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Capitals Insider: December 28, 2008 - January 3, 2009

Battle of the Bizarre Fights

Alexander Semin engaged in his first career fight tonight with Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, who had two small scratches under his right eye after the encounter. And for those of you who weren't watching the game, check out the first video. Descriptions of Semin's punches toward the end of the...

By Katie Carrera  |  January 3, 2009; 11:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (199)
 
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Caps 2, Rangers 1

"You've got to win every which way," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "That's playoff hockey. You play a really good team and you shut them down and you do it with all four lines." *The Capitals won a tight, defensive game against the Rangers tonight to reach a franchise milestone. This...

By Katie Carrera  |  January 3, 2009; 11:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Tonight's Lineup; Alexandre Giroux Sent Down

Jose Theodore will start for the Caps and is expected to oppose Steve Valiquette. I'm hearing Henrik Lundqvist has the flu. A win tonight will give the Caps their best record through 40 games. Ever. They are 25-11-3; the best mark through 40 games came in 1985-86, when the Caps...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 3, 2009; 6:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (82)
 
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Boudreau: 'It's Dumb ...It's Not Right'

In light of Dan Steinberg's entertaining post on Alex Ovechkin not making the starting lineup for the NHL's all-star game, I asked Coach Bruce Boudreau for his thoughts on the matter. As you might expect from a guy whose nickname is "Gabby", he had plenty to say. "I think it's...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 3, 2009; 5:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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Ovechkin Robbed in All-Star Balloting

The NHL released the final voting tallies for this year's All-Star game in Montreal and somehow Alex Ovechkin is voted sixth. Among forwards. In the Eastern Conference. Dan Steinberg has more on this affront to democracy over at the D.C. Sports Bog....

By washingtonpost.com Sports Editor  |  January 3, 2009; 4:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Saturday Morning Update (Update)

Here's the latest from KCI: *Jose Theodore will indeed start tonight against a Rangers' team that has had five days off to rest. And they're no doubt still smarting from the Caps' five goal comeback at MSG on Dec. 23. "We're expecting the Rangers' best because they've had a few...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 3, 2009; 11:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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Theodore To Start: Semin To Return (Update)

Jose Theodore will return to the nets for tonight's game against the Rangers. A couple of other quick observations: *A couple of fans held a Slovakia sign in the crowd here at KCI as a salute to their homeland's upset victory over Team USA in the world junior championships yesterday....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 3, 2009; 10:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Heward: Ovechkin is 'One of the Cleanest Players'

Jamie Heward met with the reporters earlier today when he arrived back in Tampa, which for anyone who saw him lying unconscious at Verizon Center yesterday is a great thing to hear. Thanks to Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times for passing Heward's quotes from the session along. Heward,...

By Katie Carrera  |  January 2, 2009; 9:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
 
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Bourque Reassigned

I was driving when this news officially broke but yes Chris Bourque was indeed reassigned to Hershey this afternoon. I would assume that this means Donald Brashear will be ready to go against the Rangers. *Lightning GM Bruce Lawton told the Tampa media that the league doesn't plan to discipline...

By Katie Carrera  |  January 2, 2009; 3:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
 
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Full House at Kettler

As previously mentioned nearly every player was on the ice at some point this morning except Sergei Fedorov who has missed 24 of the past 27 games with an ankle injury. And here is your daily injury update: *Donald Brashear told me his leg's feeling better and depending on how...

By Katie Carrera  |  January 2, 2009; 1:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Friday Morning Update (Update)

There's another large crowd at Kettler Capitals Iceplex today as the only Capital not on the ice is Sergei Fedorov (ankle). Tom Poti (groin) was out on the ice early with Brian Pothier but went off when the rest of the team came on. There are four full sets of...

By Katie Carrera  |  January 2, 2009; 11:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (79)
 
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Morning Reading List

I'm not sure if there is an effective way to sum up everything that happened in last night's game against the Lightning but with Tarik's hard-copy-edition story and the previous blog post you should be caught up to speed. *Here are Tampa perspectives on the game from the Tampa Tribune...

