It has been a long and winding road to recovery for Washington Capitals defenseman Tom Poti.
Almost two calendar years, to be exact.
As Capitals senior writer Mike Vogel told in his sit-down with the 808-game NHL veteran, Poti suffered the injury long before the last game that sidelined him for two calendar years. Through hard work and determination, Poti pleasantly surprised many with his return to Caps camp this week. With the NHL lockout over, the blueliner was loaned to HERSHEY for conditioning and made his AHL debut on Sunday against the Connecticut Whale.
And who would have thought that Poti’s conditioning assignment would line up perfectly for a return to his place of birth – Worcester, Massachusetts – for a game against the Sharks, in front of family and friends.
I had a chance to chat with Poti after the skate today, and will have the interview in tonight’s second intermission of the game between HERSHEY and Worcester. I will also have it uploaded in the post-game blog post.
The BEARS and Sharks do battle tonight for the second time in 10 days, and for the third time out of four regular-season meetings. Last time, Sharks netminder Alex Stalock was the difference by far. This time, the Sharks will be without some key members of the team that has gone 2-0-0-0 against the BEARS this season – defenseman Matt Tennyson and center James Sheppard, to name two – as the start of NHL camps has brought a small percentage of the AHL up to the “Show”.
For the BEARS, goaltender Drew MacIntyre is up from ECHL Reading and will back up Philipp Grubauer, who has been nothing short of awesome in his two apperances this weekend. He won the first game of the weekend in a shootout, and then helped blank the Connecticut Whale in a team shutout with Dany Sabourin and the rest of the squad. Sabourin, by the way, is out short-term and skated today back in HERSHEY.
Game notes are here. 1 hour, 45 minutes to puck drop at the DCU Center, then a 6-hour ride home on a wintry night.