Eric Fehr wasn’t himself down the stretch, and as Bruce Boudreau and George McPhee said repeatedly, when a player doesn’t look right, something is usually wrong.
Again, it was a shoulder problem for Fehr, and the 25-year-old right wing had surgery to repair the labrum in his right shoulder last Saturday.
“It was definitely an issue, Fehr told The Washington Times on Tuesday. “It was something that bothered me.”
Fehr suffered the injury Jan. 14 against the Canucks in a collision with then-teammate David Steckel. He missed 22 games, returned in March but managed just three goals the rest of the way, including one in the playoffs.
“It definitely wasn’t 100 percent,” Fehr said. “I don’t wanna blame anything no that, but it wasn’t completely stable.”
Boudreau called out Fehr for his failed clear in Game 3 of the Tampa Bay series that led to Steven Stamkos’ tying goal. Fehr said he wasn’t aware of that criticism and took responsibility for the play – while also conceding it was a bad bounce.
“I probably had more time than I thought I had,” Fehr said, complimenting Victor Hedman for his aggressive forecheck. “[But] it’s a pretty good bounce onto the stick of one of the top goal-scorers in the league.”
Sure enough, Stamkos buried it, the Lightning tied it less than 30 seconds later and had a 3-0 lead on the Caps.
But that failed clear was not the reason Matt Hendricks replaced Fehr for Game 4.
“My shoulder wasn’t strong enough,” Fehr said.
Now the question becomes whether Fehr will be ready for training camp in September.
“It’ll be close because this is the second surgery,” he said. “Because it’s my second, I have to be more careful.”
Just as the Caps are in for a long summer of changes, Fehr is in for a long summer of rehab.