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Capitals Insider: April 19, 2009 - April 25, 2009

NHL Suspends Tortorella for Game 6

The NHL has announced that Rangers Coach John Tortorella is suspended for Sunday's Game 6 after squirting a fan with water and throwing a water bottle that hit a fan during the third period last night at Verizon Center. The Rangers will have only assistant coach Jim Schoenfeld behind the...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 25, 2009; 10:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (73)
 
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Video: Mike Wise's Chain Letter

Unshaven, sleep-deprived and basically a disgrace to the memory of Shirley Povich (his words, not mine), Post columnist Mike Wise boasts about his post-Game 4 prediction that the Caps would win another game. He plays the superstition card, too, saying that whoever sees this video has to post a response...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 25, 2009; 7:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
 
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Backstrom: 'Lundqvist Is Just a Human Being'

As I mentioned earlier, the NHL is reviewing John Tortorella's bottle-tossing incident. But I'm told there's no timeframe for a decision. Keep in mind the Rangers have only two coaches behind the bench -- Tortorella and Jim Schoenfeld. On to some other notes:...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 25, 2009; 2:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (117)
 
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NHL Reviewing Tortorella Incident

The Caps are on the ice at KCI and everyone is in attendance after last night's pivotal 4-0 win over the Rangers in Game 5 of the quarterfinals. Jeff Schultz, by the way, is among them, skating with his teammates for the first time since Game 1. In other news,...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 25, 2009; 11:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Ovechkin: 'We Never Give Up'

Matt Bradley came into the night with no playoff goals in 21 career games. After tonight's 4-0 win over the Rangers, the checking-line winger now has as many as Alex Ovechkin in this playoff series. Bradley scored not once, but twice in the opening 12:07 to help the Caps stave...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 25, 2009; 12:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
 
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Game 5: Capitals 4, Rangers 0

Matt Bradley tallied twice in the first period, rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov stopped all 20 shots the Rangers sent his way and the Capitals survived to see Game 6 with a 4-0 victory tonight at Verizon Center. The Rangers pulled goaltender Henrik Lundqvist for the third period after Alexander Semin...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 24, 2009; 9:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (111)
 
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Live Game Chat: Capitals vs. Rangers

Tonight's chat will start as soon as the puck drops for Game 5 of the Caps' quarterfinal against the New York Rangers. Regular chat host Katie Carrera is unable to join us tonight, but moderator Lacy Lusk is still here and will chime in when he can. If you're not...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 24, 2009; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
 
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Tonight's Lineup: Rangers at Caps

Rookie Simeon Varlamov will start in net for the Caps as they attempt to stave off elimination tonight in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarters. Just in case you're wondering, Henrik Lundqvist will start for the Rangers. The big news tonight is that Rangers' pest Sean Avery won't suit...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 24, 2009; 6:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Video: Game 5 Preview

Set to the music of a figure skating class at Kettler, Tarik previews tonight's pivotal Game 5 against the Rangers. Fancy. There's a transcript after the jump....

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 24, 2009; 3:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
 
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Laich: 'Bodies Are Going to Be Flying'

Here's a quick update from KCI ahead of tonight's win-or-go-home Game 5: Same Lineup The forward combos may change -- as usual, Coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn't tip his hand -- but the lineup will almost certainly consist of the same players. Michael Nylander and Chris Clark stayed on for extra...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 24, 2009; 12:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (168)
 
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Carlson Assigned to the Bears

Touted prospect John Carlson has been assigned to Hershey, the Caps announced this morning. Carlson's junior team, the London Knights, were eliminated earlier this week from the Ontario Hockey League playoffs. Carlson, a first-round draft pick (No. 27) last summer, has quickly moved up the organization's depth chart. He was...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 24, 2009; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Morning Reading List: Game 5, Do or Die

(John McDonnell -- The Washington Post) The Capitals must win each of the next three games to keep their season alive, beginning tonight. It's that simple. They came back from a 3-1 deficit a year ago in the first round against the Flyers, but for a myriad of reasons,...

By Katie Carrera  |  April 24, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (96)
 
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Boudreau: 'It's a One-Game Series Now'

Today's practice was optional and sparsely attended, with many of the big-minute players opting to rest and recover. Everyone came to the rink for a team meeting, though most didn't stick around too long. I would describe the mood at KCI as stunned, perhaps a little somber. I think it's...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 23, 2009; 4:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (127)
 
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Video Update: Mixed Emotions at Kettler

In today's webcam update, Tarik discusses the atmosphere at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, where the team was not in a celebratory mood despite the news that Mike Green is a finalist for the Norris Trophy. For those of you who can't watch videos at work, there's a transcript after the jump....

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 23, 2009; 3:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Mike Green Nominated for Norris Trophy

Mike Green, the NHL's leading scorer among defensemen this season, was named a finalist for the Norris Trophy this afternoon, joining perennial nominees Zdeno Chara and Nicklas Lidstrom, who has won the honor six of the past seven seasons. "It's definitely a big honor and I'm very proud," Green said....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 23, 2009; 12:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (141)
 
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Video: Mike Wise Says It's Not Over

Only 8.7 percent of teams (20 of 229) who have trailed 3-1 in a best-of-seven series have come back to win. The numbers aren't very promising, but Post columnist Mike Wise is rather confident in Washington's chances of rallying against the Rangers. What do you think, can they do it?...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 23, 2009; 8:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (110)
 
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Morning Reading List: Game 4 Aftermath

(John McDonnell -- The Washington Post) The Capitals' backs are against the wall after a loss in Game 4 that gave the Rangers a 3-1 advantage in this Eastern Conference quarterfinal. Washington hasn't advanced past the first round since 1998 and despite heightened expectations this year, they could be...

By Katie Carrera  |  April 23, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (77)
 
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Backstrom: 'Absolutely We're Not Done'

After tonight's 2-1 loss at MSG, the Caps, who have not advanced past the first round since 1998, are down three games to one and in danger of another first-round flame out. "It's a little bit frustrating, for sure," Nicklas Backstrom said. "Absolutely we're not done. It's hard, but it's...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 23, 2009; 12:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (60)
 
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Game 4: Rangers 2, Capitals 1

The Rangers seized control and now have a 3-1 advantage over the Capitals in this Eastern Conference quarterfinal. The Capitals took 39 shots but they were plagued by missed opportunities. Alex Ovechkin, who scored his first goal of the series, hit the post. Sergei Fedorov also hit the post. But...

By Katie Carrera  |  April 22, 2009; 9:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (197)
 
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Live Game Chat: Capitals at Rangers

The Post's Katie Carrera will chat live from D.C. as soon as the puck drops for Game 4 of the Caps' quarterfinal against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. If you're not near a computer, go to twp.com/sports from your mobile phone and click on "Caps Playoffs Central"...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 22, 2009; 7:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (184)
 
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Tonight's Lineup: Caps at Rangers

Rookie Simeon Varlamov will make his third consecutive start for the Caps, who will be looking to square their first-round series at 2-2 with New York. Henrik Lundqvist will start for the Rangers, who have not scored a goal on Varlamov in 112 minutes 16 seconds. The rest of the...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 22, 2009; 6:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Video: Game 4 Notes, Keys to a Win

In today's video update, Tarik previews Game 4 against the New York Rangers and lists a few keys to a Washington victory tonight at Madison Square Garden. Check out the video below, and don't forget to join Katie Carrera back here for the live game chat around 7 p.m....

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 22, 2009; 3:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
 
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Ovechkin Takes Verbal Jab at Avery

A few quick notes from the morning skates here at MSG: Rangers Coach John Tortorella said this morning that team captain Chris Drury will play tonight. Drury has been hampered by an undisclosed injury (it's believed to be wrist problem) and played only 1:34 in the third period of Monday's...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 22, 2009; 12:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (82)
 
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Morning Reading List: Game 4

(John McDonnell -- The Washington Post) After struggling to solve a hot goaltender for the first two games of this series, the Capitals -- and rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov -- have turned the tables on the New York Rangers. Varlamov enters Game 4 having stopped 55 consecutive shots and...

By Katie Carrera  |  April 22, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (98)
 
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Video: All About Varlamov

In his latest video update, Tarik talks about this afternoon's "very optional" practice, two of Simeon Varlamov's biggest saves from last night and the two phrases the Caps defensemen use most to communicate with their young Russian goalie: "Play it" and "Leave it." Check out the video below:...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 21, 2009; 3:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (147)
 
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Practice Update: Varlamov Gets the Day Off

Tarik reports from a low-key, optional practice this afternoon at Madison Square Garden that the Caps are still on a high after last night's stunning 4-0 victory in hostile territory. (And for more on the atmosphere last night, check out Dan Steinberg's take.) Everyone's talking about Simeon Varlamov, the 20-year-old...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 21, 2009; 1:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (58)
 
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Video: Mike Wise on Madison Square Garden

Post columnist Mike Wise thinks Caps fans could learn a little something from attending a game at Madison Square Garden -- "a real hockey arena." As video commenter ranndino proved by arguing that Jose Theodore was NOT the answer for Game 2, Mike isn't always right. So if you disagree,...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 21, 2009; 12:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (92)
 
