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A.O. Named First Star of the Month

So how did Alex Ovechkin celebrate his four-goal performance against the Canadiens last night? He met Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko for dinner at the Utah team hotel. Ovechkin and Kirilenko became good friends two summers ago, when they vacationed together in Moscow and France.

Ovechkin, a big basketball fan, said he plans to attend the Wiz-Jazz game tonight -- right after he gets his nose examined by a doctor. The worst part about breaking his nose vs. Montreal, he said, came at the end of overtime when Nicklas Backstrom's shoulder brushed his face during the celebration.

"Somebody hug me, and hit again my nose," Ovechkin said. "It's kind of funny."

More on Ovechkin's month, via the NHL:

Ovechkin led all NHL scorers in January with 22 points (13 goals, 9 assists) in 13 games and recorded a +9 rating as the Capitals won nine games during the month. Ovechkin recorded points in 10 of 13 games, including a four-goal, one-assist effort in the Capitals 5-4 win against Montreal on Jan. 31. The four-goal game was his second of the season (Dec. 29 vs. Ottawa). Ovechkin took over the League lead in points (70) and goals (43) during the month. He has registered points in 32 of his last 36 games, averaging nearly a goal-per game during that stretch (34-20--54).

Ovechkin was also named the NHL Offensive Player of the Month in January 2006. That was before the league introduced the 'Three Stars' honors.

Notes:Defenseman Shaone Morrisonn practiced today and said he hopes to be in the lineup tomorrow against Atlanta. He's missed three straight games with a bruised right foot.

*Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Tom Poti did not participate in the optional skate. All three will face Atlanta, Coach Bruce Boudreau said.

*The goalie rotation appears to be Olie Kolzig against the Thrashers and Brent Johnson on Tuesday in Columbus.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 1, 2008; 12:36 PM ET
 
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Next: Morrisonn Returns; Tonight's Lineup

Comments

Here's hoping the Caps and Ovechkin can continue the pace through the remainder of the season... we've been out of the playoffs for too long!

Posted by: Jeroen | February 1, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I'm shocked! lol j/k

Tarik, you didn't happen to run into any reporters from Montreal at last night's game who still thinks Ovechkin is overpaid did you? ; )

Posted by: Don-Ald | February 1, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else think that watching Eminger and Erskine try to run the breakout from their own zone is like watching a train wreck in slow motion? We need Morrisonn and Pothier back, and soon.

Posted by: Bret | February 1, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Bret-

Couldn't agree more.
Watching them give up that first Habs goal last night was murder. could figure out who to blame, Erskine for over pursuing behind the net or Eminger for not switching out to cover.......what a nightmare..

Posted by: Livinit | February 1, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I cant believe I wasnt named player of the month. $10,000 says I get it next month.

Posted by: Jaromir Jagr | February 1, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

The Russian Rampage... I like it.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | February 1, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,


why no live chat today? i know you had one on monday.....but we missed yours last friday due to the all star game......i feel gipped lol

how is clark?
any news on machesney coming up and bozo kolzig going down to the ahl?

Posted by: capsfan | February 1, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

mauree:

sorry i left you hanging on the last thread!!! i was at the game (woo hoo!), had a long night and my day has been crazy ever since i got out of bed this morning. but you're a soldier - glad to see that you are fighting the good fight!! ;-)

i did not have a good view of all of the goals last night, so i must admit, i left wondering if olie did everything that he could (did johnny actually have a better game two nights before, despite his loss?!?). however, after listening to the post-game on the radio, reading the reports, etc., it sounds like only the 2nd goal was really preventable (well, by olie alone, anyway). and he did, again, have some monster saves (one was absolutely beautiful - the kind that is photographed and posted everywhere!). plus, i can't believe that they did not blow the whistle before the last goal went in ... or that someone else did not get the habs outta there!! whatever. it was a win. not pretty, but a lot of fun!!!!!!!

btw, it was nice to see the shots on goal flip flop from the last game - both the O and the D were really playing last night! and poor ovie - he sure takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'!!!

i will be there sat night - i can't wait!! i hope it is a packed house!! too bad carolina won, but we still have 2 in hand ... we can make it to the top 8 in no time!!!

let's go caps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Boo! | February 1, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"I thought [Kolzig] played really good," Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It was unfair he that he had four goals scored against him tonight."

I think based on our performance since Gabby took over, it's obvious he knows what he's doing/talking about. I still don't get why people have anything to complain about at this point in the season, even if Olie's stats aren't up to par. I just like W's


Posted by: Jordan2 | February 1, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

@ Bret & Linivit

What bothers me more than Erskine & Eminger is our center postion on line 2 and the entire line 2 as a whole. They are a defenisve liability that will hurt us down the stretch. Something has to be done about this ASAP.

