The Washington Times - December 6, 2008, 12:41PM

The Caps just finished up the morning skate here at the Air Canada Centre (which might have been better attended than some Florida Panthers home games, by the way). Sean Collins MIGHT make his NHL debut tonight for Washington — it depends on the health of Tyler Sloan, who took a shot off his left foot in the second period Thursday against the Islanders.

Collins said Sloan will take the warmup and the Caps will make a decision. So while he is excited about being the big leagues, Collins still has to wait out the afternoon before finding out if he’s going to play.


“It is the same way — you have to prepare for every game like you’re going to play,” Collins said. “If I do, it is unreal and a bonus. If I don’t, it is exciting just to be in the company of the NHL.”

Collins said it wasn’t until the end of his freshman year in college and the beginning of his sophomore year that he started to think a professional hockey career was possible. After signing, it has been a pretty rapid ascent, especially considering he missed about three months last season with a concussion.

“We just practiced yesterday, and coach told me to stick around so I didn’t question him,” Collins said. “He called me in his office and told me I was probably going up. It is the most exciting feeling. Those were the words you always wanted to hear growing up.”

The lines were the same on the ice as they were for the Islanders game. Brent Johnson will get his second straight start in net. Also, some administrative news — Alexander Semin has been placed on long-term injury reserve (he is eligible to come off Tuesday) and John Erskine is on regular IR. Putting Semin on there doesn’t save the team any cap space for later in the season, but it does open up more room while he is on there (to absorb more call-up salaries if needed).

More later after a day of Christmas shopping in blustery downtown Toronto.