Saturday, December 29, 2007

Strangely nervous...

for tonights game. Well, not so strangely since the Caps dropped the Sens 4-1 back in November, which makes the Senators a team with something to prove during this game (did I mention that the Caps snapped an 8 game win streak for the Sens in November?). And AO is questionable for tonight's game. Definitely a little nervous.

There is nothing like a little rival bashing to take my mind off being nervous, so here is a bit of controversy from the Pens-Caps game:

Ovechkin went almost immediately to the visitors' locker room at Mellon Arena for medical treatment after suffering the cut. But he said he had to wait for the Penguins' medical staff to finish tending to a Pittsburgh player, and therefore ended up missing the rest of the game.

Coach Bruce Boudreau was not pleased by the delay.

"You make your assumptions on that," Boudreau said. "I don't know why. I'm just told that it took upwards of a half-hour."

Ovechkin added: "If he comes earlier, maybe I play. I don't know. It's over now."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Santa WAS listening!

Bruce Boudreau knocks off the "interim" tag, the Caps win over the Bolts, Brian Pothier is back on the ice, and Eric Fehr is skating (scroll to the bottom of the article). Plus, all you ever wanted to know about what it feels like to block a slap shot via Quintin Laing.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I wanted to throw up an open thread type post, as I am heading out for the holidays and I dont expect to be doing much blogging through next week. So eat, drink, be merry (and eat some more). Happy Holidays and thank you for reading Capital Addiction!

Disclaimer: There might be some sort of eggnog induced rant up here if the Caps lose on Sat. night versus the Islanders.

This makes me like him more

The video below of Cindy Crosby makes me like him more (hate him less?). Maybe because he looks less like a cleverly made robot, and more like a human.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wow, that game sucked

Now something to cheer you up...the video of Ovie on a Segway.

Around the internets

Tarik gives us the word on Backstrom, and a brief update on Gordon:

Backstrom's offensive upturn has put him third among rookies with five goals and 21 points, behind Chicago's Patrick Kane (32 points) and Jonathan Toews (26). It also has resulted in more ice time under interim coach Bruce Boudreau, who has played the 20-year-old Swede a minimum of 19 minutes since putting him on the top line on Dec. 8, including a career-high 23 minutes 10 seconds against the NHL-leading Detroit Red Wings on Monday.
Anyone who has counted Backstrom out of the Calder race had better think again.

Corey looks at Bruce Boudreau, and how long the "interim" is going to be in front of his name (he also has perhaps the jolliest picture of BB, ever. If you gave him a beard, he could pass for Santa):
"Everyone says, 'Oh, he's an interim coach.' We're all interim coaches. Everyone in the National Hockey League is on an interim basis, and we all know it." - Jay Leach
Dan Steinberg's got Ovie, Backstrom, Green and Bradley on a Segway tour of DC. Good stuff (and apparently video is on the way).

In other hockey news:

Game day preview of Caps vs Habs, courtesy of USA Today.

The Cane's Craig Adams is suspended two games for hitting Alex Steen with his stick.

Kyle Okposo,
a 2006 first round pick by the Islanders, joins the growing number of college players abandoning ship for the NHL (be sure to check out the quote from his coach).

Mike Keenan
has re-discovered his joy for coaching. Ick.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

goodbye, dear friend (yes, we mean the mohawk)

The Canadien Press has a feature on our very own Mike Green. They some kinda dumb stuff, like Green was "unheralded" (really? Weird, since he was a first round pick, was selected for the Young Stars game in his rookie year and has consistently been listed as a top prospect).

But the part that really bothered me (and this is a good measure of our values system here at Cap Addiction) is this:

Maybe it's that UFC vibe in him, but Green wore a Mohawk in the AHL. Not anymore.

"That was my two years in the minors when we went to the playoffs and I grew one for the playoffs," laughed Green. "But I guess you got to be a little more professional in this league."

Mike Green's mohawk is 99% of the reason I liked him last season, when he was playing bad- average hockey. The hawk made me like him, despite the poor defensive play and lack of initiative. It was a great do, among a team of men with Mom hair.

PS: All this should serve as a hint-hint to Jeff Schultz, who is still on my sh-t list, despite the goals.

Around the Internets

Tarik takes a look at Jeff Schultz's "new weapon" (insert dirty joke):

Schultz's scoring surge has come as a surprise, even to him. He never has been considered an offensive dynamo. In fact, his half slap shot isn't very hard -- but it's accurate, and he gets it off in a hurry. Schultz's five goals have come on just 13 shots. His .385 shooting percentage is tied for fifth in the league.

"It's been effective for me," Schultz said. "The last four goals I've scored have all been half slap shots."

Corey's got his weekly NHL Report, and the Q&A this week is with Tom Poti:
Q: Biggest phobia?
A: Probably getting old - I don't want to get old
Fair enough, dude.

In other NHL news:

More on Crawford allegedly ordering Todd Bertuzzi's hit on Steve Moore.

Chris Simon will be suspended 30 games for stomping on the back of Jarkko Ruutu's leg. According to TSN, Simon will appeal but since this is his eighth NHL suspension, I'm not exactly sure what kind of case he thinks he has (he has been suspended for using racial slurs, kneeing, cross checking across the throat, and of course stick swinging, among others).

Ben Eager gets traded to the Hawks.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

the Capitals and I


I am having a couple crazy days at work, so please forgive the empty space at Cap Addiction for the past few days. My paperwork has already followed me home, I think the next step is that it will probably just strangle me.

That said, I am a darn happy lady today. Could we have won that game last night (Yes!) but we got a point out of it, didnt give up the other point to an Eastern Conference foe, and we came very close to doing what has only been done to the Red Wings six times this season - defeating them. I can only hope we carry this energy into Thursday's game against the Habs. Consistency, let thy name be Washington Capitals.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Around the internets

As we have mentioned, we enjoy Mike Green/Mike Green's hair. So we are really happy that he is having such a terrific season, and is becoming the star that everyone had anticipated.

On that thought, a LOT of the Caps are breaking out. Joe Motzko with two goals against King Henrik....Donald Brashear with two assists (and occasionally, some pretty skating)....Jeff Schultz with a goal in three consecutive games. The list goes on, but it seems that all those bounces that were not going our way in October and November are making up for it now. And thats exactly what the Caps need, because to be a true contender, you cant just have some guy with the name Ovechkin scoring all the goals.

Tarik give Mike Green props:

Green and teammate Brooks Laich raced into the Rangers' zone on a two-on-one rush. Laich dished the puck to Green, who snapped his shot behind Henrik Lundqvist with 1 minute 19 seconds in overtime left to deliver a thrilling 5-4 victory -- and put a punctuation mark on his breakout season.
Corey give Green some love as well:
"It took me all of last year to really get an understanding of what it takes to be a pro hockey player," Green said. "Also, [coach] Bruce [Boudreau] has been really good. I know what is expected out of me with him, and he makes that very clear."
A few other thoughts from last night:
- Alex Semin checked someone. It wasnt a very good check, and he did it a little half heartedly, but my jaw still dropped. When I see Alex Ovechkin checking people and scoring goals, and the see the aggressive forecheck/backcheck making such a big difference, it hammers home that everyone has to buy into the system. Alex Semin doesnt need to throw five hits a night, but he needs to look in sync with the team.
-Brooks Laich has been playing smart hockey this year
-Donald Brashear has found a role more satisfying then hired muscle, and he is making the most of it by building a case to play more then 3 minutes a night
- Olie Kolzig needs to get UP if he doesnt know where the puck is and a whistle has not been blown

In other hockey news:

Ray Emery is injured again, but with a great back up like Martin Gerber, I dont think the Sens are sweating.

