Back on the Kettler ice hours after conducting practice with the Capitals on Wednesday, Barry Trotz skated over to Michael Cain and said, “Hey, Cainer! I almost gave you a call last week. We were a little short on players.”
Cain, a burly left winger for USA Warriors hockey team, says he would have volunteered to play for the Capitals in place of injured defensemen John Carlson and Brooks Orpik, if only he could skate backwards.
“I just go to the net and tell my teammates to shoot,” said Cain, a U.S. Army veteran, “because if it goes off one of my legs I don’t feel anything.”
On Aug. 10, 2003. Cain’s vehicle rolled over a double stack anti-tank land mine and blew up. He lost his right leg below the knee and had severe damage to his left leg, hip and jaw. Ten years later he had his left leg amputated because of severe nerve damage.
But within a year after losing his second leg Cain, fitted with two prosthetic limbs, suited up and played with the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team in New York at Super Bowl 48. He took up ice hockey a short while later and has been skating at Kettler ever since.
“It’s awesome to see Trotz out here working with us,” Cain said. “He takes it seriously.”
With Caps defensemen Nate Schmidt and Aaron Ness and forward Zach Sill assisting on the ice and Mike Richards and Brooks Orpik watching from the bench, Trotz ran the USA warriors team through several breakout drills, slamming his stick on the ice for emphasis.
“It’s unbelievable what the Caps have done for us,” said Jeff Woods, who helped coordinate the practice. “Barry Trotz, in particular, has been great with us.”