I mean, he's not coming back - ever - is he?
Pothier has missed the last 19 games with a concussion (or post-concussion syndrome) and apparently hasn't even been seen around K-Plex in a month or more after getting crushed by Boston's Milan Lucic on January 3rd (the hit is at around the one minute mark of this clip).
If this was Potsy's first concussion, there'd be reason for concern and the expectation that he'd return at some point. But this isn't his first concussion. Or his second. In fact, it's (at least) his fifth as an NHLer (and who knows how many more he might have had before arriving in the show or that have gone undiagnosed). A quick rundown of the five:
- March 22, 2002 (season-ending, missed 10 games)
- December 13, 2003 (missed 10 games)
- December 28, 2005 (missed no games, but they called it a concussion, so we're calling it a concussion)
- January 18, 2007 (missed 10 games)
- January 3, 2008 (missed 19 games... and counting)
On the "cold, hard reality" side of things, Pothier has 2 years and $5 million left on his current contract and the Caps will continue to make a go of things, for the time being as they have for a month-and-a-half: without one of their top four defenseman. Potsy is one of three blueliners on the squad to be averaging more than a minute of ice time on both special teams units, is the team's second highest points-per-game rearguard on the season and leads the defensemen in plus-minus.
The team has gone 14-6-2 without Pothier in the lineup, which isn't necessarily remarkable in and of itself - he had been benched earlier in the season for poor play - but combining his absence with Tom Poti's recent and potentially lingering injury leaves a couple of gaping holes on the blueline that aren't easily filled and start to look a little bigger than the sum of their parts.
Which brings us back to Pothier's future. If he is to retire, the Caps would have both a need on the blueline (as if they don't already) and the internal cap space to satisfy it. Which, with just a week to go before the trade deadline, makes the status of Brian Pothier's career among the more important questions that we'd like to see answered.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
One game, 2,473 goals. What is "Gary Bettman's dream," Alex?... Did the Caps almost trade Chris Clark for Nik Antropov last summer?... Here's a better idea - don't like two-minute penalties in OT? Don't commit 'em.
Hart: Radim Vrbata (G, 2A, +2, 4 SOG)
Ross: Pavel Datsyuk, Radim Vrbata (3 points each)
Norris: Ed Jovanovski (Game-winning goal, A, 3 SOG, 2 hits)
Vezina: Mikael Tellqvist (34-save shutout win)
Richard: Henrik Zetterberg (2G)
Calder: Daniel Carcillo (G, +1, fight, 2 SOG, 2 hits)
Aiken: John Grahame (L, 5 goals allowed on 26 shots against)