Chris Clark arrived in town in time to join his teammates last night, and he and Alexander Semin were both out on the sheet during today’s Caps practice at Chelsea Piers. Tom Poti did not practice today and will not play against New York on Thursday.
I chatted with Clark after practice, and here’s what he said:
About the Alex Ovechkin shot that hit hm in the ear, opening a wound that required more than 60 stitches to close:
“Didn’t see it. I didn’t even know it was the puck until afterwards. I thought it was a stick. I was battling before that with I think [Vancouver defenseman] Bieksa and ended up clipping my tooth behind the net. And then I went to the front of the net. I thought it was just a battle with him and didn’t realize until afterwards that it was the puck.
“It just dropped me to my knees, just right down. I didn’t really know at that point that it was the puck until the guys were around me and telling me.”
On whether he had watched a replay of the shot.
“Yes. I wasn’t really facing [Ovechkin], which is good probably. At that point, I was trying to get to the front of the net. I wasn’t facing the shot, which is probably lucky. Kozzie dipped his shoulder a little bit and it went over him.”
On how he feels after praticing today:
“There’s no real pain there. The helmet is a little tight. It’s still swollen in that area, so the helmet is a little tight. Other than that, it wasn’t too bad.
On when he’ll be back in the lineup:
“I don’t know if I’ll play tomorrow. I’ll skate again tomorrow, and we’ll figure it out day to day.”
The guys had fun at last night’s team dinner, with rookies Nicklas Backstrom, Tomas Fleischmann, Jeff Schultz and Dave Steckel footing the bill. Schultz and Steckel provided levity, dressing up as the lead characters from the movie, “Blades of Glory.”
“I was talking with [Matt Bradley] the other week and I kind of wanted to do something,” says Steckel, “whether it was to mock guys or something. I forgot that it was Halloween. So me and Schultzie went to a costume store and picked out the best ones that we thought would add the most punch for the night. We figured that would be it.”
Schultz escaped Hershey’s rookie dinner last season.
“Actually last year I missed their rookie dinner because I was up here [with Washington] when they had theirs,” says Schultz. “I lucked out last year but I made up for it this year.
“The guys said that being Halloween we should go find costumes. Stecks and I after practice went and found a costume shop. We thought it would be funny to combine our costumes. We saw these and it was hilarious. Everybody was pretty impressed that in the amount of time we had that we found something like this.”
The proprietor of Dump and Chase feels that the location and cost of the dinner is proprietary information. Your mileage may vary, and someone else may well see fit to publish it. Suffice it to say, it was not cheap. Steckel planned ahead, making sure his credit card could handle the load.
“I made the call earlier in the day and made sure it was all right,” he said, looking squarely at some of his co-payees. “I had no problems. It was good. It was a good time.”
Schultz believes that he and Steckel’s decision to dress up made the rest of their evening a bit easier than it was for the European rookies, who showed up sans costume.
“I think the guys kind of got back at them for not dressing up,” Schultz says. “It seemed that as the night went on they took it a little bit easier on us for dressing up.”
“I think it went pretty well,” assesses Steckel. “I thought we looked great, personally. We got a lot of comments when we walked into the restaurant and everyone looked at us. I think it went well. The guys were happy.”
Ovechkin had a photo shoot with Sports Illustrated after practice today, and he made his way over to the NHL Store afterwards. I accompanied defensemen Mike Green, Milan Jurcina and Shaone Morrisonn over to the NHL Store immediately after practice. The guys were guests on “NHL Live” with co-hosts Don La Greca and E.J. Hradek. After the show, we browsed the Store and were given a tour of the NHL’s new office space, which is in the same building. Great spot. I highly encourage any and all of you to check it out if you’re in town. The Store is located at the southwest corner of 47th St. and 6th. Av.
Now, a few of us are getting ready to make the hop down to Newark for tonight’s game at “The Rock” between the Devils and the Lightning. We’re anxious to check out the Devils’ new digs, which just opened last Saturday.
Oh, and Tim Robbins was in the house today at Chelsea Piers again, too, playing pickup hockey. Good work if you can get it.