their last ten, tied for last in the Eastern conference and beat the Caps 5-3 in their first of four games this season on November 5th in New York. The Islanders come off a 3-1 loss to the Nashville Predators in New York yesterday.
Evgeni Nabokov (7-11-0, 2.64 GAA, .909 Save pct.) is likely in net tonight for the Islanders.
Listen here to what George McPhee, Dale Hunter, Alex Ovechkin, Tomas Vokoun & Brooks Laich had to say about losing Mike Green, preparing for the Islanders and a whole lot more.
George McPhee Press Conference Audio
Dale Hunter Practice Audio
Alex Ovechkin Practice Audio
Tomas Vokoun Practice Audio
Brooks Laich Practice Audio