Posted by: Red Dragon | February 1, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Boudreau is nuts to go back to Kolzig. He is absolutely the worst starter in the entire NHL right now.

Posted by: Sapper | February 1, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

WOW what a game last night!

I really wish I coulda been there. (planning meeting for the biggest Mardi Gras parade on the east coast here in Clarendon Tues. eve.)

Ovie is truly special.

and Olie, unfortunately his defense hung him out to dry at least 2 of the goals. A veteran stay-at-home defenseman should help in managing some of the lapses by the young and not-so-strong defense that the Caps currently have. But Olie is coming to the end of his road.

gmgm won't do anything about Olie until Olie comes to him. Pretty much like the way Hanlon's term ended. gmgm is incapable of proaction: just reaction.


Posted by: Clarendon | February 1, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

No offence, but I still remember your comment that you wouldn't pay Ovechkin a $0.01 more than Cindy :)

Posted by: Finn | February 1, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

@Boo!

The final replay they showed on the Montreal 4th goal was the overhead camera view and from that view you could see the puck sliding along the ice near Olie's chest, but never frozen.

The real question on that goal may be why wasn't the Habs player cleared from the crease, but it also must be asked why Olie was lifting his arms off the ice. If his arms are down on the ice then the puck probably doesn't get to the Montreal player on the other side. Then again, no 4th goalie for Ovie. :)

Posted by: frreakinandpeakin | February 1, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

@ Red Dragon,

I thought Gordon was going to bring some defensive discipline to that line, and for a while it looked like he would. But he was bounced to the fourth line after giving up a clean faceoff in the defensive zone, and he hasn't seen much action on that line since.

I don't like Steckel on the second line, and, even though he wins faceoffs, I kind of feel the same way about Laich. So it has to be Gordon, unless there's a callup or a trade (or Forsberg, ha ha).

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 1, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

frreakinandpeakin:

thanks for the clarification on that goal ... i did not see that. but i agree, the habs should not have been in the crease to poke it in, regardless ... enough time has lapsed that they should have been cleared.

having said that, good point - w/o that, ovie would not have had 4, so we should all look on the bright side!! ;-) i just was not sure what to throw at that point ... hmmm ... ;-)

Posted by: Boo! | February 1, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

>No offence, but I still remember your comment that you wouldn't pay Ovechkin a $0.01 more than Cindy :)

Any change of mind, Tarik?

-------------------------
Achtung, Jeff Schultz + Alex The Great Ovechkin = OT winner!


Posted by: Papa 'Panzer' Schultz | February 1, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Klozig's save percentage since Dec. 1 is .861 & a GAA of 3.42

He must be hurt, but knowing Kolzig he's too proud to so so.

I'm sure he is playing through some injuries because his lateral movement is horrible.

Posted by: billy_barule | February 1, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Glad to hear Mo's about ready to come back.

Posted by: captnclark | February 1, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

John in Mpls

Ah ha. Forsberg, I love that idea. Sitting in for his injured countryman. What an impact he would have !

Posted by: Red Dragon | February 1, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

@red dragon

I agree with you. The 2nd line needs to start producing. Semin can't seem to stay upright on the ice and gets knocked off the puck way too easily. Fleischmann was a ghost last night. You couldn't find him. Again, he has moments when he skates to the net but when it comes time to put it in the net, he fails. Also, Flash and Semin need to improve their defense because they turn the puck over too much and they do not get back on defense fast enough.

Bottom line -- Caps won. We need to beat Atlanta. We can't really afford to lose this game.

Posted by: the highlander | February 1, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

any news on machesney coming up and bozo kolzig going down to the ahl?

Posted by: capsfan | February 1, 2008 01:15 PM
-----------------

..................ah........wh........wow. Capsfan, you take the cake today. That isn't even possible. Olie has a one-way deal. Unless you want to see him get picked off by another team while we pay half his salary, he's not going anywhere.

Considering that Alex had a 4 goal night while skaiting with 2 facial cuts and a broken nose, who else could they name the star?

Posted by: EricS | February 1, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

@ highlander

I think its time to split Semin & Flash. Have Pettinger play on the second line with Laich & Semin, and have Flash play on the 4th with Gordon & Brashear.

Posted by: red dragon | February 1, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

first, i wouldnt like to see forsberg on the caps(were already downtroddin due to injuries). Nevertheless, that second line is a real concern, semin, flash and laich were all in the minus column last night. it would be nice to see the caps pick up another center after the unfortunate(to say the least)loss of nylander, but he was also a sore spot in the +/-. "red dragon" is definately right about that being a bigger concern than emmy and erskine. I dont mind emmy's play, but erskine is just a dissapointment night in and night out. And how come semin can never stay on his skates???