There is some tough luck floating around the league for goalies, as Marc-Andre Fleury might be out two months, and Fernandez will likely miss the rest of the Bruins season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Around the internets

Tarik, you tease (I'm sure Washington Post sports writers are regularly referred to as teases). With a teaser title like "Clark's Agony on Rise", I dont think many Caps fans going to not read Tarik's article in today's WaPo. So be sure to read it.

From Capitals Insider:

*If you read my notebook in today's Post, then you already know that Chris Clark (strained groin muscle) has been downgraded to week-to-week and that Michael Nylander (undisclosed) is aiming to return this weekend. Defenseman Brian Pothier, after being scratched the past two games, also figures to get back into the lineup.
Corey takes a look at Nicklas Backstrom:
"I felt pretty good the first games, but I did not score or get many assists," the 20-year-old said. "The stats are counting now, and so are the victories, so absolutely I feel better."
Thats right, my little Swedish meatball, the stats are really, really counting now. So dont slump, or we'll deport you. Just kidding (mostly).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

By the numbers

11: The number of points between SE Division leading Canes (who have 35 points) and the Caps.

5
: The number of points between the Thrashers/Ning and the Caps. The Thrasher and Ning hold the number two and three spots in the SE division.

46
: Points for the league leading Detroit Red Wings.

8
:
The number of points between the Caps and Philly/Pittsburgh/Montreal, who respectively hold slots 6-8 in the Eastern Conference.

92:
The points the Islanders needed to slip into the final Eastern conference playoff slot last season.

92:
The number of points the Caps will have if they win 2/3 of their remaining games.

52:
The number of games the Caps have left this season.

NOTE: A pertinent comment from one of Tarik's chats:

National Cathedral:
So what is the magic number for the Caps to get into the 8th spot this year 42? Also are there any mile stones they need to hit along way...win 13 of the next 22 and stats wise they are in (this is just an example of what I am looking for, that stat doesn't make sense I understand)...

Thanks

Tarik El-Bashir: I would think they would need 40 or more wins and 92 or more points. The key for the Caps this year is to go as close to .500 on the road as possible.

A heck of a story

You would have had to have a heart of steel - or no heart at all - to not be overjoyed for Quintin Laing. The Hershey Bears Captain scored his first NHL goal last night against the Devils. That is, his first goal in seven seasons playing pro hockey in the all sorts of leagues not called the NHL. Laing's only call up to the NHL was during the 03-04 season, when he played in just three games for the Hawks. With former Hershey Coach Bruce Boudreau behind the bench in Washington, Laing got his second shot at the Big Show just this year, and has earned the respect of his teamates with his grit.

From Tarik's article on Laing in last week's WaPo:

Laing got the call when checking-line center Boyd Gordon suffered an undisclosed injury. Laing said his wife screamed as he did his best to remain composed.
And more:
Laing scored a career-high 15 goals for the Bears last season, although he pointed out that five of them were empty-netters. He was just as honest when asked why he hasn't gotten more chances to prove himself against NHL competition.

"I'm not the fastest skater and I don't have the greatest hands," said Laing, who was drafted in the fourth round by Detroit in 1997 and has played 432 American Hockey League games since. "But I think I make up for it with my instincts and hockey sense."

You have gotta be rooting for a guy who points out to a Washington Post reporter that his season total of goals is inflated. I am definitely rooting for him, and I hope the Caps can find a spot to keep him on the roster when Boyd Gordon returns.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Around the internets

Phew. I was getting pretty tired of watching (and paying) the Caps drop game after game, sometimes with good reason (injuries) and a lot of times with no good reason (effort). The Caps are home tonight, Wed. and Friday, and during that time I am fervently hoping they continue their winning ways. In fact, they have to if they have any shot at all left at the playoffs.

Tarik profiles Bruce Boudreau:

Center Brooks Laich, another former Bear, added: "He's not above yelling at anybody. Doesn't matter if you're a veteran or a rookie. He's the exact same as he was in Hershey, down to the awful ties and the bad suits."
Tarik follows that up with a piece on his blog that has all the good stuff that didnt make it to the article. Check it out.

And, Corey profiles Boudreau as well:

"His ties were the worst," said Caps defenseman Mike Green, one of nine current players whom Boudreau coached with the Bears. "He might have the worst tie-shirt combinations I have ever seen, but whatever works for him."

Added Steckel: "If you look at Bruce, you know he's not the fittest guy in the league. Everybody has their own way of being professional. Him having his tie untucked or a little mustard stain on his shirt — that is standard for him."

In other hockey news:

The Devils's winning streak has finally been snapped, coming into tonight's game against the Caps.

The Preds are officially sold.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Around the internets

I am back from my travels to find Michael Nylander joining Chris Clark and Boyd Gordon on the list of injured Caps. And another 1-goal loss last night, this time to the NJ Devils. I am hoping for better tonight against the Thrashers.

Tarik on last night's game:

NEWARK, Dec. 7 -- Bruce Boudreau has been behind the Washington Capitals' bench for only seven games. But the interim coach has apparently had enough.
Enough of the inconsistent efforts. Enough of the egregious turnovers. Enough of the excuses.

[...]

"We didn't play good enough to win, or we would have won," Boudreau said. "That was a horrible giveaway for the first goal, and Olie should have had the save. He's too good a goalie to let those things go in."
Corey's headline says it all - "Bottom line: Capitals lose again". He has this from Boudreau:
"I don't want to be the guy who has to come in [to the dressing room] and blast them every time they don't play well because they should be professional and they should come to play every night.

"In the first period, we didn't come to play and that is unforgivable."

I am finding it harder and harder to keep a positive attitude about the Caps. As a fan and STH, its terrible to watch the team simply not perform for portions of the game, and then show up when they feel like it. As Bruce Boudreau said, they are professionals. What in the world is it going to take to get them to start acting like it on the ice? Their long time coach has been fired, they are getting lashed in the media by their new coach, the roster is being shaken up....whats left? I guess we will find out tonight.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Dale Hunter on his way in?

ESPN speculates:

Former Capitals captain Dale Hunter, presently coaching junior club London in the Ontario Hockey League, might eventually get the Washington coaching job if GM George McPhee can keep his job, according to the Ottawa Sun.

Many observers expect McPhee to follow recently fired coach Glen Hanlon out the door in Washington by season's end and the Sun mentioned Doug Armstrong, recently fired by the Stars, as a possible replacement.

The Sun previously reported that Caps owner Ted Leonsis had already initiated the search for a new GM.

A strong candidate, according to the Sun, should be Brian Lawton, who was a prominent agent but stepped down from Octagon Hockey earlier this year to pursue a management position somewhere.

The Sun listed TSN analyst Pierre McGuire and former Islanders GM Mike Milbury as other candidates.

