By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Washington Capitals center Brian Sutherby will miss seven to 10 days after suffering a rare injury to his hand during Friday's 5-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, General Manager George McPhee said yesterday.
Sutherby was hurt with 55 seconds remaining in the second period when he raised his stick to knock down Toronto defenseman Wade Belak's shot from the blueline. He was in obvious pain after being struck near his thumb, and his injury was later diagnosed as compartment syndrome.
Losing Sutherby, a rugged player and alternate captain, for any amount of time poses a problem for the injury- and trade-depleted Capitals, who are seeking to win consecutive games for the first time in nearly two months this afternoon against Tampa Bay at Verizon Center. Vincent Lecavalier (NHL-leading 48 goals) and the Lightning, meantime, are pursuing the Atlanta Thrashers for the Southeast Division title.
"You can't rate Brian's season on how many goals he scores," Capitals Coach Glen Hanlon said. "He does so many subtle things that go unnoticed in a game. Like if someone does something to [Alex] Ovechkin, Brian goes and hits that player on the next shift."
McPhee planned to attend last night's American Hockey League game between the Hershey Bears and Philadelphia Phantoms before deciding whether to recall a player to replace Sutherby (seven goals, 10 assists).
Sutherby was seen by a hand specialist at Sibley Memorial Hospital after the game and had his thumb lanced to relieve some of the pressure. The wound must remain open for the next few days.
After being stitched up, the 25-year-old faces about seven days of recovery.
He's the third Washington player sidelined with a hand injury. Left wing Matt Pettinger is out indefinitely with a broken thumb and defenseman John Erskine will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a dislocated thumb.
Meantime, left wing Alexandre Giroux, who registered his first NHL goal against the Leafs, remained with the Capitals yesterday. He was recalled from the Bears on Thursday to replace Ben Clymer, who practiced yesterday but remains questionable for today.