Posted by: capsfan08 | February 1, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

These comments re Kolzig indicate strongly why we blogsloggers are not coaching the Caps and why Bouds is. Olie's stats were better under Hanlon - would you rather see Olie's GAA and Sv % in the top 15 and the Caps 10 games under .500?
Olie's played in 40 games and he has 18 wins; that's as many as All Star Legace has playing in 2 more games and only one fewer than All Star DiPietro's 19 (45 games) and only 2 fewer than All Star Vokoun's 20 (46 games).
His record aint as bad as you think. Bouds knows that and plays a high risk, high reward offense - quit ahmmering on Olie. The defense's average age is what, 24? C'mon.

Posted by: Shaggy | February 1, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

@ Shaggy

You make a very good point. Maybe we just aren't used to the run 'n' gun style and the effect it has on player stats. We are probably losing sight of the big picture which is the win column, which nobody can argue with.

Well thought out Shaggy, now I can go back to work !

Posted by: billy_barule | February 1, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Come on now join the bandwagon for

"The RUSSIAN RAMPAGE"

AO'S new handle

Posted by: billd | February 1, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for some of you, last night was one of the most enjoyable Caps games to watch in a while. I thoroughly enjoyed myself last night and am still excited about the game today. Others of you appear to be dragging yourselves down and focusing on the negative. OV gave one of the best individual performances you'll see, especially factoring in how meaningful every game is for here on out. Let's focus on that. Let's remember where this team was just a few months ago, the fact that we are competing for the playoffs is amazing in itself....let's enjoy the ride.

Sure Olie is struggling right now, but we are winning. Without looking at the stats, he probably had a much better GAA/SV% under Hanlon, but we were losing every night. I'll take the wins and be happy. I equate this to a pitcher in baseball who gets good run support. In the end all that matter's is if the pitcher gets the win or loss, not his ERA. Olie hasn't been playing great, but he's doing just enough for us to win. If he doesn't make some of those great saves last night....we lose.

Posted by: JPC | February 1, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I have no real problem with Erskine and Eminger. They make mistakes, but I like what I see. I see them facing AWAY from our goal, clearing the riff raff out of the crease, making hits and knocking players off the puck.

Schultz has a tendency to face TOWARDS the net, usually with one of their players between him and the goal and getting ready to score. Happened last night and twice 2 nights ago. He's swiss cheese and needs to be sent to outer mongolia.

Posted by: Greg S. | February 1, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Don't get me wrong, I love the fact the team is winning. However, I don't want the team to be on the verge of playoff contention and have it all be lost by the league-worst goalie, who the Capitals employ. At five million dollars a year. Even BB can't deny Kolzig's numbers and Ted can't deny what a terrible ROI Kolzig provides.

Posted by: Kip | February 1, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Olie had a tough time with that last goal because Gordon was laying on top of him instead of clearing out the crease. That second goal was definately on Olie. Another 5 holer.

Posted by: Greg S. | February 1, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

No chat today?

Posted by: Kolya | February 1, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

new contract: $124,000,000.00

new haircut: $14.00

broken nose,
stitches,
4 Goals,
1 Assist,
5 Points,
+4 Rating,
making team to win absolutely crucial game by scoring in OT: PRICELESS

Papa 'panzerfaust' half slaphot Schultz

Posted by: Papa 'panzerfaust' half slaphot Schultz | February 1, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

With his smile, how about:

"The Russian Redneck"

Note: the above is sarcasm, please keep the attacks to a minimum.

Posted by: Steve R | February 1, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"Tarik,

No offence, but I still remember your comment that you wouldn't pay Ovechkin a $0.01 more than Cindy :)" - Finn

I have a lot of respect for Tarik, but I think that was a dumb position.

Posted by: Sapper | February 1, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

@ Shaggy

There are plenty of teams that play an aggressive style in the NHL. Olie is DEAD LAST amoung starters in save percentage. It's not Boudreau's system that makes it possible to time Olie's movement from post to post with a sundial.

Posted by: Sapper | February 1, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Russian machine never break

Posted by: Steve in Jersey | February 1, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Nice article on OV on TSN website...
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=228688&hubname=

Posted by: Muddapucker | February 1, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Olie Bashers:
Your precious Bryzgalov has 2 more wins and 2 fewer SO losses than Olie in the same amount of games. In other words, if the Caps had won 2 more shootouts, Olie and the Bryz would have nearly identical records.
How can you say Olie is the worst goalie in the league? When you measure GAA and Sv %, yes, he sucks. Yet the team wins. Is it because the team plays better as a unit despite Olie's faults because he is a dynamic leader and they want to play hard for him, that they have confidence when the game is on the line (dont bring up the Habs 4th goal, that puck was dead) ? The only answer to that is "Yes".