As we have mentioned before, the Dale Hunter rumors have been going around for a bit now. I have to say though, I would rather take Satan as a GM then Mike Milbury.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Around the internets

Ouch. Thats what Boyd Gordon, Chris Clark and Alex Semin are saying this morning. I daresay that Caps players, management and fans are echoing that sentiment as well.

Tarik
on player injuries:

Alexander Semin aggravated his sprained right ankle in overtime of the Capitals' 2-1 loss to the Panthers and did not participate in the shootout. In the third period, captain Chris Clark suffered a strained groin muscle and did not return. Checking-line center Boyd Gordon has an undisclosed injury and is listed as week-to-week.
Corey takes a look at Boudreau's new systems for the Caps:
"It is just a matter of sort of relearning, reboot and start over. Hopefully it won't take too long," defenseman Brian Pothier said. "It is a minor adjustment. It is not a huge change. I think we've all at some point in our careers played something similar to this. It is just a little more aggressive and a little more assertive. Instead of sitting back and letting them come to us, we are trying to initiate."
Sounds good to me. One of the things that has really bothered me about the Caps this season is that they seemed to be watching plays, rather then participating in them.

In other hockey news:

Scott Burnside discusses the new hockey schedule (which is really just the old hockey schedule).

And Mike Vogel says Quintin Laing is the call up from Hershey to help fill the hole caused by injuries.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

ECHL team bus in accident

From ESPN:

HARBORCREEK, Pa. -- A bus carrying members of a New York minor league hockey team struck the back of a tractor-trailer and went down an embankment, seriously injuring the bus driver and causing minor injuries to several players.

The Elmira Jackals of the ECHL were returning home after a 7-1 loss Wednesday in Cincinnati when the accident happened about 4:15 a.m. Thursday on Interstate 90 about 35 miles from the Ohio border, police said.

Lets hope that the bus driver is okay. The Jackals are an affiliate team of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Tip of the hat to Nicole for the heads up, who actually commented on my blog and strayed away from Google Reader. Baby steps.

Caps lose SO to Cats

Another shoot out loss. Some thoughts from last night's game:

- The first period looked completely different from the second and third. The beat writers say that the Caps were getting used to a new system in the first-- it was pretty obvious something was going on
- Olie Kolizig can still compete with the best out there. If you dont believe me, I will reference you to last night's game tape.
-Milan Jurcina played heavy minutes in the first period, then was benched. From where I was sitting, I saw him throw some hard hits and he was pretty defensively sound. Boudreau has made it clear that every player has a chance to play, so does this open the door for Eminger again?
- Brook Laich has really stepped up his game. I have consistently seen him playing his heart out this season, and last night was no exception. He was scrappy and hard working
- Alex Semin took a lazy penalty in the first, but that's nothing new
- Matt Pettinger didnt impress me on the second line
- I've had mixed feelings on the SO, but last night put me firmly in the "pro" category. For the only time during the game, the crowd was really engaged and on its feet.
- Mike Green is getting better and better, defensively and offensively

around the internets

From Tarik:

But losing the game wasn't the Capitals' only concern after two players suffered injuries late. High-scoring winger Alexander Semin, who has missed most of the season with a sprained right ankle, hobbled off the ice in the extra session after aggravating the injury, and thus left Washington without one of its best stick-handlers for the shootout. Semin is listed as day-to-day.

Chris Clark, the Capitals' captain, left in the third period with an undisclosed injury. It's not believed to be serious, a team spokesman said, and it's possible Clark will practice today.

Clark is supposed to practice this morning, and Semin is day to day, per Capital Insider.

From Corey:

Washington went 1-11 in the shootout last season but added Michael Nylander and Kozlov " both had as many shootout goals (six) in 2006-07 as the entire Caps roster combined " this offseason.

Other news:

The Edmonton Sun on the Caps tribute to Sean Taylor and other hockey going arounds.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pictures from Caps vs. Panthers

From the Caps' 2-1 OT loss to the Panthers:

____________ First period concentration

____________ Getting ready for OT

___________ Olie readies himself for Ville Peltonen

Images property of Cap Addiction
.

When hockey and entertainment meet

Mixed results when this happens.We got Slapshot, Miracle, etc out of it. We also got Milary. And now this riveting piece of journalism, titled "Saw" Dude Sued in Pucked-Up Hockey Deal:

The producer of the "Saw" movies has been sued for allegedly being shady during a deal to purchase the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team.

In the lawsuit, filed in Hillsborough County, Fla. and obtained by TMZ, several management and venture capital groups claim Oren Koules ("Saw" dude) broke an agreement by contacting and eventually purchasing the team -- without discussing it with the VCGroup -- which he was partnered with. Slapshot!

The suit seeks over $50 million in damages. Paging Jigsaw!
We referenced the Ning deal they are talking about in yesterday's news roundup, if you want some background.

Around the internets

Tarik takes a look at Matt Pettinger's scoring woes, and confirms he will be back in the lineup tonight after sitting out Monday's loss to the Sabres as a healthy scratch:

During his drought, Pettinger has experienced a range of emotions, from frustration to guilt, which stems from the firing of former coach Glen Hanlon. Hanlon was replaced by Boudreau on Thursday after the Capitals got off to their worst start in 26 years.

"We weren't producing offensively," Pettinger said. "Part of that is me."

Yet as dejected as Pettinger was after his blown scoring chance in Philadelphia, Clark considered it a positive, perhaps a sign of things to come.

Corey focuses on Boudreau's use of the whole Caps roster and the reason behind it:

Part of the reason for Boudreau's plan comes from his experience as a player. He was a prolific scorer in the American Hockey League, but he never played more than 40 games in an NHL season. He was shuttled back and forth between leagues and spent many nights watching from the press box when he was on an NHL roster.

“I know exactly what the players are going through, and it wasn't conducive to winning,” Boudreau said. “You sit in the stands for an awful lot, and whether you like it or not, human nature is, 'Oh, I hope they don't do well.' I want everybody to believe and to pull for everybody.”

In other hockey news:

Kukla's Korner has a link to a great article on the effect of the salary cap.

Gary Bettman is considering more NHL games in Europe, and rolling back the NHL's policy on shutting down NHL play so players can compete in the Olympics.

More speculation about Ovie leaving the Caps. Blah blah.

All-Star votes through Nov. 26

Thought it would be interesting to take a peek at All-Star East voting through Monday. Here are the top 15:

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh, 177,873
Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa, 80,211
Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay, 73,743
Daniel Briere, Philadelphia, 62,867
Alex Ovechkin, Washington, 55,692
Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta, 52,948
Dany Heatley, Ottawa, 47,957
Saku Koivu, Montreal, 46,554
Maxim Afinogenov Buffalo, 33,080
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh, 32,688
Chris Drury, N.Y. Rangers, 27,481
Jaromir Jagr, N.Y. Rangers, 26,267
Mats Sundin, Toronto, 25,683
Jason Blake, Toronto, 24,333
Alex Kovalev, Montreal, 23,922

I'll skip the Sidney Crosby joke about his mom voting for him (but I am thinking it) and just note the huge difference between him and the next person on the list, Daniel Alfredsson - 97,662. I'm happy to see Ovie rounding out the top five, but I'm even happier to see Chris Drury beating Jaromir Jagr. After this interview, Rangers fans should be happily clicking away for Drury.

