Injured Caps defenseman Tom Poti failed his medical exam on Friday, according to GM George McPhee, and it does not sound like he’ll be contributing on the ice for the foreseeable future.
“I’m right where I was last year,” McPhee said when asked whether he remained pessimistic about the prospect of Poti returning this season. “I was concerned about whether he would be able to play again. That’s why we went out and signed [Roman] Hamrlik. I didn’t want to be short.
“Unfortunately,” he added, “he’s no further along.”
McPhee also said the Caps will put Poti on a new “program” but that he will not undergo surgery. Poti has not played since Jan. 12 because of a recurring groin muscle injury.
“He’s seen all sorts of experts over the last year or so and none of them recommend surgery,” McPhee said.
Poti met with McPhee on Friday. The 34-year-old blueliner did not speak to reporters Saturday, the opening day of training camp.
“He’s certainly frustrated,” McPhee added. “We’re disappointed because he’s a good player. He’s played very good hockey in Washington and he’s made our team better. We told him, as we did with Brian Pothier a couple of years ago, if you get to the point where you can return, you’ll just make the team stronger.
Poti, who signed a two-year $5.75 million contract extension in September, will be placed on long-term injury,
meaning his salary will not count against the cap providing the Caps with relief from his salary under the salary cap.
McPhee said everyone else passed the medical exam, though he acknowledged that defenseman John Erskine, who had shoulder surgery in May, isn’t ready for contact but won’t be out long term.
Erskine did, however, take and pass the conditioning test.