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

Russia Hoping to Reunite Its 'Washington Line'

Here's the latest installment from our good friend Slava Malamud at Sport-Express: As if Washington needed any more Russian presence (actually, this particular reporter wouldn't mind it at all), two top members of Russia's hockey brass were in town last night. That would be Slava Bykov, the head coach of...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | March 28, 2009; 9:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (258)
 
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Pothier's Big Night

Alex Ovechkin had a four-point night and Nicklas Backstrom and Brooks Laich had three apiece. But tonight was about defenseman Brian Pothier, who scored his first goal since Dec. 27th 2007 -- the game-winner, no less -- in the Caps' 5-3 win over the Lightning. Pothier got the third star...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | March 27, 2009; 11:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
 
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Capitals 5, Lightning 3

Brian Pothier's game-winning goal, the defenseman's first since his comeback on March 17 against Atlanta, brought the Verizon Center crowd to its feet for some of the loudest cheers of the evening as the Capitals won their 10th straight game against the Lightning. With 15 penalties and two instantly disallowed...

By Katie Carrera  | March 27, 2009; 9:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
 
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Tonight's Lineup: Lightning at Caps

Jose Theodore will start in net tonight and is expected to oppose Mike McKenna as the Caps go for their 10th straight win over the Bolts. Alexander Semin (flu), Donald Brashear (sprained knee) and Jeff Schultz (healthy) are out. The rest of the lineup should look like this: Forwards Ovechkin-Fedorov-Fehr...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | March 27, 2009; 5:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (216)
 
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Easy Schedule: Good or Bad?

Of the five opponents the Caps will face in their final seven games of the season, just one -- Florida -- has a reasonable shot at making the playoffs. It's looking bleak for the Buffalo Sabres, and the other teams -- the Isles, Lightning and Thrashers -- have the three...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | March 27, 2009; 2:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Ovechkin's New Toy

Alex Ovechkin's collection of sweet rides just got even sweeter. Surrounded by a small crowd of fans and teammates outside KCI this morning was Ovechkin's newest toy: a brand-new, 200-mph Mercedes SL65 AMG Black Series. Its price tag is about $250,000, and only 350 are expected to be produced worldwide....

By Tarik El-Bashir  | March 27, 2009; 1:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (87)
 
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Semin 'Questionable' for Tonight

Here's the latest from KCI: Alexander Semin, who, like many of his teammates, has been suffering from the flu, is questionable for tonight's game against the Lightning. I noticed Semin limping as he walked out of KCI the other day -- I believe he was struck with a shot in...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | March 27, 2009; 11:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Schultz Out Tonight

Based on the morning skate, it appears Jeff Schultz will be the odd defenseman out tonight against Tampa Bay, since he is staying on the ice for additional work with assistant coach Jay Leach. It also looks like Jose Theodore will start and that both Keith Aucoin and Oskar Osala...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | March 27, 2009; 10:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Aucoin and Osala Recalled, Semin Skating

Keith Aucoin and Oskar Osala are both on the ice this morning, having been recalled from Hershey. Coach Bruce Boudreau said yesterday that Donald Brashear wouldn't be ready to play, so it's possible one of them could fill his spot in the lineup. Brashear is practicing with the team right...

By Katie Carrera  | March 27, 2009; 10:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Caps Look to Ramp Up in Time for Playoffs

Tonight's game against Tampa Bay is the only one the Capitals will play in a seven-day span, and one of six games this month against teams that have long been out of the playoff hunt. Despite the weak schedule, though, Washington has struggled. The Caps are 5-5-2 in March and...

By Katie Carrera  | March 27, 2009; 8:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Morning Reading List: Pothier, Laich and Laing Profiles

(Mike Carlson - The Associated Press) There's not much to say other than that Alex Ovechkin's celebration is "a done deal." ESPN's Pierre LeBrun profiles Brian Pothier and the defenseman's comeback after 14 months away from an NHL rink. The story includes quite a bit of detail about the...

By Katie Carrera  | March 27, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Tampa's Malone on Ovechkin: 'I Don't Think We Have His Name Circled'

Most of you have probably already read or seen Coach Bruce Boudreau's comments about letting go of Alex Ovechkin's goal celebration. After tomorrow's game against the Lightning, the topic will hopefully be put to rest. But considering the comments from Tampa Bay players about handling it "the right way," it...

