by Jon Jordan on 03/15/11 at 12:01 PM ET
As Paul pointed to a little over an hour ago, dump n’ chase’s Mike Vogel reports that Washington Capitals center Jason Arnott is not accompanying the team on its critical six-game road trip that starts tonight in Montreal and is fraught with dangerous opponents throughout.
Arnott is said to be week-to-week with an undisclosed injury and will leave a big hole in the Caps’ lineup, having been exactly what they were looking for in acquiring the veteran from New Jersey at the trade deadline. With Arnott, who has managed five points in his seven games with Washington, the Capitals are a perfect 7-0 and have reclaimed the Southeast Division lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
As Vogel notes, Arnott has been a difference-maker for the Capitals both on and off the ice since his arrival – exactly as the school of thought that saw him as an ideal addition for this club had predicted. Without Arnott’s presence, closing out the division over Tampa Bay, who shrunk the gap to just three points with a win in Toronto last night, becomes that much more difficult. Both the Caps and the Lightning have 12 games remaining on the schedule.
Buffering the loss of Arnott somewhat are the potential returns from injury of another key trio: defenseman Tom Poti, forward Nicklas Backstrom and goaltender Semyon Varlamov, all of whom have made the trip to Montreal with the team.
So, what of it then, fans: How much does the loss of Arnott hurt Washington’s chances? And who takes the Southeast crown?
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