Green BluelinersPosted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel
When the Caps and Carolina Hurricanes take to the ice on Sunday afternoon at Verizon Center, it’s quite likely that eight of the 12 defenseman dressed for the game will have less than 200 games worth of NHL experience. The Caps have played their last two games with four defensemen below the 200-career-game threshold: Karl Alzner (175 career games), John Carlson (146), Dmitry Orlov (24) and Tomas Kundratek (two). Washington also has a pair of veteran defensemen who have sat out each of the last two games. John Erskine has played in 419 career games in the NHL while Jeff Schultz has skated in 346. Erskine and Schultz have combined for more career NHL games (765) than the four aforementioned Washington defensemen (347). The Caps are also playing without injured defenseman Mike Green, who has 376 career games to his credit. On the opposite bench, Carolina’s blueline will also likely feature four defenders with less than 200 games worth of NHL experience: Jay Harrison (166), Jamie McBain (130), Derek Joslin (85) and Justin Faulk (30). Carolina has been missing a pair of veteran defensemen who are sidelined with injuries. Jaroslav Spacek has played in 861 career NHL games while Joni Pitkanen has played in 504. (The Hurricanes have to lead the NHL in defensemen whose first names begin with the letter “J,” right?) Pitkanen and Spacek have combined for just 17 more games than Caps defenseman Roman Hamrlik (1348) has played all by himself. Hamrlik (37 years, nine months) and Erskine (31 years, six months) have been the only Washington defenseman over the age of 30 to appear in a game this season. Bryan Allen (31 years, four months) figures to be the only Carolina defenseman over the age of 30 in Sunday’s game.
I woke up on Sunday in Charlottesville, VA where my son Mac's Baltimore Stars Bantam travel team had a road game at 10:15 on Sunday morning. Charlottesville is great; I've loved my visits there. But it has proven to be a tough road town for Mac's teams over the years. Shoddy hometown officiating