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Capitals Insider: March 15, 2009 - March 21, 2009

Caps and 'Canes, Possible First-Round Opponents?

If this was indeed the preview of a first round playoff matchup, the Caps are going to be in for a tough series against a Hurricanes team that took it to them tonight in a 4-1 win at RBC Center. Yes, goalie Cam Ward was big reason the 'Canes won...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 21, 2009; 11:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (151)
 
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Hurricanes 4, Caps 1

Division rival Carolina put up another impressive performance against the Caps tonight, taking a 4-1 victory in a hard-hitting game that may have been a third seed vs. sixth seed playoff preview. One (small) bright spot: Defenseman Mike Green scored in his fourth consecutive game. Tarik will be back soon...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  March 21, 2009; 9:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
 
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Tonight's Lineup: Caps at Hurricanes

Jose Theodore will start in goal tonight against the 'Canes and will oppose Cam Ward, who will be making his 21st straight appearance. Milan Jurcina (healthy) and Donald Brashear (knee) are out and Chris Bourque will suit up for the Caps as they go for their third straight win in...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 21, 2009; 5:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (212)
 
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Updates on Bourque and Laing

When Chris Bourque was among the last players cut in training camp, he hoped it was a temporary demotion and that he would spend some significant time in Washington this season. But it hasn't worked out that way. If he plays tonight in Carolina, as expected, it will be only...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 21, 2009; 2:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Green, Bourque Set to Play

Based on the morning skate, it appears Mike Green (ribs/side) will play tonight at RBC Center and Milan Jurcina will be the odd defenseman out. "I feel fantastic," Green said. "We'll see what they say, but it's up to me." Meantime, Chris Bourque, who was recalled from Hershey yesterday, will...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 21, 2009; 12:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (82)
 
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Mike Green Is on the Ice

Defenseman Mike Green, as expected, is on the ice for the morning skate here at RBC Center. He missed the final minutes of Thursday's game in Tampa after suffering a ribcage strain/bruise, but he appears to be participating fully right now. It's still unclear whether he'll be available to play...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 21, 2009; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Boswell: Let Eight Celebrate

Thomas Boswell wrote an excellent column about Alex Ovechkin for today's paper in which he blasts the old-school critics who say the Caps winger's 50th-goal celebration was inappropriate. Here's an excerpt: When a charismatic, 23-year-old reigning MVP wants to "do his thing," and it's more modest than what lesser stars...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  March 21, 2009; 1:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (60)
 
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Caps Recall Bourque

With Boyd Gordon (broken finger) and Quintin Laing (torn spleen) sidelined, the Caps have recalled Chris Bourque from Hershey. I just bumped into him in the lobby of the hotel as he arrived from Lowell, Mass. Bourque, who has played six games with Washington this season, is the AHL's 15th...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 21, 2009; 12:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Jeremy Roenick on Ovechkin: 'He Is Hot'

The Sharks' Jeremy Roenick was a guest on AM 640 Toronto's Bill Watters Show today, and the outspoken NHL veteran had nothing but nice things to say about Alex Ovechkin's controversial goal celebration last night. Here's a preview: "You know what? I love Ovechkin. I think this kid is great,...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  March 20, 2009; 7:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
 
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Boudreau: 'I Don't Expect It to Happen Again'

Coach Bruce Boudreau said this morning that he has spoken to Alex Ovechkin about his controversial goal celebration. "We had a little talk," he said. "I won't say what we talked about, but we talked." After a pause, Boudreau added: "It's the first and only time I've seen that happen...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 20, 2009; 11:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (257)
 
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The Latest on Laing

Here's Coach Bruce Boudreau's reaction to Quintin Laing suffering a torn spleen: "He said: 'Geez, my abs are hurting'," Boudreau said. "And [head athletic trainer Greg Smith] said: 'That's not your abs.' I have no idea if he's having surgery or not having surgery. But Smitty said it's a three-...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 20, 2009; 11:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Mike Green Update

I just spoke with defenseman Mike Green, who was injured in the final minutes of last night's game when he was pulled down by rookie Steven Stamkos. Green did not practice today, but said he hopes to take the morning skate tomorrow. At that time, he will decide whether he...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 20, 2009; 10:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Laing Hospitalized With Torn Spleen

Quintin Laing suffered a torn spleen last night in his first game with the Caps this season and is out for the season. It's unclear how exactly he suffered the injury, but I can tell you he did not know he was hurt (or at least to what extent) around...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 20, 2009; 10:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Morning Reading List: Ovechkin's 50th

Mike Carlson--The Associated Press Mike Green notched two goals and Alex Ovechkin scored his 50th, making him the first Capital to have three 50-goal seasons and just the second active player to accomplish the feat along with Teemu Selanne, as the Capitals defeated Tampa, 5-2, last night at St....

