Friday, November 17, 2006


Washington Capitals captain Chris Clark did not play last night, but it wasn’t because he didn’t try. Simply put, the team physicians wouldn’t clear him.

Clark was hit in the mouth by a puck late in the third period of Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Boston, sustaining several broken teeth, a fractured palate and possibly other injuries inside his mouth (exact details are vague). He has spent the last two days with physicians and dentists and met with doctors before last night’s game to plead his case.

“I have never seen a more courageous thing in hockey,” said coach Glen Hanlon, who has been involved in the sport for more than 30 years. “To stay out there and play after he was hurt, and he still tried to block shots, still stayed out there until the puck [was iced]. The puck just went straight in his mouth and knocked his teeth out.

“If you could see him, all the damage … and he practiced this morning! He’s got a [facial shield] to protect his mouth. And he won’t go on injured reserve.”

Scratching Clark wasn’t the only move the Caps made yesterday. Richard Zednik (jammed wrist) came off injured reserve and played. To make room for him, left wing Tomas Fleischmann was re-assigned to Hershey. Healthy scratches were defenseman Jamie Heward and center Jakub Klepis.

Three players returned to action last night after being scratched for three or more games. They were defenseman Bryan Muir and forwards Kris Beech and Brooks Laich.

Dave Fay

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