Checking Line Takes a Couple Hits
In recent Capitals games, the checking unit of Matt Pettinger, Boyd Gordon and Matt Bradley has been a continuous bright spot. That trio has diligently forechecked, tenaciously backchecked, and generally shut down the opposition’s top scoring line. The unit has also chipped in with some offense, which not only helps in the most obvious fashion (on the scoreboard), but also by forcing those high-scoring opponents to play defense in their own end of the rink.
Given that Pettinger, Gordon and Bradley are all under contract for next season, there was hope the three would continue to mesh over the season’s final 17 games and give the Caps at least one firm line going into the 2007-08. Those hopes were dashed on Friday morning.
The Caps learned today that Pettinger suffered a broken thumb while blocking a Dan Boyle shot in the third period of Thursday’s shootout loss to Tampa Bay. Gordon sustained a knee injury in the same game. Pettinger is out 4-6 weeks, and Gordon will be lost for 10-14 days. At least one recall from Hershey (probably Alexandre Giroux) will be necessary.