The replacement: Zach Sill (Photo: Kyle Mace)
Caps forward Michael Latta will not play in Wednesday’s rematch against the Buffalo Sabres at Verizon Center. Latta injured himself Monday night in Buffalo during a fight with Nicolas Deslauriers. After the game, Barry Trotz said Latta had an arm injury.
While speaking to reporters Tuesday in Hershey, Bears head coach Troy Mann revealed that veteran Zach Sill would make his Capitals debut Wednesday and play in Latta’s place.
“Well, Latta hurt himself in that fight last night; doesn’t sound like it’s too serious or anything of significance,” Mann said. “But they play at home tomorrow and then they’ve got Carolina and Columbus so he will be certainly lost for the rest of the week.
“I don’t foresee [the Caps] traveling back to Washington after the Carolina game,” he continued. “I’m assuming they’re probably going right to Columbus and he’d be part of that trip. He’s going to play tomorrow for sure. I’m sure they’ll evaluate Latta as the days go on, but were not anticipating on having [Sill] back for the rest of this week.”
Sill, a former Pittsburgh Penguins face puncher, was signed over the offseason by Brian MacLellan after splitting 2014-15 between Pittsburgh and Toronto. According to Hockey Fights, he’s fought 48 times in the NHL and AHL combined, which includes a fight with current Capital Tom Wilson (see the comments).
The 27-year-old center has spent most of this season on Hershey’s second line, starting the year with Liam O’Brien and Garrett Mitchell before both got injured. Recently, Sill has centered Sean Collins and Nathan Walker, playing solid minutes each night.
The Nova Scotia native is a very popular player on and off the ice with Hershey. As Bears director of media relations Scott Stuccio said when Sill was named an alternate captain for the Bears: “He is one of the best in community appearances, a great talker, and an absolute bull of a player.” Sill has been Hershey’s strongest center this season and a huge help to a young guy like Nathan Walker, who’s really hitting a strong groove this season.
You rarely see the forward without a smile on his face either. After Dan Ellis was injured late in Hershey’s 5-0 shutout win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Saturday night, Sill had to take over for the netminder as Ellis was named number one star. When Sill came out to hand off Ellis’ autographed stick to a young fan, he did his best impression of the goalie who had a 22-save shutout against the second best team in the AHL.
Zach Sill’s best Dan Ellis impression (Kyle Mace / Chocolate Hockey)
Even if it is for a short period of time, Capitals fans will enjoy Sill’s style of play and the personality he will bring to the team.
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