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Capitals Insider: December 14, 2008 - December 20, 2008

Flyers 7, Caps 1

There were only a few highlights for the Caps tonight at Wachovia Center. And both of them, in my opinion, involved Donald Brashear. Brashear bloodied Flyers' tough guy Riley Cote twice, but the first bout deserves a little recognition. Brashear absolutely destroyed Cote, pummeling him with a rapid-fire succession of...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 20, 2008; 7:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (238)
 
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Poti Tweaks Groin (Updated)

Defenseman Tom Poti played only five shifts before leaving today's game with a strained groin muscle. I'll try to get an update on his status after the game. Update:Poti did not return to the game and is day-to-day with a groin muscle strain. The team is off tomorrow, so there...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 20, 2008; 2:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (182)
 
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Today's Lineup

Brent Johnson will start in goal today at Wachovia Center, where the Caps are going for a season-best sixth straight win. Alexander Semin (back) did not make the trip to Philly, but it looks like Mike Green (shoulder) will suit up. Here are the expected forward combos: Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov Fleischmann-Laich-Fehr Giroux-Nylander-Gordon...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 20, 2008; 11:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (129)
 
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Varlamov Disappointed, But Understands

After Simeon Varlamov was demoted this morning, Sport-Express reporter Slava Malamud got a hold of the young goalie and translated a brief interview for me. Here's what Varlamov had to say: "I'm a little bit disappointed," Varlamov told Malamud. "But I was kind of expecting it because they told me...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 19, 2008; 1:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (95)
 
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Boudreau: Not 'A lot of Like' Between Caps and Flyers

Mike Green said he'll be ready to face the Flyers in Philly tomorrow afternoon, but Alexander Semin is questionable (at best) for what might be the most anticipated game of the season for the Caps. Some other tidbits from practice: *Semin's chances of playing tomorrow? "He's a treatment and day-to-day...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 19, 2008; 12:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
 
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Varlamov Reassigned; Green Practicing, Semin Not (Updated)

Simeon Varlamov has been returned to Hershey after improving to 2-0-0 in his first NHL stint last night. So that must mean Jose Theodore is ready to go. Meantime, Mike Green (shoulder) is practicing while Alexander Semin (back) is not. I'll have more after practice. Update:Green said he'll be able...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 19, 2008; 10:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
 
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Morning Reading List

Ah the unsung hero, or in the Capitals' case, the unsung Russian. That's what Coach Bruce Boudreau dubbed steady veteran Viktor Kozlov, who scored two goals last night in the Caps' 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues in Verizon Center. *Here's the Blues perspective on the loss, from the...

By Katie Carrera  |  December 19, 2008; 7:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (76)
 
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Caps 4, Blues 2

Simeon Varlamov was solid in his second NHL start and the Capitals were able to overcome a few lackadaisical stretches to overpower the Blues 4-2, for Washington's fifth straight victory. With the win the Caps tied their season best winning streak and improved to 13-1-1 at Verizon Center, which is...

By Katie Carrera  |  December 18, 2008; 11:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (82)
 
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Updates On Semin and Green

Both Alexander Semin and Mike Green did not finish the game because of injuries. I talked to Green moments ago and he told me that he aggravated the shoulder injury that caused him to miss 11 games. Green said he hopes to practice tomorrow, but that he's going to wait...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 18, 2008; 10:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Tonight's Lineup

Based on warm ups, here are tonight's lines against the Blues. The most notable change is an easy one as Coach Bruce Boudreau split up the Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin line, likely to make it harder for his friend Andy Murray to match his lines as effectively against the two snipers. Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov Laich-Nylander-Semin...

By Katie Carrera  |  December 18, 2008; 6:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (69)
 
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Boudreau Pregame

With two young goaltenders in Simeon Varlamov and Ben Bishop set to face each other tonight as the Caps host the Blues, Coach Bruce Boudreau was asked how either team might adjust to a netminder that they haven't seen before and that they don't know a whole lot about. Boudreau's...