Posted by: Shaggy | February 1, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Alexander Ovechkine
Russian Crazy Score Machine

Your humble servant,
Panzerfaust half slap shot Schultz

Posted by: Panzerfaust half slap shot | February 1, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Go Ovie

Posted by: Anonymous | February 1, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Shaggy,

Leader? I think he stopped being a "leader" last year

Posted by: Finn | February 1, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Finn, he may not be THE leader any longer...however, if he weren't A leader any longer OV (who is also clearly becoming THE leader on the team) wouldn't point to the "good goaltending" every chance he got. He is respected in the dressing room, whether we want to believe it or not.

Posted by: Jeff | February 1, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Jeff,

Ovechkin only points to the "good goaltending" because:

1. He doesn't want to piss the psycho off because he likes his iPod
2. "Good goaltending" is "I' am glad we scored more than Kolzig let in" in Russian
3. Ovechkins is just pure class, unlike Kolzig, who can sometimes bash his teammates in the media

Posted by: Finn | February 1, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I wasn't advocating for Forsberg. While I may understand his appeal - he won't cost anything but money, after all - I just don't see paying that much for a guy who's a concussion away from officially ending a career that technically ended a few years ago.

That, and it won't happen. I assume the first phone call his agent makes is to Detroit, but we'll see.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 1, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Finn -- no question Ovechkin is pure class. Of course, Ovechkin smashed his own iPod, but who keeps track of that sorta thing.

If he didn't respect Kolzig, he simply wouldn't have mentioned him at all. Kolzig has said multiple times his game is not where it should be.

Ultimately, I agree with your point that Kolzig is not playing the way he has in years past (tho nothing is going to be done about it right now). My point is that while YOU don't think of Kolzig as a leader the TEAM does.

Posted by: Jeff | February 1, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Any idea if Fehr is ready? Any thoughts on Fehr to Kozlov's spot and Kozlov to center on 2nd line?

Posted by: Steve R | February 1, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

@Finn,
What does his ipod have to do with anything? Olie is a leader and an important part of the team on ice and off ice regardless of whether he's having a bad year.

Posted by: K | February 1, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I must have been out to lunch or something but would someone tell me what happened to the Caps Postgame Show?

Joe Reekie is apparently off the Comcast payroll. I still see Lisa Hillary around, which is a blessing. I also miss not hearing BB's press conference.

What happened did Comcast pull the plug?

Posted by: Muddapucker | February 1, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

As far as Flash goes, I couldn't agree more. After most games, I declare him unfit as a top six forward. Then you get that game where he's in all of the plays, forechecking, making passes.

This was supposed to be a make-or-break year for the guy, but he still looks like a prospect who needs more time. I don't know how much more time the organization can afford to give him.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 1, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Finn,

It's no use...

Let's talk baseball for a second: If a pitcher has a 5 wins on the season but an ERA of 2.15 - he is considered a great pitcher but was lacking the run support. If you have a pitcher that has 20 wins, but an ERA of 6.55, we would question his ability. Yes, he has a ton of wins, but to me - he got those wins because he had run support. Seems like the same situation we have on the Caps... but, it's no use because no goal is Olie's fault - it's always the D's fault or the ref's fault.
He is getting wins because Alex has games like last night.
I am not saying we need a new goalie or never play Kolzig again... I am just saying - people stop making excuses for Olie. If he was the great goalie that he used to be, he would be playing every game - maybe missing 10 games on the year. Now, he is rotating every game or every other game with Brent.
I don't hate Olie - I hate the excuses that people make. Because of our goalie situation - we have to score 6... what other team has to do that?

Posted by: 828 | February 1, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Finn, Sapper ..... I don't mind when people talk about Olie is performance, but when it gets personal it is so sad. Olie is an extremely classy guy. How fickle are we the fans? I never though the Capitals fans would ever bad mouth a player like Olie; calling him bozo, classless... sham on you.

I wonder what you guys would say when Ovie slows down.

Posted by: Atomix | February 1, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

CSN hasn't had a real postgame show all season. It's SportsNite, 90 minute version.

You still see Reekie once in a while when they do SportsNite 5 minute Caps Pre-Game.

Posted by: tallbear | February 1, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I do think Olie is a leader on and off the ice...

Posted by: 828 | February 1, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

ERICS,


yes i am serious. If olie is playing like a ahler...he should go down.......Machesney is playing great why not give him a shot like we did a young olie kolzig?????

Posted by: CAPSFAN | February 1, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

GMGM isn't going to make a block buster trade to bring in a new goalie for a playoff run. The team would have to give up a ton of future potential to have a return that would most likely only last for the balance of this year. It isn't worth the price the team would pay.

Having said that, Olie and Johnny are the goalies for the balance of the year. Deal with it. If the defense tightens up, less goals will be scored.