By Katie Carrera  |  January 2, 2009; 8:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
 
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Ovechkin's Hit On Heward

In case you missed Alex Ovechkin's hit on Lightning defenseman (and former Capital) Jamie Heward, here it is again: Scary stuff, indeed. GM George McPhee told me after the game that he did not expect Ovechkin to face any disciplinary action for the hit. I also checked with league disciplinarian...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 2, 2009; 2:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Full House at Kettler

As previously mentioned nearly every player was on the ice at some point this morning except Sergei Fedorov who has missed 24 of the past 27 games with an ankle injury. And here is your daily injury update: *Donald Brashear told me his leg's feeling better and depending on how...

By Katie Carrera  |  January 2, 2009; 1:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Caps 7, Lightning 4

The Caps snapped a two-game losing streak against Southeast Division opponents with the win over Tampa Bay last night, but concern from both teams about the health of defenseman Jamie Heward, who was taken off the ice on a stretcher after a hit by Alex Ovechkin 6:45 into the third...

By Katie Carrera  |  January 1, 2009; 11:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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Heward Status

The initial report from the Lightning is that defenseman Jamie Heward has a concussion and is going to the hospital for further evaluation. In case you weren't watching/listening/following the game, Heward was hit into the boards by Alex Ovechkin with his head taking the full force of the blow. He...

By Katie Carrera  |  January 1, 2009; 8:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
 
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Tonight's Lineup

Here are the lines for tonight's game against the Lightning. Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov Laich-Nylander-Clark Bourque-Steckel-Fehr Giroux-Gordon-Bradley Schultz-Green Morrisonn-Collins Alzner-Jurcina Johnson...

By Katie Carrera  |  January 1, 2009; 6:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (138)
 
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Thursday Morning Update

Brent Johnson was the first goaltender off the ice this morning and will start tonight against the Lightning. This will be Johnson's first start since Dec. 20 against Philadelphia, when he was pulled after allowing three goals on 13 shots in the Flyers' 7-1 win. Prior to that game Johnson...

By Katie Carrera  |  January 1, 2009; 11:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
 
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Semin Skating

Alexander Semin is on the ice practicing with his teammates but was mostly stretching along the boards. Donald Brashear (leg bruise) is also out on the Kettler ice, as is Karl Alzner (hand bruise), John Erskine (concussion) and Brian Pothier (concussion) once again. More to come....

By Katie Carrera  |  January 1, 2009; 9:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Morning Reading List

The first reading list of 2009 starts with a look at Nicklas Backstrom, who has come into his own during his sophomore season. The important thing here isn't only his stats, which are steadily increasing, but his on-ice vision that continues to improve with each hidden pass he slips through...

By Katie Carrera  |  January 1, 2009; 8:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Wednesday Practice Update

First, a quick injury update: *Tomas Fleischmann skated with the team today, but told me he is far from being ready to return. Coach Bruce Boudreau said he's hoping to have the winger back for the game against Philly on Jan. 6. *Karl Alzner (bruised hand) and Shaone Morrisonn (foot)...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 31, 2008; 12:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (100)
 
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Morrisonn Practicing, Pothier, Too (Updated)

Shaone Morrisonn is on the ice and appears to be participating fully after taking a shot off his foot/ankle last night in Buffalo. Morrisonn missed the final 1:07 of the game. Tomas Fleischmann, who has missed three games with pneumonia, is also practicing with the team for the first time...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 31, 2008; 11:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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Morning Reading List

Led by goaltender Jose Theodore, who looks more and more like a No. 1 netminder with every passing game, Caps exorcised their HSBC Arena demons for a 4-2 win over the Sabres that gave Washington its ninth victory in the past 10 games. *Here's one the most comprehensive lists of...

