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Capitals Insider: April 26, 2009 - May 2, 2009

Photo: 'The Save'

Photographer Clyde Caplan captured a fantastic shot of Simeon Varlamov's stick save against Sidney Crosby in the second period of Game 1 today. Check it out: See the full-size version here. (Photo courtesy of Clyde Caplan) Speaking of photos, two of our favorite mobile shots sent in during the game...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 2, 2009; 11:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
 
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Side Note on Brashear

First of all, if you haven't gotten a chance to read Mike Wise's front-page story on Donald Brashear, I'd recommend doing so. Second, there have been some concerns in the blog and article comments that the story was published without Brashear's knowledge or approval. That's not the case. In fact,...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 2, 2009; 10:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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From Russia, With Busted Glove

More on Simeon Varlamov from Slava Malamud of Sport-Express: It's cute, of course, the whole "From Russia With Glove" thing, though it may have been done with Nabokov and Khabibulin already. A couple of days ago I tried to explain to Varly the subtle play on words and the James...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 2, 2009; 8:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Boudreau on Varlamov: 'He Owed Us One'

Simeon Varlamov giveth. Then Simeon Varlamov taketh away. If you haven't seen Varlamov's YouTube moment yet, stop reading this entry immediately and go check it out. Not only was his robbery of Sidney Crosby utterly ridiculous, it was the difference in today's 3-2 win over the Penguins in Game 1...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 2, 2009; 7:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Steckel-Laich-Bradley Line a Winner

Here's an excerpt from Barry Svrluga's story on that winning combination of David Steckel, Brooks Laich and Matt Bradley: When Brooks Laich found Matt Bradley on the right wing Saturday afternoon, more than 13 minutes had elapsed in the first period of the Washington Capitals' Eastern Conference semifinal against the...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 2, 2009; 6:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Caps, Pens React to 'The Save'

Here's some postgame reaction on Caps goalie Simeon Varlamov's game-defining save against Sidney Crosby in the second period: From the Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau: "It was a great save. There's no doubt. Goalies are taught never to give up. You look at all the great goalies that are in hockey...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 2, 2009; 5:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
 
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Game 1: Capitals 3, Penguins 2

Rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov rebounded from allowing a soft tying goal to making a highlight reel-worthy stick save, Tomas Fleischmann scored in the third period and the Capitals hung on for a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Verizon Center. Alex...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 2, 2009; 3:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (134)
 
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Live Game 1 Chat: Capitals vs. Penguins

The circus, it has arrived. Today's live chat will start as soon as the puck drops for Game 1 of the Caps' semifinal against that other team. If you're not near a computer, go to twp.com/sports from your mobile phone and click on "Caps Playoffs Central" to get live game...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 2, 2009; 12:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
 
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Today's Lineup: Penguins at Caps

Simeon Varlamov will start for the Caps this afternoon and is set to oppose Marc-Andre Fleury. Varlamov has never faced the Penguins' potent attack. Fleury, meantime, had a .912 save percentage and a 2.67 goals against average during the regular season, but he struggled against the Caps, posting just a...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 2, 2009; 12:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Caps-Pens on Mobile

If you haven't seen it already, check out our Capitals postseason mini-site the next time you're on your mobile device. You get there by going to twp.com/sports and clicking "Caps Playoff Central." Two mobile items worth noting as the start of Game 1 approaches: - If you can't watch the...

By Jon DeNunzio  |  May 2, 2009; 11:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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For Brashear, Fighting's a Way of Life

(Toni L. Sandys - The Washington Post) If you haven't yet, set aside some time to read this incredibly moving story by Mike Wise on Capitals enforcer Donald Brashear, who overcame an abusive childhood to become one of the NHL's most feared players. Here's the intro: Outside the Washington...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 2, 2009; 7:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Video: Ovechkin Returns, Injury Updates

It's not the best cinematography you'll ever see (though, ironically, recorded in a TV studio), but here's Tarik talking about Alex Ovechkin's return to practice, injury updates and more: For some afternoon reading, here's an early look at the Caps-Penguins series preview. Tarik's prediction, by the way? Caps in seven....

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 1, 2009; 5:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
 
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Ovechkin Gets a Gift From LeBron

Here's a brief update from KCI: I'm sure you all remember when Ovechkin recently met LeBron James, and Ovechkin gave LeBron a jersey, but LeBron didn't have one for Alex, right? Well, LeBron made good on his debt today. Team owner Ted Leonsis came into the dressing room looking for...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 1, 2009; 1:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
 
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Ovechkin Returns to Practice

Everyone is on the ice this morning, including Alex Ovechkin, who did not practice yesterday. Coach Bruce Boudreau has the forwards wearing red and green sweaters -- top six forwards in red and bottom six in green. Based on the line rushes, the combos have not changed: Ovechkin-Fedorov-Kozlov Fleischmann-Backstrom-Semin Laich-Steckel-Bradley...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 1, 2009; 10:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
 
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Morning Reading List: Green's Road to Success

(John McDonnell -- The Washington Post) Mike Green's career has been full speed for the better part of the past two seasons. He's flourished under Bruce Boudreau's system to the point where he is a finalist for the Norris Trophy, but a lot of what helped propel Green to...

By Katie Carrera  |  May 1, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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Caps' Revenue Is Up

Tarik El-Bashir reports: The NHL, its sponsors and the league's television partners all stand to benefit from Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals reaching the second round. But so does the team's bottom line, according to club president Dick Patrick. With four home games in the opening round, the Capitals anticipate...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 30, 2009; 7:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
 
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Is Ovechkin Playing Through an Injury?

Here's another insightful contribution from our good friend Slava Malamud at Sport Express: First, a disclaimer: the following is nothing more than this writer's private opinion. I will not claim to have it on good authority, if my own judgment and powers of observation cannot be considered as such. I...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 30, 2009; 4:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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Pothier Misses Out

Defenseman Brian Pothier, Washington's nominee for the Masterton Trophy, was not chosen as a finalist, the NHL announced this afternoon. The finalists are: Florida's Richard Zednik, Nasvhille's Steve Sullivan and Detroit's Chris Chelios. I'm expecting the winner to be Zednik, who, ironically enough, reportedly signed today with a Kontinental Hockey...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 30, 2009; 3:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Video Update: Ovechkin Injured?

Tarik (not Michael Wilbon) provides the latest news from Kettler, where Alex Ovechkin did not participate in Thursday's practice. Check out the video and you'll understand the Wilbon reference:...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 30, 2009; 3:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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Boudreau: 'There's a Tremendous Rivalry'

A few quick notes and quotes from this morning's practice: Back-to-Back Concerns Simeon Varlamov has never played games on back-to-back nights as an NHL goaltender. But he's going to have to do that next week, when Games 4 and 5 are played 24 hours apart in Pittsburgh and then Washington....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 30, 2009; 1:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
 
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Boudreau on Ovechkin: 'He's Just Resting'

Both Coach Bruce Boudreau and Alex Ovechkin said that Ovechkin is not nursing an injury after this morning's practice at KCI, where the reigning MVP was conspicuously absent from what seemed to be a pretty important on-ice session. "He'll be practicing tomorrow, okay," Boudreau said. "Sometimes his body gets beat...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 30, 2009; 12:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (60)
 
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Ovechkin Not Practicing

While it's not completely unusual for Alex Ovechkin to take a practice off, it does strike me as a bit odd that he's not out there this morning. All of the other big minute players, like Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin and Brooks Laich, are skating. A team spokesman...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 30, 2009; 10:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
 
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Talking Points: Ovie vs. Crosby

Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser talk about a dream matchup other than their own: Ovechkin vs. Crosby in the playoffs, as well as foreign players and other hockey matters. Check out the video below:...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 30, 2009; 10:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
 
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Morning Reading List: Welcome to the Circus

(Toni L. Sandys -- The Washington Post) In what may be the least shocking news that can come during the playoffs, Alex Ovechkin was named one of three finalists -- along with Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk -- for the Hart Trophy. Michael Wilbon talks about the circus coming...

By Katie Carrera  |  April 30, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
 
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More on Ovechkin's Hart Trophy Nomination

(John McDonnell -- The Washington Post) Here's more from Tarik on the least surprising news of the day: Alex Ovechkin's Hart Trophy nomination. While the Washington Capitals enjoyed a day away from the rink on Wednesday to savor their come-from-behind series victory over the New York Rangers, their best...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 29, 2009; 4:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Comcast's Coverage Schedule

I've received a number of emails today asking about Comcast's schedule for the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Caps and Pens. Here's what I just received from the network: Comcast SportsNet, the leader in local sports television, will continue to bring viewers the most comprehensive coverage of Alex Ovechkin...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 29, 2009; 2:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (66)
 
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Ovechkin Nominated for Hart Trophy

Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin has a chance to repeat as the NHL's MVP after being named a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy this afternoon. Ovechkin, the NHL's top goal scorer with 56 this season, joins fellow nominees Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who led the league in points...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 29, 2009; 12:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (77)
 
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Video: Wise, Steinberg, Ovie and Crosby

At around 1 a.m. in the Verizon Center press lounge, columnist Mike Wise and hostage/special guest star Dan Steinberg talk about things vaguely related to the Capitals' Game 7 win. (It was a long night.) Watch the video and record your response. We'll excerpt our favorites in the paper....

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 29, 2009; 8:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (119)
 
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Morning Reading List: On to Round 2

(John McDonnell -- The Washington Post) Last night it wasn't one of the Capitals' young guns who sealed the franchise's first trip to the second round of the playoffs since 1998. No, it was venerable Sergei Fedorov who fired the deciding shot, high glove side, past Henrik Lundqvist. Don't...

By Katie Carrera  |  April 29, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
 
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Boudreau: 'Welcome to the Circus'

Well, the Caps did it. With last night's 2-1 victory over the Rangers, they're finally into the second round, 11 years after the last time they ventured past the quarterfinals. Their reward for bouncing back from a lousy first two periods and becoming the 21st team to rally from a...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 29, 2009; 1:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Caps' Second-Round Schedule Announced

The Capitals will play the Pittsburgh Penguins in their Eastern Conference semifinal. Here's the schedule: Saturday, May 2 -- D.C. -- 1 p.m. -- NBC, CBC, RDS Monday, May 4 -- D.C. -- 7 p.m. -- VERSUS, CBC, RDS Wednesday, May 6 -- Pittsburgh -- 7 p.m. -- VERSUS, CBC,...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 28, 2009; 11:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Game 7: Capitals 2, Rangers 1

Sergei Fedorov scored with 4 minutes 59 seconds to go and the Capitals completed an improbable rally back from a three-games-to-one deficit, beating the New York Rangers, 2-1, in Game 7 at Verizon Center. With tonight's win, the Caps advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 28, 2009; 9:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (215)
 
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Live Game 7 Chat: Capitals vs. Rangers

Tonight's chat will begin as soon as the puck drops for this pivotal Game 7 of the Caps' quarterfinal against the New York Rangers at Verizon Center. I (Lindsay) will be hosting tonight and sharing what I see from the press box . Tarik will also be chiming in every...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 28, 2009; 6:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (111)
 
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Tonight's Lineup: Rangers at Caps (Updated)

One day after his 21st birthday, Simeon Varlamov will start in the biggest game of his NHL career, tonight's Game 7 against the Rangers at Verizon Center. Henrik Lundqvist, meantime, will be looking to bounce back from a pair of uncharacteristically ordinary starts. Chris Clark is expected to return to...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 28, 2009; 6:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Video: Who Replaces Donald Brashear?

In today's webcam update, Tarik previews Game 7 and discusses the possibility of team captain Chris Clark making his series debut tonight at Verizon Center. Check it out:...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 28, 2009; 1:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (112)
 
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Boudreau on Brashear Suspension: 'I Can't Figure It Out'

The mood out here at KCI was businesslike this morning -- on the ice and in the dressing room. It's hard to say if that's focus or nerves. It was probably a little of both as the Caps went through what they hope was just another morning skate, not their...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 28, 2009; 11:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (144)
 
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Clark Likely Will Play

Bruce Boudreau wouldn't say for sure, but Chris Clark prepared during the morning skate as if he's going to suit up for tonight's Game 7 against the Rangers at Verizon Center. If does get in, he'll be the right wing on the fourth line with Boyd Gordon at center and...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 28, 2009; 10:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (56)
 
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Morning Reading List: Game 7

(Toni L. Sandys -- The Washington Post) There's nothing quite like a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Yesterday, though, these two teams saw an increase in the number of subplots for the winner-take-all contest including the suspension of Donald Brashear and the potential return of captain Chris...

By Katie Carrera  |  April 28, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (97)
 
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Video (Kind Of): Mike Wise on Brashear

Due to some inexplicable technical difficulties, Mike Wise's latest video is more of an audio. Regardless, today Mike takes issue with the NHL's six-game suspension of Caps enforcer Donald Brashear. Watch/listen and record your response. We'll excerpt our favorites in the paper this week. And this is what Mike said...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 27, 2009; 8:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (158)
 
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Brashear: 'I'm Just Disappointed'

My colleague Mike Wise got Donald Brashear on the phone moments ago, and during the course of their conversation asked the Caps enforcer about the six-game suspension he received from the NHL today. Here's what Brashear had to say: "I'm just disappointed in the decision. I thought it was just...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 27, 2009; 7:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
 
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Updates on Brashear, Morrisonn and ESPN

Caps GM George McPhee and Donald Brashear have declined to comment on the six-game suspension that was handed down earlier today. Also, regarding the alleged Shaone Morrisonn biting incident, I'm told by a Capitals source that the league looked into it, but that no disciplinary action is expected to come...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 27, 2009; 5:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
 
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Brashear Suspended for 6 Games

The NHL has suspended Caps enforcer Donald Brashear for six games for his actions before and during Game 6 at Madison Square Garden. From NHL.com: Brashear was suspended one game for initiating contact with Rangers forward Colton Orr during the pre-game warm-up. Brashear was suspended for five additional games for...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 27, 2009; 3:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (255)
 
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Video Update: Plenty of Drama Off the Ice

In today's video report, Tarik discusses the status of Donald Brashear and puts to rest some strange rumors. Check it out below:...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 27, 2009; 3:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Shaone Morrisonn: 'I Didn't Do That'

Here's the latest from KCI: Morrisonn In His Own Words I mentioned earlier that Shaone Morrisonn denied the Rangers' claims that he bit Brandon Dubinsky on the arm. Here's what the defenseman had to say about the alleged incident: "I have no idea," he said. "I have no idea what...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 27, 2009; 1:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (151)
 
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Clark Could Play in Game 7

If Donald Brashear is indeed suspended for Game 7 against the Rangers tomorrow night, I'm told there's a possibility that captain Chris Clark will suit up for the first time since Jan. 27. Clark, who has been out since undergoing wrist surgery, hasn't played in a playoff game since Game...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 27, 2009; 11:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
 
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Brashear Could Face One-Game Suspension

Sources tell Tarik that Caps enforcer Donald Brashear will have a hearing via telephone with league disciplinarian Colin Campbell this afternoon. It's possible that Brashear will face a one-game suspension for his confrontation with Colton Orr in pregame warmups prior to Game 6 at Madison Square Garden. Stay tuned for...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 27, 2009; 10:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (108)
 
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Morning Reading List: Game 6 Aftermath

(Toni L. Sandys -- The Washington Post) If their performance in yesterday's must-win Game 6 is any indication, the Capitals appeared to have fully realized their potential in these playoffs. They're getting secondary scoring and offense from regular contributors. They've made Henrik Lundqvist look ordinary in the past two...

By Katie Carrera  |  April 27, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (112)
 
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Jenkins: From Winning to Whining

Here's an excerpt from Sally Jenkins's column for tomorrow's paper: The New York Rangers can't hope to consistently out-skate or outscore the Washington Capitals, so their strategy is to outfight and out-argue them. Throughout the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, they've counted on belligerence as a neutralizer, but it's an approach...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 26, 2009; 10:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Will Brashear and Morrisonn Face Disciplinary Action?

I'm having some problems getting out of New York following the Caps' 5-3 victory tonight at MSG. Seems ALL the trains out of Penn Station are delayed, so I may have to make alternate plans. As such, I'm going to be brief. Here's what you need to know: There was...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 26, 2009; 9:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (89)
 
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Game 6: Capitals 5, Rangers 3

(Toni L. Sandys -- The Washington Post) Three Caps defenseman -- Milan Jurcina, Tom Poti and Mike Green -- scored in the first period, rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov made 29 saves and the Caps rattled Henrik Lundqvist again in a 5-3 victory at Madison Square Garden to save their...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 26, 2009; 4:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (173)
 
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Rangers Ask NHL to Discipline Caps

The Rangers have asked the NHL to discipline the Capitals for "gross negligence in ensuring the safety of the personnel on the Rangers' bench." This email from GM Glen Sather to league commissioner Gary Bettman was just handed out in the press box at Madison Square Garden: "Dear Gary: In...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 26, 2009; 2:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (677)
 
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Today's Lineup: Caps at Rangers

Simeon Varlamov will be in net again this afternoon as the Caps attempt to stave off elimination once again and force the series back to Washington for a decisive Game 7 on Tuesday. Henrik Lundqvist will return to the net and agitator Sean Avery will be back in the lineup...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 26, 2009; 1:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (58)
 
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Tortorella Suspension Details; Avery to Play

According to a league official, suspended New York Rangers Coach John Tortorella had to leave the dressing room at noon and cannot have any contact with the team, electronic or otherwise, during the game. He was, however, permitted to address his players prior to 12 p.m., but, according to assistant...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 26, 2009; 12:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
 
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No Torts: Good or Bad for the Caps?

The NHL announced last night that Rangers Coach John Tortorella had been suspended for one game for squirting a fan with water and throwing a water bottle into the crowd Friday night at Verizon Center. The Rangers lead the Caps, 3-2, in their quarterfinal series and have a chance to...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 26, 2009; 9:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
 
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