You can see the whole list here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sutherby, Cali style

Forgot to throw this up here with all the holiday festivities. Looks like Brian Sutherby is doing well in CA and is happy to be there. Since he wasnt getting any playing time here, we hope he gets the chance he wants to prove that he was well drafted in the first round. We wish him luck with the Ducks.

"It's obviously nice any time you're wanted," Sutherby said. "When I was kind of in and out of the lineup there, I never really asked the question, 'What's going on?' It was more, 'OK, let's move on.'

"It was time for a change. I never really dug into it with the coaching staff or the general manager about why I wasn't in the lineup."

Around the internets

I gave you my take on the game in the post below, here is Tarik's:

The Washington Capitals came out with energy last night against the Buffalo Sabres, and for a while appeared capable of beating one of the league's hottest teams. But turnovers led to two second-period goals for the Jochen Hecht-led Sabres, who skated off with a 3-1 victory.
And Bruce Boudreau is a quote machine. On Semin:
"I've never seen him play," Boudreau said. "I have to believe he's going to be better."
On the game:
"We played as hard as [Buffalo] and as good as them," Boudreau said, "just not as smart as them."
Corey talks to Olie and Clark about the game:

"Until we clear that up, it doesn't matter who is behind the bench, it doesn't matter who we have in the net and it doesn't matter who is on the ice: We're not going to win hockey games," Kolzig said. "Until guys get it through their heads to get the puck deep and not commit these turnovers, we're going to have nights like this."

Added Clark: "Everybody has to buy in. It is a team thing. It is a pretty easy thing to do is to get the puck in deep. It is not hard. You don't have to be skilled. You don't have to smart. You don't have to be overly everything. ... It is just an easy hockey read sometimes."

And in other hockey news:

The sale of the Ning to the group headed by former Columbus GM Doug McLean is off. Or might be on. Or might be off. I am having Predators deja vu.

Corey has launched an NHL Report on Sundays with the WaTimes. Check it out. Its great to have an NHL wrap up from a major paper again.

NOTE: We are sad to report that the Redskin's Sean Taylor passed away this morning, from a gunshot injury he sustained during an armed robbery attempt at his Florida home.

Caps fall to Sabres, 3-1

The Caps defeat at the hands of the Sabres last night was an interesting game. I thought the Caps played three pretty different periods, and as we have seen with them this year, they looked less then vigorous in the third period. I have two thoughts coming out of last nights game: I think how the Caps respond to this defeat is going to go a long way to deciding how they respond to defeat the rest of the year (especially, under Boudreau). Second, the Capitals need to find a way to bounce back into the game after giving up the first goal. Time and again, they seem to regress after allowing a first goal. Last night, they bounced back pretty quickly from their 1-0 deficit with a phenomenal goal from Ovie...and then they turned over the puck twice to the Sabres. Its the same problem Glen Hanlon faced, and I hope Bruce Boudreau has the solution.

Other thoughts from last night's game:

- Steve Eminger is not making a case for himself. He supposedly had an assist on Ovie's goal, but there is no doubt that goal was all Ovie and little Eminger.
- What happened to the Brashear, Backstrom and Bradley line later in the game? They played heavy minutes at first, and then faded. They were causing turnovers and throwing hard hits. Boudreau might have pulled them for lines with more offensive punch, but I thought they were putting some healthy fear into the Sabres
- I will never say a bad word about John Erskine. I am too scared of him
-Jeff Schultz, Matt Pettinger and Milan Jurcina were scratches. Is this Boudreau's sign to Pettinger to start scoring some goals?
- The Caps dont seem to have a problem shooting on goal, just a problem getting the puck in. They ended last night with 28 shots on goal, compared to the Sabres 31. This is pretty consistent with other games this year
- Official attendance was 11,204. About 10,000 of those were Sabres fans. This is better then last year, when about 11,000 of them were Sabres bandwagoners.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Its a Christmas Miracle!

I actually remembered to bring my camera to a Capitals game. In my world, this is no less then a Christmas Miracle.

Here are some pics from the game:





Images property of Cap Addiction.

around the internets

Since I was a lot closer to Hershey, PA then Washington, DC on Saturday night, I caught the Bears game. More on that later. It sounds like a missed a terrific game, and a second win under Bruce Boudreau. If the Caps continue to play this well, I think the "interim" part of head coach will be dropped pretty quickly.

Tarik
on the Caps 5-2 win over the division leading Canes:

Alex Ovechkin scored twice and Michael Nylander had a goal and two assists as the Capitals controlled play for long stretches against one of the league's best teams. But the story was the power play, which hadn't scored three goals in a game since Feb. 27, a 6-5 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers.
And a bit of good news:
Capitals Notes: Alexander Semin missed his second consecutive game after tweaking his sprained right ankle in practice on Thursday. After suffering the injury during training camp, the high-scoring winger has returned three times only to sit out again. He said he will play Monday.
Tarik also talks to Ben Clymer about Boudreau (and wins the understatement of the year award talking about John Tortorella):
"They are both very good with X's and O's," he said. "Torts is a little bit more angry, and Bruce is a little bit more controlled and reasoning. But Bruce knows his stuff. Anyone who questions that doesn't know their stuff. He gets nothing but high marks from me."
And finally, if you still feel like reading, Tarik has some funnies from "Gabby".

Corey takes on the Caps PP -- with a good explanation of how its working under Boudreau:
"I think [assistant coach] Jay [Leach] saw a lot of stuff and has fed me some information," Caps interim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Maybe it is the different voice that they are doing it without balking. We haven't tweaked a lot, but we are being more aggressive."
David Amber looks at player contracts that are strapping clubs this season. Not surprisingly, the list includes Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan McCabe....and Michael Nylander.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Around the internets

were a lot of great things to come out of the Caps -Flyers game yesterday-- Backstrom's fantastic play, another "Thank God we have Clark" moment, a thrilling OT win, and some pie in the face. Check out Tarik for the full low down:

As the Capitals boarded a charter bus afterward and headed back to Washington for Saturday night's game against the Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes, they still were in last place in the league with a meager 15 points. But there was no way to measure the amount of confidence they gained when Backstrom's shot found the back of the net, giving them just their second win this month.

Corey thinks Backstrom made the difference for the Caps:

Boudreau, who was named interim coach Thursday when Glen Hanlon was fired, put Backstrom on the fourth line between grinders Donald Brashear and Matt Bradley, but he also promoted him to the top power play unit and gave him a couple of penalty-killing shifts.

Brashear scored his first goal of the season and fought Philadelphia's Randy Cote, while both he and Bradley were credited with three of the team's 15 hits. Backstrom responded with three points for his first career multipoint game and Boudreau considered his fourth unit the best line on the ice.

I'm still out of town for the holidays, so I wont make it to the game tonight. But, I am going to the Giant Center in Hershey to see the Bears take on the Phantoms.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Around the internets

Tarik had word on another tough day in Caps-land - Alex Semin is out of tonight's lineup versus the Flyers, after reinjuring his ankle at practice yesterday. Tarik also has a full length piece on Hanlon's ouster as Coach.

"For the most part this year, I thought we were a team that played hard but wasn't getting rewarded," McPhee said. "But the last few games, it looked like we had lost the team, and you can't ignore that."

