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Capitals Insider: April 12, 2009 - April 18, 2009

Backstrom: 'We Have to Try Something New'

It was the gutsiest decision of Coach Bruce Boudreau's tenure behind the Caps' bench, and it paid off. But even Simeon Varlamov's 23-save gem wasn't enough on an afternoon when Henrik Lundqvist was perfect and the Caps' skilled forwards rarely ventured into high-traffic areas. The lack of traffic in front...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 18, 2009; 7:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (178)
 
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Postgame Video Debate: Can the Caps Come Back?

From our satellite studio, AKA the copy room of Verizon Center's press lounge, Post columnist Mike Wise and Capitals beat writer Tarik El-Bashir argued over Washington's chances of coming back to win its series with the Rangers after falling behind by two games. Watch the video and then, if you...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 18, 2009; 6:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
 
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Game 2: Rangers 1, Capitals 0

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 35 shots Washington sent his way, and the Caps got frustrated early in a 1-0 defeat at home. The big pregame news was Coach Bruce Boudreau's decision to bench Jose Theodore and start 20-year-old rookie Simeon Varlamov, who made 23 saves and looked solid...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 18, 2009; 3:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (145)
 
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Live Game Chat: Capitals vs. Rangers

Update from Tarik: Backup goaltender Simeon Varlamov came out onto the ice first just now for warmups. Usually, when a goalie comes out first, it means he's the starter. It's a gutsy move by a second-year coach. The Post's Katie Carrera is here at Verizon Center and will chat live...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 18, 2009; 11:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (98)
 
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Today's Lineup: Rangers at Caps

When Bruce Boudreau was asked moments ago whether there would be any lineup changes, he said the only change will be defenseman Brian Pothier in for the injured Jeff Schultz. So that means goaltender Jose Theodore will receive the second chance that he was hoping to get. Meanwhile, the Caps'...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 18, 2009; 11:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Videos: Debate Mike Wise, Tarik Talks Defense

There's been plenty of chatter about the Caps' goaltending situation following Jose Theodore's poor showing in Game 1 against the Rangers. Some say Coach Bruce Boudreau shouldn't waste time trying to figure out if Theodore will improve; he should replace him with 20-year-old rookie Simeon Varlamov (who's played in just...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 17, 2009; 3:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (95)
 
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Caps Have Some Fun

After this morning's practice, Coach Bruce Boudreau decided it was time for his players to have some fun. So he told goaltenders Jose Theodore and Simeon Varlamov to pick teams for a shootout competition. Varlamov went first and, of course, drafted Alex Ovechkin. By the time the draft was over,...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 17, 2009; 1:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (128)
 
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Boudreau: 'Theo Is Our No. 1 Goalie'

Coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn't divulge his starting goaltender for Saturday's game, but he did have this to say when asked if he planned to make an announcement this morning: "You'll see it in the warmup. But look it, it's not a big surprise -- Theo is our No. 1 goalie."...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 17, 2009; 12:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
 
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Schultz Hurt? (Updated)

Defenseman Jeff Schultz is not practicing this morning. He didn't practice yesterday, either, and I'm hearing that he's hurt. I'll post an update when I get more info. Update: It doesn't look like Schultz is going to play tomorrow. The Caps did not comment on the nature or extent of...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 17, 2009; 10:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (113)
 
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Morning Reading List: Bouncing Back for Game 2

(John McDonnell -- The Washington Post) While the hockey world waits to see which goaltender will get the start in net on Saturday, Jose Theodore believes he will get another chance and summed up the situation himself: "The story changes so quickly," he said. "You're down one game, and...

By Katie Carrera  |  April 17, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Boudreau: 'We Did a Lot of Good Things'

Here are some other notes from today's practice: If you were among those who came to KCI hoping to see your favorite Caps, you probably left disappointed. Most of the big-minute players, like Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green, Alexander Semin and Brooks Laich, were given the day off to rest and...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 16, 2009; 3:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (301)
 
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Video: Moving Past an Ugly Loss

In the second edition of our daily video updates, Tarik discusses the news out of Kettler Capitals Iceplex following the Capitals' 4-3 loss to the Rangers in Game 1, including a tough decision ahead for Coach Bruce Boudreau....

