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Behind the Bench:11-9-09

by Staff Writer / Washington Capitals
Injuries are part of the game that nobody likes and we are dealing with a few of them right now. I look at injuries and think they present a great challenge for other players to step up and seize the opportunity of additional playing time. I was a guy that was called upon a lot when there were injuries, and I always looked at it as a chance to show that I could play. I really believe that this is an opportunity for a player to show us how good he can be.

Injuries also show you the mettle and character of your team. You never want guys to get hurt, but when players go down you have to turn it into a positive rather then letting it become a negative issue where people begin to start feeling sorry for each other. I never let injuries bring people down. We have had players come up from the American Hockey League and do a great job. Keith Aucoin and Alexandre Giroux have played well for us this year and now Mathieu Perreault is playing well for us. Those guys come in here and do the job.

Last year, we had four Hershey defenseman playing for us and we were winning. We had guys injured up here and those injuries gave other players an opportunity to do well. I don’t like injuries, but if you dwell on them it will only make things worse.

Alex Ovechkin is definitely hard to replace, but this is where we as a coaching staff challenge the team. We are not a one-man team, and we don’t want people to think of us as a one-man team even though we know how great he is. You manufacture goals and other people pick up the slack. Could we score at this rate for the next 10 games? Probably not. But for a couple of games, we can get away with it and we got away with it this past weekend.

I think this also gives a guy like Tomas Fleischmann a chance to show everyone how good he can be. He is bigger and stronger than he was last year. I am a big Fleischmann fan, and I know how good he can be. He is the player nobody knows about on our team, but he is a really good glue guy. He is responsible and is a top-six forward who can play both offensively and defensively and those guys are really hard to find.
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