Capitals trying their best to 'collectively' fill shoes of the irreplaceable Tom Wilson


Some players are simply irreplaceable. That's the situation the Capitals have found themselves in this series with the Florida Panthers, since losing Tom Wilson in the early going of Game 1.

Capitals coach Peter Laviolette has continued to list Wilson as day-to-day while disclosing few details about the injury itself, the nature of playoff hockey. The right winger has already been ruled out for Game 6 and reportedly could miss significant time with a knee injury. But at the very least, the Caps will very likely have to do without him for the rest of this series, however long it ends up going.

And just how, exactly, does a club replace a player who's instrumental in so many facets of the Capitals' game? When you lose Wilson, you're losing an enforcer who sets the tone on the ice, a key offensive contributor, a dynamic force on your power play and so much more.

Replacing Wilson is virtually impossible, Caps winger Garnet Hathaway tells BMitch & Finlay. All you can hope to do is ask everyone across the board to step up and fill his presence collectively, each one giving a little more.

"I've been thinking about this a little bit," Hathaway said in a 106.7 The Fan segment presented by Lindsay Volvo Cars of Alexandria. "It's tough not having Tom. It really is."

"Just the guy he is in the locker room and then everything he brings on the ice," he said. "You'll never get another Tom Wilson from one guy stepping up, and that's what it's been. It's been guys throughout the lineup, throughout each line, on defense, bringing physicality, scoring goals. Like [Anthony] Mantha's been unbelievable. I'm gonna just list all the forwards and then all the D and then you guys will be like 'that's about it.'"

"Like I said, you can't just ask one guy to step up and be able to replace Tom," Hathaway continued. "So it's even asking a guy... you look at a guy like Sammy. They're gonna have a lot more shots, maybe. Things are gonna happen. We need you to step up.

"The defense, like, it's gonna be a battle in our zone. Every one of those guys has stepped up and then I think we've gotten offense from all four lines. And that front power play guy. Like, guys are battling. He's being physical. That hit [a few nights ago] right before Kuzy scored. Like, Ovi's hitting. Everyone's hitting and everyone's giving that little extra to try and collectively get as close to having Tom in our lineup as possible."