Chris Clark did not practice today and GM George McPhee said he could be out for at least the remainder of the regular season because of the wrist injury that has been bothering him all season. McPhee said the tendon sheath in his wrist is torn and could require surgery.
“We may have to shut him down,” McPhee said. “He went to see a doctor today and the wrist has been bothering him all here. He’ll probably have to have something done on his wrist — have some surgery.”
McPhee did say Clark could be back for the playoffs if he does have the surgery. Clark scored 30 goals two seasons ago, but this is now two straight years that Clark’s campaign has been derailed by injury. He had five goals and nine points in 18 games last season. He missed time early in the season with a lacerated ear after taking a shot from Alex Ovechkin in his head and then was lost for the season with a groin tendon problem.
This year Clark has just one goal and six points in 32 games. He has been wearing a splint on his wrist, and has been scratched from four of the past seven games.
“It’s got everything to do with [his lack of production],” McPhee said. “We admire his competitiveness and willingness to play through pain, but it is not the Chris Clark we know. He’s had a tough time taking a pass, making a pass and shooting the puck.”
Without Clark, Eric Fehr would probably be in the lineup more the rest of the year. Fehr has been very productive the past two games, but Bruce Boudreau has said repeatedly that consistency is the biggest issue for Fehr.
If Clark is out, then that also opens up $2.8 million in cap space once he goes on long-term injury reserve. Obviously Karl Alzner could return, but that doesn’t mean he will right away.
Still, the Caps could be looking at another stretch run without their captain. McPhee said he hadn’t thought about if the “C” would be given to someone else and that he and Boudreau would probably talk about it at a later point.
“Clarkie is a hard-working guy and he’s definitely the type of guy who would try to play through an injury,” Matt Bradley said. “If he is out for a while, it is going to be a big blow to us. Not only on the ice but off the ice he is a great leader. He’s our captain, and we’re a better team with him around.”