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Capitals Camp: Poti fails physical; Wideman, Green healthy

by Ben Raby
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Capitals general manager George McPhee confirmed on Day One of training that defenseman Tom Poti did not pass his physical. The 34-year-old remains sidelined with a groin injury that limited him to just 21 games last season. Poti will begin the year on long-term injured reserve.

"He failed the medical but we'll try a different program to see if we can get him back to a hundred percent," McPhee said. "He's worked really hard in trying to get ready and he's still unable to do it. We'll see if the new program works. If he can play at some point this year, he would help us a lot."

McPhee did not elaborate on the new program, but said that it would not include surgery. Poti's inability to begin the season comes as no big shock after McPhee suggested at last year's exit meetings that the defenseman's career "could be in jeopardy."

"I was concerned whether he'd be able to play again," McPhee said. "It's why we went out and signed [Roman] Hamrlik. We didn't want to be short. Unfortunately, he's no further along."

If Poti is indeed placed on LTIR, it will relieve the Capitals of his $2.875 million salary cap hit. Poti signed a two-year extension during last year's training camp that is for this campaign and next. He was not made available for comment.

"I met with him yesterday and he's certainly frustrated and we're disappointed because he's a good player," McPhee said. "He played very good hockey and made us better."

While Poti remains sidelined, other Washington defensemen are chomping at the bit to return from their own injuries.

Dennis Wideman missed the final five games of the regular-season and all of the playoffs with a leg hematoma. Wideman now sports a six-inch scar above his knee but the 28-year-old says he's good to suit up in the pre-season.

"As far as the practice went, I felt pretty good," Wideman said. "When we got to the conditioning I felt like I was a little bit behind where I would like to be at this point. But the good news is we still have a couple more weeks… As far as strength and skating go, I'm 100 percent."

Wideman was acquired from the Panthers at last year's trade deadline, but the offensive-minded defenseman never had the chance to play with Mike Green.

Green missed the final 19 games of the regular-season with a concussion and Game 4 of the Capitals second round series against Tampa Bay with a hip flexor.

The two-time Norris Trophy nominee had an off-year by his standards with eight goals and 24 points -- his lowest totals since he was a rookie in 2006-07.

But with Wideman and Green both healthy, and John Carlson set to begin his second full NHL season, expectations are high for the Capitals' puck-moving defensemen.
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