If the Caps score 6 a game, does it matter if 4-5 goals are scored against? Who cares if Olie's GAA and save % are the worst in the league if he gets the win?

Posted by: Steve R | February 1, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

@Steve R

Is Fehr ready? No, but he's getting close. I think his conditioning is not quite up to par yet. By the end of the games he appears to be winded and struggling. But his skating is strong, his passes are on the money, he's crashing the net. I'd predict he comes up to DC by the end of Feb.

Posted by: Tess | February 1, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Atomix - you will probably here the same thing in 15 years... it's sad, but that is how sports are... people want to win. The players know that - they know what they are getting into.

Sad but True

Posted by: 828 | February 1, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse


I don't think Forsberg would want to play in Washington, but the Caps should offer to pay him whatever is necessary to make it attractive.

I live in Nashville and saw him play the second half for the Preds. He can't carry a team anymore, but he can make a big difference for a young talented winger. He could do for Semin on the second line what he did for Radulov last year. He is also a terrific two way player who can take the body. By all accounts, he is a great teammate in the room, too.

Ted might try to sell him on being part of the most dynamic offense over the last couple months.

Posted by: Gust16 | February 1, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Since BB took over this team has completely reversed itself. The Caps, at the beginning of the year, couldn't put the puck in the net and had a somewhat decent GAA.

Since BB took over they've been one of the top (if not the top) goal scoring team in the league, and giving up a lot of goals at the same time.

I'm not going to pretend that Olie had a great 1st part of the season, but he had a 2.89 GAA and a .901 Save % before BB took over. Since BB took over his overall numbers have gone up to 3.12 GAA and his save % has dropped to .883.

Is Olie ontop of his game like he was 10 years ago? Of course not...but is the system that is scoring so many goals partially responsible for his numbers? It sure looks like it to me.

The bottom line, at this point of the season, is how many W's are we getting. And he has been earning the W's.

That's enough on Olie -- OV deserves all our attention today. :-)

Posted by: Jeff | February 1, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I don't get it...

the Caps are playing .750 hockey and people are critiquing the team.

My friends, its just doesn't get much better than that.

If we play .650 the rest of the way, we have a better than even money chance of making the playoffs. Some would say it would be a lock.

My point is that there is so many good things going on right now, imho its counterproductive to get hung up on things that, at present, aren't making a difference.

If a Caps fan isn't happy with the way the team (realizing that the team is a collection of individuals)is playing right now then I doubt they will ever be happy.

There is also a thing called team chemistry. Maybe this collection of players, with their problems, is better than other players without the issues.

The coaches are doing a fantastic job and the players are playing as well as any team in the league, for the most part.

They may not be perfect but they are turning into a darn good team.

Posted by: Muddapucker | February 1, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

828, actually you hear things like "he just wins", "he's a battler", "he's clutch when it counts". Really, wins cover up a lot in baseball and football. Voters will pick a 20 game winner with lousy stats for Cy Young over a 15 game winner with great stats.

Posted by: tallbear | February 1, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

agree with u Muddapucker... this complaining is nonsense. we're winning, and the team looks great.. it's been too long, i want to see some playoff hockey baby! lets keep the f-ing train on the track baby

Posted by: Jordan2 | February 1, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

@atomix

Finn doesnt even go to games anymore. He just comes on here and bashes Olie.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 1, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I've been trying to juggle some Olie numbers during lunch and I gotta say NHL.com's stats really suck.

I can't see something as simple as a basic breakdown of his wins and losses home vs. away. They don't even give you *SOG*!
And we can't even see his record game-by-game for This Season!!! (much less any other).

I was simply trying to see if our D has a harder time at away games and compare Olie and Johnson stats home vs away. I can appreciate playing the "fan favorite" goalie at home, but I've never seen our D play worse than at that game at Montreal coming back from the layoff.
I'd just as soon play the right goalie in the right situation.

There are 5000 NFL stat sites that will tell us how many times a specific player picked his nose on average career-wise at outdoor versus indoor stadiums and the average size of each booger.

Posted by: austinsteve | February 1, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

@austinsteve,

Try tsn.ca

They seem to have a decent stats program

Posted by: Steve R | February 1, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

austinsteve:

http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/players/687

Yahoo Fantasy sports is pretty good with stats... also, you can get game by game stats from nhl.com if you go to Olie's player page.

I don't really care who is in goal to be honest. I just don't want the goalie situation affect us in the long run of this season/post-season. If the offense keeps up - does it really matter, ya know?

I agree with most of you...

Posted by: 828 | February 1, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Forsberg may be enticed by the presence of Backstrom and Nylander. He can aid the evolution of a great up-and-coming center and he can fill-in for a high-class fellow Swede who has played with him on their national team. Forsberg is very dedicated to the Swedish national team with his dad's connections. Plus the Caps are well under the Cap and can throw some money Forsberg's way. And who would not want to skate with OV? OK, probably far-fetched, but you never know what GMGM can pull off.