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 16, 2009; 2:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Boudreau Declines to Name Game 2 Starter

The big question facing the Caps went unanswered this morning. Coach Bruce Boudreau said he knows which goaltender -- veteran Jose Theodore or rookie Simeon Varlamov -- will get the nod on Saturday. But he wasn't prepared to share that decision with reporters just yet. Boudreau also said he had...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 16, 2009; 12:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (153)
 
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Brent Johnson: Odd Man Out, Again

D.C. Sports Bogger Dan Steinberg talked to the other other Caps goalie, Brent Johnson, who's been taking shots in practice but is far from suiting up for Game 2. Here's what Johnson had to say about sitting out the playoffs for the second straight year: "Totally different, completely different situations,"...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 16, 2009; 11:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
 
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Morning Reading List: Game 1 Aftermath

(John McDonnell -- The Washington Post) Jose Theodore took the blame for the loss after his counterpart in Rangers blue, Henrik Lundqvist, outplayed him as the Capitals suffered a 4-3 defeat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Mike Wise believes Jose Theodore should get at least one...

By Katie Carrera  |  April 16, 2009; 10:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (66)
 
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Boudreau Facing a Big Decision

Coach Bruce Boudreau has a choice to make: stick with Jose Theodore or turn to rookie Simeon Varlamov. Boudreau has two days to mull his decision before Game 2 on Saturday. It's not one he plans to rush into, but he was certainly down on Theodore's performance after tonight's 4-3...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 16, 2009; 12:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (125)
 
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Theodore: 'I'm Not Happy With My Game'

Jose Theodore's performance tonight against the Rangers did little to put goaltending concerns to rest, and the Caps netminder seemed keenly aware of that after the game. "For playoff hockey, obviously, [I was] not good enough," Theodore said. "They only had a couple of shots in the first, and after...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 15, 2009; 10:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (81)
 
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Postgame Poll: How Bad Was Theodore?

The Capitals lose Game 1 to the visiting Rangers, 4-3. Many will say Washington goaltender Jose Theodore was subpar tonight. What do you think?...

By washingtonpost.com Sports Editor  |  April 15, 2009; 9:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (131)
 
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Live Game Chat: Capitals vs. Rangers

The Post's Katie Carrera is here at Verizon Center and will chat live as soon as the puck drops for Game 1 of the Caps' quarterfinal against the New York Rangers. Join the discussion: Game 1: Capitals vs. Rangers...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 15, 2009; 6:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Tonight's Lineup: Caps vs. Rangers (Updated)

Jose Theodore will start in goal in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals and will oppose Rangers' all-star Henrik Lundqvist. I'll update this post in a few minutes with the scratches when they are announced. The rest of the Cap's lineup should look like this: Forwards Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov Laich-Fedorov-Semin Fleischmann-Nylander-Fehr...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 15, 2009; 5:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Rangers Skate Notes: Drury a Game-Time Call

There were only a handful of Rangers on the ice this morning for the team's optional skate at Verizon Center and most left before reporters were allowed in the locker room, but Coach John Tortorella did say that New York captain Chris Drury will be a game-time decision. Drury, who...

By Katie Carrera  |  April 15, 2009; 2:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
 
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Caps Video Update: Game One Preview

Here's the first of Tarik's daily playoff videos, recorded just a few minutes ago in Michael Wilbon's office here at the Post. Tarik talks about Tom Poti's status, what Chris Clark's return could mean for the Caps and more. Enjoy: Also check out Tarik's chat, which just started a few...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 15, 2009; 2:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Clark: 'There's No Lingering Pain'

Chris Clark said he doesn't know when -- or even if -- Coach Bruce Boudreau is going insert him into the lineup. But the team captain said a few minutes ago that he's ready and anxious to suit up for the first time since Jan. 27. It won't be tonight....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 15, 2009; 11:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
 
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Boudreau: Clark Has Been Cleared

Captain Chris Clark could be back sooner than anticipated, Coach Bruce Boudreau said moments ago. Clark, who has been out since late January with a wrist injury that required surgery, received medical clearance yesterday and could play in the first round, Boudreau said. Boudreau also said he was surprised by...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 15, 2009; 11:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (61)
 
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Poti Will Be a Game-Time Decision

Tom Poti said he'll be a game-time decision for Game 1 tonight. But considering Brian Pothier is still on the ice -- that generally means he'll be a healthy scratch -- I'm thinking Poti, who skated this morning, is going to suit up. The status of Boyd Gordon and Donald...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 15, 2009; 10:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Morning Reading List: The Second Season

(Washington Post Photo Illustration) Be sure to check out our new playoff section, where you can find all the latest Caps news, videos, photo galleries and check out our Caps Playoff Central on your mobile phone. Finally the playoffs commence for the Capitals as they host the Rangers in...

