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Capitals Insider: November 23, 2008 - November 29, 2008

Caps Blanked in Columbus; Alzner Hurt

Over the course of the NHL's grueling seven month regular season, all teams, even good ones, have a few games they simply must forget ever happened. Tonight was one of those games for the Capitals, who were shutout by rookie Columbus goalie Steve Mason, 3-0, and possibly lost an injury...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 29, 2008; 11:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (102)
 
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Alzner Hurt

From the department of "You Can't Be Serious", rookie defenseman Karl Alzner did not play in the third period after getting plastered along the boards Derick Brassard. Alzner immediately looked like he suffered an arm injury of some sort, perhaps a shoulder. After the game, Alzner would only refer to...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 29, 2008; 9:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Tonight's Lineup

There are no lineup changes to report. Again, Brent Johnson will start in goal for the Caps and he'll face Columbus rookie Steve Mason, who will attempt to lead the Jackets to their first victory over Washington since 2000. The Caps are 4-0-0 in their past four trips to Columbus...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 29, 2008; 6:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (133)
 
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Morning Skate Update

Thinking an injured player (or two) might return tonight in Columbus, were you? Think again. None of them (Alexander Semin, John Erskine, Sergei Fedorov, Mike Green and Tom Poti) made the trip. But Coach Bruce Boudreau said they'll all receive treatment back in Arlington and take tomorrow off. Then, he...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 29, 2008; 12:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
 
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Johnson Gets Nod

Brent Johnson will make his first start in four games tonight in Columbus, despite Jose Theodore's shut out against Montreal last night, Coach Bruce Boudreau confirmed moments ago at Nationwide Arena. Boudreau said he was tempted to play Theodore again, but that he decided to stick with the previously determined...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 29, 2008; 11:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Theodore's Revenge: Caps 3, Canadiens 0

That was kind of unexpected, wasn't it? All the injuries. Jose Theodore's previous encounter with his hometown team. Did I mention all the injuries? Didn't matter tonight. Theodore was lights out, stopping all 28 shots he faced to beat Montreal and settle an old score against his former team. The...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 28, 2008; 11:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
 
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Tonight's Lineup

Jose Theodore will start tonight against Montreal and oppose Jaroslav Halak, Carey Price's backup. The Caps, as you might have heard, are so banged up they had to dig deep just to fill out their lineup. The Habs, meantime, are coping with some injuries issues, as well. Mike Komisarek, Alex...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 28, 2008; 4:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (90)
 
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New Sweater Number For Alzner

The Caps' new No. 1 defenseman, Karl Alzner, will indeed wear No. 27 in his second NHL game tonight, the team confirmed moments ago. Growing up, Alzner was a big fan of Anaheim's Scott Niedermayer, who, of course, also wears No. 27....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 28, 2008; 12:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (66)
 
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Afternoon Injury Update

Here's the latest on the Caps' dire injury situation: *Tom Poti (groin) is day-to-day, though Coach Bruce Boudreau doesn't seem to think it's serious. (But who really knows? Alexander Semin wasn't supposed to be serious, either.) *Semin (upper back strain) also did not skate today. He'll miss his seventh game...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 28, 2008; 12:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Scouting Bryan Helmer

Since most of you have probably never heard of Bryan Helmer, the newest member of the Caps, I figured I'd tell you what I know about him (which isn't a whole lot). As you've probably read, he was signed earlier today and will be in the lineup tonight because of...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 28, 2008; 11:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Stat of the Day

The entire Caps' defensive corps tonight--Shaone Morrisonn, Milan Jurcina, Bryan Helmer, Tyler Sloan, Sami Lepisto Karl Alzner--has a total of 669 NHL games to its credit. Montreal defensemen Roman Hamrlik and Patrice Brisbois have played 1,096 and 964 games, respectively. Coach Bruce Boudreau's take? "It's a great challenge," Boudreau said....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 28, 2008; 11:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Caps Recall Helmer (Updated)

The Caps' injury problems continue to get worse. Looks like big minute, play-in-all-situations defenseman Tom Poti will miss tonight's game against Montreal with a groin pull. Because of that, the Caps have signed and recalled 36-year-old minor league journeyman Bryan Helmer. He will replace Poti in the lineup against the...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 28, 2008; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (67)
 
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Morning Reading List

Karl Alzner put together a respectable outing in his NHL debut Wednesday night, playing a solid 21 minutes and 6 seconds -- second on the team in ice time against the Thrashers only to Alex Ovechkin. He wanted to keep things simple in that first game but is anxious to...

