- Prison inmates take up ‘Knockout’ game, target female officers
- U.S. Army hails success with drone-shooting laser
- John Kerry: Israel-Palestinian peace deal paved for April
- India diplomat who touts women’s rights busted for $3 wage to nanny
- MSNBC host Ed Schultz paid $252K by unions in 2012-2013
- Korean War memorial ordered to take down Christian cross
- Billy Graham near death, ‘close to going home to be with the Lord’
- SeaTac, Wash.: City’s new $15 minimum wage heads to court
- Obama mulls support for Islamists in Syria, with conditions
- Obama ‘birther’ theories float as Hawaii health director killed in crash
Pothier is comfortable moving up on offense
TORONTO | Brian Pothier jammed at the loose puck, and it squirted through the goaltender’s legs - a couple of inches to his right and Pothier would have been the hero Saturday night at Air Canada Centre.
Instead the puck slid into the right goal post and not into the net, and the Toronto Maple Leafs were able to eventually escape with a 2-1 shootout victory. Yes, Pothier would like to have that one, but it is an example of a positive development in recent weeks for his Washington Capitals.
Pothier has become more involved at the offensive end, and he’s playing the way he did before a devastating concussion cost him more than a year of his career.
“I’ve been playing a little differently. I’m trying to be more proactive offensively, just skate more and be involved more,” Pothier said. “I think at the start of the year I was just feeling my way around and trying to get comfortable with knowing how far to go without getting caught.”
Late in Saturday’s game was an extreme example of how far Pothier will go - he was mere inches from the goal crease - but his newfound confidence in pursuing offensive gains could be a long-term boon for the Caps.
Pothier has three goals and three assists in the past eight games. He has scored more in the past two-plus weeks than any member of the Washington defense not named Mike Green has all season.
Green was spectacular last season - producing one of the greatest offensive seasons by a defenseman in the past two decades. Secondary scoring from the blue line though, was nearly nonexistent. Pothier’s three goals in the past eight games are as many as any defenseman - except Green - scored all of last season as well.
“I guess something just clicked. It is good for our team for me to do that,” Pothier said. “Before I was just trying to be a good soldier and not get scored on - make a good first pass and change. But now I see it is good for our team to have that fourth man and be a little more proactive to help initiate that rush a little more.”
As it turns out, it was Green’s injury that sparked this revelation for Pothier. Green was hurt Nov. 6 against Florida, and because of that (and an injury to Jeff Schultz in the same game), Pothier logged more than 25 minutes.
He also had a goal and two assists. Since then, Green has returned, but Pothier’s offensive-minded approach hasn’t changed. His overall play has improved, and Bruce Boudreau has rewarded him with more ice time.
Pothier has played at least 18 minutes in seven of the past eight games - he reached that plateau only once in his first 13 contests this season.
“I think the trigger for me to play more offensive is helping me play better defensively as well, if that makes sense,” Pothier said. “I feel more comfortable now. When you do that - when you jump in and be more assertive - you just feel more comfortable on the ice. You skate better, you handle the puck more and you feel more involved. In the defensive end, you feel better [as well]. You are in the flow of things, and you can jump [passes] and you can read things better.”
Before the concussion in January 2008, Pothier was considered an offensive defenseman. He had five goals and 35 points in 2005-06 for the Ottawa Senators, and the Caps gave him a four-year, $10 million contract to provide some of that offense in Washington.
He has never scored more than five goals in an NHL season, but he had five in 38 games two years ago before the concussion ended his campaign. Double digits isn’t out of the realm of possibility, and it benefits the Caps to have a supporting character like Pothier patrolling the blue line.
About the Author
- The Capitals' Cup full of dreams
- Capitals' Green left off Canada's roster
- Capitals' new addition brings energy
- Capitals trade their captain to Columbus
- Disastrous first period dooms Capitals
Latest Blog Entries
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- U.S. Navy-China showdown: Chinese try to halt U.S. cruiser in international waters
- Obama birther theories float as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- House budget bargain faces Senate filibuster; Republicans line up to oppose
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- North Korea's official report on Jang Song Thaek
- Billy Graham near death, close to going home to be with the Lord
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- James Bond: The spy who is really an alcoholic
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Our Choice: Individual responsibility and self-government or the abandonment of the American Revolution
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
John Glaser turns his pen toward foreign policy and international relations around the world
A conservative commentator and satirist takes on the worlds of politics and entertainment in pursuit of truth, justice and all things America.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow