It's been over a year ago that Brian Pothier suffered a major concussion. It has been a long and winding road for the veteran defenseman who wasn't diagnosed with astigmatism in his eye until just last December. Once they found the problem, the solution was easy and Pothier was on the fast track back to the NHL.
Hershey was the first stop in a road to returning. Brian Pothier was a little nervous about his first hit, but he recounted his time in the minors in a conference call last night. "I actually had a few good collisions," Pothier recalled. "I took a couple of big hits and gave a couple. I was real excited about it. I was relieved. You go in and you don't know what to expect. You haven't had a hit in a while, and when you do get hit, you realize that I'm not damaged goods, I'm not fragile and everything still works real well."
The concussion was able to resolve itself months after the hit, but the astigmatism in his eye was not diagnosed for some time. When Pothier visited a specialist in North Carolina, where Dr. Susan Durham gave him a full two hour exam to find the root of his headaches and disorientation.
"She sat me down at a computer screen and she had me look at the screen," Pothier explained on the conference call. "The letters were kind of gray and pink and blurry. Then she put these glasses on, and I mean, it's hard to explain, but instantly, everything, even the letters changed colors. The letters turned crisp and dark. Instantly, all the pressure and headaches and tension in my head was gone. As soon as two days later, I was able to get on a bike and a couple of days after that I was able to skate. It progressed so quickly."
So quickly in fact that Pothier jumped from his car onto the plane to Atlanta as the Caps take on the Thrashers tonight. He did not even have time to discuss whether he would even be in the lineup. "I just got on the plane. I'm sure we'll sit down and chat real soon."
Pothier is pretty jacked up about his return. Even his wife was pretty excited as well. "It's been a long year and I'm sure she's just happy to get me out of the house. We're all excited."
Michal Neuvirth was sent back down to Hershey and Simeon Varlamov was called up now that his knee has healed. Neuvirth started in three games, replaced Jose Theodore in two games. He left with a 2-1-0 record and a .892 save percentage.