By Katie Carrera  |  November 28, 2008; 8:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Thanksgiving Injury Update

Here's the latest on the Caps' injury situation, which at this point is bordering on the absurd. *Defenseman Tom Poti, who left last night's game with what's believed to be a groin muscle pull, did not practice today and was moving slowly when he walked out of Kettler Capitals Iceplex....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 27, 2008; 11:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
 
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Morning Reading List

There really is no place like home for the Capitals, who remained undefeated in regulation at Verizon Center this season with a 5-3 victory over Atlanta last night. While the buzz during the day was about the four call ups from Hershey, it was Alex Ovechkin who grabbed the spotlight...

By Katie Carrera  |  November 27, 2008; 8:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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Caps Thrash Atlanta, 5-3

I know it was only one game, and it was against a weak opponent that played the previous night. But that was a pretty impressive performance for the Caps, especially considering all of the injuries and new faces in the lineup. Speaking of injuries, the team might have suffered another...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 26, 2008; 11:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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Tonight's Lineup

Coach Bruce Boudreau just met with the media and said the lineup will not change from this morning's pre-game skate. Jose Theodore will start in net and face Atlanta prospect Ondrej Pavelec, who beat the Capitals, 2-1, in overtime last season, stopping 31 of 32 shots. Here are the Caps'...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 26, 2008; 5:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (78)
 
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Alzner: Wish Granted

Obviously, Karl Alzner is one excited guy today. After a couple of long months in the minors, the fifth overall pick in 2007 is set to make his debut tonight against Atlanta. There was a lot going on this morning, so I only talked to Alzner for about a minute....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 26, 2008; 2:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
 
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Morning Skate Update

Here's a quick update before I begin my online chat: *Coach Bruce Boudreau said he's looking forward to see what Karl Alzner can do in a regular season NHL game. "We want him to move the puck, not get beat and make the right plays," he said. "We don't want...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 26, 2008; 11:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Tarik Chats -- at Noon

FYI -- Tarik's live online discussion, originally scheduled for 11 a.m., will now be held at noon. So it's not too late -- submit some questions and join us during your lunch hour for some Caps chatter ......

By Jon DeNunzio  |  November 26, 2008; 11:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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The New Lines

With Jeff Schultz, Sergei Fedorov, Alexander Semin, Mike Green, Boyd Gordon, John Erskine and Chris Clark all out, Coach Bruce Boudreau obviously has been forced to do some major lineup shuffling. Here are the forward combos as of right now: Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov Fleischmann-Nylander-Fehr Bourque-Laich-Bradley Brashear-Steckel-Mink The 'D' pairings: Sloan-Poti Alzner-Jurcina Lepisto-Morrisonn...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 26, 2008; 10:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (87)
 
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Clark, Schultz On LTIR

Jeff Schultz is having surgery on his broken finger today and has been placed on long term injured reserve. Chris Clark, meantime, has also been placed on long term injured reserve with a stress fracture in his right forearm. Per the CBA, both players must miss 10 games and won't...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 26, 2008; 9:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Caps Recall Alzner, Bourque, Lepisto and Mink

With all the injuries, the Caps have summoned Karl Alzner, Chris Bourque, Sami Lepisto and Graham Mink from Hershey. All four are on the ice for practice. More in a bit....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 26, 2008; 9:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Morning Reading List

While the Capitals will likely recall someone from Hershey to help fill gaps left by the team's ever-growing list of injuries, they're also looking toward the healthy players to step up. Players like second-year center Tomas Fleischmann, who has four goals in the past six games and appears to be...

