Here’s the latest from the swamps. Brian Pothier is going to try to go. Brian Sutherby, Steve Eminger and Matt Pettinger are out, and will be transported to the hotel where the Caps are staying in New York. Washington will dress seven defensemen and 11 forwards tonight, and some of the guys who are in the lineup and playing tonight are already feeling symptoms and may not be able to play on Saturday when the Caps face the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Goaltender Brent Johnson is among the ill, but he will dress tonight. He may be on the bench, but it is also possible that he will remain in the locker room while tonight’s game is unfolding.
Bryan Muir, Richard Zednik, Matt Bradley and John Erskine are on injured reserve, and the Caps are at the roster maximum of 23. If Washington is to recall any more players, it would have to first place another player on injured reserve. Illness is not an area covered by the “emergency recall” part of the CBA, so emergency recalls are not an option, either.
Both George McPhee and Glen Hanlon stated that they had never seen a bug like this run through a team this hard and this quickly. According to Hanlon, Ben Clymer contratced the illness first and suffered through it over the holiday break. The rest have taken ill since.
As far as lines go, Hanlon said they shake out something like this, at least at the game’s outset:
Ovechkin, Zubrus, Klepis
Semin, Beech, Clark
Laich, Gordon, Clymer
Having seven defensemen should help the Caps to ease Shaone Morrisonn back into the lineup after his bout with mononucleosis, and should also help the team ease the workload on first-year pro Jamie Hunt, who is making his NHL debut tonight.
It will be interesting to see how the Caps fare over the next four days, and who gets sick/well during that period.