Imagine where this team could be if they were healthy?  I can’t think of the last time I remember the Washington Capitals this beat up.

Imagine for one second, just imagine, if the Redskins lost 7 starters.  Oh wait, they did just last year.  Ok, forget it.  You get the picture though.  Seven starters out.  Seven!

Among the expected absentees: the team’s first- and second-best defensemen (Mike Green and Tom Poti, respectively), the second-best offensive threat (Alexander Semin), not to mention key contributors Chris Clark, Sergei Fedorov, Jeff Schultz, John Erskine and possibly Boyd Gordon, the Capitals’ best player in the faceoff circle.

We have been saying day to day that Semin, Green, and Feds are close to returning.  Green and Feds said by the weekend, yet the weekend is done past.  Makes you optimistic eh?  Here is the important point …

The Capitals are 2-1 since the injury situation went from bad to worse in Minnesota on Nov. 24 and remain atop the Southeast Division. But what’s not known is how much longer the team can keep it up.

The Capitals are still in first place in the Southeast Division.  If they can just hold on until guys like Semin and Green return, they would have weathered a huge disadvantage in good shape.  Two unknown variables  —  one, will they hold on, and  two, when are these guys returning.  These answers are coming shortly. he only thing we know about the status right now is what Bruce Boudreau says …

“If they are not ready to go, they are not ready to go,” Boudreau said. “Obviously, you cannot sit there and say if he doesn’t feel ready to go and [then] force him to play [because] if something happened to him, you could be in serious trouble. But if they say, ‘I’ll play but I don’t think I can go,’ then how much are you going to get out of them because then they are playing safe and they’re doing it for you. We want to make the player comfortable that he’s ready to play 100 percent.”

More on the injuries from the Washington Times and the DC Examiner.

Meanwhile, as the little feud between Sidney Crosby and Alexander Semin, sparked by Semin’s comments a few weeks ago, no verbals response from Crosby, but on the ice is a different story.  I only wish Semin could give a response, on the ice, in return.

Michael Hoffman writes on the Caps inability to win on the road.  Two things are pretty clear.  One, the Verizon Center has officially become a truly hostile environment for opposing teams, as Caps fans continue to show up in drives and the Capitals have responded with a 9-0-1 record at home.  But, two, the Capitals are going to have to improve on the road.  The 4-8-2 record is not going to put them at the top of the eastern Conference.  They have to bring the energy and enthusiasm they have in the Sea of red to all other arenas.   They truly do look like a different team when skating afar.  That’s an aspect Boudreau will have to figure out.  For me, you keep winning like that at home, then .500 on the road is good enough.

Congratulations to Alexander Ovechkin on being named NHL Player of the Month for November by the NHL.   Well deserved after a slow October start.

Ovechkin’s 25 points in 14 games included 11 goals and a plus-9 rating as he recorded points in 11 of 14 games and goals in nine of 14. Before Saturday Ovechkin recorded points in 10 straight games with 22 points in that time, which was the longest active streak in the league.

Came at a good time too, given the fact we lost the leading scorer, Alexander Semin.  Credit can also be shouted out to Tomas Fleischmann, who has also picked up the slack since Semin’s injury. Flash is proving Boudreau right, when Boudreau exuded confidence in Flash, while Capitals fans called for his hide.

By the way, the injuries are showing Capitals fans more and more how very important the Hershey bears and the AHL affiliation is to the Washington Capitals.  I don’t think any of us needed a lesson on that, given the fact Hershey produced Mike Green, Brooks Laich, Boyd Gordon, Dave Steckel, and others, but Hershey’s importance as a minor league affiliate is taking center stage and coming through big.  The AHL really is starting to take on a stronger role, much like MLB minor league system, for several of the NHL franchises.

And to help fill out the injury riddle roster, the Capitals recalled Graham Mink from Hershey.

Game Preview for Tonight :

USA Today

Japers Rink

Joe’s Washington Hockey Blog

Caps Blogosphere … Here is what out Bretheren and Sisterhood have to say

Peerless too take son how lucky the Capitals have been in this injury riddled two weeks.  Puckhead’s looking forward to December.  Me to pal, me too, a lot healthier one.  AlexOvejtkin interviews Feds, Feds thinks the Caps can limp go far into the playoffs.  Capital Fanatic has an interesting power ranking lineup for the Capitals players.  Glad to see Eric Fehr rising.  I think Fehr is juts going to continue to get better, he is playing some pretty decent hockey lately.  Fleischmann at #3 is right on.  Good job!  The Red Skate has a good article on Shaone Morrisonn.   At least he is healthy for now.

Washington Capitals Leaderboard:

Goals:  Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, 13

Assists:  Alexander Ovechkin, 17

Points:  Alexander Ovechkin, 30

PP Goals:  Mike Green, 6

Def Scoring:  Mike Green, 16

+/-:  Alexander Semin, +17

Speaking of Hershey ….

More at DC Pro Sports Report

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