"He knew as soon as he saw me this morning," McPhee added, referring to Hanlon. "He said, 'I wouldn't have known what to do today.' "

And from Boudreau:
"The guys will get over it," Boudreau said. "They feel sorry, but in the end, they are concerned about their jobs. Because that's next. They've got to play to their capabilities. Hopefully the players get that message."
Corey gets some more out of GMGM:

Added McPhee: "[Hanlon] said, 'I don't have any regrets. I wouldn't have changed anything. I just couldn't get any more out of them.' And he said, 'I wouldn't have known what to do today.' As usual, Glen was pretty candid."

If you are interested, here are some clips of players, Boudreau, and GMGM from Thursday.

How is Boudreau doing so far? The Caps and Flyers are tied in the third period as of writing this post.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hanlon out, Boudreau named interim coach

Well, we all saw it coming and now it is official - Glen Hanlon has been fired as coach of the Washington Capitals. Tarik gets reaction from the players:

Ovechkin: "Of course I am surprised. I really like him, he give me a lot. It's hard for him, hard for the team. It's life. I've never been in this situation in my life, with coach getting fired. If team lose, guy who will be fired is coach. If we win, nobody talking about coach. If we lose, everyone talks about coach."

Of Boudreau, Ovechkin said: "He's more offensive coach. He tell us shoot the puck more, move quickly."

Clark: "I'm disappointed, I take a lot of the responsibility on myself as one of the older guys on the team to come through for a great guy like Glennie. I'm taking this really hard."

As for Boudreau's style: "Everything is to try to force the other team to make a mistake. You don't give them time, the liberty of skating with the puck. You want to make them make a bad pass."

Kolzig: "I left Glen a message and told him I was sorry, sorry that we weren't successful. Everyone's got to look themselves in the mirror and get it done.

"We had a meeting about all the mistakes we made against Florida the other day. It was pretty evident what we were doing wrong, and we went right back out in the second period yesterday and did the exactly the same thing."

I have a lot of respect for Glen Hanlon, and I wish him the best in his coaching career. I think we will definitely see him around the NHL again. I'll have more after the holidays.

around the internets

A brutal game tonight. Really really hard to watch. In my opinion, tonight was a must win night for the Caps. After Tarik and Corey's articles yesterday, it seemed like the Caps had turned a corner and were on the edge of breaking through tonight. And for the first period, it seemed that way. Then, the Capitals slowly started ceding the game to the Thrashers, until it looked like the Atlanta Thrasher vs....some team from the Q.

What made it hardest to watch of all was the fact that the Caps played like the team that they could be, before dissolving before the eyes of the crowd. There were a lot of boos, some fire Hanlon chants, and some legitimately bad calls from the ref. But at the end of the day, only the team and coaches can account for how a team can look so inconsistent period to period.

I've said my piece, and Tarik adds his:

"It's tough," Coach Glen Hanlon said. "Sports is really tough when these situations happen. That's why we've played so well in first periods, because we've had time to regroup for a couple of days, get away. You come in with renewed enthusiasm and you believe this is the night where it's going to happen."

"When something goes wrong," he added, "you revert back and think back on negative things.
Corey captures it pretty astutely:
Another night and another second-period meltdown meant another loss for the floundering Washington Capitals.
He also adds this quote from Bobby Holik:
“They played like they wanted to get their coach fired,” Holik told members of the visiting media. “But that"s another story.”
Dan Sernoffsky from the Lebanon Daily News seems to think that after tonight's loss, Dale Hunter might soon be in Glen Hanlon's slot.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'll be too busy tomorrow eating tofu and watching sports, so this is an early HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

The good, the bad, and the funny of hockey insults

I take on hockey insults over at HLOG. Check it out.

around the internets

Tarik has an article in today's WaPo that has me all fired up....and the Caps too it seems.

"There was a certain point [this season] where we could say, 'Poor us, we're playing well, and we're doing all these things well, but we're just not scoring," Hanlon said. "But the past couple of games that hasn't been the case. That's not other teams beating us, that's us beating ourselves."

[...]

Clark added: "It's not the coaches; it's the players. They go out and get us the information we need. We just have to execute it. It has to come from inside this room. No one else is going to get us out of this."
Being the eternal sports optimist, I believe the Caps are going to fix the problem tonight and come out swinging. I was supposed to depart for Casa Shmee's parents this afternoon for the holidays....but I am not (Shmee's parents dont actually know this yet. We will be avoiding that phone call as long as possible). I am staying in town for the game tonight. As a wise man who played for the Mets once said, " You gotta believe!" or as I would pronounce it, " Ya gawta believe".

I am stepping off my soapbox now, and turning it over to Corey at the Washington Times:

To focus on better ice management and eliminating turnovers, Hanlon split his team in half and simulated a 20-minute game of 3-on-3 at the end of practice yesterday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Giveaways were punished by allowing the other team an unimpeded offensive rush.

There also was a rectangle put down on the ice with black spray paint near the benches to force players to wait for teammates to get off the ice before hopping over the wall. If anyone got caught cheating, there was a 30-second penalty assessed, and the team played 2-on-3.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hockey, gay men, and Canada

Last week, Breakfast with Scot opened in Canada. The movie is about a gay couple -- a hockey news caster and a current player -- raising a nephew. Since I doubt my one sentence synopsis does the movie justice, check out the trailer below. The movie looks pretty funny, and I am hoping that a theater in the area picks it up eventually. I have to add that this movie has done the impossible...I have stopped actively disliking the Maple Leafs. The Leafs allowed their logo and branding to be used in the movie, which is a pretty courageous thing to do in the conservative hockey world. Kudos to them.

Around the internets

Tarik talks up last night's game (if there is anything to talk about):

"It's not a matter of not caring or not trying," Coach Glen Hanlon said after the team dropped to 2-6 at home. "There was likely some nervousness out there. They're looking at it as everything is on the line. It was almost a tale of two different teams, the team that started the game and the team that ended the game."

Hanlon became the target of a group of disgruntled fans, who late in the second period began booing and chanting, "Fire Hanlon." Hanlon has been behind the bench since December 2003 and presided over some lean times for the franchise.

Corey on last night:

"I'm sick of being asked about coaching changes," Kolzig said. "That is the furthest thing that needs to happen here. How many shocks do you need?"

And ESPN:

Goalie Olie Kolzig, still sitting in his pads about 15 minutes after the game, made it clear he didn't think the Capitals need a coaching change.

"It's not a lot of fun right now," Kolzig said. "Guys were just being a little too tight. we just need to relax and Glen stressed that after the second period. Guys need to lighten up, loosen up -- it's a hockey game -- and when we did that you saw how we played in the third."

I havent been able to make it to a game in a while, due to work travel. After hearing the same from the Caps locker rooms for the past couple weeks about not scoring goals, I was hopeful that being on home ice would break the dry spell a bit. The Caps did score three goals, but still lost the game. And more then that, they were pretty messy out there. There were some brutal plays, and some flat out lazy plays. Not to mention, checking seemed to have disappeared from the Caps play for a couple periods.

Some thoughts:

- Jeff Schultz and Nicklas Backstrom need to gain some weight and start hitting people. I have consistently seen Schultz getting shoved around a bit this season, and not doing a whole lot back. Its more understandable with Backstrom, but he needs to start throwing his weight around more.

