No one around the Capitals wants to make excuses, but coach Bruce Boudreau and general manager George McPhee admitted this team was hurting.
Here’s the laundry list:
Mike Knuble was playing with a broken right thumb and had four pins inserted into it. He got injections before each game to be able to get onto the ice.
“[The pins] are still in there, they tuck them under the skin and it’s like a couple of injections before each game,” Knuble said. “I felt it didn’t slow me down much at all. There were moments when it would really bite, but ultimately once you braced it, it held up pretty good.”
Alex Ovechkin admitted being hurt for most of the year but no one was disclosing his various injuries. When prompted with information about a knee injury that required surgery, Ovechkin dodged the question.
“I have a couple injuries but this meeting now the trainers do a great job to me they keep me in shape. It is what it is. I get hurt, everybody get hurt,” Ovechkin said. “We don’t announce it, it was kind of situation we had to do something. You don’t know all this kind of stuff it was kind of year most of the time like I was hurt.”
Jason Arnott had “minor” surgery on his left knee in March to repair an injury that he suffered in one of his first few games with Washington. It was still bothering the 36-year-old in the playoffs.
“At one point I couldn’t keep going; I had to get it fixed right away and whenever you come back a little early it always nags you,” he said. “But you play through those things in the playoffs.”
John Carlson suffered a hip pointer in Game 1 of the Lightning series on a semi-breakaway by Sean Bergenheim. He denied being limited, but everyone else including defense partner Karl Alzner said Carlson was affected by it.
“There was just a lot of times where we looked at each other when a puck gets dumped in, and I know he’s not gonna be able to go back,” Alzner said. “I was having to go back for a few extra pucks. You just try and help out as much as you can. Obviously it’s tough to play through an injury, especially one where it hinders your mobility.”
Mike Green suffered a hip flexor in Game 2 of the Lightning series, tried to come back and play in Game 3 before leaving in the third period.
“I had an injury where I couldn’t skate and couldn’t play and was praying that we’d get through one more game,” Green said. I think that maybe if we weren’t playing back-to-back, I could have probably played this weekend, so, hopefully, but it is what it is now and it’s too late.”
Boudreau pointed out that Green could barely walk, so it seems very unlikely that he could have come back had there been a Game 5 Saturday at Verizon Center.
Dennis Wideman (leg) wanted desperately to play against Tampa Bay but it just wasn’t feasible
“He wanted to play in the second game and then the third game, which is nice, but he wasn’t ready,” McPhee said.
Tom Poti’s career could be in danger with a groin injury.
“We haven’t had one doctor, one expert, suggest that he needs surgery. And we sent him to a lot of experts. You always want to go the conservative route. You don’t want to be invasive,” McPhee said. “You don’t want to open somebody up. They thought that it might turn just through rehab and everything else and it didn’t.
“And I think his career’s on the line, and it’s too bad. It’s a real concern. He could get to 80 or 90 percent but couldn’t get past a certain threshold.”