Kukla's Korner

How Much Will Arnott’s Injury Hurt Washington?

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?

JJ
jj@kuklaskorner.com
JJ on Twitter

Filed in: Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | Beasts of the Southeast | Permalink
 

Comments

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

re-posting from the emperor’s page….

Arnott is a much bigger loss than most fans realize.  ‘Week to week’ (about 7 times worse than ‘day to day’) does not sound good, and coming at a critical time.

His acquisition seemed like it could have been the Caps missing link.  Much like Guerin to the cup winning Pens, and Madden to the cup winning Hawks.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 03/15/11 at 10:10 AM ET

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 03/15/11 at 01:28 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

hahahaha real Knowledgeable Caps fan Wishing for the SC again

Posted by Evilpens on 03/15/11 at 01:43 PM ET

Jon Jordan's avatar

HockeyTownTodd: You’re right. Week-to-week sure as hell doesn’t sound encouraging.

Maybe the Caps can rally around this, though. They’ve been on fire of late and I wonder if Arnott may have gotten in their collective ears upon his arrival, telling them to get their ish together (as the kids say). If so, they’ll know just how important it is for them to step up in his absence to keep their train rollin’...

The Bolts are quite capable of getting on a quick roll themselves and, at just three points out of first, could end up back in the driver’s seat in the division just like that if Washington slips up at all.

Things just got (more) interesting!

JJ

Posted by Jon Jordan from Tampa, FL on 03/15/11 at 01:53 PM ET

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Depending on what the undisclosed injury it is, it might be a blessing in disguise.  Arnott is only an 18 year vet.  So some time to heal/rejuvenate for a playoff run could be useful for him and the Caps.  The last thing he needs at his age is a six game road grind right before the playoffs.

Posted by Sig from DC on 03/15/11 at 02:32 PM ET

Jon Jordan's avatar

Sig: I hear what you’re saying and that has to be the hope. He’s been outstanding for Washington so far.

That being said, I would hope, for their sake, that they can keep it together without him. Losing the division lead they’ve worked so hard to get back would be a shame (though the locals in my neck of the woods wouldn’t have any pity, that’s for sure!)

JJ

Posted by Jon Jordan from Tampa, FL on 03/15/11 at 04:29 PM ET

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will be huge from a lightning stand point if some more of there key players can stay out and level the lightnings miserable luck in the injury department. Hope he is okay because I love watching 2 stacked rosters go at it. But that being said only if we get Malone, Downie, and Jones back. Dont need that already stacked team having any more of an advantage over us.

JJ what do you think of there backup turned superstar (at least for the week) think he maintains or drops off?

Posted by TBL FAN on 03/15/11 at 04:49 PM ET

Jon Jordan's avatar

TBL FAN: Holtby’s more than a “backup-turned-superstar”. He’s a top-tier prospect in their system the last couple of seasons who seems to really have the goods.

Whether his current run will last any length of time remains to be seen - this road trip they’re starting tonight will be a supreme test, for starters - but he’s certainly off to a fine start.

Ideally, though, I think the Caps will be best served by Varlamov and Neuvirth at optimal health and pushing each other, for now, with Holtby coming down the pike down the road. That’s no sure thing, though, because Varlamov, in particular, has shown nothing to suggest he can remain healthy to this point. That said, so long as Holtby stays hot, they have to ride him. (Save for back-to-back situations, like tomorrow night in Detroit, where one would have to think Neuvirth gets back in…)

JJ

Posted by Jon Jordan from Tampa, FL on 03/15/11 at 05:01 PM ET

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Speaking of Holtby, we old timers remember when another youngster came up at the tail end of the regular season and was used in the playoffs.  His namne was Ken Dryden and all he did was win the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe (MVP) trophy. He played so few regular season games that year that he came back the next season and won Rooke of the Year.

Not saying that Holtby is another Dryden by any means, but I wouldn’t give up just yet on his being a force in the playoffs.

Posted by StevefromSacto on 03/15/11 at 08:54 PM ET

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Steve: that’s very, very rare. Chances are Holtby still needs more time to develop.

Meanwhile, we pretty much know Neuvirth isn’t less than NHL-average (that is, top-20 or so), and we pretty much know Varlamov is above average, at least at ES. We have no idea about Holtby.

Posted by Ralph on 03/16/11 at 01:24 PM ET

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