- Alex Semin...I should cut him some slack, since its his first game back. So I wont go on about how he looked lazy out there for the first two periods.

- Caps defense - - there were definitely way too many breakdowns out there. I stopped counting how many times I saw Olie with one side not covered by a defensemen, but with a Panthers player standing there.

- I am not part of the "Fire Hanlon!" group. I think he has done the most that he can with what he has....but if the Caps dont pick up the pace, they might be seeing their "players coach" go out the door

Monday, November 19, 2007

Brian Sutherby trade

Tarik has the full word on it, but Brian Sutherby has been packed off to Anaheim. The Caps get an 09 draft pick for him, and Sutherby gets a second chance.

I caught Sutherby on his cell phone a little while ago. He's at the airport waiting for a flight to Anaheim, where he'll practice with the Ducks in the morning and then travel with the team to Dallas for their game Wednesday night.

Here's what he had to say:

"I've been expecting something to happen for a while now. Every day I came to the rink not knowing if something was going to happen. So I guess it was just a matter of time."

"There's a lot of emotions. Right off the hop, you're excited about getting an opportunity to go play, and for a very good team. Then you sit back and think about all the good times you had here, all the guys and good teammates I've played with."

"It's obviously exciting in that aspect, but it's tough to leave the guys."

Sutherby didn't have any unkind words for anyone here. He just sounded happy to be getting a chance somewhere. He also said Anaheim is one of the few teams in the league where he doesn't know anyone, though he skated with Chris Pronger a few summer summers ago

You, Brash, and beer

From the Capitals:

Want a first-hand account of what's happening with the hometown hockey team? Want the lowdown on all things on and off the ice? Here's your chance! Join forward Donald Brashear at ESPN Zone on Tuesday, November 20 at 6 p.m. for a dinner-time question-and-answer session. After the Q&A, Brashear will sign autographs for all fans on hand for the event. Don't miss your chance to get up close and personal with the Capitals! It's all happening at 6 p.m. on November 20, only at ESPN Zone. For more details, visit ESPNZone.

around the internets

Well, Tarik says it best this morning:

Nearly three weeks after re-injuring his right ankle in St. Louis, Alexander Semin is expected to return to the lineup tonight as the Washington Capitals attempt to reverse a season-threatening slump against the Florida Panthers.

If Semin plays, Coach Glen Hanlon will have his full complement of players for the first time since Oct. 24th against Tampa Bay, and for only the third time all season.

Great news on Semin....but is it coming too late? Tarik also has word on John Erskine replacing Milan Jurcina in the lineup (anyone who regularly reads this blog knows that Jurcina is one of my favorite players, but he has been playing like he forgot to take his adderall).

Corey has Glen Hanlon "giddy" about Semin's return. Can you blame him?

Washington Capitals coach Glen Hanlon's cheerful, bordering on giddy attitude yesterday after practice could have meant only one thing.

"Go ahead and ask me. Ask me that question you've been asking me for about a month," Hanlon said.

The question was "Is Alexander Semin ready to go?" and Hanlon could barely wait to reply, "Yes."


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Some more from Steinz

Dan Steinberg talked to Michael Nylander and Nicklas Backstrom about Bruce Sringsteen, the Swedish Embassy, and of course... cheese.

Plus, Backstrom comes over to the Nylanders two or three times a week; he went to Nylander's son's hockey game last weekend. "I'm not the babysitter; I'm his seventh kid," Backstrom said.
And jeez, the kid has good taste:
If you're curious, Backstrom's favorite song is "The River," and his second-favorite is "Streets of Philadelphia."

Friday, November 16, 2007

If you are in need of some cheer...

before the Caps face Vinny and the Ning tonight, check this out from Dan Steinberg. It has nothing to do with hockey, and it is one of the funniest interviews I have ever read. Make sure you read it to the end. Here is Fred Smoot's reaction to Dan asking him to explain Redskin player's nicknames:

I (Dan Steinberg) asked about Jimmy Farris, the new guy. "I don't know him," Smoot admitted. Someone else said his nickname was Paul Wall, and Smoot said he had indeed heard that one already. I asked how to spell Paul Wall.

"You don't know nothing," Smoot said. "You know what you need to do? You need to go on BET.com, do your research. I've got 12 movies you need to watch, too, that's the only way I can bring you up to par. It's 2007. Seven. Here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna write you a list of 15 movies. You watch these movies. I'm gonna give you three or four Web sites to go to. And then, by three weeks, you should be brought up to par on today's talk and why people do stuff."

Peter, Jr.

CBS Sports takes a look at Nicklas Backstrom, the "young Forsberg":

But even if the launch of Nicklas -- that's with a "C" -- Backstrom's NHL career has come without the kind of fireworks that some might have anticipated, the soft-spoken Swede who turns 20 next week hasn't exactly disappointed anyone around the Washington Capitals either.

"He's right where we want him to be," said Washington coach Glen Hanlon. "If you expect him to be a 50-goal scorer, well that's not going to happen because he's not a goal scorer. He's a playmaker and a two-way centerman who will always be in the right spot at the right time."

Around the internets

Tarik will be back covering the Caps tonight in Tampa but last night he ceded Caps beat duty to Amy Shipley (you can catch her on Comcast Sportsnet occasionally). What Amy found in Florida last night wasnt pretty:

Washington, loser of six of its last seven games, started a grueling stretch of 10 games in 17 nights with a performance that was not just disappointing, but also confounding. The Capitals failed to convert four power-play chances, including two in the final period. They got one goal from Alex Ovechkin and nothing from everyone else. They faced one of the league's least feared franchises and lost -- as usual.
Corey has his own take:
Two days before this game, Caps defenseman Tom Poti sat in his stall after practice and said it seems there has been one big mistake in nearly every game, and it has ended up in the back of his team's net. He proved to be prophetic.

Kamil Kreps made it 2-0 on a breakaway early in the second period. Kreps intercepted a cross-ice pass from Poti in the neutral zone and put a backhanded flip past Kolzig for his second goal of the season.

"I made a bad play," Poti said. "I tried to get it by the guy through the middle, and he picked it off and went in and scored. I made a mistake."

Ever the eternal sports optimist, I am not seeing gloom and doom yet. Lets see what the Caps look like at the end of this road trip.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Around the internets

Tarik takes a look at the "millions and millions of problems" facing the Caps. Ouch.

Corey (via JP) has some info on Michal Neuvirth being traded from Plymouth, and USA Today does a little Panthers-Caps preview. Olie offers this:

``We've talked about it enough the last couple of weeks,'' he said. ``It all comes down to individuals knowing what they have to do and that's it. If you need somebody else to tell you to get motivated, you're probably in the wrong league.''

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dude, Shut Up!

Congratulations to Steve Eminger! He is Capital Addiction's "Dude, shut up" award winner for the week of November 11th.

How did Steve get to be our lucky winner? Lets review:

Steve decides to unleash his "frustration" by giving a few choice quotes to Tarik El-Bashir, Caps beat writer for the WaPo. These include -

"It's past frustrating," he said following yesterday's practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. "It's just a matter of them putting me in the lineup, and putting me in there for more than one game, or moving me to somewhere I'm going to play. Because clearly I'm not in their plans."
and then
"There should be room for guys on this defense to come in and out of the lineup," he said. "It's not Anaheim where there's Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer and Francois Beauchemin, who are complete locks to play. It's a situation where it's a young team and there's going to be a lot of mistakes. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I thought I would have been given more of a chance."

