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Capitals Insider: February 22, 2009 - February 28, 2009

Cherry rips Ovechkin's goal celebrations

I just got back from today's game in Boston and watched Don Cherry call out Alex Ovechkin for his emotional goal celebrations on Hockey Night in Canada. Marketing folks believe hockey needs more personalties like Ovechkin. Cherry, and lots of folks in hockey's establishment, think Ovechkin's celebrations are over the...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 28, 2009; 10:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (227)
 
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Caps 4, Bruins 3 (OT)

With a flight that leaves in a couple of minutes, I've to be quick. Here's what you need to know about today's game: *If you haven't seen Alexander Semin's overtime winner, stop reading and go to youtube.com or nhl.com immediately. It was that silly, especially considering the goaltender his neutral...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 28, 2009; 6:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (170)
 
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Today's lineup and pregame notes (Updated)

Coach Bruce Boudreau confirmed moments ago that Jose Theodore will start today and that Michael Nylander will be a scratch. Nylander has been a healthy scratch six times this season, but this is the first time he's been banished to the pressbox for consecutive games. (If the Caps wanted to...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 28, 2009; 11:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (353)
 
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Boston Globe: Lucic and Savard questionable

According to Fluto Shinzawa over at The Boston Globe, the Bruins could be without a couple of key players tomorrow afternoon. Milan Lucic and Marc Savard -- two players who have given the Caps (and a lot of other teams) fits this season -- both have upper body injuries and...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 27, 2009; 2:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (122)
 
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Big game in Boston

Tomorrow's game at TD Banknorth Garden is the Caps' last/best chance of chasing down Boston--and that's exactly how the players are approaching it. Today's practice was very businesslike and the mood in the room after practice was more serious than most off days. The Bruins, who are coming off a...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 27, 2009; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
 
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Morning Reading List

Preston Keres--TWP *The Capitals rolled over lowly Atlanta last night as Alexander Semin recorded three points Mike Green tied the franchise record for power-play goals by a defenseman in a single season with 16. The mark was originally set by Scott Stevens in 1984-85. *Here's the Times recap along...

By Katie Carrera  |  February 27, 2009; 4:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (117)
 
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McPhee on a possible Pothier return: 'I wouldn't rule it out'

Anyone who has watched defenseman Brian Pothier practice the past couple of weeks can see that he's edging closer to a possible return from a 13-month layoff with a concussion. GM George McPhee confirmed to me earlier tonight that Pothier's return could happen this season. McPhee stopped short of saying...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 26, 2009; 11:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Caps 4, Thrashers 3

The Capitals overwhelmed the Thrashers the way you would expect them to smother a team at 29th place in the NHL. The score was closer than the actual game was, especially when you consider that Atlanta recorded just 11 shots the rest of the game after the Thrashers' Rich Peverley...

By Katie Carrera  |  February 26, 2009; 11:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Tonight's Lineup

Michal Neuvirth makes his Verizon Center debut as the Capitals wrap up their five-game homestand and will oppose Kari Lehtonen. Michael Nylander and Staffan Kronwall are the scratches tonight. Based on warm up here's what the rest of the lineup should look like. Forwards Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov Laich-Fedorov-Semin Fleischmann-Steckel-Fehr Brashear-Gordon-Bradley Defense Morrisonn-Poti...

By Katie Carrera  |  February 26, 2009; 6:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (244)
 
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Morning Skate Update

Here's the latest from KCI: Michal Neuvirth will start in net tonight against Atlanta, which is 3-1-1 in its last five games. That likely means that Jose Theodore will get this weekend's critical set of back-to-backs against Boston and Florida. Coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn't say which players are going to...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 26, 2009; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (183)
 
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Neuvirth to start vs. Atlanta

Based on the morning skate, it looks like rookie goalie Michal Neuvirth will get his second career start tonight against the Thrashers, since he came off early and Jose Theodore is getting in some extra work. Viktor Kozlov also confirmed moments ago that he will indeed return to the lineup....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 26, 2009; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
 
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Morning Reading List

Preston Keres--TWP *After a nine-game absence, Viktor Kozlov is expected to return to the Caps lineup tonight against Atlanta. Or as Bruce Boudreau might say, the round peg will be back in the round hole, most likely on the top line. *The Capitals are set to tie a franchise...

