The Washington Times - April 15, 2011, 10:53AM

The idea of a leg hematoma and compartment syndrome is scary. Everyone around the Capitals was surprised at the severity of the injury Dennis Wideman suffered in late March as he was quickly downgraded to week-to-week and his chances appearing slim for making a playoff return.

Wideman pulled off a much more encouraging surprise Friday morning, skating for about 15 minutes at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington before his teammates took the ice for their morning skate in preparation for Game 2 against the Rangers.


“A really surprising sign but a very good sign,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “He skated for about 15 minutes and felt pretty good, so maybe my assessment of three weeks was a little premature.”

Even more? Boudreau and players talked about Wideman being back “sooner than later.”

“Depending on what kind of shape he can get into in a hurry and how long this series goes, he might even be in this round,” Boudreau said.

Wideman hurt his right leg on a hit from Tuomo Ruutu on March 29 and had to be hospitalized. He just got out Monday and was walking around the practice facility this week. But getting on the ice is exactly as Alex Ovechkin put it – “a big step for him and for us, too.”

Wideman wasn’t made available to reporters, but Karl Alzner said he could tell his fellow defenseman was feeling better because he was in such a great mood.

“His demeanor was great. He seemed like he’s doing real well and that’s really good to see,” Alzner said. “I don’t know, obviously exactly where he’s at, but it was nice to see him doing what he was doing. We were all a little shocked that he was getting out on the ice. That’s pretty cool.”

Boudreau said the lack of muscle damage in Wideman’s leg allowed him to get back on the ice so quickly. And while Boudreau has admitted he’s not a doctor, he does know one thing.

“That’s a really good sign,” he said. “It shows how tough he is.”