So Steve is frustrated and unhappy. Yup, we all get it.

But you know what else I get? That Steve Eminger has had THREE seasons to prove himself. Was he rushed up from the minors? Sure. But so were defensemen Mike Green and Jeff Schultz. And Mike Green and Jeff Schultz are learning from the mistakes that they made in their rookie seasons and have improved considerably. While they are still working on their games, every time I see them skate, I see an evolved player from last year. That makes it really hard for me to have a lot of sympathy for a guy who has had THREE seasons to define himself for the Capitals. Steve Eminger is still really young, and I think he has a future in the NHL ahead of him, but I am unclear on how such a public temper tantrum is helping him.

And to be fair, I asked myself last night what Steve Eminger was trying to achieve. Will giving this interview help him get playing time? I dont think so. Will it put him in the good graces of his coach or GM? Definitely not. Will it be helpful in a lockerroom that is already trying to battle through losses? No, and in fact it is pretty selfishly timed. Will it help him get traded? In his interview, he claims that he is not ready to be traded. So all this article ends up being is an illtimed tantrum. Not to mention that GMGM has a good point in Tarik's article: part of building a good team is having solid depth players. The Caps learned this the hard way last season when they were decimated by injuries, and had no one to turn to.

So Steve Eminger, we have one thing to say to you: Dude, shut up.

NOTE:Hair Gel, you should be very proud of yourself. This week, you had to compete with Sean Avery, Darcy Tucker, and Maxim Kondratiev in order to win.

around the internets

Tarik confirms that the Cap'n is back -- Clark says he will play tomorrow in Florida. Tarik also does a few paragraphs on Tomas Fleischmann, and his resurgence after being benched. Per Tarik, Flash has had three goals and five points since his Oct. 26th benching. Thats nothing but good news for the Caps, who can use the O.

From Flash:

"When I was scratched against Vancouver, I started to think to myself, 'Do I want to be scratched all season, or do I want to play?' " said Fleischmann, whose game has
flourished since being put on a line with Nicklas Backstrom and Viktor Kozlov. "I know I can play. So I want to prove it. I'm trying to push myself to the level. It's in the head. It's good I figured it out now rather than later."

Corey profiles Ovie's new role on the power play and the solid results its bringing in for the Caps.
Ovechkin has a different plan. He forgoes the skating backwards, cautious defensive play in favor of taking a direct path toward the offensive player and bowling him over. In every instance so far, Ovechkin's strategy has proven effective.

"It is a pretty risky play," Poti said. "If the guy sidesteps you a little bit, he's pretty much in all alone against the goalie. It's definitely not the safest route, but he's getting the job done. I guess you've got to do whatever works."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Around the internets

Wow.

Tarik has Steve Eminger going off on his playing time (definitely worth reading). From Eminger:

"There should be room for guys on this defense to come in and out of the lineup," he said. "It's not Anaheim where there's Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer andFrancois Beauchemin, who are complete locks to play. It's a situation where it's a young team and there's going to be a lot of mistakes. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I thought I would have been given more of a chance."

Um Steve....I dont know if borderline insulting your teamates is the way to go.

Tarik also has news on Clark and Semin -- both are skating again, with Clark fully practicing.

Corey managed to catch John Tavares in action, and found a good hockey player, not a great one.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Back in action

I'm back from the road, and playing catch up on the Capitals. The best part of traveling for work? Going to a city with a hockey team and getting to catch a game. A hockey road trip for free....except for some of those really overpriced tickets (ahem, NJ Devils).

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Around the internets

Tarik looks into the Cap's 2-1 OT loss to the Thrashers, which tied the Caps for last place in the Eastern Conference. Steve Eminger returned to the lineup, while Milan Jurcina was a healthy scratch. On a positive note -- Brent Johnson continued his strong season in goal, which is good since Kolzig isnt getting any younger and our G prospects are still a few years off. Plus, Tom Poti returned to the lineup and skated about 25 minutes.

Both Tarik and Corey point out this OT play:

The Caps tried to clear the puck out of their own end to no avail in the extra session. After Michael Nylander lost a race to the puck near the Caps' bench, he stayed there for a change. Slava Kozlov collected the puck near the top of the offensive zone and fed White with a beautiful saucer pass, and he put it past Caps goaltender Brent Johnson for his third of the season and 100th of his career.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The spark plug we need?

Stranger things have turned the tide for teams:

Chris Bourque has been recalled from the Bears and is expected to make his NHL debut tonight in Atlanta, where the Caps are facing a critical game against the Thrashers. They've lost three straight, nine of the past 11 and have scored only two goals over the past 193 minutes.

So why recall a 21-year-old player with no NHL experience for such a big game? I guess it's gotten to that point for the Caps.

Bourque, who is generously listed at 5 foot 9, 173 pounds and is the son of NHL Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque, has three goals and five points in eight games for the Bears. He was among the last players cut in training camp, so there was always the expectation that he would get a lookat some point this season.

As Tarik mentions, Bourque was a cut that went down to the wire during training camp, so we were expecting to see him in red, white and blue....just not this soon.

PS: The game is blacked out due to a TV scheduling issue, but right now (9:15pm EST) the Caps and the Thrashers are tied in the 3rd period. Nyls and Kovalchuk have the honors for their respective teams. In the 2nd period, the Caps took 4 penalties.

Funny

Sidney Crosby, on hitting Rick DiPietro in the eye, which forced him out of the game:

"He (Islanders defenseman Radek Martinek) lifted my stick under his mask," Crosby said. "I had no control over it."

Crosby was given a four-minute penalty for high-sticking.

Around the internets

Tarik takes a look at the beating the Caps took last night (it was a cringe worthy game, and its a cringe worthy article), while Ovie managed to hit another one of his teamates.


Alex Ovechkin hit Pettinger on the side of the helmet with a wrist shot during a second-period power play. Pettinger, who escaped with only bruised cheek, was far more fortunate than Clark was. He was hit on the left ear by an Ovechkin slap shot 11 days ago and hasn't played since.

On a good note, the Caps did get 35 shots on goal, although none managed to find the back of the net. So now I am asking the same question as all Caps fans -- who cursed us, and how do we get rid of it? Snake bit doesnt even apply anymore. This is just plain, old fashioned voodoo.


Corey offers his take on the game, and GMGM isnt happy:


"Obviously we have some scoring out of the lineup and that hurts, but there [are] other clubs who are playing it tight and getting points," McPhee said. "It is self-inflicted. Good teams don't do that. We have to play it tight with some of the scoring out and stay out of the box."

In other news:

Tarik has word on the Caps signing prospect Josh Godfrey, who is expected to join the Bears after his junior seasons ends (Karl Alzner is also expected to do this).

Peter Forsberg says he is close to quitting, after failing to play for the Swedish National Team as part of his injury rehab.

The Bears are facing their own scoring problems.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Funny stuff around the NHL

One would think that Coaches had better things to do:

Is Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella on the NHL hot seat this week? The Ottawa Sun, quoting NHL insiders, reported he might be.

Tampa went into Saturday's game under .500 (5-6-1), the club is 0-6 on the road. The Sun reported Tortorella was so upset at one point, he took the team for a bus ride around Manhattan in their equipment.


And more:
This can't be true: Did New Jersey coach Brent Sutter really send one of his assistants to G Martin Brodeur's room at 11 p.m. to do a bed check on the road?

Around the internets

Unfortunately, I had to miss Friday's game, and I will be traveling on business next weekend, missing the game against the Ning. Too bad, because I would love to see a re-match of Morrisonn and Lecavalier. I might be biased, but if Morrisonn wasnt blindsided, he would have won that bout.

Anyway, Tarik wraps up Friday's loss, and takes a look at the Cap's roadtrip that begins tonight in Carolina.

Corey talks about the surprising amount of Capitals shots that have been blocked this season, and team efforts to get the puck into the goal. Per Corey, Semin and Clark are out, and Poti has made the trip with the team but will decide after practice if he can play.

I would rather see us let Semin, Clark and Poti heal as much as possible, rather then rushing them back out in an effort to stem the tide of losses. Are we in a bit of a jam? Sure. But, who knows what can happen, especially with a team as resilient as this one. I always figure that as a fan, you gotta have hope. Corey supplies some today:

One number I will point out from last night: 221. As Mike Vogel astutely pointed out to me, that is the number of goals the Caps ar projected to allow after yielding 35 in 13 games. Last year 11 teams allowed 221 goals or less, and all of them made the playoffs. The team that yielded the fewest without making the playoffs was Columbus with 244. While there seem to be a couple of defensive breakdowns at key junctures on a lot of nights, the defense is clearly not the problem.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A late Halloween treat

From the latest issue of ESPN Magazine:

Q: What was your favorite Halloween costume?

Ray Emery:
I went as Tina Turner when I was 9 or 10. I wore stretch pants and fake breasts and a big wig. It was pretty embarrassing but funny. No singing, though.

Around the internets

Tarik breaks down the Caps loss against Jagr & Crew, and TSN serves up this tidbit from Hank:

''Another night at the office,'' Lundqvist said. ''It was an intense game. It felt like they were all over us a little bit.''
Ignoring his "another night at the office" quote, Hank is right - the Caps were all over them a bit. But after scoring 7 goals in their last game, they couldnt get anything over the crease this time around. No doubt that Lundqvist had something to do with that, but so did a PP that couldnt produce all night.

Around the internets

Tarik talks to Chris Clark (apparently it was closer to 80 stitches to put his almost severed ear back together) who is not playing tonight in NYC. He joins Tom Poti and Alex Semin on that list.

Corey talks about Brian Sutherby's new role this year, or lack thereof.

"I knew right away early on in camp — I only played in three exhibition
games out of seven, and I played well in those games — it was something that
seemed like it was already decided before the season started and before training
camp even started," Sutherby said. "It seems like there was a plan going into
training camp, and I wasn't a part of it."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Around the internets

Word on the street (well, the WaPo) is that Chris Clark, Alex Semin, and Tom Poti are all practicing in NYC, but no word yet on if any of them will play. Clark's ear required 60 stitches after it was hit by Ovie's slapshot.

And, the the NHLPA has finished another stage of its re-haul:

NHL players ratified a new constitution that significantly alters the way the union is governed, completing a lengthy review process that started with the dispute over the hiring of former executive director Ted Saskin.

The constitution, approved through a secret ballot and announced Tuesday, eliminates the National Hockey League Players' Association's executive committee, which was comprised of a president and six vice presidents.

In its place, the 30 club-player representatives will serve as equal voting members of an executive board.

UPDATE: Tarik says Clark, Semin and Poti are out. And, Clark also chipped a tooth in the game against the Canucks when Kevin Bikesa high sticked him. Ouch.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dude, shut up

Canuck's D-man, Willie Mitchell, is upset with Coach Alain Vigneault for criticizing him to the media.

Yawn.

When a team is struggling (like the Canucks), certain types of Coaches (Like Alain Vigneault) criticize them in the media to motivate them (in fact, this is so common and obvious, I feel dumb even writing this sentence. Apparently Willie Mitchell has no similar feelings). It happens all the time - just ask John Tortorella or Mike Keenan. Its part of every single professional sport. So why oh why, is Willie Mitchell talking to the press about it? Players never win that battle, and even if the Coach is eventually fired, you look like another whiny athlete who cant take the heat, but can take millions in payroll.

But the best part is, Mitchell acknowledges that this is just Vingault's way of pushing his players.

"If people are unhappy with things, (as a) player you'd like to have that addressed," he said. "You don't like to hear about it through the media most of the time. That's his way of motivating I guess.
So if you know this is just a device your Coach is using to motivate you, why the hell are you picking a fight with him in the press? Can that really help the atmosphere in your locker room, when your team is already struggling and the press is beating on you?

Willie Mitchell, Cap Addiction staff has one thing to say to you: Dude, shut up.

On the Flyers

Scott Burnside has a pretty good piece on the Flyers, and their...enthusiasm...for hitting people in the head.

The NHL season is not yet a month old, and three times the Flyers have had to answer for how one of their own has gone AWOL and committed an indefensible act against another team's player.

[...]

Rest assured: If a Flyer, let's say, Daniel Briere, had been on the other end of any one of these three assaults, the team would be screaming blue murder.
Good point Scotty. Can you imagine the shrieks that would be coming from Paul Holmgren's office if Briere had been hit like that?

The bigger issue for me is one of respect -- as Marc Savard astutely points out. Every time the Flyers lay a reckless hit on another NHL'er, a hit that was bad enough to cause a Stage 3 concussion, a hit that causes people to lose their memory, or pass out for nearly a minute, they are disrespecting the game, and their comrades who play it with them. While Jones' hit might not have been as bad as Boulerice or Downie, it came from a team with a history of this type of behavior, and a GM who turns a blind eye. And thats just disrespectful.

around the internets

Tarik wraps up last night's win, while Corey and ESPN offers their take on it. Tarik's take on the injured Caps is not good:

Sutherby found himself in the lineup because of the Capitals' dire injury situation. They were again without three of their most important players, with Chris Clark, Alexander Semin and Tom Poti all suffering from various ailments.

Clark missed his second consecutive game after being struck on the left ear with an Ovechkin slap shot in the final minute of Friday's loss to Vancouver. Semin re-injured his left ankle in the first period of Saturday's loss in St. Louis and Poti has been slow to recover from a strained groin muscle that's sidelined him the past three games.

And some news on Ovie contract extension talks?

"I want to be here a long time," he said. "I don't like change of place. But you never know. You can sign contract right now and the next day you are traded. It's the NHL."

He added: "I want to be here. I like the organization. I like the fans."

Asked whether he expects to sign an extension soon, Ovechkin smiled and said: "Ask George." So I did. McPhee politely declined comment, as he always does on contract negotations.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bondra retires

I have been on the road for work stuff so I missed some good news (Semin's contract extension!). I am playing catch up today, but I wanted to post this Peter Bondra news:

NHL veteran and Slovakian star Peter Bondra retired from professional hockey Monday to become general manager of his country's national team.

"I kept it a secret for a long time. They will know overseas only after this press conference," Bondra said, according to the Slovak national hockey association. "I hope I can help Slovakia win another medal at the world championship."