By Katie Carrera  |  March 20, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (80)
 
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More on Ovechkin's Celebration

Based on what was said about Alex Ovechkin's goal celebration tonight, I'm pretty sure we haven't heard the last of this yet. You've already read what Ovechkin and Lightning Coach Rick Tocchet had to say about it. And if you were watching on television, you probably heard how the announced...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 20, 2009; 12:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (58)
 
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Update on Green

Defenseman Mike Green missed the final few minutes of tonight's game after getting tangled up with Bolts rookie Steven Stamkos in the corner. It didn't look good, as Green stayed down for a moment and then was hunched over on the bench. But he said afterward that he only had...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 19, 2009; 11:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Ovechkin Reaction

Here's what Alex Ovechkin had to say about his goal celebration tonight: "Me, Jose Theodore, [Nicklas] Backstrom and [Mike Green] said if I score goal, Jose tell me just put the stick on the ice and try act like it's so hot. Backie stopped and Greenie stopped, so I have...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 19, 2009; 10:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (96)
 
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Capitals 5, Lightning 2

Alex Ovechkin's goal in the first period made him the first Capital to tally 50 goals three times, and Washington earned its ninth straight victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-2. Defenseman Mike Green scored in his third consecutive game, bagging a pair of goals to bring his season total...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  March 19, 2009; 10:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Ovechkin Nets No. 50

Alex Ovechkin netted No. 50 during a four-on-four in the first period tonight to become the first Capital to score 50 goals three times and only the second active player to have accomplished the feat (Teemu Selanne is the other). After ripping a shot past Mike McKenna, Ovechkin dropped his...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 19, 2009; 8:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (196)
 
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Gordon Out 2-3 Weeks

Fourth-line forward Boyd Gordon will miss two to three weeks with a broken finger, according to GM George McPhee. Gordon, one of the Caps' top penalty killers and faceoff men, was struck by a shot Tuesday night. So it looks like Quintin Laing's first stint in Washington this season could...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 19, 2009; 7:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (160)
 
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Tonight's Lineup: Caps at Lightning

Simeon Varlamov will make the third start of his NHL career tonight at St. Pete Times Forum and is expected to oppose Mike McKenna as the Caps go for the ninth straight win over the Bolts. Donald Brashear (knee) and John Erskine (healthy) are out, as is Boyd Gordon (lower...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 19, 2009; 5:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
 
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Caps Reassign Aucoin

The Caps have sent call-up Keith Aucoin back to Hershey. The team had been able to keep him in Washington on an "emergency" basis while left wing Donald Brashear is out with a sprained knee. Tarik will post the lineup before the opening faceoff....

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  March 19, 2009; 1:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
 
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'Good Chance' Laing, Varlamov, Pothier Will Play (Updated)

Here's the latest from Tampa: Laing to Replace Gordon Quintin "Shot-Blocking Machine" Laing has indeed been recalled and is expected to replace Boyd Gordon, who is believed to have suffered a lower body injury in Tuesday's game. Coach Bruce Boudreau would not say whether Gordon is in fact injured, but...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 19, 2009; 12:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
 
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Laing Recalled, Varlamov to Start

A couple of observations from St. Pete Times Forum: Quintin Laing is walking around (so I'm assuming he's been recalled) and Simeon Varlamov is warming up like he's going to start tonight against the Lightning. I'll have more details after Bruce Boudreau speaks to reporters....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 19, 2009; 11:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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Morning Reading List: Laich and Lightning

Steve Babineau--Getty Tarik spends some time examining the development of Brooks Laich from prospect to a reliable veteran, and examining his devotion to his team. The Hockey News brings you their top 10 line combinations, and the pairing of Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Viktor Kozlov made the list. Colleague Corey Masisak...

By Katie Carrera  |  March 19, 2009; 7:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
 
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Shotless Period Correction

Last night, I reported that the Caps had held a team without a shot in a period for the third time in franchise history when they blanked the Panthers in the third at BankAtlantic Center. Well, the media guide forgot to mention one other instance. Last night was actually the...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 18, 2009; 8:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Brooks Laich: 'This Team Is My Life'

Tarik's story for tomorrow's paper takes a look at hardworking Caps forward Brooks Laich, who registered his 18th goal of the season last night against the Panthers. Here's an early look: Standing out on a star-laden team that features two former MVPs and the reigning one isn't easy, particularly for...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  March 18, 2009; 6:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
 
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Morning Reading List: Win Highlights, Varlamov's Mask

Steve Mitchell--The Associated Press It may not have been a perfect performance, but the Capitals did their best to push the memory of Monday's ugly loss out of their collective memory in last night's 3-0 win over Florida, who failed to register a shot in the third period. Here...

