Pothier Returns to Ice After Scary Head Injury

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↵When the Washington Capitals took to the ice Monday in Atlanta to take on the Thrashers, the team will have what may be an unfamiliar name in the lineup: that of defenseman Brian Pothier. ↵

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↵If the name doesn't ring a bell, don't be alarmed. Pothier slipped out of the spotlight in Washington just as the Capitals were about to make the jump from obscurity to perennial playoff contender. ↵

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↵Signed before the 2006-07 season to a four-year, $10 million contract after establishing himself as an everyday player with the Ottawa Senators, Pothier represented one of the earlier moves in the process of building the Capitals back into a contender. ↵

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↵But after a little more than a season-and-a-half in a Capitals uniform, Pothier's career, and more importantly his life, were derailed in a game against the Boston Bruins on Jan. 3, 2008. It was on that night that Pothier was crunched into the boards by Boston's Milan Lucic, a hit from which he got the fifth concussion of his career. ↵

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↵What followed was a long road back to professional hockey, one that was ably chronicled by Corey Masisak of the Washington Times. As recently as last December, Pothier had post-concussion symptoms so debilitating he couldn't play catch or hop on a swing set with either of his young sons. ↵

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↵But after a recovery that stretched for more than a year, things started to improve once he was diagnosed with an astigmatism caused by his concussion. Now outfitted with corrective eyewear, Pothier reported to the team's AHL Hershey affiliate for a conditioning stint and was recalled by the Capitals on Sunday. ↵

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↵Pothier hooking penalty in the first period Monday led to Slava Kozlov's goal and a 2-0 lead for Atlanta. For the game he took three shots and blocked a shot in the Thrashers' 5-1 win. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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