Players give healing chamber healthy thumbs up after visit

The Vancouver Canucks popularized the "Hyperbaric Therapy Chamber" in the NHL during their Stanley Cup run last spring, and now the Washington Capitals are testing its merits.

In the past two days, all of the Capitals have made the trip to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore to experience the chamber, which is supposed to increase the healing process.


The unit used by the Canucks was a single-seat operation, while the one here can seat 21 -- an entire team if need be.

"You go inside this chamber and sit down," said Caps defenseman Joe Reekie. "You put on plastic headgear and they drop the pressure so it's like being 35 feet under water. And then they pump [pure] oxygen into you for an hour and a half. You read or play cards and try to relax."


The concept also has been used by the NFL's Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets, and this season the NHL's Winnipeg Jets are planning to use the machine.

"I'm open to trying it," said veteran Caps center Dave Poulin.

As apparently are the rest of the Capitals.

"If it's going to work to our advantage in this shortened season, if it's going to help us stay healthy and refreshed, we might as well use it," said Reekie. "When you go to rehab, you're working. With this, you sit there for an hour and a half and the air does the work."

Players available

The Capitals have made three members of their American Hockey League affiliate Portland Pirates available in today's NHL waiver draft: right wing Kerry Clark and defensemen Brian Curran and Todd Nelson.

Among the other names of interest on the waiver list are former Capitals and current Quebec Nordiques center Reggie Savage, Detroit Red Wings goalie Bob Essensa and Florida Panthers defenseman Stephane Richer.