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Photo: Kyle Mace / Chocolate Hockey

UPDATE, January 12, 10:40 AM. Schmidt has a fracture in his shoulder blade and will miss 6-8 weeks.

Washington Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt is just a ball of positive energy regardless of the Schmiduation. After only playing in two NHL games since December 18th (despite having the second best possession numbers among all Caps defensemen), head coach Barry Trotz sent Schmidt down to Hershey to get in some work over the weekend.

On Saturday, Schmidt nearly scored a hat trick. Then, on Sunday, the 23-year-old defenseman got injured (the severity is still unknown) after taking a run from Admirals forward Chris Wagner.

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Troy Brouwer scored a goal in the first minute of Saturday’s game against the Red Wings, but whatever celebration there was ended quickly once Jimmy Howard‘s injury became apparent.

Howard stopped a dump-in behind the net and left it for a teammate. Instead, Brouwer snatched the puck and scored on a wraparound.

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Bruce Bennett

Photo: Bruce Bennett

Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik plays on the edge, always looking for the big hit. That’s why he’s a league leader in the statistic and universally respected among players. Tonight, Orpik landed a big hit on Cal Clutterbuck and may have seriously injured himself.

It was scary.

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Over his illustrious career, Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green has often put himself in a vulnerable position on the ice; hence his history of injury. On Saturday night, Green left the game in the third period after suffering what the Caps PR called an upper-body injury.

Green likely got injured in the first period, after putting his head down in neutral and absorbing a hip check by 6’4″ defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.

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During every offensive zone faceoff for which Alex Ovechkin is on the ice, the Capitals try a set play. The center wants to win and get the puck back to the Russian machine. It’s resulted in a lot of goals for Ovechkin over the years, but tonight it ended up with Alex Tanguay having a bloody face.

Tanguay actually managed to get a stick on Ovechkin’s shot from the left circle, causing the puck to ramp up and hit him directly in the face.

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Photo: Dennis Wierzbicki

On Wednesday, Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich did his weekly radio segment with the Sports Junkies. The Wawota, Saskatchewan-native has missed nine out of the last ten games with an upper-body injury. On Wednesday, Laich told the Junkies that doctors believe he’s dealing with a painful nerve problem in his shoulder/collarbone area.

Laich returned to game action last Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks only to re-injure himself. “By the time I left the arena, I couldn’t touch the left hand to my face,” Laich said. “So obviously it was a little bit sore.”

Um, yeah. That’s not good.

Laich’s full comments on his injury are below.

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Troy Brouwer was forced to leave the game in the second period briefly after absorbing a vicious slash to the right hand from Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard.

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Wilson grimaces.

During the second period, first-line winger Tom Wilson pulled up lame while back-checking Carolina’s John Michael-Liles. Wilson immediately left the ice and went down the tunnel to the locker room. The 20-year-old Caps was playing in the second game of a back-to-back.

The Caps say it’s a lower body injury and Wilson is questionable to return.

The injury occurred in the neutral zone while Wilson was hustling, looking to force a turnover.

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Photo: Chris O’Meara

Skating in his second game of the season on Saturday, Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson looked to make an impact in any way he could. That included getting in his first fight of the season with Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas after Eric Fehr crashed into Lightning goalie Ben Bishop. Gudas skated towards Fehr, and Wilson was having none of that.

They dropped the gloves. Boys will be boys. Willy Baby unleashed one vicious punch that connected early in the fight. Gudas, who doesn’t wear a face shield (this is important for later), then skated off the ice and went to the locker room.

When Gudas came back to the Lightning bench, he was wearing a full cage.

Good question. I looked back on the action and this is what I figured out.

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On Wednesday, Jason Chimera broke his nose in the most grotesque way possible. It looked like a boomerang. It had so much curve our readers made graphics where it helped spell the word Capitals.

On Saturday, Chimera took the ice against Tampa with two black eyes, which is the maximum number you can have. He looked like a raccoon.

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