By Katie Carrera  |  December 18, 2008; 5:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Thursday Morning Update (Update)

Rookie Simeon Varlamov will get the start in net tonight against St. Louis and winger Eric Fehr will also return to the lineup, which makes Alexandre Giroux the odd man out. More to come. Update: After stopping 32 of 33 shots in his NHL debut against the Canadiens this past...

By Katie Carrera  |  December 18, 2008; 10:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (234)
 
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Morning Reading List

Amid the Capitals recent success, the plethora of injuries and the aid provided by call ups from Hershey, defenseman Milan Jurcina has quietly become one of Washington's most consistent presences. Over the past 11 games, Jurcina has played at least 17:20 in 10 games, recorded two goals and three assists...

By Katie Carrera  |  December 18, 2008; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
 
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Erskine Getting Close

The injury situation isn't all that much more clear after this morning's practice. Brent Johnson, however, will be one of the two goalies tomorrow when the Caps host the struggling Blues, that much Coach Bruce Boudreau would confirm. Whether the other goalie will be Simeon Varlamov or Jose Theodore has...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 17, 2008; 1:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (136)
 
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Wednesday Morning Update (Updated)

The Caps are on the ice a little bit late today - they were delayed leaving New York because of snow and sleet - and there are a few interesting developments. I would give you the lines, but they have already changed once. Alex Ovechkin started the session skating with...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 17, 2008; 12:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Morning Reading List

The Capitals received some well-timed heroics from Alex Ovechkin yesterday as he fired the puck past the Islanders' Joey MacDonald to give Washington a 5-4 overtime win. In addition to being Ovechkin's second goal of the game, the late tally was also the sixth overtime goal of his career --...

By Katie Carrera  |  December 17, 2008; 8:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (82)
 
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Caps 5, Islanders 4 (OT)

The Capitals earned two points on Long Island tonight and stretched their winning streak to four games thanks to a record breaking goal by Alex Ovechkin. But Coach Bruce Boudreau was not smiling afterward. He was upset with his team's effort, particularly during a forgettable the third period in which...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 16, 2008; 11:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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Poll: Greatest Capital of All Time

Leonard Shapiro's new book ranks all sorts of bests and worsts from the DC sports region. Head here to check out former Caps writer William Gildea's top 10 Caps, and to vote on who you think is the best all time....

By Katie Carrera  |  December 16, 2008; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (254)
 
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Morning Skate Update

Brent Johnson will start in goal tonight for the Caps, who will be looking to win their fourth in a row and sixth in seven games against a New York Islanders team that hasn't won this month (six straight losses). Johnson, meantime, has been one of Washington's best players recently,...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 16, 2008; 12:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (56)
 
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Morning Reading List

While everyone from fans to teammates, coaches and Capitals management was pleased with Simeon Varlamov's NHL debut on Saturday, the team is going to take things slow with the 20-year-old goaltender. He'll remain with the Caps until Jose Theodore is healthy, then return to Hershey where he can continue to...

By Katie Carrera  |  December 16, 2008; 7:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (95)
 
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Varlamov: 'I Will Not Be Afraid of Anything'

Looks like Brent Johnson will be starting tomorrow on Long Island and that Simeon Varlamov will be backing him up. After a one day demotion, Varlamov has been recalled and will be on the roster later today. Jose Theodore told me that he's feeling better, but that there's no timetable...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 15, 2008; 12:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (154)
 
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Monday Morning Update (Update)

Of the three players who left Saturday's 2-1 win in Montreal early, only Nicklas Backstrom is back on the ice this morning. Backstrom had another bout with a migraine headache, an issue that forced him to leave a game at least once previously. Sergei Fedorov and Tyler Sloan, meantime, are...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 15, 2008; 10:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (62)
 
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Morning Reading List

While we wait for updates from today's practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, here's a look at the New York Islanders, who the Capitals visit on Tuesday. The Islanders have lost eight of their past nine games including their first six contests in December, and are in the middle of the...

By Katie Carrera  |  December 15, 2008; 8:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
 
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