Since arriving in Washington at the trade deadline, Jason Arnott has provided that veteran boost that teams seek heading down the stretch. In seven games with the Capitals, Arnott has registered 2 goals and 5 points while keeping the +/- column nice and tidy with a rating of +5. The Capitals will be without Arnott on Tuesday when they take on the Canadiens in Montreal. According to Mike Vogel, he is out with an undisclosed injury and listed as “week to week”.
Arnott let his presence be known immediately upon arriving in D.C. by setting up a game winner versus the Islanders in his debut and notching the game winning goal two nights later in a win over St. Louis. The Capitals have been perfect since the Arnott acquisition, going 7-0. In speaking with Vogel, veteran winger Mike Knuble cited Arnott’s hockey smarts and on-ice presence as a huge boost to the club’s fortunes:
“Jason has solidified that line so much,” said Caps right wing Mike Knuble after Sunday’s 4-3 overtime win over Chicago. “His presence on the ice; he’s always been such a smart player. It seems like he’s not moving a lot, but you can’t get the puck from him. He just makes simple, easy plays. His presence has been huge for us as a second center. Defensively, he’s just another big body to counteract other team’s one-two punches.”
Nicklas Backstrom is travelling with the Capitals as they begin a six game road trip, but will be a game time decision after having a cast removed from his thumb. If Backstrom is unable to go then Jay Beagle will likely figure into the lineup.
Whatever the case is with Arnott’s mystery injury, the Capitals will probably take their time with him to ensure he’s healthy for the playoffs. We’ll update Arnott’s status as information is made available.