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Andre Burakovsky's important season put on hold due to surgery on broken thumb

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Andre Burakovsky's important season put on hold due to surgery on broken thumb

Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky had surgery to repair his fractured left thumb on Tuesday afternoon, the team said in a statement.

Burakovsky, who was injured late in Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Panthers, is expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks as a result, dealing the scuffling Caps a significant blow. Washington is 4-4-1 and has been limited to two or fewer goals in three of its last four games.

It’s also a big blow for Burakovsky, who missed 15 games last season with a broken right hand. The 22-year-old winger was aiming to break out after signing a two-year, $6 million extension this summer.

Over the past two seasons, the Caps had ranked among the NHL’s healthiest teams. That has not been the case this season, with No. 1 defenseman Matt Niskanen out with an upper body injury and checking line forward Tyler Graovac sidelined, also with an upper body injury.


And now this.

“It's hard,” T.J. Oshie said before the news of Burakovsky's surgery had been announced. “We've been pretty lucky here the last couple years. We've had a couple injuries but for the most part we've been staying pretty healthy. It happens every once in a while, you kinda get the injury bug a little bit. It’s a little bit of adversity, it’s roles changing a little bit. Some guys are going to get a lot more responsibility.”

Burakovsky's injury happened in the waning minutes of Saturday game when he got hooked behind the net. He immediately took his glove off and began flexing his injured hand.

Although Burakovsky was examined after the contest, the full extent of the injury was not known until he visited a hand specialist on Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Coach Barry Trotz lamented the fact that the injury occurred—again—just as Burakovksy appeared to be finding his game. Against Detroit on Friday, he scored his first goal of the season and recorded a clutch primary assist to help the Caps secure a 4-3 overtime victory.

“He’s just finally broke through, got a goal and we were hoping that would get him some traction,” Trotz said. “And then he got hurt. That was sorta like last year.”

Trotz added: “It seems he’s got that gift of finally getting some traction and then getting hurt. We’ll see what the specialist says and go from there.”

The Caps were hoping that Burakovsky could produce 20-25 goals this season to help offset all of the goals that left the team via free agency over the summer. Instead, one of their most promising young forwards now will be sidelined until early to mid December.

On Tuesday morning, Burakovsky was placed on injured reserve, clearing the way for the team to recall Chandler Stephenson, who joined the team for its road trip to Western Canada. Based on practice rushes, Stephenson will be the extra forward when the Caps play at Vancouver on Thursday night.

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals (43-24-7) take on the Canadiens (27-36-12) Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Montreal.


The Capitals-Canadiens game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals at Canadiens
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately


Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately

The Caps signed University of North Dakota forward Shane Gersich, a fifth round selection in 2014 and one of the organization’s top prospects, on Friday morning, the team announced.

Gersich, a left shot who is listed at 5-11, 175-pounds, has already joined the team in Montreal, where the Caps play the Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday night.

His contract, which begins this season, carries an average annual value of $925,000.

It’s unclear when Gersich will make his NHL debut, but it could happen at some point in the Caps’ final eight games before the playoffs.


NBC Sports Washington has been told that the primary objective for Gersich in the coming weeks is to get his first taste of the NHL by observing—and practicing alongside—his new teammates in Washington. If the opportunity to get him into the lineup presents itself, then it’s possible he’ll suit up.

The 21-year-old just completed his third season at UND. Here are Gersich’s numbers from junior and college, courtesy of


At UND, the smooth-skating and skilled Gersich also produced this memorable goal vs. Denver:

Gersich has been assigned jersey No. 63 in Washington, according to the Caps’ website.

The addition of Gersich and subsequent subtraction of Travis Boyd, who was reassigned to Hershey on Friday morning, leaves the Caps with 14 forwards on the roster.

“I think he did a great job at rookie camp,” Caps GM Brian MacLellan said of Gersich in July. “He was one of our best players, if not the best player, at camp. Really happy about the way he’s progressed and where we picked him. I think Ross Mahoney did a great job with that pick.”