All photos via Kyle Mace at Sweetest Hockey on Earth.

Centers, centers, centers, everyone knows what the Capitals need right now, and Keith Aucoin is the latest attempt to fix the problem, or at least to temporarily plug the hole. Most of you should know a little more about Aucoin than most call-ups – he’s a lifetime AHLer, a future AHL Hall of Famer, and from what we’ve heard an all-around great guy. We haven’t seen him much in the big leagues, but he’s been part of the organization for awhile now. He’s not going to look nearly as flashy in the NHL as he does in the AHL, but you can bet that he will do his job.

Name: Keith Aucoin
How to Pronounce That: AH-COYN. Like a coin you put in a pinball machine.
Nicknames: Coiner
Age: 33
Hair: Dad hair.

In a Nutshell: At 5’8, Keith Aucoin is small for the NHL, but the other skills have always been there. He’s a sturdy playmaker who passes extremely well and can put it in the back of the net, though it’s doubtful that will be his role here.
Not His First Rodeo: Aucoin is pretty used to being an emergency fill-in. He’s even got 3 goals and 11 points in his 21 overall games with the Capitals, as well as five goals with the Carolina Hurricanes before us.
Why He’s Getting a Shot: Since the Capitals are have been struggling offensively, maybe the the AHL’s leading scorer and former MVP can lend a hand. Keith Aucoin leads the NHL’s development league with 70 points – his line mate, Chris Bourque, has 69, and the next closest player is Peoria’s T.J. Hensick with 53. Unfortunately, much like former teammate Alexandre Giroux, Aucoin is a tweener who’s size and lack of consistency will forever keep him from cracking an NHL roster full-time. That said, Aucoin will bring energy, skill, and a savvy that is sorely missing at center with Nicklas Backstrom out.

Unexpected: He’s not afraid to drop the gloves, even though he’s teeny. We are sensing a theme here.

Maybe Don’t Worry About: His size–at least not for this game. For the same reason that less developed players like Perreault and Eakin weren’t hassled too much when we last played Montreal, this is not a team that’s going to press the issue. The Habs’ lineup has gotten bigger overall but they still don’t play a terribly physical game, so Aucoin should do all right. With Perreault, Johansson, and Aucoin down the middle, though, the Caps now may have the shortest center corps in the league–stack them up, and they make one Nicklas Backstrom.
Awww: Aucoin’s wife is having a baby.

He’s On Twitter: Follow him, or just go say congratulations!
Question of the Day: Upgrade, or downgrade?

  • I had a “why now” question after this call-up and I think I’ve got the answer.
    If Caps will have to send him down, he’ll have to go through waivers. If somebody claims him, they can’t waive him again in the next 30 days. Waiver deadline is less than 30 days away, so that team would need to keep him for the rest of the season. He’s a pending UFA, so that makes no sense for non-playoff team.

  • Peter

    I’m not sure about that…

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  • Pattyo

    Great callup! GO COINER!!!!

  • Davis

    do you guys have your crucifying article “coiner edition” written up yet?

  • Peter

    I think we all love Coiner. But if you think a 33-year-old 5’8″ dude who has played against college kids for a decade is gonna make a difference in the NHL, I’ve got some oweufbowueg to sell you.

  • Ana

    I don’t think there’s any shame in being a lifetime AHLer. Especially at his size, chances were he wasn’t going to be able to crack an NHL roster, but he’s certainly had much more success at his level than any of the Caps have had at theirs. I don’t think he has to come in and solve all the problems, nor do I think that’s what’s going to be expected of him. He doesn’t have to be the savior of this team–if he does his job well and competently, which is what he’s done in the past, then good on him. 

  • Peter

    I’m not sure if you implied this, but I don’t think there is shame in being an AHL lifer. Nor do I think there’s shame in being a single-purpose fighter.

  • Peter

    (which is what readers have accused me of lately)

  • Ana

    Haha, definitely not! I just don’t think it’s fair to lay all the Caps’ problems at Aucoin’s feet and say “YOU’RE HERE, FIX THESE.” He’s here because the Caps are in a bind, and when they’re not in a bind anymore he’ll go back down. He’s not a permanent solution, but I’m glad we have someone like this in the organization for emergencies. 

  • Cadetjet23

    o coin