With TJ Oshie unable to play due to a lower-body injury, the Washington Capitals played 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. It did not work. At all.
The Capitals lost to the Blues 5-2 in what was one of their worst defensive outings of the season. Matt Irwin, the team’s seventh defenseman on the night, received one shift from head coach Peter Laviolette. The final 29 seconds of the game.
Irwin’s final stat line: 0:29 time on ice, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 shots, 0 blocks, 0 hits, and $3,750 in salary made per Cap Friendly. He did not play in the first 59:31 of the game.
Afterward, Laviolette was asked why the team didn’t utilize an emergency callup from Hershey.
“That’s what we were allowed to do tonight just based on the cap,” Laviolette said per NBCSWSH’s postgame show.
Holy smokes Brandon Saad, what is this madness?! 😱 pic.twitter.com/YSvOud5yrQ
— NHL (@NHL) March 22, 2022
According to CapFriendly, the Capitals only had $180,834 available in cap space after their two Trade Deadline deals on Monday.
Irwin is the second player Laviolette has stapled to the bench during his two-season tenure in Washington. The longtime NHL coach also made Jonas Siegenthaler sit for 59:32 against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 11, 2021, before giving the Swiss rearguard one 28 second shift at the end of the game.
“It becomes really difficult juggling seven defensemen,” Laviolette said then. “You do it because if you have an injury or if something pops up on the bench, you dressed the player and you dress to the maximum of 20. So this had nothing to do with Jonas at all and we were just playing the six defensemen that we’ve been going with. It’s difficult to roll seven. It takes people out of the loop and they lose rhythm with different partners.”
Siegenthaler was traded to the New Jersey Devils a month later. After the season, Siegenthaler revealed that he requested a trade out of Washington.
Correction: When we originally posted this article, we stated that Irwin did not receive any ice time. We regret the error.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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