By Katie Carrera  | March 26, 2009; 7:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
 
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Boudreau: 'You Wanna Go There?' (Updated)

Just when you thought the Ovechkin celebration chatter had settled, the TSN crew showed up at Kettler today and stoked the flames. Coach Bruce Boudreau = not amused. Dan Steinberg details Boudreau's reaction to the questions: And Bruce Boudreau? Well, in the spirit of pre-planned explosions, he waited for the...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | March 26, 2009; 1:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (97)
 
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Erskine as a Forward, Fedorov on the Top Line

John Erskine was indeed skating with the forwards this morning at KCI and Coach Bruce Boudreau did shake up the lines, which you can see below. As for how permanent having Erskine with the forwards is, well Boudreau's not sure, but it would help bring a physical presence up front...

By Katie Carrera  | March 26, 2009; 12:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (96)
 
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No Brashear, Semin

Both Donald Brashear and Alexander Semin are missing from this morning's practice. Brashear has missed the past seven games after suffering a knee sprain against Nashville on March 10 and Semin was suffering from those flu-like symptoms. I'll check up on them later. In the meantime, if you didn't catch...

By Katie Carrera  | March 26, 2009; 10:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
 
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Take Your Pick: First-Round Opponent

The Caps have that nice little "x" next to their name in the Eastern Conference standings, but who they'll face in the first round of the playoffs is anything but a lock. Right now, the No. 3 Caps match up with the rival Pittsburgh Penguins, but if it were between...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | March 26, 2009; 9:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (60)
 
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Morning Reading List: Pothier Improving

(Gerald Herbert -The Associated Press) After a shaky start in his season debut, Brian Pothier is showing that he's returning to his old pre-concussion form as he and the Capitals prepare for the playoffs. In case you missed it last night, the outcome of a few games allowed the...

By Katie Carrera  | March 26, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Caps Sign Miskovic, Clinch Playoff Berth

St. Lawrence defenseman Zach Miskovic has been signed to a one-year entry level contract beginning in 2009-10, the team announced earlier today. From the Caps: Miskovic, 23, was a first-team All-ECAC Hockey selection this season as a senior at St. Lawrence after earning third-team honors in 2007-08. He shared the...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | March 25, 2009; 9:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
 
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Pothier: 'I Feel Better Every Game'

Tarik's story for tomorrow's paper looks at the progress of veteran defenseman Brian Pothier, who's played in three games with the Caps since returning from post-concussion syndrome. Here's an early look: In the final minutes of last Thursday's game in Tampa, the Washington Capitals' Brian Pothier was crushed in the...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | March 25, 2009; 6:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
 
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Three Sent Down to Hershey, Varlamov Back With Caps

Chris Bourque, Steve Pinozzotto and Daren Machesney were returned to Hershey today and Simeon Varlamov was recalled from the Bears. The Caps, who still have seven players suffering from lingering effects of the flu, had a meeting this morning but Coach Bruce Boudreau called off practice to allow his players...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | March 25, 2009; 12:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (109)
 
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Morning Reading List: Toronto Recap

Chris Young--The Associated Press Unfortunately for the Capitals, Curtis Joseph became the star of last night's overtime game with its outcome on the line as he entered with less than a minute remaining in regulation. Joseph stopped a flurry of Washington shots in overtime and then thwarted Nicklas Backstrom,...

By Katie Carrera  | March 25, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (123)
 
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Laich: 'Our Energy Level Has to Come Up'

Well, that was certainly one of the weirdest finishes I've witnessed in a while. Alexander Semin whiffed on a wide-open net with less than three minutes to go in a tied game. The Caps and Leafs exchanged goals in the final 2:08. Martin Gerber got ejected and 41-year-old Curtis Joseph...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | March 24, 2009; 11:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Maple Leafs 3, Capitals 2, SO

Leafs backup goalie Curtis Joseph put on a brilliant performance after stepping in for Martin Gerber, lifting Toronto to a 3-2 shootout victory at Air Canada Centre and sending the Caps home with a single point in the finale of their five-game road trip. Washington forward Brooks Laich stuffed the...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | March 24, 2009; 9:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (56)
 
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Ovechkin Reps 'Coach's Corner' (Now With Photos)

Every game night around 5:30, Alex Ovechkin and several teammates kick a soccer ball around outside the dressing room as a way of loosening up. Tonight was no different. Except Ovechkin wasn't wearing his usual red Caps underwear. He was wearing a red "Coach's Corner" t-shirt and Hockey Night in...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | March 24, 2009; 5:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (408)
 