By Katie Carrera  |  February 26, 2009; 4:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
 
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Boudreau on Kozlov: 'He's that round peg in that round hole'

A very light day out here at KCI this morning. Practice was optional so there weren't many players on the ice - again, which is something we're going to see a lot more down the stretch. The big news today was that Viktor Kozlov will return to the lineup tomorrow....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 25, 2009; 12:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (156)
 
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Kozlov set to return

Based on this morning's practice and Bruce Boudreau's press conference, it looks like veteran winger Viktor Kozlov will return tomorrow against Atlanta. Kozlov, who has missed nine games with a groin muscle pull, will likely go back on the first line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, Boudreau said. I'll...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 25, 2009; 11:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
 
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Morning Reading List

Haraz N. Ghanbari--The Associated Press *Missed opportunities and a plethora of penalties marred the Capitals game in last night's 4-2 loss to Philadelphia. In a game when Washington, or any team for that matter, has a combined 34 missed and blocked shots, it's rarely a positive sign. *Here's the...

By Katie Carrera  |  February 25, 2009; 4:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
 
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Flyers 4, Caps 2

The Capitals saw their 13-game winning streak over Eastern Conference opponents at home come to an end tonight against the Flyers, and fell to nine points behind Boston, who defeated Florida 6-1. For the second straight game the Caps were called for nine penalties and they've been whistled for at...

By Katie Carrera  |  February 24, 2009; 11:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (66)
 
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Tonight's Lineup

Jose Theodore will start in net for the Caps tonight and will face Antero Niittymaki. Flyers' defenseman Kimmo Timonen will miss the game with the flu. Timonen is the their designated Alex Ovechkin shutdown 'D', and although Ovechkin has had his share of scoring chances against Philly this season, the...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 24, 2009; 6:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (338)
 
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Washington's PP vs. Philly's PK

Washington's power play leads the Eastern Conference with a 24.1 percent success rate after going 13 of 36 (36.1-percent) in the past 11 games. But tonight that unit is going to face a pretty stout test in the Flyers, who have the eighth best penalty killing unit in the league...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 24, 2009; 11:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (157)
 
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Theodore in, Kronwall and Kozlov out

Based on this morning's skate, it looks like Jose Theodore will get the nod in net tonight against the Flyers (he came off the ice first). Meantime, it also appears that Staffan Kronwall will be a healthy scratch and that Viktor Kozlov will miss his ninth straight game with a...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 24, 2009; 10:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Morning Reading List

Haraz N. Ghanbari--The Associated Press *There's always been a lot of attention on the Capitals young stars, but while Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green have captured interest across the NHL, Nicklas Backstrom is quietly on pace to record the third-highest single-season assist total in franchise history. The second year...

By Katie Carrera  |  February 24, 2009; 4:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (85)
 
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Renney out, Torts in?

As many of you have no doubt seen by now, the reeling New York Rangers have canned Coach Tom Renney (one of my favorite quotes). The latest twist, though, is that former Tampa Bay bench boss John Tortorella might be Renney's replacement. From TSN.ca: Sources say the New York Rangers...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 23, 2009; 2:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (91)
 
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Monday Practice Update

It was a very relaxed morning here at KCI, where most players took full advantage of the optional practice and did not skate. Viktor Kozlov, however, was among those on the ice and spent a lot of time testing out his ability to stop and start with the groin pull...

By Katie Carrera  |  February 23, 2009; 12:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
 
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Morning Reading List

Pablo Martinez Monsivais--The Associated Press *The Capitals sealed their first series victory over Pittsburgh since the 2002-2003 season with yesterday's 5-2 win in front of a capacity Verizon Center crowd, a victory that just might show how much things can change between two rivals in just a single year....

By Katie Carrera  |  February 23, 2009; 4:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (62)
 
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Ovechkin vs. Crosby: It's Back!

Here's the latest from our good friend Slava Malamud of Sport-Express: Seeing two great players shove each other and exchange harsh words has probably become the new "it" thing in hockey. It's what the cool kids do nowadays, it seems. At least when two certain teams get together. Seriously, have...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 22, 2009; 5:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (179)
 
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Caps 5, Penguins 2

The Capitals bounced back from their stinker of a loss to Colorado on Friday with a dominant showing against Pittsburgh this afternoon that further illustrated how the tide may be turning in the rivalry between the two clubs. Washington snapped Pittsburgh's four-game winning streak that dated back to Dec. 11,...

By Katie Carrera  |  February 22, 2009; 4:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
 
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Today's Lineup

Jose Theodore will face Marc-Andre Fleury in net this afternoon. Staffan Kronwall is the odd man out among the defenseman, John Erskine is back after missing a game with the flu and based on warm ups here's what the rest of the lineup should look like against the Penguins. Ovechkin-Backstrom-Nylander...

By Katie Carrera  |  February 22, 2009; 12:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (251)
 
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