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Despite a gruesome injury, Caps prospect Madison Bowey says he's 'pretty lucky'

Despite a gruesome injury, Caps prospect Madison Bowey says he's 'pretty lucky'

HERSHEY—Capitals prospect Madison Bowey plans to return to the Hershey Bears’ lineup later this season.

The 21-year-old defenseman suffered a gruesome injury during Wednesday’s game against Syracuse when an opponent’s skate blade sliced into his left ankle. Bowey underwent successful surgery to repair the cut tendon that night in Syracuse.

Although there’s no official timeframe, Bears Coach Troy Mann says he expects the 2013 second rounder to be ready in April. Hershey has seven games that month.

“It was one of those freak accidents,” Bowey told CSNMidatlantic.com on Saturday. “I was trying to check my opponent, his skate came up and he actually took a stride off my ankle and cut the tendon. It was probably just the force of that push that he had, it was able to cut through the Kevlar socks and also my Bunga pad. It was a shock to most of us.”

Unfortunately for Bowey, the injury and its timing hurts his chances of being recalled to Washington this season. He had been playing well and was on the shortlist of prospects with a solid chance of getting a call-up.

MORE CAPITALS: DEVILS-CAPS GAME THREAD 

“It's a tough break, for sure,” Bowey said.

Like many other pros, Bowey wears cut resistant Kevlar socks. He also wears Bunga pads on his ankle. But he does not tuck his skate tongue underneath his shin pad, so there was just enough of a gap for his opponent’s skate blade to do some serious damage.

It could have been worse, though.

“If it wasn’t for the Kevlar sock, it would have been right through and he’d be gone six to eight months,” Mann said.

Bowey added: “I’m pretty thankful that it’s just the tendon and that the cut was clean and it was easy for the docs to get in there and get it repaired. So in that sense, I’m pretty lucky that there wasn’t any bone that got hit or any nerve damage.”

Bowey says he has a history of healing faster than other players. And he hopes that will be the case again.

“Probably three months, but I’m a pretty optimistic guy and I heal pretty fast,” he said. “So I’m hoping I can be back earlier than [April] be able to join the guys for a playoff push at the end of the season.”

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Braden Holtby — the skater — is a sight to behold

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CSNMA

Braden Holtby — the skater — is a sight to behold

Braden Holtby is an elusive guy.

The 2015-16 Vezina Trophy winner might be large in stature, but keeps to himself. When you do see him, he's typically covered in layers of goalie pads or briefly chatting with the media following a game.

So imagine the surprise to see Holtby take the ice at Kettler IcePlex well before training camp begins with zero goalie pads on.

That's what took place on Monday morning. As several players hit the ice for some unofficial workout sessions, there was the 6-2 Saskatchewan native strolling onto the ice, with a regular stick, regular skates, regular gloves and Andre Burakovsky's helmet.

RELATED: 2017-18 CAPITALS SEASON PREVIEW SERIES

Frankly, it was a bit odd to see Holtby skate up and down the ice.

Maybe it's because we're used to seeing him in the crouch position. or maybe it's because we actually see his entire figure, not just a pile of leather pads.

But even goalies need to work on non-goalie skills. The more familiar you are with position players, the better you will be to stop them from scoring.

But man, seeing Holtby skate like a forward sure does take some time to get used to. 

RELATED: RANKING THE CAPITALS' MOST IMPORTANT PLAYERS

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The 25 most important players for the Caps: No. 20 Taylor Chorney

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The 25 most important players for the Caps: No. 20 Taylor Chorney

Every player on an NHL team plays a role.

Some play bigger roles than others.

In the coming weeks, Tarik El-Bashir and JJ Regan will rank the 25 most important players in the Caps’ organization, from least to most important, weighing factors such as past production, future potential and intangibles. 

Today’s player: No. 20 Taylor Chorney.

RELATED: 2017-18 CAPITALS SEASON PREVIEW SERIES

One of the more interesting storylines during training camp is going to be the battle along the blue line and where everyone, particularly a veteran like Chorney, fits into the plan as the Caps skew a bit younger.

The top pair is easy to figure out; it’ll be Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen.

After that, it gets a little more interesting.

John Carlson will be on the second pair, perhaps with Aaron Ness.

If that's how things shake out, it would make sense to have Brooks Orpik anchor the third pair, especially if the No. 6 spot goes to a rookie since they'd surely benefit from the steady hand of a soon-to-be 37-year-old.

But will that spot go to a youngster like Christian Djoos, Madison Bowey or someone else? 

Or will it go to Chorney, a 30-year-old who's appeared in 141 NHL games spread over eight seasons for four clubs?

The Caps anticipate that Djoos and Bowey are closer to being NHL-ready than their other defenseman prospects.

Djoos lit up the AHL last season to the tune of 58 points in 66 games and the team needs to replace some offense. Bowey, meanwhile, has the look of a promising two-way defenseman.

But here’s the drawback—and where Chorney, in my opinion, fits into the equation.

Neither Djoos nor Bowey have done it yet. And until they do, no one can be 100-percent sure they’re completely ready to handle the everyday duties that the NHL demands. 

Chorney, to that end, has a significant advantage in experience, at a position where it matters a lot. He appeared in 18 games last season and a career-high 55 games the year before, also with the Caps. 

The bottom line: I suspect Chorney, who is entering the final year of his contract, will open camp penciled in as the team’s No. 6/7.

I also expect that he'll play a decent amount this season, maybe more than last year but perhaps less than 2015-16. I could even see him in the opening night lineup. Eventually, though, the Caps will want to see Djoos, Bowey or another youngster squeeze their way past Chorney and into the lineup full-time.        

Check out the full list of the Caps most important players as it comes out here and check out previous player profiles below.

— No. 25 Aaron Ness
— No. 24 Chandler Stephenson
— No. 23 Riley Barber
— No. 22 Pheonix Copley
No. 21 Devante Smith-Pelly