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Q&A With Varlamov

Here's another great interview from Slava Malamud of Sport-Express: Simeon Varlamov (and yes, he will make an attempt to change it to Semyon after the season... It's a long story... Involving sea men) gave an interview to Sport-Express immediately following Game 3. For those unfamiliar with the Caps rookie due...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 21, 2009; 11:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
 
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Morning Reading List: Game 3 Aftermath

(John McDonnell -- The Washington Post) Anchored by two goals and an assist from Alexander Semin, three assists from Nicklas Backstrom and a stellar performance by Simeon Varlamov, who became the fourth goaltender in NHL history to record a playoff shutout before age 21, Washington played arguably its best...

By Katie Carrera  |  April 21, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (106)
 
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Caps Are Back in It

Well, it's officially a series again. After dropping back-to-back games at home last week with regular season-level efforts, the Caps finally started playing playoff hockey. The forwards ventured into high-traffic areas. They backchecked. The defensemen played physical. Everyone shot the puck like they meant it. The result? A 4-0 victory...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 21, 2009; 12:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
 
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Game 3: Capitals 4, Rangers 0

The Capitals dominated from the start in a must-win Game 3 at Madison Square Garden tonight, beating the Rangers, 4-0, to stay alive in the postseason. New York leads the series, 2-1. Alexander Semin scored twice and rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov was superb, extending his time without allowing a goal...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 20, 2009; 9:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (145)
 
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Live Game Chat: Capitals at Rangers

The Post's Katie Carrera will chat live from D.C. as soon as the puck drops for Game 3 of the Caps' quarterfinal against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. If you're not near a computer, go to twp.com/sports from your mobile phone and click on "Caps Playoffs Central"...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 20, 2009; 6:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (175)
 
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Tonight's Lineup: Caps at Rangers (Updated)

As you've probably seen by now, rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov came onto the ice first for warm-ups, which means he'll make his second straight start for the Caps. Henrik Lundqvist, of course, will start for the Rangers, who are looking to take a 3-0 lead in this Eastern Conference quarterfinal...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 20, 2009; 6:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Varlamov Comes Out First

No huge surprise here, but rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov came onto the ice first here at MSG for warm-ups, which generally means he's going to start in goal....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 20, 2009; 6:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Video Q&A: Caps in the Big Apple

We tried something a little bit different today: Instead of a regular old video update, Tarik took reader questions and answered a few of them from Madison Square Garden. Check out the video below, and if your question wasn't answered, it may have come up in today's standard Q&A. Also,...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 20, 2009; 3:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
 
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Boudreau: 'We Just Have to Do More'

This morning's pregame skate at Madison Square Garden was short on news but long on good quotes. First, the news. Coach Bruce Boudreau declined to discuss the lineup, though he did say there could be some changes to the forward combos and defensive pairings. Jeff Schultz (undisclosed injury) did not...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 20, 2009; 1:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (106)
 
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Ovechkin Playing Mind Games

Okay, so Alex Ovechkin just addressed the media. He spoke about handing the pressure ("I just play my game," he said) and how he planned to get his shots through the Rangers' shot-blockers. ("You're going to see," he said.) Then things got really interesting when he was asked why he...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 20, 2009; 12:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (118)
 
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Ovechkin Asked to Leave Bench

It's not even 11 a.m., but the games have already begun here at MSG. Moments after the Rangers hit the ice for the morning skate, Washington star Alex Ovechkin emerged from the visitors' dressing room alone, took a seat on the Caps' bench and watched intently. After a few minutes,...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 20, 2009; 10:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (95)
 
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Morning Reading List: Game 3

(Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post) The Capitals have never come back to win a series after trailing 2-0 and other teams facing that predicament have advanced just 13 percent of the time. But although they may be down, the Capitals still have time to make adjustments and laugh...

By Katie Carrera  |  April 20, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (69)
 
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Boudreau: 'Shoot It Where They Ain't'

Here are some additional notes and quotes from this morning's practice at KCI: Most of the discussion -- surprise, surprise -- centered on what the Caps need to do to beat Henrik Lundqvist, who has stopped 67 of the 70 shots he's faced. King Henrik has been outstanding, no doubt,...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 19, 2009; 1:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (329)
 
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Theodore: 'I Didn't See That Coming'

Jose Theodore made his first comments to the media this morning after being replaced as the Caps' starting goalie before Game 2. Here's everything he had to say: "Like I said the day before, I didn't see that coming, to be honest," he said. "As one thing through my career...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 19, 2009; 12:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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