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Capitals Insider: December 5, 2010 - December 11, 2010

Open thread: Capitals vs. Avalanche

The Washington Capitals (18-9-3) hope to bounce back in a big way and avoid a fifth straight loss when they host the Colorado Avalanche (14-10-4) tonight at Verizon Center. Chat about the game in the comments below, or join the conversation on Twitter and see your tweets here by using...

By Washington Post sports editors  | December 11, 2010; 6:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (159)
Categories:  Colorado Avalanche  
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Tonight's lineup: Avalanche at Caps

Mike Green will miss the matchup against Colorado because of the flu and rookie center Marcus Johansson is a healthy scratch. In his pregame comments to the media, Coach Bruce Boudreau said Johansson "needs to watch a game." Here's what the lineup should look like: Forwards Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble Laich-Perreault-Semin Chimera-Steckel-Bradley Hendricks-Gordon-Fehr...

By Katie Carrera  | December 11, 2010; 6:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Colorado Avalanche, Lineups  
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Big Chill at the Big House sets hockey attendance record

(Leon Halip/Getty Images) The crowd of 113,411 on hand at Michigan Stadium to watch Michigan and Michigan State face off in The Big Chill at the Big House has set a new world record for attendance at a hockey game. It's also the biggest crowd for any NCAA event....

By Lindsay Applebaum  | December 11, 2010; 4:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Statistical analysis: Don't panic just yet

The Caps are mired in a four-game losing streak, one of their top blueliners is out four to six weeks and the flu is going around the locker room - but it is still no time for panic. All NHL teams face adversity. Last year's Chicago Blackhawks had three three-game...

By Neil Greenberg  | December 11, 2010; 2:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Statistical analysis  
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Familiar faces on both sides of Caps-Avalanche meeting

Eleven days ago, the Capitals sent Tomas Fleischmann to the Colorado Avalanche in return for defenseman Scott Hannan. It will be a little strange, some Washington players said, to see their former teammate in a different sweater tonight at Verizon Cenrter. But there's also too much at stake for the...

By Katie Carrera  | December 11, 2010; 1:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Colorado Avalanche, Matt Hendricks, Scott Hannan, Tomas Fleischmann  
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David Steckel: Caps 'haven't faced adversity like this in a long time'

The Capitals have not consistently put all of the pieces together over the past 11 contests, but with back-to-back games this weekend against Colorado tonight and in New York Sunday, they have an opportunity to get back on the right track in rapid fashion. "We have a chance to come...

By Katie Carrera  | December 11, 2010; 11:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau, Colorado Avalanche, David Steckel, Mike Green  
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Michal Neuvirth first goaltender off the ice

Washington's goaltender rotation continues as Michal Neuvirth was the first off the ice this morning and appears to be getting ready to start against the Colorado Avalanche tonight. He and Semyon Varlamov have alternated starts in each of the past five games. Marcus Johansson and D.J. King are still out...

By Katie Carrera  | December 11, 2010; 10:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Brian Fahey, Colorado Avalanche, Injuries, Michal Neuvirth, Mike Green, Semyon Varlamov  
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Caps recall Brian Fahey

The Capitals have recalled defenseman Brian Fahey from Hershey, which may mean that one of the blueliners suffering from the flu is unable to face the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. John Carlson and Mike Green are both under the weather. Fahey has played five games for Washington this season....

By Katie Carrera  | December 10, 2010; 5:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
Categories:  Brian Fahey  
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Winter Classic countdown: Former Caps continue the outdoor hockey festivities

Can't get enough of the outdoor hockey hoopla ahead of the Winter Classic between the Capitals and Penguins on New Year's Day? You're in luck. The Capitals and the Reston Town Center skating pavilion will host the Mites on Ice Outdoor Classic this Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m....

By Lindsay Applebaum  | December 10, 2010; 3:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Winter Classic  
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Alex Ovechkin: Caps' scoring drought 'starts with me'

There was no avoiding the fact Friday after practice that the Capitals need to rediscover their consistent scoring touch. Washington is 4-7 in its past 11 games, which feature two losing streaks bookending four consecutive wins, and when the Capitals have struggled it's coincided with a lack of goals on...

By Katie Carrera  | December 10, 2010; 2:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (76)
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin, Jason Chimera  
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Flu bug hits the Capitals

Six players are battling the flu and five of them did not skate at KCI on Friday. Brooks Laich, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson and Boyd Gordon did not take part in practice, while Mike Green, who is also suffering from flu symptoms, was on the ice briefly. Matt...

By Katie Carrera  | December 10, 2010; 12:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (67)
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau, Injuries  
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Poll: Is it time to panic about the Caps?

Is the Capitals' four-game skid reason to worry about the big picture, or is it just a winter slump that's better off happening now than in the playoffs? Reactions in our comments so far have been across the board, so let's take an unofficial poll: If there is a bigger...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | December 10, 2010; 10:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (117)
 
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Caps dealing with adversity after fourth straight loss

Last night, Coach Bruce Boudreau called out most of the Capitals' regular point producers, naming Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin, Mike Green, Brooks Laich and Mike Knuble as those not living up to their offensive responsibilities. "Those are our best players, and if they're not going to score and...

By Katie Carrera  | December 10, 2010; 7:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (117)
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Brooks Laich, Mike Green, Mike Knuble, Morning Roundup, Nicklas Backstrom  
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Capitals shut out for third time in 11 games, lose 3-0 to Panthers

There are few occasions where one would imagine that the Washington Capitals, who have owned one of the top two power plays in the NHL each of the past two seasons, would go 0 for 8 in a single contest. But that's exactly what happened Thursday and it was a...

By Katie Carrera  | December 9, 2010; 11:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau, Florida Panthers, Mike Knuble  
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Open thread: Capitals vs. Panthers

The Washington Capitals (18-8-3) will look to avoid a fourth straight loss when they host the Southeast Division rival Florida Panthers (12-14-0) tonight at Verizon Center. Chat about the game in the comments below, or join the conversation on Twitter and see your tweets here by using #caps. Faceoff: 7...

By Washington Post sports editors  | December 9, 2010; 6:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (167)
Categories:  Florida Panthers  | Tags:  Capitals vs. Panthers, Capitals-Panthers  
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Tonight's lineup: Panthers at Caps

Mike Green and Scott Hannan will be paired together for the first time tonight against Florida as the Capitals try to snap a three-game losing streak and get back on track. Also, Eric Fehr and David Steckel return to the lineup after being healthy scratches Monday night. Here's what the...

By Katie Carrera  | December 9, 2010; 6:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Florida Panthers, Lineups  
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Video: Coaches Bruce Boudreau and Dan Bylsma on the HBO series

To help whet everyone's appetite for "24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic", HBO has been rolling out some sneak peeks. The latest, featuring Penguins Coach Dan Bylsma and Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau, is below. <p>Your Browser DoesNot Support IFrames.</p> HBO's "24/7" premieres Dec. 15 at 10 p.m....

By Katie Carrera  | December 9, 2010; 2:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  HBO 24/7  
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Bruce Boudreau on Eric Fehr, scratching players

Tonight's tilt against the Florida Panthers marks the Washington Capitals' 30th game of the season, and Coach Bruce Boudreau said that as long as he has extra healthy forwards, he will no longer be sitting players on a semi-regular basis to keep everyone fresh. Instead, the lineup will be based...

By Katie Carrera  | December 9, 2010; 12:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau, Eric Fehr, Florida Panthers  
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Semyon Varlamov first goaltender off the ice

The every-other-game rotation between goaltenders for the Capitals appears set to continue as Semyon Varlamov was the first netminder off the ice this morning, meaning he will likely get the start against the Florida Panthers tonight. Varlamov is 4-1 since returning from a groin injury and has stopped 140 of...

By Katie Carrera  | December 9, 2010; 11:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Eric Fehr, Florida Panthers, Matt Bradley, Matt Hendricks, Semyon Varlamov  
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Live Caps Q&A: Today, 12:30 p.m.

Join yours truly from Kettler Capitals Iceplex, where I will answer questions about tonight's game against the Panthers, the Capitals' ongoing search for a second-line center, how Scott Hannan can help Washington move forward in Jeff Schultz's absence and more. Click here to submit questions. The Q&A begins at 12:30...

By Katie Carrera  | December 9, 2010; 10:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Caps trying to learn from past mistakes

On Monday against Toronto, the Capitals not only failed to find their killer instinct but stopped playing. Shift lengths grew longer, positioning became lax and nearly every bad habit in the book surfaced for Washington en route to a 5-4 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs. The Capitals are still...

By Katie Carrera  | December 9, 2010; 6:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  Morning Roundup  
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Scott Hannan will help lessen the blow of Jeff Schultz's absence

As Coach Bruce Boudreau was quick to point out after practice this morning, although the Capitals have lost one of their leading shot-blockers and ice-time leader on the penalty kill with Jeff Schultz out for four to six weeks, Scott Hannan excels in that same role. Beginning with Boudreau's move...

By Katie Carrera  | December 8, 2010; 1:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (152)
Categories:  Injuries, Jeff Schultz, Mike Green, Scott Hannan, Tyler Sloan  
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Scott Hannan skating with Mike Green at practice

In the Capitals' first practice without Jeff Schultz, who is expected to miss the next four to six weeks with a fractured thumb (read more about that on Homer McFanboy), Scott Hannan is skating with Mike Green. It will be interesting to see how Coach Bruce Boudreau chooses to align...

By Katie Carrera  | December 8, 2010; 10:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
Categories:  Jeff Schultz, Mike Green, Scott Hannan  
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A Caps-centric farewell to Michael Wilbon

Now-former Washington Post sports columnist Michael Wilbon might be known as a basketball guy, but he grew up playing hockey in Chicago. He also wrote more than a few stories about the Caps, his first when he was a 22-year-old reporter in April 1981. As a farewell of sorts...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | December 8, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (60)
 
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In sixth season with Caps, Alexander Semin is still a mystery

(Photos by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post) A third of the way through his sixth season with the Capitals, Alexander Semin is on pace for a career-best campaign with 18 goals and 33 points through 29 games. While teammates say he's shown more personality in the locker room, he's...

By Washington Post sports editors  | December 7, 2010; 4:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
Categories:  Alexander Semin  
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Mathieu Perreault shines in loss to Leafs

If there was one bright spot in Washington's 5-4 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs Monday night, it was likely the play of center Mathieu Perreault. In his fourth game with the Capitals this season on his second call-up stint of the year, Perreault tallied the first two-goal game of...

By Katie Carrera  | December 7, 2010; 7:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (197)
Categories:  Mathieu Perreault, Morning Roundup  
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Capitals fall 5-4 in shootout to Toronto, lose Jeff Schultz for 4-6 weeks

The Capitals can't seem to catch much luck when it comes to the health of their defensemen. The latest blow is that Jeff Schultz will miss the next four-to-six weeks with a fractured thumb, suffered late in the second period on the penalty kill when a shot by Toronto's Luke...

By Katie Carrera  | December 6, 2010; 10:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin, Injuries, Jeff Schultz, Tom Poti, Toronto Maple Leafs  
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Tonight's lineup: Leafs at Caps

Eric Fehr, David Steckel, John Erskine and Tyler Sloan did not take part in warm ups for the Capitals prior to tonight's tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Based on the official active roster for the game it appears that Sloan has been placed on injured reserve. Sloan, who has...

By Katie Carrera  | December 6, 2010; 6:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (234)
Categories:  Lineups, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tyler Sloan  
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Open thread: Capitals vs. Maple Leafs

The Washington Capitals (18-8-2) look to snap a two-game skid when they host the hard-luck Toronto Maple Leafs (9-12-4) tonight at Verizon Center. Chat about the game in the comments below, or join the conversation on Twitter and see your tweets here by using #caps. Faceoff: 7 p.m.; TV: CSN;...

By Washington Post sports editors  | December 6, 2010; 6:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Toronto Maple Leafs  
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Video: Caps' Brooks Laich still loves his job

Brooks Laich's love of hockey -- til the day he dies -- has been well documented. Now he takes us back to the beginning, starting from when his dad put him in skates at two years old. "After school, you'd go to the rink and you'd scrimmage until it was...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | December 6, 2010; 1:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (118)
Categories:  Brooks Laich, Winter Classic  
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Mathieu Perreault hopes to make an impact in latest stint with Caps

Although he is not new to being a regular call-up from the American Hockey League, Mathieu Perreault is still looking to prove himself with every stint in Washington, and this latest assignment is no exception. Perreault, who played three games in late October when Marcus Johansson was out with a...

By Katie Carrera  | December 6, 2010; 12:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Mathieu Perreault, Toronto Maple Leafs  
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Capitals to place undisclosed player on injured reserve

The arrival of Mathieu Perreault in Washington will correspond with the Capitals placing a player on injured reserve today, Coach Bruce Boudreau said, although he declined to name who will be unavailable for the near future. "Soembody that's banged up will go on IR today, you'll be able to read...

By Katie Carrera  | December 6, 2010; 11:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
Categories:  Injuries, Michal Neuvirth, Toronto Maple Leafs  
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Capitals recall Mathieu Perreault

The Capitals have recalled center Mathieu Perreault from Hershey. In 18 games with the Bears this season, Perreault has posted 25 points (eight goals and 17 assists). More to come from KCI, where the team is set to hit the ice for a morning skate at 10 a.m. in preparation...

By Katie Carrera  | December 6, 2010; 9:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
Categories:  Mathieu Perreault  
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Capitals' penalty kill must stay sharp

After the Thrashers defeated the Capitals, 3-1, on Saturday night, Atlanta Coach Craig Ramsay said that the third goal was the result of a set play his team had drawn up to try to counteract the Capitals' penalty kill. Heading into the contest, Washington had killed 11 of 13 penalties...

By Katie Carrera  | December 6, 2010; 7:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Morning Roundup, Penalty kill  
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Here's what the Winter Classic at Heinz Field will look like

(Click here for a larger image) The NHL today will unveil the above rendering of what Heinz Field will look like on New Year's Day, when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Washington Capitals in the league's annual outdoor showcase. Looks like the Ovechkins, Backstroms, Malkins and Crosbys alike are...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | December 6, 2010; 6:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Winter Classic  
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Photos: Caps skate at the Sculpture Garden

(Katherine Frey/The Washington Post) Capitals alumni Peter Bondra and Craig Laughlin and current players Karl Alzner (above), Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson and Marcus Johansson took to the ice to skate with fans Sunday at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink on the National Mall. Check out...

By Washington Post sports editors  | December 5, 2010; 5:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Jason Chimera gets stitches in mouth after high stick

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post) Left wing Jason Chimera had one heck of a time trying to get the attention of the officials during last night's 3-1 loss to Atlanta, and if anyone on the Capitals had reason to be displeased with missed calls, it was Chimera, who had...

By Gene Wang  | December 5, 2010; 3:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Jason Chimera  
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Caps reeling from 'frustrating' loss to Atlanta

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post) If you thought that the Capitals' 3-1 loss to Atlanta last night looked a little too much like what happened in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last year, you're not the only one. Washington's surplus of shots from the perimeter and...

By Katie Carrera  | December 5, 2010; 12:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  Atlanta Thrashers, John Erskine, Mike Knuble, Power play, Tom Poti  
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