Jay Beagle had played in Washington's first 12 Stanley Cup playoff games, recording a goal and an assist, and generally excelling as a defensive forward.
So when the Capitals took the ice for warm-ups at Verizon Center prior to Game 6 against the New York Rangers Wednesday night, many observers were stunned to see Jeff Halpern, who had not dressed for the entire playoffs, in Beagle's place.
An injury to Beagle was immediately suspected, but no one outside the organization knew the full extent of it until Monday's breakdown day media availability.
Jay Beagle broke his foot on G5 PK when Stralman shot hit bone directly in left foot. Tried to play G6, had surgery next day— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) May 14, 2012
Dale Hunter, for what it's worth, told the media two hours before Game 6 that Beagle would play, a lie that's told by all hockey coaches at this time of year. But even allowing for the fact that skating puts less stress on a broken foot than walking, the fact that Beagle even attempted to play in Game 6 (George McPhee said that Beagle's foot was broken in a place that denied him balance) speaks to the desire that every hockey player has to win that trophy.