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Tonight's Lineup: Caps at Toronto

Jose Theodore will get the nod tonight and will oppose Martin Gerber as the Caps attempt to close out a five-game road trip on a high note at ACC and bounce back from Saturday's 4-1 loss in Carolina. I'm hearing Steve Pinozzotto (emergency call-up) and Brian Pothier (healthy) will take...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | March 24, 2009; 5:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Ovechkin: 'It's Good for the League'

Even if you're sick of the debate over Alex Ovechkin's 50th goal celebration, many of the quotes below are worth passing along. Some might even make you laugh. So give them a read. You'll be glad you did. Bruce Boudreau Q: You said after the game in Tampa that you...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | March 24, 2009; 1:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (184)
 
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Boudreau: Semin, Bradley Are 'Probable'

Coach Bruce Boudreau said he expects Alexander Semin and Matt Bradley to play tonight despite being under the weather. If that's the case, Steve Pinozzotto won't make his NHL debut tonight. Boudreau, who's also suffering from the bug that's tearing through the Caps, said the symptoms are similar to a...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | March 24, 2009; 12:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
 
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Pinizzotto and Machesney Recalled, Varlamov Sent Down

With Alexander Semin and Matt Bradley (among others) suffering from flu-like symptoms, the Caps had to make some interesting moves ahead of tonight's meeting with the Leafs at Air Canada Centre. Right wing Steve Pinizzotto and goaltender Daren Machesney have been recalled from Hershey and goaltender Simeon Varlamov has been...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | March 24, 2009; 10:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (102)
 
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Morning Reading List: Fleischmann Searching for Flash

Gregory Smith--The Associated Press Tomas Fleischmann entered this season hoping people would take notice, and they did for the right reasons during the first half of the season. Now Fleischmann is attracting attention for the wrong reason, as he's mired in an 11-game pointless slump and has scored just...

By Katie Carrera  | March 24, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
 
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Video: Playoffs, Caps Have the Flu

Tarik was on Washington Post Live today to discuss all things Caps, including those magic numbers of 101 (to clinch a playoff berth) and 102 (to clinch the Southeast Division), plus that nasty bug going around the locker room. In case you missed it, here's the clip:...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | March 23, 2009; 9:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Laing Returns Home

Winger Quintin Laing has been discharged from a Tampa hospital and returned to his Pennsylvania home with his wife Aimee this evening. Laing, who suffered a torn spleen against the Lightning on Saturday night, is doing well, according to a team spokesman. Laing wanted to thank the Caps medical staff...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | March 23, 2009; 8:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Fleischmann Looks to Get Back on Track

In tomorrow's paper, Tarik examines the recent offensive struggles of winger Tomas Fleischmann, who hasn't notched a point all month. Here's an early look: Tomas Fleischmann was the pleasant surprise of the season's first half, notching 15 goals in his first 36 games despite a bout with pneumonia. These days,...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | March 23, 2009; 4:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (81)
 
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Blog Maintenance: Comment Outage

Just a quick heads-up: The Capitals Insider will undergo an upgrade today starting around 1 p.m. and lasting an hour or two. Don't worry about missing any Caps news; Tarik will be able to post, but you will not be able to comment until the upgrade is finished. We'll let...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | March 23, 2009; 12:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (123)
 
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Semin, Bradley Have the Flu

Alexander Semin and Matt Bradley missed this morning's practice with flu-like symptoms, according to Coach Bruce Boudreau. Both are "iffy" for tomorrow's game in Toronto, so the Caps will likely make at least one call-up from Hershey later (if not two). There are a few other players are who also...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | March 23, 2009; 11:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
 
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Bourque Stays; Brashear Out; Bradley and Semin Missing

Chris Bourque is on the ice for practice, so it looks like he's earned a longer look in Washington. Donald Brashear, meantime, skated in a warm-up suit before practice, so it appears he'll miss his seventh straight game tomorrow in Toronto. Also, Matt Bradley and Alexander Semin are not on...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | March 23, 2009; 10:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
 
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Morning Reading List: Bears Update and Celebration Wrap-Up

The Caps have two games in the next 10 days, so this morning seemed like a good time to catch up with the Bears. (Washington links can be found after the jump.) After starting the weekend with a 2-1 loss to the Lowell Devils, Hershey responded with a dramatic...

By Katie Carrera  | March 23, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
 
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