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Will Brashear’s Return be Enough?


Donald Brashear had only been back from injury for four games when he got suspended for six. Without Brashear the Caps had gone 0-2 versus the New York Rangers losing by scores of 4-3 and 1-0.

On “The Donald’s” first night back in game three, the Caps won 4-0. During round one of the playoffs the Caps averaged 3.75 goals a game when he played, and 1.66 goals a game when he didn’t. In contrast, the Rangers scored an average of 2.00 goals a game when Brash didn’t play and 1.00 goals per game when he did.

Why is this information important? Because Donald Brashear’s suspension is now over.

With the Caps now trailing three games to two, Brashear’s return could be just the boost the Caps need. He may not score a lot. He may not get a lot of assists, but it’s hard to deny that the team seems to play better when he’s there.

Brashear played a total of four games out of seven versus New York. In the three games that he didn’t play, the Caps went 1-2 and the combined scores for both teams was 6-5 Rangers. During the four games he did play the Caps went 3-1 and the combined score for both teams was 14-5 Capitals.

Brashear is an intimidating force that should never be taken lightly. It’s more than just the fisticuffs which he is more widely known for, it’s his dominance on the fore-check that wears down the opponents. He is part of what’s called “the Energy Line” for good reason. When you pair him up with Matt Bradley and David Steckel, you have a line every bit as intimidating as Ovechkin, Kozlov, and Federov.

It gives the Caps a solid fourth line and forces opposing teams to either play their own fourth line, or heavily rotate their three lines to keep up. It can really test the depth of the other teams. Their choices are to either thin out their talent across four lines to matchup with the Caps, or risk wearing out before the Caps do by keeping their three lines out for longer shifts.

The Caps need a big game tonight. They need to send a message to Pittsburgh that this series isn’t over. Brashear’s first game of the playoffs came in game three, with the Caps down two games to none, headed to New York, and reeling off a 1-0 shutout loss.

His first game back was a 4-0 shutout win for the Caps.

Now he comes back to find his team with their backs against the wall, facing elimination, headed to Pittsburgh, and reeling off a 4-3 overtime loss.

Can he bring back the magic one more time? We’ll know tonight at 7pm!

LET’S GO CAPS!

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Brash Suspended For 6 Games


According to NHL.com, Washington Capitals Enforcer Donald Brashear will be suspended for 6 games following the club’s game 6 victory over the New York Rangers.

Brashear lost one game for his pre-game contact with Rangers tough guy Colton Orr, and the other five stem from his viscious hit on Blair Betts, which resulted in a broken orbital bone and subsequent and indefinite loss of the Rangers best penalty killer.

This from the league’s disciplinarian, Colin Campbell:

“Brashear delivered a shoulder hit to an unsuspecting player. It is also my opinion that the hit was delivered late and targeted the head of his opponent, causing significant injury.”

I personally disagree. It appeared to me that the injury came from Betts’ head hitting the ice, not anything Brashear did to him. It was an open ice hit that was clean. An argument could be made that it was interference as Betts was off the puck, but the refs on-ice didn’t even think it warranted a two minute minor.

This seems like over-reaction due to the pre-game incident, the visciousness of the hit, and the subsequent injury sustained by the player in question.

I hope Betts recovers well, and I wish that he would have remained on the ice for the remainder of the series, as I always perfer to see my team face another team at their best, and the loss of Betts is a tough pill to swallow for the Blueshirts. That being said, I don’t think the NHL made the right call in this instance.

As reported previously, Chris Clark is the likely beneficiary of the newly available ice time, with Michael Nylander holding an outside chance at getting the nod.

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ESPN Erroneously Reports Brash, Green Suspended


I’ve received a lot of inquiries over the course of the day regarding reports on ESPN this morning that Washington Capitals Forward Donald Brashear and Defensman Mike Green were suspended for Game 7 tomorrow night.

This report was patently false, although there is a decent chance that Brash could be suspended for contact with Colton OrrĀ during theĀ pre-game skate and the viscious hit (although clean, IMHO) he put on Blair Betts during Game 6, a hit that resulted in a broken orbital bone for the Blueshirts top penalty killer.

From the NHL.com’s Rangers-Capitals blog:

ESPN erroneously reported that Mike Green and Brashear were suspended this morning. The Brashear news is a possibility, but not official. The Green report was shocking and completely untrue. I’m told that a fan posing as a Washington Post reporter called ESPN and told them Green and Brashear were suspended. ESPN put it on its bottom line ticker and reported it on SportsCenter this morning. It was completely untrue and they retracted it immediately. Green was laughing about it this afternoon.

If Brash can’t go, Captain Chris Clark would likely get the nod, with Michael Nylander an outside possibility.

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