The Capitals have loaned veteran defenseman Tom Poti, who passed his physical, to the AHL’s Hershey Bears for a conditioning stint. Poti’s conditioning loan to Hershey cannot last more than 14 consecutive days, which would run until Jan. 26.
Poti, 35, will play for the Bears Saturday night when they host the Connecticut Whale in Hershey General Manager George McPhee said and that the Capitals will monitor his progress.
“To throw him in here and play an NHL game, he might not be ready for that,” McPhee said. “So this is why Hershey’s there – to not only develop players, but let other players go down and condition themselves and see how they are.”
Poti is endeavoring to return to the NHL after missing the past two years with lingering groin problems and a fractured pelvis. It’s been a long recovery process, but Poti said he’s been pain-free for more than a week and was confident he was ready to take part in training camp.
McPhee was a little more skeptical last week, calling Poti “a bit of a long shot” to be ready for the start of the season and mentioned sending him to Hershey as an option. When asked if he thought time in the AHL would be necessary the defenseman said he likely would be able to get up to quickly speed without it.
“I think I’d be all right just kind of jumping in,” Poti said this past week. “Sometimes it’s better. I’ve experienced in the past, just kind of throw yourself into the fire, you learn quicker that way and kind of get used to things better. But like I said, this week will be a big test for me and I’m up for the challenge.”
The Capitals have also officially recalled goaltender Braden Holtby and defenseman Cam Schilling for training camp. Both players have been in Washington for several days to take part in informal workouts but the formal transaction couldn’t occur until the lockout officially ended with the signing of a memorandum of understanding.