Capitals defenseman Jeff Schultz has suffered a fractured thumb and will miss the next 4-6 weeks, according to Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau. Boudreau made the announcement at his postgame press conference after the Capitals blew a 4-1 third-period lead and lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 in a shootout.
"Every team has injuries," Boudreau said. "Every team goes through this. Adversity is something you have to deal with."
The injury is the first this season that will require a player to miss a significant amount of time, and provides the first real test to the Capitals' newly bolstered defense corps, which was ostensibly strengthened by the arrival of Scott Hannan via a trade from the Colorado Avalanche.
Schultz had played in all 29 games so far this season for the Capitals and logged 10:32 of ice time in Monday night's game before suffering the injury, which appeared to happen late in the second period while the Capitals were killing a penalty. A shot from Toronto defenseman Luke Schenn appeared to hit Schultz in the hand, and the Washington player did not return to the ice with the rest of the team after the second intermission.
The Capitals will be down two defensemen for the next two games, as Tyler Sloan was placed on injured reserve to make way on the roster for Mathieu Perreault, who was officially recalled from Hershey Monday morning. Sloan was officially placed on IR retroactive to this past Saturday, so by NHL rules he can't return to the active roster until after this coming Saturday's game against Colorado.