Posted by: JIM | February 1, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: 828 | February 1, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Thanks!
I'm sure BB is waiting for my report and graphical analysis

Oh, and I'm only going to have 2 kinds of donut at the Powerpoint presentation, hope that's okay

Posted by: austinsteve | February 1, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Capsfan, please get a refresher in the terms of the current CBA. They can't send Oile down without having him go throug waivers where someone would claim him immediatly. It's not happening, and you do not send your #1 goalie and team leader to the AHL. What kind of message does that send tothe team? "Thanks for all your hard work, but you mean nothing to us anymore".

Bottom line, we're winning. As the D ages in and pulls things together we'll win even more and give up less. Heck, we're missing 1 defense minded forward, 2 top defensemen though one's coming back and our current top defender has a slightly bum shoulder. You do the math.

Posted by: EricS | February 1, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Wanted to comment on something I have noticed - Wash Post front page pics of Semin (a few weeks back) and today's of Ovie: notice the LARGE CROWDS? Awesome to see. So much better to see that than the same pic with the way it used to be - half empty seats. woo hoo!

Posted by: I Believe | February 1, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

All you guys trying to figure out the D and what should be done with Olie need to relax. You just have to join 828's SIX GOAL CLUB. Score 6 goals and we win. It's that simple. And oh, by the way, read Mike Wise today in the Post. He knows the deal. BB's system is time tested. Score more goals than your oppenent.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | February 1, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Olie is 5-1 on Saturday's. Stats dont lie. Start him vs. the Thrash.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 1, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

The SIX GOAL CLUB is growing! Yes!

Posted by: Finn | February 1, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

"RMNB"

Russian Machine Never Break.

It's a great inside joke for fans to embrace. Someone should make an "RMNB" sign to hold up at the game.

Posted by: Drew | February 1, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

If we make the playoffs and score 6 goals in every game once we're there I'll happily join the 6 goal club.

Posted by: austinsteve | February 1, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

@Finn
828 let me in this morning. I'm a proud member and glad you are as well. Remember, Mike Wise compared it to pinball. A few get through the wickets but we'll light the place up a few more times than the other guy.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | February 1, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

It is so hard for some athletes to face reality and know when to call it quits. Olie is going through that, if I was in his shoes I will feel the same, the pay is good, however, I will go out with dignity and start easing back and let Johnson play more - of course I know it is a coach decision, but I will help him with it.
It is also difficult for fans to see their sports hero fade out, as it is obvious in this blog to see. If I were Olie I will help on that transition by being public and supporting the play of Johnson for the best of the team.
I am a big fan of Kolzig, I followed him from the start, but it is time.
As my early posts shows, I am one of those who thinks that the second line is in need of a good center, I am not sure that a temporary fix is the answer. We need to work with what we have, both here and in Hershey, until something clicks. I will not put Kozlov in the second line, that first line is really cohesive and we should aim for the second line to be the same without breaking what we have working well.
I am also one of those few who think that Emminger needs a chance, he needs to be playing with a player similar to Morrisonn, a stay at home D-man. I believe Emminger can provide some offense from the D-line, similar to Green. By the way, I think part of the success we had in the last game was the way they defended the game, I noticed that Green stayed back and picked his time to charge more carefully. Big difference.

Posted by: Opita | February 1, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

@Opita
Ask 828 if you can join the Six Goal Club. If accepted, you'll feel much better about Olie and the D in general.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | February 1, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

@Eza
I think 828 is right in that we need to score a lot when Olie plays, don't you? Don't take me wrong, I am not insulting Olie, I cheered for him through out his career, but don't you think he is a liability? He has his moments of brilliancy but it is easy to see that he just does not longer have the agility to be an effective primary goalie.
I am just glad he is not facing Ilya in the next game.

Posted by: Opita | February 1, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

@Eza,
I think I missed it. Are you part of the club?

Posted by: Opita | February 1, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Sami Lepisto is +19 in 33 games down in Hershey.

I thought he was a P.P. specialist that was weak 5 on 5

Posted by: billy_barule | February 1, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

@ capsfan

Olie played for the skipjacks and pirates for years before he ever became a fixture in the Caps' lineup. He was given a long time to get seasoned and, if memory serves correctly, didn't become the Caps' starting goalie until he was in his mid 20's. I wouldn't push too hard to rush the young guys into the fray or else you're risking a flame out. It's been painful to watch some of these soft goals go in, and I'm certainly leaning towards BJ getting a lot more starts. In the end, in order to not mortgage future success by rushing the youth in or making a dumb trade, we gotta ride with what we got. At least they're winning. Come playoff time though, if they make it, it's going to get real rough if Kolzig doesn't shape up.

Posted by: Josh | February 1, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Olie is not Done! The only stat that should matter is the number of WINS. He's still a great goalie playing in a different system. Yes it's a little more open than before and it may change his stats a bit. One thing that should be improved is the play of the D around the net. When is the last time you've seen opposing players consistently being put on their ass by the Cap D? It sends a message. With that said, I do think the team should have picked up Bryzgalov. Not because of Olie's play, simply because Bryzgalov would have provided an immediate and future improvement for the team. Johnnie is and will only be a back up. There is no future there. Olie could groom the next starter. However gmgm passed on Bryzgalov, he must have had other things to do. But as many have said, that is in the past.
Now the Capitals, amazingly after their abysmal start, find themselves in a playoff hunt. After many years of trade deadline fire sales, I find it interesting that gmgm (DEADMAN WALKING) is now in a building or BUYER position. The Caps need help on D (a solid stay at home Bruiser would be nice) and Wing. I see the chatter about Eric Fehr and his expected return. Is this your move at wing? Drafting C. Perry would have worked sooner, or for that matter Getzlaf or M. Richards. Other teams are making moves now, seeing how the deadline is early this year. I guess we can just sit back and wait. However, maybe if we had a GM who spent money wisely, the team wouldn't be stuck with a $4.5 mill offensive minded Defenseman / PP QB that is currently tied with Kolzig for number of goals scored. HHHHMMMMM.

One thing is certain, after last night we know Ted did a great job resigning OV. OV showed that he is worth every penny.

Posted by: someone else who knows | February 1, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Last year, Johnson was horrific, you'd never think he was capable of what he is this year. Olie could be hurt, having marital problems, be in one of his well known mental funks-- I think it's early to pull the plug yet. You could see Johnson jokingly beating Olie up after they won last night... clearly wanted Olie to chill out and just play. Which is what he needs.

At any rate, count me in for the 6 goal club, it comes with a pound of free wings!

Posted by: GJ | February 1, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

@someone else who knows
I disagree with you about Olie. I agree that the only stats that matters is the wins. It is not Olie but a team effort that provides the wins. Having said all that, then we can deduct that a win and Olie's play is not an exclusive one-to-one correlation. However, Olie is an integral part of the result, and in my opinion, his agility has diminish to the point of being a liability. In your opinion he is still a great goalie playing in a different system. Based on that, then we will have to agree that either way, yours or mine, he is not the right person to be playing for the Caps right now.
As for the D needing to improve, I agree, there is always room for improvement there, but they should not be the scapegoats for the lack of agility of a goalie, or a goalie playing in a system not suitable to him. If they were always perfect, we will not need a goalie.
As for Brizgalov. Well, I can't complaint, I should have made better choices in life but I didn't. However, I don't dwell on my mistakes and I am doing fine.

Posted by: Opita | February 1, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

@GJ
I think part of Johnson's problem is his lack of playing time. He has some good stats while in St. Louis. I believe he posted 3 shutouts during the playoffs. But that was then, and now is now. I would like to see him play more,.

Posted by: Opita | February 1, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Dumont signed for 4 years in Nashville. One possible trade off the list.

The Caps will be a lot better if they can find, bring up a RW or Center to help Semin. Teams will focus on AS, tempting Flash and Gordon/Laich/Steckel to score -- so far doubling down on Sasha is working fine for other teams. It'd be different if Nylander was healthy.

Posted by: JIM | February 1, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Where do you backseat GMs get your information from?

So far doubling down Sasha is working?

Really?

Are you sure?

How many goals does he have in his last eight?

I'll let you take the time to look it up.

Posted by: Yosh | February 1, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I am so excited about tomorrow's game. I hope the VC is rocking.

Speaking of rocking, in the previous thread there was discussion of a nickname for Ovechkin. Ovechkin is too special for just a nickname. I think he also needs a theme song. Anybody have any ideas?

I know this is not serious hockey analysis, but I'm still giddy from last night. I promise for a more on point post tomorrow.

Posted by: Kim | February 1, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Just talked to Ovie.
His girlfriend is coming on Feb. 7, she just got visa. This is good news for AO, but not for the team who fights for playoffs spot. :-)

Here's what martial arts people say:
http://www.defend.net/deluxeforums/showthread.php?t=16074

So if the theory is correct, AO's production should go down after Feb. 7th. :-)
----------------------------------
Achtung, Ovechkin!

Posted by: Papa "Panzerfaust" Schultz | February 1, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

@Opita
Getting back to you late. Yes, I'm in the Six Goals Club.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | February 1, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Just a thought for the trade deadline. If GMGM has an idea of which UFA he would like to go after, then why not trade for that person and give up a "prospect". Before giving some guy $20M or something why not trade for him and make sure he gets along with the rest of team and what kind of person he may be. And you get some help for the stretch run. Yes, the caps may lose a prospect, but if UFA works out then you dont need the prospect and if he is Jagr like, then you will know before you give him a long term deal....

Posted by: Rich C | February 1, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Call me controversial, but cut his leg he scores 4 goals and gets five points, break his nose 4 goals five points...maybe we don't need Brash after all!

Posted by: DC FURY | February 1, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Hey Caps fans... Check out my spankin brand new Caps website at...

Caps247.com

Thanks alot Go Caps!

Posted by: ZackAttack | February 1, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

I was very happy to see that God meted out appropriate justice to Michael Wilbon for abandoning hockey for NASCAR. Michael, repent before it is too late!

Posted by: Cpl Cespod | February 1, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

The Thrash just tied the slugs in the last few seconds of the game. Headed to OT.

Posted by: BearsWoooo | February 1, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Thrash just jumped ahead of the Caps in the standings by beating the buffaslugs.

Posted by: BearsWoooo | February 1, 2008 10:28 PM | Report abuse

"I still don't get why people have anything to complain about at this point in the season."

Here's why:

I'm not hung up on stats. I never have been. It would not bother me that Olie has the WORST SAVE PERCENTAGE IN THE ENTIRE LEAGUE, if he was able to make the big save at the big time.

That has always been his biggest problem, even when he was playing reasonably well. So forget about the stats -- it boils down to this:

When you're up by two goals with 6:30 left to go in the game, that game has to be OVER. Period. Lights out. Especially in the playoffs. The reason to complain, is that EVERY team in the NHL knows if they're playing the Caps, they're still in it.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | February 1, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

@ZackAttack
Nice website. Very well done. Hope to see you on Comcast doing the play by play one day.

PS - Grow some hair dude.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | February 1, 2008 11:26 PM | Report abuse

About Ovechkin's nickname, me and my buddies have been calling him The Ocho since his rookie year. That's what I'll always call him.

Posted by: Stephen | February 1, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

The only reason the Caps keep winning with Olie in net is that they know they have to score more. Why not package him in a deal to get a better goalie? Or give Daren Machesney (currently on Hershey in AHL) a chance and see what he can do. His is young (20, I think) but he deserves a shot. The Caps won't make it past the first round if Olie is in goal.

Ovechkin is the best player in the league. He does everything from checking and playing D to passing and setting up goals. He is a joy to watch every time he steps on the ice. OVIE WAN KENOVI!!! is the best!!

callingaudibles.blogspot.com

Posted by: Greg M | February 2, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

@O'Neal
"When you're up by two goals with 6:30 left to go in the game, that game has to be OVER. Period. Lights out"

There's a reason for the saying that a two goal lead is the most dangerous lead in hockey. That's not just a caps thing -- two goal third period leads are overcome all the time. Save % not withstanding, Olie's not terrible (watch some of the highlights of the game -- he had some big saves), and he still might get hot.

That said, I watched the Ducks and Blues play to a 0-0 tie (Blues 1-0 is S.O.) -- watching two excellent goalies who were playing well highlighted our deficencies. While we're certainly heading in the right direction, we could be downright deadly with a hot goalie.

Posted by: Hook | February 2, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Tarik,
We all know what a Gordie Howe hat trick is...

Now we know what an Alex Ovechkin hat trick is... "Broken nose, stitches and at least one goal."

Posted by: Muddapucker | February 2, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Not many tickets left up top. It's gonna be a great crowd.

Any concern about Ovie's nose, and him having to stay "less physical?"

I expect Brash and Erskine to go tonight. They have a guy Thorburn that fights and is 6-3 220.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 2, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse



Alexander the GR8.


He was one of the most successful military commanders in history, and was undefeated in battle. By the time of his death, he had conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks.

Funny thing, if you look at the historical figure paintings, mosaics, sculptures, I actually see similarities with AO lol. Look it up on wikipedia (for exampe check out this picture)



Posted by: mauree | February 2, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

OK, any predictions about tonight?

I'm guessing 6-4 Caps win.

Goals by:
OV 2
Green 2
Nicky
Brash

LET'S GO CAPS!!

@Mauree, I like the name for OV.

Posted by: Steve R | February 2, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Why is the Washington Post afraid to write about the biggest issue for the Caps? LOUSY GOALTENDING. If this were any city north of Buffalo, the newspapers would be all over the junior varsity goaltending of the Caps. With strong goaltending the rejuvenated Caps would be one of the most feared teams in the league.

Posted by: JO | February 2, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

@JO
I agree with you. However, I still think that Johnson has not been given a serious look as the number one goalie. I think that given the opportunity he will show us he deserves that status.

Posted by: Opita | February 3, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

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