Today we were thinking about John Erskine recording his 400th NHL game on this day in 2011. He would only play another 91 games before hanging up his skates as a professional hockey player. Erskine is one of our favorite Caps players and people. And he remains a loyal fan to this day.
John brought a toughness to the sport and a genuine enthusiasm for winning to the team. The defenseman fought through injuries for most of his career. He suffered with a concussion and injury to his hand, knee, and neck; and still he came back to play again. His work ethic was inspirational to many junior players on the team.
John’s career ended before he could rally his stats. What the numbers don’t show is the all-out enthusiasm he brought to every single game and practice. There will only be one number 4 for us!
Erskine last played in April 2014. Although he was on the roster for the 2014/15 season, he was benched, mostly for injury and injury recovery. He returned to the ice for a practice at Kettler in March 2015, as reported by Alex Prewitt. It was a long rehab journey back following an October 2014 surgery to repair a disk in his neck. We still remember the excitement of seeing him skating again.
John and his wife Karie now live back home in Kingston, Ontario where eldest son Paxton is following in his dad’s footsteps playing with the Quinte Red Devils. Ersk remains a big Capitals fan–he and Paxton are frequently at games since they live close enough to get to Senators and Maple Leafs games–always Rocking the Red and catching up with teammates.
We miss that huge personality that along with his physical game earned him the nickname”Big John.” You can see from this video why we loved John on the ice. Unfortunately, his spirit is likely what also ended his NHL career.