By Katie Carrera  |  December 31, 2008; 8:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (74)
 
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Caps 4, Sabres 2

Consider the Caps' demons exorcised after tonight's thorough 4-2 win in Buffalo, where the Capitals won for only the second time in nine games and avenged a 5-0 here loss last month. "We talked about it," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It might be a stupid saying, but it worked and...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 30, 2008; 10:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
 
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Tonight's Lineup

Jose Theodore will start in net for the Caps and will face Ryan Miller tonight at HSBC Arena. As suspected, Karl Alzner (bruised hand) and Donald Brashear (bruised leg) are both out. Here's the rest of the lineup (based on warm-ups): Forwards Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov Laich-Nylander-Clark Bourque-Steckel-Fehr Giroux-Gordon-Bradley Defense Morrisonn-Collins Schultz-Green Sloan-Jurcina...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 30, 2008; 6:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (253)
 
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Alzner Not Expected To Play; Sloan Recalled (Updated)

Defenseman Karl Alzner is expected to miss tonight's game in Buffalo with a hand injury. He skated this morning at HSBC Arena, but he didn't have much strength in his hand, limiting effectiveness. Both X-ray and MRI exams came back negative, so it looks like it's just a bad bruise....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 30, 2008; 12:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (86)
 
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Morning Reading List

For today's hard-copy edition, Tarik takes a look at Jose Theodore's recently improved play. As mentioned after the win over the Leafs, Theodore has stopped 64 of the 68 shots he's faced since being pulled in the first period against the New York Rangers and is beginning to look like...

By Katie Carrera  |  December 30, 2008; 7:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (96)
 
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Varlamov Demoted and Other Notes

Karl Alzner suffered a bruised hand after taking two shots in virtually the same spot last night. The rookie defenseman said he plans to travel to Buffalo this afternoon and hopes to faces the Sabres tomorrow night. But Coach Bruce Boudreau said the team will likely call-up a defenseman just...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 29, 2008; 12:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (152)
 
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Bourque Up, Alzner Hurt (Update)

Another big crowd here at KCI, and another round of injury news and roster moves to tell you about. Chris Bourque has been recalled and Alexandre Giroux has been sent down (but is on the ice for practice). Also, Karl Alzner is not skating and just walked into KCI wearing...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 29, 2008; 10:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (75)
 
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Morning Reading List

For those who missed last night's festivities at Verizon Center, including Brooks Laich's pair of goals, check out Tarik's story in the hard-copy edition. *Here are video highlights from the Caps' 4-1 win over the Leafs along with the Toronto perspective from the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail and...

By Katie Carrera  |  December 29, 2008; 8:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
 
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Caps 4, Leafs 1

Brooks Laich got back to his roots against Toronto tonight, scoring two goals from his seemingly natural spot atop the crease. They might not make any highlight reels or top-10 lists, but they definitely harken back to one of the center's quotes from last season. So why not dust off...

By Katie Carrera  |  December 28, 2008; 11:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (60)
 
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Gartner Tribute

Here's the Mike Gartner tribute video that was played on the jumbotron at Verizon Center before his No. 11 jersey was retired. And here is the full pregame ceremony....

By Katie Carrera  |  December 28, 2008; 8:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Tonight's Lines

It was fun trying to figure out lines during warm ups today with the players all wearing Mike Gartner's No. 11 but here's what you should expect against the Leafs. Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov Giroux-Nylander-Clark Steckel-Laich-Fehr Brashear-Gordon-Bradley Morrisonn-Collins Alzner-Jurcina Schultz-Green Theodore *Before the game Coach Bruce Boudreau was asked about the decision to...

By Katie Carrera  |  December 28, 2008; 6:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Sloan Reassigned; Stajan Out

With Mike Green and Jeff Schultz set to return tonight, the Caps have reassigned Tyler Sloan to Hershey, I'm told. I suspected something was up when he walked out of KCI this morning carrying a box. Now it's official. Also, Toronto's No. 1 center Matt Stajan is out at least...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 28, 2008; 3:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Guest Blogger: Things Ovechkin Hates

Zdravstvuyte. Actually, it's easier to say Privet! This is the standard answer to the question: "So, how do you say hello in Russian?" Which, incidentally, is the third most common thing that Americans ask us Russians. (The first thing being: "Oh, do you know that guy named Boris?" And the...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 28, 2008; 11:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
 
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Morning Skate Update

There's not a whole lot to add to yesterday's entry. Jose Theodore will indeed start in net tonight against Toronto and will likely oppose Vesa Toskala. Looks like with Brent Johnson ailing (hip), Theodore's got his shot to, as Coach Bruce Boudreau always says, run with it. For now, at...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 28, 2008; 11:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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