Busy News DayPosted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel
Today was a busy news day here at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex. The Caps made a few roster moves, and a few lineup adjustments. Here’s what went down. Defenseman Sean Collins was returned to Hershey of the AHL after playing in both games on the Western Canada road trip. Collins had three shots on goal and was a minus-1 while averaging 10:56 in those two contests. The Caps were able to return Collins to Hershey because John Erskine has been given the green light to go after recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. While the Caps were out west last week, Erskine spent his time doing some hard skating and conditioning with Caps strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish. When I talked to Erskine yesterday, he told me he was fairly chomping at the bit to get back into the lineup. Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said he’d need to manage Erskine’s minutes tonight, but the Caps’ bench boss should still be able to get more than the 11 minutes he was getting nightly from Collins. Washington also recalled 20-year-old pivot Cody Eakin from Hershey. Eakin, the Caps’ third-round choice (85th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, is in his first full pro season and is slated to make his NHL debut against the Ducks tonight. With three goals and five assists for eight points in 10 games with Hershey, Eakin was fourth among Bears in scoring at the time of his recall. He had a plus-3 defensive rating in those 10 games. Eakin was tied for eighth among rookie scorers in the AHL, too. With Eakin stepping into the lineup, veteran center Jeff Halpern will be a healthy scratch tonight for the first time in his second tour of duty with the Capitals. D.J. King cleared waivers today and remains a member of the Capitals. King was placed on waivers last Feb. 26 and also cleared and stayed with the organization at that time. Caps defenseman Mike Green skated for the first time since he suffered a lower body injury in an Oct. 22 game against the Detroit Red Wings. If Green is able to get through a full practice or two on Wednesday and Thursday, it seems likely that he’d accompany the team on its two-game road trip to Carolina and Long Island this weekend. Those contests are the Caps’ first set of back-to-back games this season. Finally, Tomas Vokoun gets the call in goal tonight for Washington. For Vokoun, it will be his ninth straight start. The last Caps goalie to start in nine consecutive contests was Olie Kolzig from Dec. 27, 2006 through Jan. 13, 2007. Vokoun by the way, is the first Caps’ goalie in more than 11 years to allow two or fewer goals in each game while making as many as six consecutive starts, as confirmed by the Elias Sports Bureau. Olie Kolzig last achieved the feat, allowing two or fewer goals in six straight starts from Feb. 26 to March 7, 2000. Kolzig was the NHL’s Vezina Trophy winner that season.
Last night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks marked the fifth time in 10 nights that Washington has faced an opponent on shorter rest than the Capitals have had. It was the fifth time they’ve defeated that less-rested opponent. The Ducks started out the season 4-1 but left town with a 1-3-1 mark on