Captain Clark: “100 percent” a Go

At the onset of Labor Day weekend, it was most encouraging to see Capitals’¬†right wing¬†Chris Clark in his training clothes, fresh from rigorous labor out on the Caps’ Kettler ice sheet earlier today.
Word broke about two weeks ago that the team captain had made a significant recovery from the debilitating groin injury that all but shelved his 2007-08 season. Today, I wanted a progress report from him with an eye toward his fitness after a couple of weeks of daily skating at Kettler and with an eye toward the start of training camp in three weeks.
“I have to ask you the obligatory question — you are X percent recovered today, and you believe you’ll be X percent recovered come the start of camp?” I asked.
“One hundred and one hundred,” Clark replied, with a broad smile.
Credit for Clark’s full recovery goes to Vancouver physiotherapist Rick Celebrini, who also supervised ex-Cap Brian Sutherby and his struggles with a nagging groin injury a couple of years ago. Clark will return to Vancouver this weekend, flying out Sunday and spending a couple of days with Celebrini¬†for a final “peace of mind” checkup.¬†But it’s already¬†’all systems go’ for the former 30-goaler — he has¬†no restrictions in his August training at Kettler.
I asked Clark if he’d wished he’d gone to see Celebrini back in November, just as his injury hit, with the hopes that the celebrated specialist’s treatment might have taken hold and allowed him to return last season, most particularly for the playoff series with the Flyers.
“I thought about that, but the injury wasn’t serious, it was just slow to heal,” he said. In other words, there just wasn’t any urgency to pursue specialized treatment during the first half of the season. Clark’s injury just didn’t mend as such setbacks usually do, and the arrival of the offseason,¬†joined by the prolonged lack of healing,¬†dictated¬†his traveling across the country to see the renowned physiotherapist.
This week also brought news about foreign language and pro sports — the LPGA Tour this week announced that proficiency with English would be mandatory beginning in 2009. It’s an issue that affects the NHL; in the New York Times’ account of the new ladies’ tour policy, it noted that a handful of NHL clubs had a similar requirement in their rooms. I wanted the Caps’ captain’s¬†vantage in the matter¬†–¬†specifically, is English proficiency an issue in the Caps’ room?¬†Has he as captain initiated and promulgated such a policy?
Turns out, even with a handful of English-speaking-challenged players on the Caps’ roster, there are no communications issues. Everyone¬†on the team, Clark noted, recognizes that for the purpose of communications unity, of getting on the same page, the team has to¬†communicate in English.
“I played in Europe, and I gravitated to guys [who spoke English],” Clark told me. “That’s always going to be the case.”
An issue could arise, Clark conceded, if the number of non-English-speaking players reached something akin to a critical mass, but the Caps now don’t have anything close to that challenge, so there is no explicit language policy, dicated by the captain or team management.¬†Even with Alexander Semin, he noted, “he understands English well¬†. . . once in a while, if there’s some confusion, Sergei [Fedorov] or Alex [Ovechkin] will explain¬†something to him.”

This entry was posted in Brian Sutherby, Chris Clark, Kettler Capitals Iceplex, Sergei Fedorov, Washington Capitals. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Captain Clark: “100 percent” a Go

  1. Leigh says:

    If Clark is 100% as he says he is, where would you slot him in the lineup? I don’t forsee a return to the 1st line, as this is a much better team than when he left the lineup.

  2. Leigh, your question I think is one of the more intriguing of the upcoming camp. No matter where Clark is slotted, the team is improved.

  3. chanuck says:

    What you go and meet with Clark and you don’t let me know. You could have asked him to sign my jersey. 😉
    Great to hear that he is feeling better. I was starting to get a complex. He hasn’t played since I got that “Clark” jersey.

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