By Katie Carrera  |  March 18, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (148)
 
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Caps Blank Panthers

One night after getting trounced in Atlanta, the Caps were better tonight at BankAtlantic Center. The defense was good, Jose Theodore was solid and they got some much-needed secondary scoring en route to a 3-0 win over a Florida team that didn't put up much of a fight, particularly late....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 17, 2009; 11:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Capitals 3, Panthers 0

Caps forward Brooks Laich scored a short-handed goal 5:46 into the second period, Viktor Kozlov tallied in the third thanks to a nice setup by Michael Nylander and Washington's defense did the rest in a 3-0 victory over the Florida Panthers at BankAtlantic Center. Mike Green added an empty-net goal...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  March 17, 2009; 9:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
 
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Tonight's Lineup: Caps at Panthers

The Caps will definitely have Mike Green and Sergei Fedorov back in the lineup tonight, Coach Bruce Boudreau confirmed. Brian Pothier will be a healthy scratch, though Boudreau said he was pleased with his performance in the second half of Monday's agme and the plan is to play the veteran...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 17, 2009; 5:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (239)
 
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Boudreau Showcases Aucoin

Here's the latest from South Florida: Injury Update Both Mike Green and Sergei Fedorov confirmed to me after the morning skate they're pretty sure they'll be able to suit up tonight. And with Brian Pothier and Keith Aucoin staying out for some extra skating -- that's usually reserved for the...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 17, 2009; 1:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (180)
 
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Green, Fedorov Expected to Return

Defenseman Mike Green and center Sergei Fedorov are expected to return to the lineup tonight at BankAtlantic Center, where the morning skate just started. Coach Bruce Boudreau also confirmed that Jose Theodore will start in goal. If Fedorov plays, emergency recall Keith Aucoin -- the star of this morning's team...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 17, 2009; 11:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (72)
 
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Morning Reading List

Gregory Smith--The Associated Press The Capitals continued their trend of playing poorly against teams behind them in the standings, with perhaps their worst example of the season coming in last night's 5-1 loss to Atlanta, a team that began the game with 30 fewer points than Washington. Here's the...

By Katie Carrera  |  March 17, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (89)
 
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Boudreau: 'It Was a Lot of Effort Issues'

Coach Bruce Boudreau praised Kari Lehtonen for his 49-save performance in the Thrashers' 5-1 win tonight. But Boudreau also bluntly pointed out -- in only the way he can -- that the Atlanta goaltender was only a part of the Caps' problem at Philips Arena. "Kari Lehtonen was great all...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 16, 2009; 11:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Thrashers 5, Caps 1

There really isn't much to remember from the Capitals' performance in Atlanta tonight. They were outworked by the Thrashers, who have now set a franchise record with six straight wins. Atlanta received a solid performance by goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who faced 50 shots and made a few spectacular saves at...

By Katie Carrera  |  March 16, 2009; 9:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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Live Game Chat: Capitals at Thrashers

Join The Post's Katie Carrera as she watches along on Versus and shares her thoughts on the game and more: Live Game Chat: Capitals at Thrashers...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  March 16, 2009; 6:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (109)
 
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Tonight's Lineup: Caps at Thrashers (Updated)

Jose Theodore will start in goal at Philips Arena and will oppose Kari Lehtonen as both teams seek franchise records. The Caps can tie the club mark for consecutive wins (6) and the Thrashers are going for a club record sixth straight win. As I mentioned earlier, the star power...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 16, 2009; 6:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Green 'Questionable' For Tonight

Defenseman Mike Green is questionable for tonight's game in Atlanta, Coach Bruce Boudreau confirmed moments ago. Boudreau said he's got a "touch of the flu." The flu, it seems, is a common ailment this time of the year in the NHL. Green will take the warmup, and if he can't...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 16, 2009; 5:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
 
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Pothier Might Play Tonight

Here's the latest: Pothier in, Green Out? Appears there might be a change in plans. Brian Pothier said he expects to play tonight, though he didn't know who he's replacing. Based on what I'm hearing, it could be Mike Green, who is believed to be nursing a minor injury. "I'm...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 16, 2009; 12:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (110)
 
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Pothier 'Probable' to Play This Week

A couple of quick notes from Philips Arena: Pothier 'Probable' Coach Bruce Boudreau said defenseman Brian Pothier is "probable" to play in one of the Caps' next two games. So that means the veteran could officially make his return to the NHL tonight in Atlanta or tomorrow in Sunrise, Fla....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 16, 2009; 11:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Live Game Chat Tonight

Join The Post's Katie Carrera here on the Insider when the Caps take on the Thrashers tonight at Philips Arena in Atlanta. Katie will watch along on Versus and chat about everything Caps-related, from game action to defenseman Brian Pothier's NHL comeback. If you're on Twitter, we'll be re-tweeting the...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  March 16, 2009; 10:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
 
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Morning Reading List: Pothier Returns

Fourteen months and 111 games after Brian Pothier absorbed a crushing hit from Boston's Milan Lucic, the defenseman is back on the road with the Caps and hoping to make his NHL return. Pothier completed a week-long conditioning stint with the Hershey Bears before making the trip to Atlanta...

By Katie Carrera  |  March 16, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Q&A With Brian Pothier

Brian Pothier just did a conference call with reporters from Atlanta. Here's some of what he had to say: Q: What went through your mind when you were called up from Hershey? A: It's been a long time coming. You can practice all you want, shoot as many pucks as...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 15, 2009; 6:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
 
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Pothier, Varlamov Rejoin Caps for Trip

Fifteen months after suffering the fourth -- and worst -- concussion of his career, Brian Pothier is on the verge of returning to the NHL. His reconditioning stint with the Hershey Bears is complete. Pothier is a Washington Capital again and the veteran defenseman will accompany the team on its...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 15, 2009; 2:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (72)
 
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