- The Washington Times - Friday, January 30, 2004

Washington Capitals defenseman Jason Doig has been suspended by the NHL for two games for a knee-to-knee hit on Carolina’s Kevyn Adams in Thursday’s victory over the Hurricanes. Adams suffered a torn MCL in his left knee and is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

The loss of Doig limits a defensive unit already depleted with Sergei Gonchar out for several more weeks with a separated shoulder.

Doig has been playing his best hockey in his role as an enforcer for the Caps, who will attempt to achieve their first three-game winning streak tonight against powerful Vancouver at MCI Center. The defenseman has played in all 52 games this season and leads the team with 90 penalty minutes.

“It’s unfortunate for him and for us,” said coach Glen Hanlon, who would not comment on whether the suspension was justified. “He has really given us a physical presence. Not just his hit on [Eric] Lindros but how he played against [Philadelphia last Sunday].”

Doig delivered a jarring, clean hit on Lindros in Wednesday’s road victory against the New York Rangers. As a result, Lindros sustained a career-threatening eighth concussion.

Doig accepted the NHL’s ruling in the Adams incident, and his big concern was the player’s health.

“That was the thing that was the most disturbing,” said Doig, who turned 27 the day of the incident. “Not the suspension, but the fact that he was hurt so badly. … I wasn’t surprised by the suspension based on the degree of the injury.”

Doig will lose $4,722 in salary for the two games he will miss, including Tuesday’s home date against Tampa Bay. The Caps will reshuffle the defense by calling up a minor league defenseman and increase shifts for several players to fill Doig’s 20-plus minutes a game.

Todd Rohloff, Josef Boumedienne and Rick Barry likely will see increased minutes. The newly acquired Rohloff will be particularly critical because he is expected to fill in for Doig on the penalty-killing unit, which along with goalie Olie Kolzig has been the most significant reason for Washington’s recent success. Dwayne Zinger, Chris Hajt and Steve Eminger are candidates to be called up from Washington’s Portland, Maine, affiliate in the American Hockey League.

The hit on Adams came late in the first period. Doig lined up for a hard check, but Adams saw him coming and tried to get out of the way. Doig adjusted and stuck his leg out, making contact. The Caps defenseman was given two minor penalties, and Washington did not allow a shot during Carolina’s four-minute power play.

“It is hard to say what’s fair,” Doig said of the first suspension of his limited NHL career. “I know what my intentions were, and based on that I don’t agree. But [the suspension] sends out a message that those hits aren’t acceptable, and I agree with that.”

Without Doig, the Caps (16-29-5-2) will try to continue their modest winning streak against one of the league’s hottest teams. Vancouver’s 67 points are second in the league behind Colorado. The Canucks (29-14-7-2) have won four straight overall and nine of their last 10 road games. Vancouver’s 15 road wins are the most in the NHL.

The Canucks are led by Markus Nasland (28 goals, 33 assists), whose 61 points were tied for the NHL lead with Washington’s Robert Lang (24, 37) before last night.

The Caps hope their renewed defensive focus and the recent stellar play of Kolzig will help them overcome the latest sidelined player.

“This is a total conceptual change,” said Hanlon, who believes the trade of Jaromir Jagr last week reemphasized the focus on the team rather than individuals. “We keep telling people if you have a sound system in place with fundamentals that players are almost interchangeable in the short term. But you can’t lose a Doig or Gonchar for 40 games and expect to be the same, but hopefully you can for two to 10 games.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide