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Capitals Insider: May 3, 2009 - May 9, 2009

Ovechkin: 'Next Game Is Gonna Be Different'

From the D.C. Sports Bog: There was a lot of talk about luck tonight. Both teams dominated stretches of the game. Both teams had chances to win. Sure, the Penguins earned their final chance by getting on the power play, and sure, Evgeni Malkin bulled his way past Sergei Fedorov...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 9, 2009; 11:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
 
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Game 5: Penguins 4, Capitals 3, OT

With one second remaining on a penalty to Milan Jurcina in overtime, Evgeni Malkin fired a shot toward the net that appeared to carom off Tom Poti's stick as he dove in to block the puck. Instead, the puck was redirected and beat Simeon Varlamov to give Pittsburgh a 3-2...

By Katie Carrera  |  May 9, 2009; 9:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (229)
 
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Live Game 5 Chat: Capitals vs. Penguins

Tonight's live chat will start as soon as the puck drops at Verizon Center for this critical Game 5 of the Caps' semifinal against the Penguins, who stole Games 3 and 4 in Pittsburgh to even up this series at two apiece. If you're not near a computer, go to...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 9, 2009; 6:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (111)
 
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Tonight's Lineup: Penguins at Caps

One day after almost pulling goalie Simeon Varlamov in the first period of the Caps' 5-3 loss in Pittsburgh, Coach Bruce Boudreau has given the rookie a chance to redeem himself. Varlamov will make his first start on back-to-back nights in his brief NHL career tonight in Game 5, while...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 9, 2009; 6:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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No Punishment for Ovechkin's Hit on Gonchar

Alex Ovechkin said he hasn't been contacted by the NHL regarding any type of punishment for his knee on knee hit on the Penguins' Sergei Gonchar that took place in the first period of Pittsburgh's 5-3 win yesterday. Word today from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and the Penguins is that...

By Katie Carrera  |  May 9, 2009; 1:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (134)
 
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One More Note on the Brashear Story

Good morning. Please excuse this brief pause in our Caps-Pens coverage for one more note on Mike Wise's story on Donald Brashear. I asked Mike to post a video to wrap things up, because we've still been getting emails and comments from people who were moved by the story and...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 9, 2009; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Orpik: 'There's a Line You Can't Cross'

There was plenty of blame to go around after tonight's 5-3 loss at Mellon Arena. Consider: Simeon Varlamov had his first bad game of the playoffs. Alex Ovechkin mustered only two shots on goal and was involved in a controversial hit that may or may not result in disciplinary action....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 9, 2009; 12:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (184)
 
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Mike Wise: Caps Need Game 5

Mike Wise is back with another video, and he thinks tomorrow night's Game 5 winner takes all. He also calls out his critics for having "keyboard courage" but not posting video responses, and, you know, he has a point. Watch the video and post a response, if you dare... Click...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 8, 2009; 11:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Boudreau's Postgame Quotes

Here are a few excerpts from Coach Bruce Boudreau's postgame press conference: On the Penguins' onslaught of odd-man rushes: "We were down. You've got to take chances when you're down. I thought we had a little mistake on the first goal with the penalty killing. But the odd-man rushes, like...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 8, 2009; 10:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (73)
 
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Game 4: Penguins 5, Capitals 3

Simeon Varlamov had perhaps his first off-night of the playoffs, allowing goals from five different Penguins in a 5-3 loss at Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena, the first game in this Eastern Conference semifinal series that was decided by more than one goal. The Penguins have evened up the series, 2-2, as...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 8, 2009; 9:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (221)
 
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Live Game 4 Chat: Capitals at Penguins

Today's live chat will start as soon as the puck drops at Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena for Game 4 of the Caps' semifinal against the Penguins. 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 updates, analysis...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 8, 2009; 6:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (197)
 
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Tonight's Lineup: Caps at Penguins

Simeon Varlamov will start tonight in Game 4 as the Caps aim to bring a 3-1 series lead back to Washington. Marc-Andre Fleury, meantime, will be in net for the Pens. Coach Bruce Boudreau scrambled his lines a bit. It looks like defenseman John Erskine will return. Based on warmups,...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 8, 2009; 6:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Video: Semin Sits Out, Line Shakeups

Here's Tarik's preview of tonight's Game 4 at Mellon Arena:...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 8, 2009; 2:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (60)
 
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Semin Doesn't Skate

A few more notes from the Caps' skate: Alexander Semin didn't skate this morning, but Alex Ovechkin said he expects his teammate and close friend to play tonight. I saw Semin walking out of Mellon Arena earlier and he didn't seem to be moving with any difficulty. It's unclear if...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 8, 2009; 12:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (70)
 
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Two Nights, Two Cities, Two Games

Here's a highly entertaining video from Dan Steinberg on the challenging turnaround following Game 4 tonight, as the Caps and Pens hop on a plane and head back to D.C. for Game 5 tomorrow night: For the accompanying blog post, check out the D.C. Sports Bog....

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 8, 2009; 12:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
 
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Boudreau on Crosby: 'He's the Second-Best Player In the World'

A few quick notes from this morning's media session with Coach Bruce Boudreau: Injury Update Defenseman John Erskine, out since Game 1 with a leg/foot injury, will take the morning skate in a few minutes before deciding whether to play tonight. There was no update on Eric Fehr, who missed...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 8, 2009; 11:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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Alzner Returned to Hershey

The morning skate hasn't begun yet, but I'm hearing rookie defenseman Karl Alzner has been returned to Hershey. Alzner was recalled on an emergency basis earlier this week but he did not appear in a game....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 8, 2009; 10:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Beagle Recalled From Hershey

Forward Jay Beagle has been recalled from Hershey, Coach Bruce Boudreau said moments ago. When asked why Beagle was recalled, Boudreau said, "I have my reasons". It's unclear where Beagle is going to fit into the lineup, though it's possible he'll replace Michael Nylander. It's also possible another forward is...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 8, 2009; 10:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Morning Reading List: Game 4

(John McDonnell -- The Washington Post) Much has been said and written about the stars of this series, but the Capitals' and Penguins' coaches also share a similar spotlight. Promoted from their respective franchise's AHL team, both Bruce Boudreau and Dan Bylsma have been successful because of one common...

By Katie Carrera  |  May 8, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
 
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Pennsylvania State Police Investigating Threat to Ovechkin (Updated)

Earlier this week, a death threat was made against Alex Ovechkin on the Pittsburgh Penguins' team Web site message boards, I'm told. When the Caps were made aware of the threat, they contacted the proper authorities, including the Pittsburgh Police Dept., state police and NHL security. The Caps just released...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 7, 2009; 4:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (135)
 
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Video: Penguins Practice, McPhee Speaks Out, Etc.

Here's Tarik's latest video update (Internet was spotty so the quality isn't great) from the Caps' hotel in downtown Pittsburgh:...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 7, 2009; 4:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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McPhee on Officiating: 'It's Not Right'

George McPhee doesn't usually seek the spotlight. But this afternoon, he didn't hesitate to go in front of the cameras, microphones and tape recorders. The Caps' GM had a message he wanted to put out there: The officiating has been skewed in favor of the Penguins, who have enjoyed 17...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 7, 2009; 2:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (151)
 
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Recall En Route?

Neither GM George McPhee nor Coach Bruce Boudreau would confirm that the Caps have recalled a forward from Hershey Bears. But they wouldn't deny it, either. A few Caps forwards are nicked up, but if a forward is indeed en route to Pittsburgh, don't be surprised to see him replace...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 7, 2009; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Crosby: 'I Feel Like We've Out-Chanced Them'

The consensus in the Pens' dressing room after this morning's practice is that they have been the better team, despite being down two games to one in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The players pointed to the shot disparity as well as last night's 3-2 overtime victory in Game 3, a...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 7, 2009; 1:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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Video: Wise Says the Penguins Have Momentum

Mike Wise is back with another interactive video, and this time, he's not so hot on the Caps. From the media room in Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena, Mike says the Penguins have been the better team this series, and a Game 3 overtime win gives them the momentum they need to...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 7, 2009; 11:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
 
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Morning Reading List: Game 3 Aftermath

(Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post) Although the Capitals forced overtime, it only seemed to delay the inevitable for Washington as the Penguins snagged a crucial victory for their first win of the series. Simeon Varlamov put on another dazzling display as he turned away 39 shots, but in...

By Katie Carrera  |  May 7, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (132)
 
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Caps Squander an Opportunity

The Caps coughed up the puck at the blueline too many times to count, took six straight penalties at one point, and were outshot by 19. But they still had a chance to take a 3-0 series lead tonight at Mellon Arena thanks to a clutch goal by Nicklas Backstrom...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 7, 2009; 12:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Boudreau's Postgame Quotes

Here are a few excerpts from Coach Bruce Boudreau's postgame press conference: On the difference-maker in Game 3: "Well, [the Penguins] played great. They were going on all cylinders and we were watching them skate. As far as penalties go, I hope I never hear them complain about penalties again,...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 6, 2009; 11:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (62)
 
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Game 3: Penguins 3, Capitals 2 (OT)

Kris Letang scored 11:23 into overtime to lift the Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the Capitals at Mellon Arena. Nicklas Backstrom's goal with less than two minutes to go forced an extra period for the Caps, who had managed to hang around despite being badly outshot by Pittsburgh, 42-23,...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 6, 2009; 10:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (102)
 
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Live Game 3 Chat: Capitals at Penguins

Tonight's chat will begin as soon as the puck drops for Game 3 of the Caps' semifinal against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena. Katie Carrera will be watching along on TV and sharing her thoughts on the game and series. If you're not near a computer, go to twp.com/sports...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 6, 2009; 6:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (217)
 
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Tonight's Lineup: Caps at Penguins

Simeon Varlamov and the Caps will attempt to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their semifinal series against the Penguins tonight at Mellon Arena. Marc-Andre Fleury, who has yielded seven goals in the first two games, will be in net for the Pens. Eric Fehr and John Erskine are...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 6, 2009; 6:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Fehr, Erskine Game-Time Decisions

Eric Fehr and John Erskine remain game-time decisions, Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau said a little while ago. Boudreau also was asked why suspended enforcer Donald Brashear did not make the trip to Pittsburgh. "Because we left him at home," Boudreau said. "We didn't figure, if he's not eligible to play,...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 6, 2009; 5:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
 
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Video: Penguins Voice Complaints

Here's Tarik's latest video update from Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, where the news of the day involves the Penguins taking issue with the Capitals' faceoffs and the curvature of Alex Ovechkin's stick:...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 6, 2009; 2:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (113)
 
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Ovechkin, Malkin and Datsyuk Up for Pearson

The NHLPA announced moments ago that Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk are the finalists for the Lester B. Pearson Award, given each year to the MVP of the league as voted by the players. Ovechkin earned the honor last year and is a finalist for the third straight...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 6, 2009; 2:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Kunitz: 'It Looks Bad on Tape'

One day after the Penguins complained publicly about the Caps using illegal picks on faceoffs, Coach Bruce Boudreau responded to the accusations by making some of his own. "I agree that there was a lot of interference, but most of it was done by them," Boudreau said. "It's so funny....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 6, 2009; 1:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (126)
 
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Bettman on Post-Lockout Playing Style

We'll have some more notes and quotes from this morning's skates in a bit, but in the meantime... The commissioners of the four major U.S. pro sports leagues held a panel discussion in New York today, and The Post's Mark Maske jotted down a few notes for the hockey folk:...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 6, 2009; 11:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
 
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Fehr Not Skating

Winger Eric Fehr, who missed almost all of Monday's game with an undisclosed injury, is not on the ice for the morning skate and has been replaced on the fourth line by Michael Nylander. Nylander is lining up as the right wing alongside Boyd Gordon and Chris Clark. Nylander has...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 6, 2009; 11:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Greetings From Pittsburgh

Tarik snapped a few photos of the Penguins' future $321 million home from outside Mellon Arena this morning. In case you can't see it, Sidney Crosby's and Evgeni Malkin's images are plastered on the right side of the top photo. Crosby and Malkin on the right. Coach Bruce Boudreau is...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 6, 2009; 11:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
 
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Penguins Fans Win, Then Lose

From the Associated Press: Hundreds of Pittsburgh Penguins fans got text messages saying they had won four tickets to an upcoming playoff game, but were disappointed to learn the messages had been sent in error. Team spokesman Tom McMillan says the message was mistakenly sent to 460 fans who entered...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 6, 2009; 10:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Morning Reading List: Game 3

(Toni L. Sandys -- The Washington Post) Mike Wilbon talks about how the great ones get it and how Alex Ovechkin is one of those great ones. This quote from his column should be all you need to want to read more: "Or as Leonsis said late Monday night:...

By Katie Carrera  |  May 6, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (58)
 
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Brian Engblom on WPL, Fan Photos

Versus NHL Analyst Brian Engblom was on Washington Post Live to talk about the Capitals taking their 2-0 series lead to Pittsburgh for Game 3. Here's the video: After the jump: two of the best mobile photos we received at capsphotos@wpost.com during and after Game 2....

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 5, 2009; 10:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Brashear: Re-Signing With Caps Is 'First Choice'

Mike Wise got Donald Brashear on the phone earlier this evening and asked him more about the report in Russian newspaper Sport-Express, which said the Caps enforcer was flying to Russia next week to sign a KHL contract. Brashear said a Russian team had contacted him because he acts as...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 5, 2009; 8:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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NHL Will Not Suspend Penguins' Kunitz

From NHL.com: Alex Ovechkin was hoping for more, but Pittsburgh Penguins wing Chris Kunitz will not be suspended by the NHL for his late-game hit to the neck area of Capitals goalie Simeon Varlamov seconds before Sidney Crosby scored his third goal of Game 2 with 30.4 seconds left in...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 5, 2009; 5:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (119)
 
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Brashear Says Russian Report Is False

Earlier today, Russian newspaper Sport-Express reported that suspended Caps enforcer Donald Brashear was flying out to Russia to sign with the KHL's Vityaz Checkov. Coach Bruce Boudreau responded to the report at practice, saying: "To me, it's a total fallacy because I haven't anything about it." And now please excuse...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 5, 2009; 5:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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The Dangers of Game 3

There was a very business-like feel in the locker room at Kettler today, because the Capitals are acutely aware of how much a Game 3 can mean to a series. They need only to look to Game 3 of their first-round series against New York to see how much momentum...

By Katie Carrera  |  May 5, 2009; 3:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (75)
 
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Fehr, Erskine 'Questionable'

As I mentioned earlier, Eric Fehr did not skate and is questionable for Game 3 with an undisclosed injury. Coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn't say what exactly is ailing the winger, but he did say it's something that has hampered him in the past (so I'm thinking shoulder). "He'll be back...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 5, 2009; 12:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (93)
 
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Q&A: Mike Wise on Donald Brashear

Quick programming note: Columnist Mike Wise will be online at 3 p.m. today to field questions about his profile on Caps enforcer Donald Brashear and anything else Capitals-related (or not). Click here to submit questions and here to go to the chat....

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 5, 2009; 12:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Fehr, Erskine Not Skating

Right wing Eric Fehr and defenseman John Erskine are among a large group of Caps not participating in today's optional practice here at KCI. Fehr suffered an undisclosed injury in the first period of last night's game. Erskine, meantime, missed the game with an apparent leg/foot injury. I don't see...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 5, 2009; 11:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (95)
 
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Morning Reading List: Game 2 Aftermath

(Toni L. Sandys -- The Washington Post) Who knew it was possible for this series to live up to the hype so soon? Not one but two hat tricks in one game, from the two players that the hockey world so often likes to pit against each other, no...

By Katie Carrera  |  May 5, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (99)
 
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A Memorable Victory for the Caps

If you tuned in tonight, you just witnessed a game that will be talked about for years to come. Maybe longer. The game's two biggest stars -- Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby -- each recorded their first career playoff hat trick, and the result was a 4-3 win for the...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 5, 2009; 12:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
 
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Mike Wise Fake Mike Wise on Alex Ovechkin

We recorded one of Mike Wise's regular videos tonight. He talked about Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby and then asked for your opinions. And then Mike left, and then I accidentally deleted the video, so we got some random stand-in. Here's another bald guy who also has trouble figuring out...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 5, 2009; 12:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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D.C. Sports Bog: Crosby Objects to Hats on Ice

(By Toni L. Sandys - TWP) It sounds too good to be true... but yep; Sidney Crosby actually asked officials to make an announcement that fans should stop throwing hats on the ice after Alex Ovechkin's hat trick. Dan Steinberg's got the details: If you're one of the best...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 4, 2009; 10:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (84)
 
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Game 2: Caps 4, Penguins 3

Alex Ovechkin notched a hat trick -- the first by a Capital in the playoffs since Al Iafrate did in 1993 -- to propel Washington to a win and a 2-0 head start in this Eastern Conference semifinal. What was most impressive though, may have been how the Capitals managed...

By Katie Carrera  |  May 4, 2009; 9:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (113)
 
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Live Game 2 Chat: Capitals vs. Penguins

Tonight's chat will begin as soon as the puck drops for Game 2 of the Caps' semifinal against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Verizon Center. Katie Carrera will be hosting tonight and sharing what she sees from the press box. If you're not near a computer, go to twp.com/sports from your...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 4, 2009; 6:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (150)
 
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Tonight's Lineup: Penguins at Caps (Updated)

Simeon Varlamov and the Caps will be going for a fifth straight victory tonight against the Pens in Game 2 of the semifinals. Varlamov is expected to oppose Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury. Defenseman John Erskine (foot/leg) and Jeff Schultz (back) are out for the Caps, as are Michael Nylander (healthy) and...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 4, 2009; 6:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Boudreau on Erskine: 'I Doubt It'

Coach Bruce Boudreau said moments ago that he does not expect defenseman John Erskine to suit up for Game 2 against the Pens. Erskine, who took a shot off his right leg on Saturday, will be replaced by either Karl Alzner or Tyler Sloan, but Boudreau wasn't saying which of...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 4, 2009; 5:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Free Beer for Caps Fans

Figured it would be a disservice to the 21-plus crowd if I didn't relay this message from the Going Out Gurus: Caps fans, if you're looking for a place to watch the big game tonight, we've got the perfect spot for you: Darlington House. Okay, so it's not right next...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 4, 2009; 4:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Wilbon: Why Violence Is Accepted in Hockey

In Michael Wilbon's weekly Q&A today, a reader asked Mike why he thought there was a double standard toward on-court/on-ice violence in hockey and basketball. A bit of the reply: Some of it's simply [rooted] in tradition, the dumb notion that, "This is the way we've always done it, so...

By Jon DeNunzio  |  May 4, 2009; 4:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (75)
 
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Video: Defensive Reinforcements

Here's Tarik's latest Caps video update, on today's call-ups from Hershey: Also, we'll be publishing our favorite mobile photos from the game again on the blog (you can see all of them by going to twp.com/sports from your phone), so if you get any cool shots from Game 2 tonight,...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 4, 2009; 2:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
 
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Shapiro: Smokin' Al Known for Good Calls

Here's a great column by Len Shapiro on Comcast SportsNet's Al Koken, who correctly predicted that Sergei Fedorov's goal would lift the Caps to a Game 7 victory: With less than 10 minutes remaining in the Washington Capitals' dramatic Game 7 victory over the New York Rangers last Tuesday, Comcast...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 4, 2009; 1:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
 
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Erskine Is Questionable for Game 2

The big news out here at KCI today was the recall of defensemen Karl Alzner and Tyler Sloan. Suspicions were raised last night when both players were surprise scratches for a playoff game in Hershey, and those suspicions were confirmed a little more than an hour ago when they took...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 4, 2009; 11:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (61)
 
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Alzner, Sloan Recalled

Defensemen Karl Azlner and Tyler Sloan are on the ice here at KCI. Both were held out of last night's game in Hershey because of an "illness". Apparently, they've made a miraculous recovery and are here in Washington for the morning skate, presumably because of injuries to a few Caps...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 4, 2009; 10:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (61)
 
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Morning Reading List: Game 2

(Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post) Maybe despite his first-round success, Simeon Varlamov was still a relative unknown as he entered this Eastern Conference semifinal series. But if he was, the 21-year-old netminder is no longer anonymous after his goal-line save on Sidney Crosby. Also, our friend Slava Malamud...

By Katie Carrera  |  May 4, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Varlamov: No Longer a No-Name

(Jahi Chikwendiu - The Washington Post) In case you haven't gotten enough of the Caps' superstar goalie (thinking that's a safe bet), check out Barry Svrluga's story for tomorrow's paper: Simeon Varlamov said not a word when he took yet another black Sharpie from yet another outstretched hand early...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 3, 2009; 10:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Semyon, Syoma, Sasha: A Russian Lesson

Today's guide to Russian pronunciations and nicknames is brought to you by Slava Malamud of Sport-Express: Quickly now, is anyone's head swimming yet with all the spoken versions of the Caps' Russian goalie's name? Have you found yourself suddenly irritated by an ESPN announcer's insistence on accenting the first syllable...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 3, 2009; 4:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (158)
 
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Steckel: 'We Can't Always Start Behind the Eight Ball'

Here are some notes from both practices today: One of the topics of discussion at KCI is the Caps' penchant for starting slowly in the playoffs. It happened for the second straight game on Saturday, when the Penguins took the first six shots as well as an early lead on...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 3, 2009; 3:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
 
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