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Caps defenseman John Erskine okay after big hit

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Loose Pucks,Sports,Brian McNally

Capitals defenseman John Erskine was knocked from Game 3 of his team’s Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers on Monday night. A hard check behind the net by New York forward Ryan Callahan was the culprit. Erskine didn’t rejoin his teammates on the bench at the start of the second period. But he was cleared to return a few minutes later and finished the game. The way Washington coach Adam Oates spoke after the game certainly indicated the training staff was making sure he hadn’t suffered a concussion.

“It was a hard hit,” Oates said. “[Erskine] wasn’t feeling fantastic, they tested him. He was fine.”

That looked in question at the time. Callahan came at full speed and drilled Erskine, who has spent most of the season as a second-pair defenseman on the left side with John Carlson

“It was good to see him come back. He looked a little shaken up after it happened,” teammate Troy Brouwer said on Tuesday. “But Ersk is a tough guy. He’s gonna come back and play hard. That’s who he is. He is one of those guys that they’re gonna try and target because he plays quite a few minutes for us. To get him back, it’s a relief. Hopefully he’s clearing his head and having some fun today and can relax.”

Erskine was not one of the players made available to reporters on Tuesday at the team’s Manhattan hotel. But Oates said Erskine told him “he felt good” when they spoke briefly earlier in the morning.

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