By Katie Carrera  |  November 26, 2008; 8:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Schultz Out 4-6 Weeks (Updated)

Sorry for the late update, but there was no practice today and I just got back to Washington. The highlight of my day so far? I got an exit row seat. Defenseman Jeff Schultz, who suffered a broken finger early last night while blocking a shot, is out 4-6 weeks,...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 25, 2008; 3:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (131)
 
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Morning Reading List

Despite battling back to score three goals in the final five minutes of regulation last night, the Capitals fell 4-3 to Minnesota to mark their fourth loss in the past five games. Washington has allowed 26 goals during that stretch and is now 4-7-2 on the road. *More concerning than...

By Katie Carrera  |  November 25, 2008; 8:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (147)
 
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Wild Finish in St. Paul, but Caps fall, 4-3

Wow, what a crazy final few minutes. Having seen these Caps pull off a frantic comeback (or six) before, I stopped writing after Alex Ovechkin cut it to 4-2 with 3:53 left to play. Minnesota was on its heels. Goaltender Niklas Backstrom had lost his focus. And Washington was determined....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 25, 2008; 12:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (60)
 
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Schultz Breaks Finger

Could the Caps suffer any more injuries? Already without Mike Green, Sergei Fedorov and Alexander Semin, defenseman Jeff Schultz just left the game in the first period with a broken finger. GM George McPhee said he doesn't know how long Scultz will be out, but these types of injuries normally...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 24, 2008; 9:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (132)
 
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Tonight's Lineup

No surprises. Mike Green, Alexander Semin and Sergei Fedorov are out against the Wild at Xcel Energy Center. And since the Caps are off tomorrow, there likely won't be an update on their status until Wednesday. Goalies Jose Theodore will get the nod in net and oppose Niklas Backstrom. Forwards...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 24, 2008; 7:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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Morning Skate Update

As expected, Mike Green (bruised shoulder), Alexander Semin (upper back strain) and Sergei Fedorov (sprained ankle) are all out tonight against the Wild. Jose Theodore, meantime, is expected to get the start in net and will face (the other) Niklas Backstrom. Some other notes and quotes from the morning skate:...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 24, 2008; 2:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
 
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Nylander Dealing With Distraction

We've all heard the Michael Nylander-to-Chicago trade rumors. Nylander, of course, has heard them, too. But the Caps' center said this morning that he's been through this before and he's doing his best to not allow the media reports to become a distraction. "You can't think about it too much,"...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 24, 2008; 1:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Boudreau To The AHL Hall Of Fame

It's already been a pretty good year for Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau. And it just keeps getting better, it seems. The AHL announced this morning that Boudreau will be among the 2009 AHL Hall of Fame inductees. From the AHL release: Boudreau's 483 career assists and 799 career points both...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 24, 2008; 1:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Morning Reading List

Chris Clark's struggles this season have been hard to miss -- the 32-year-old has just two assists and was recently relegated to the team's fourth line. For today's hard-copy edition Tarik talked to Clark about his slow start, how it compares to his injury plagued season last year and to...

By Katie Carrera  |  November 24, 2008; 8:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (56)
 
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Injury Update

I'm glad I put a question mark at the end of the headline on my last post. As it turns out, the Caps' injury situation may not be any better after all. Coach Bruce Boudreau said Mike Green will not play tomorrow in Minnesota, though he continues to improve. Green...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 23, 2008; 2:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
 
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Help On The Way?

It looks like Capitals *might* get some help in time for Monday's game in Minnesota. Mike Green was back on the ice this morning after missing two games with a bruised shoulder and Alexander Semin, who has missed four games with a upper back strain, was assigned to a line...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 23, 2008; 1:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Sharks Sink Caps, 7-2

Coach Bruce Boudreau said after the morning skate that the key tonight was going to be not allowing the Sharks to get off to a fast start. Well, how about three goals on five shots? Donald Brashear beat down Jody Shelley in the opening minutes. But it was pretty much...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 23, 2008; 3:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
 
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Fedorov Day-To-Day

You may have noticed that Sergei Fedorov, who returned after missing seven games with a sprained ankle, didn't play a whole lot tonight. In fact, he skated only six shifts for a total of 4:54, and none after the first period. He's officially listed as day-to-day, again. I'll have an...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 23, 2008; 1:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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