As Tarik El-Bashir points out in this morning's column about the Caps in the Washington Post, there could be seven players sitting out tonight's game who were in the starting lineup on Opening Night, including their top scoring defenseman and the forward who was the team's top scorer when he went down.
That's not good.
If there is a silver lining in this, a part of it was noted by the folks over at OFB a couple of days ago. Having the same system and philosophy being practiced in Washington and Hershey is helpful in situations such as these.
But there is another element here. The call-ups have left Hershey having to scramble a bit to fill their own missing pieces as players are called to Washington. This is perhaps a more normal circumstance for teams in the AHL, where players move up and move on with more regularity than is often the case in the NHL. Coaches have to be adept in rolling with the personnel punches, be they thrown by a rash of injuries or just the normal course of player movement.
It that respect, the Caps are lucker than most teams might be for who they have behind their bench. Bruce Boudreau, who has paced behind many an AHL bench, has no doubt seen this kind of personnel jostling before. As was noted in the article, "Boudreau was attempting [through some of his comments] to bring some levity to a situation that has the potential to become no joking matter." It is no joking matter, but it neither is it entirely foreign to the head coach. The circumstances might be different -- injuries being the cause of the turnover -- but if there is a coach who seems equipped by temperament and experience to deal with it successfully, it would be Boudreau.
Still, it would be nice to see some healthy bodies returning soon.