Witt's face injury aggravates nose problem
Washington Capitals: Defenseman Brendan Witt is expected to miss a week after suffering facial injuries in Saturday's loss to Atlanta. The team also placed defenseman John Gruden on injured reserve with a groin strain, which will keep him out at least seven days.
Witt, who fell face-first into the boards and left in the first period, could miss all four road games this week, leaving the Capitals with just one established NHL defenseman on the roster -- Sergei Gonchar.
Coach Bruce Cassidy said Witt did not suffer a concussion but may have aggravated a preexisting nose problem. He is having trouble in his nasal area and bled severely through his nose after hitting the boards.
Cassidy said he is likely to split up his defensive pairing with Witt gone, separating Gonchar and Joel Kwiatkowski, who had been registering the most minutes on defense.
The Capitals recalled defenseman J.F. Fortin from Portland; he will meet the team in Canada and provide depth while Witt is out. Washington also travels to Montreal, Dallas and St. Louis this week.
Francis, the Hurricanes' captain, moved back to center Sunday as the Canes reworked their lineup in an attempt to ignite an offense that has generated only two goals in two losses.
Kevyn Adams and Craig Adams will still play extensively, but on the fourth line with Jesse Boulerice. And Francis moves back to the middle on Carolina's top line with Jaroslav Svoboda and Jeff O'Neill.
"It was an experiment and I don't think he was fully comfortable," O'Neill said. "He gave it an honest try but at the end of the day he didn't get his 3,000 points on the wing."
Francis actually has 1,758 points in his career, but none this season.
Letowski was slashed by Rangers defenseman Boris Mironov during Columbus' 5-0 win over New York on Saturday night.
Letowski scored the game's first goal, his first with Columbus since signing with the Blue Jackets as a free agent during the summer.
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