It was a mystery at Washington Capitals practices and morning skates during the first round of the playoffs. Where was Lars Eller? Then he suited up… for all seven games.
Lars Eller, Washington Capitals third line center, was taking a series of maintenance days due to an undisclosed injury he suffered at the tail end of the regular season.
One week after the Capitals season ended in double overtime in Game 7, Eller decided to head to the IIHF World Championship to represent Denmark.
On Wednesday morning, just one day after Eller had a goal and three assists in Denmarks 9-0 shutout over Great Britain Team Denmark announced that Eller was sent home from the tournament.
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Denmark news outlet Esktra Bladet reported this news and also noted that Eller entered the tournament with a leg injury that he played through during the first round. It was not a severe enough injury that would require surgery.
Their article, translated began with the following sentence: “The Danish Word Championship hopes have fallen considerably after Lars Eller has gone home on Wednesday.”
The report noted that Team Denmark general manager Kim Pedersen was aware of Eller’s injury and after a fight in the game against Britain and further assessment after the game that the injury is unplayable, the Capitals wanted Eller returned.
“Lars gave an undertaking about participation, even though he was injured. It was the country coach’s assessment that a Lars Eller of under 100 percent was still worth taking. We obviously put the winners of the national team well above anything else and think rather than short-term in these matters. And when the assessment is that Washington wants him home, we lay down flat,” said Pedersen.
One would still ask why Team Denmark just decided to swiftly send home Eller when it was known all along something was nagging him.
There was also a report from Danish journalist Jimmy Boejgaard that there was a secret agreement in place between Eller and the Denmark national team to play in just three matches. That agreement still stood even though the quarterfinals are still going on. Boejaard noted that this agreement is “Unprecedented in Danish World Cup history.”
It was a smart move by both the Capitals and Team Denmark to cooperate and send home their hero so he gets a full summer to heal his leg.