By Katie Carrera  |  April 15, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
 
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Wise: Postseason Hinges on Theodore

Mike Wise's column for tomorrow's paper is on Caps goaltender Jose Theodore, who had his moments of brilliance in the regular season but lacked consistency. Here's an early look: The Capitals have the talent to overcome bad goaltending in one seven-game series. They don't need Jose Theodore to be Roberto...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 14, 2009; 2:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (165)
 
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Boudreau: 'It's the Most Exciting Time of Your Life'

A few notes from this morning at KCI: Practice was crisp and had a more serious tone than yesterday's as the players started to focus in on the task at hand, and a sense of urgency could be heard in Coach Bruce Boudreau's voice as he put the Caps through...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 14, 2009; 1:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (69)
 
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Poti Still 'Questionable' For Game 1

Tom Poti practiced again this morning but said he won't know until tomorrow morning's skate whether he'll be able to suit up for Game 1 against the Rangers. "It is the playoffs, though," said Poti, who's been battling a nagging groin muscle injury for most of the season. "That helps...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 14, 2009; 12:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Morning Reading List: All Eyes on Theodore

(Bruce Bennett - Getty Images) Playoff history is littered with tales of goaltenders who got hot at the right time and helped carry their teams through a game, series, or even a bulk of the postseason. Now it's time for the Capitals and the rest of the NHL to...

By Katie Carrera  |  April 14, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
 
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Video: Getting Ready for the Rangers

Tarik was on Washington Post Live today to preview the Caps' first-round series with the Rangers. If you missed it, check out the clip here:...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 13, 2009; 6:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
 
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Boudreau on Avery: 'Sean Is Not Going to Change'

Here are some odds and ends from this morning's practice at KCI: Boudreau on Avery During his news conference, Coach Bruce Boudreau was asked whether he's worried that Rangers pest Sean Avery could get under the skin of Alex Ovechkin or Jose Theodore. Remember what Avery did to Boston Bruins...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 13, 2009; 2:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Brashear Ready to Return

Donald Brashear said moments ago that he's ready to return for Wednesday's playoff opener at Verizon Center. The veteran left wing missed 14 games with a sprained left knee....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 13, 2009; 12:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Poti Questionable For Game 1

Tom Poti, who sat out the final three games of the regular season to rest a nagging groin muscle strain, finished practice today. But afterward the defenseman said he couldn't say with certaintly that he'll be able to face the Rangers on Wednesday. "It's okay," Poti said. "We're taking it...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 13, 2009; 11:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Playoff Lines (Update)

As expected, the lines on the ice this morning resemble the ones Coach Bruce Boudreau put together for Saturday's 7-4 loss at Florida: Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov Laich-Fedorov-Semin Fleischmann-Nylander-Fehr Brashear-Steckel-Bradley/Gordon No defensive pairings yet. Captain Chris Clark, however, is taking shots and doing drills with the forwards. I'll get an update on his...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 13, 2009; 10:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
 
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Aucoin Sent Down

With the Caps on ice for their first practice of the postseason, Keith Aucoin has been assigned to Hershey while Tom Poti (groin), Boyd Gordon (broken finger), Donald Brashear (sprained knee) have returned to practice and are participating fully. Meantime, Chris Clark (wrist sugery) is also practicing, though he's wearing...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 13, 2009; 10:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Morning Reading List: Bring on the Rangers

Jubilation after Shaone Morrisonn's overtime goal sealed the Capitals' 5-4 come-from-behind win against the Rangers on Dec. 23. (Frank Franklin II - The Associated Press) The Rangers look vastly different now than they did when the Capitals took seven of a possible eight points from them during the regular...

By Katie Carrera  |  April 13, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Playoff Schedule: Capitals vs. Rangers

Click here for the complete NHL playoff schedule. Here's what the Caps' quarterfinal with New York will look like: GameDateSiteTimeTV 1April 15Verizon Center7 p.m.CSN, TSN 2April 18Verizon Center1 p.m.NBC, TSN 3April 20Madison Square Garden7 p.m.CSN, Versus, TSN 4April 22Madison Square Garden7 p.m.CSN, Versus, TSN 5*April 24Verizon Center7 p.m.CSN, Versus, TSN,...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 13, 2009; 12:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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The Rise of a League Power

(Graphic by Chris Rukan - The Washington Post) Before the postseason begins, we decided to take a look back at how the Caps got to where they are now, starting all the way back at a season-opening loss on Oct. 10. Check out the interactive feature -- Capitals 2008-09:...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 12, 2009; 5:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (100)
 
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