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Caps 3, Sabres 2

By now you've probably seen Alex Ovechkin's latest YouTube moment. If you haven't please stop reading, scroll back one post, watch the video and come back when you're done.

Now you're ready for the post-game notes and quotes:

*Coach Bruce Boudreau on Ovechkin's goal: "That was a determination goal. He got it and made a move. They were checking him and he was losing the puck. But he was just determined. It was like, '[The referees] took one away from me, and they're not going to take another one away."

*Asked where the goal ranks on a resume filled with highlight reel goals, Ovechkin, who has 21 goals and 21 assists in his past 27 games, smiled and said, "I don't know. Maybe top 20?"

I would say top five, maybe higher.

*Tonight's 22-save performance for Jose Theodore was huge for his confidence. He made a number of big saves - a pad stop on Daniel Paille in the second period and a glove save on Jason Pominville in the third immediately come to mind.

"Every time he's come out with a good first period, he's had a really solid game," Boudreau said. "Where he gets in trouble is when they score a couple of goals early. But he had a solid first period and we knew he was going to be there, and he was."

Theodore added: "The last two periods [in New York] were really critical. I did a lot good things the last two periods. It was good to have the chance to get right back at it tonight. I'm finally able to build [on] something."

*Theodore's back-to-back wins were his first since Nov. 26-28.

*Tonight the Caps were without eight players (not counting Brian Pothier) who started the season on the roster. Here's what Boudreau had to say about winning for the seventh time in eight games despite the depleted lineup: "The expectations never change. The guys we bring up are vested with the club. As much as there's good chance they're going back to Hershey, at least some of them are when we get healthy, they think - and rightfully so - that they are Washington Capitals and they want to be Washington Capitals."

*Speaking of call-ups, Ovechkin's winner started with a shoveled clearing pass from 36-year-old injury fill-in Bryan Helmer, who was named first star of the game after notching two assists. (He claims it's the first time in the NHL he's been named one of the game's stars).

"I just shoveled it up to [Ovechkin] and he made a heck of a play," Helmer said. "That's why he's the best in the league. He never gives up on the puck and the next thing you know it's in the back of the net. It's amazing what he can do."

*Viktor Kozlov's goal was his fourth in four games. He, along with linemates Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, have been absolutely dominant of late.

"They're a good line," Boudreau said. "You have the best power forward in the game and arguably one of the best young centermen in the game. And Viktor, is like the father of all of those guys."

*For those in the sell-out crowd who booed ref Wes McCauley's goalie interference call on Brooks Laich, Boudreau agreed with McCauley.

"It was a good call," Boudreau said. "At first, I didn't think it was a good call; I though the puck was by [Patrick Lalime]. But we went in and watched it from every angle and I came out and told Wes McCauley that he made a good call."

*The Caps are now 8-2-2 against the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference and 14-1-1 when Ovechkin scores a goal.

That's it from me tonight. I'll check in from KCI in the morning.



By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 26, 2008; 11:53 PM ET
 
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Next: Saturday Morning Update

Comments

"I don't know. Maybe top 20?"

Best quote ever.

And for the sake of being more longwinded, from the last thread, before I rack out.

Re: the latter, let's not give JT the keys to the city quite yet, 5 periods of hockey does not a goaltender make. Indulge me for a second:

Of the next 7 games, 5 are at home (two are against NYR and PHI). Of the 2 road games, one's at BUF, the other's at MON. Say he gets the call for 5 of those. He doesn't get at least 8 points, then perhaps the search for another proven vet, or the dreaded three goalie system, should be a serious look (the following 7 include 2 BOS games, a road game at PIT and a home game with DET).

Anyway, just thinking out loud. Besides, the roster freeze ends midnight tomorrow, so with Schultz coming back (and Poti/Green following next week maybe), some hard choices might be coming.

I'd even settle for 7 points in his next 5 starts also.

Oh, and with Schultz coming back, I'd guess that Collins or Helmer might go down because their close(ish) to Schultz' cap hit, but who the frak knows.

Posted by: Section117 | December 27, 2008 12:04 AM


Posted by: Section117 | December 27, 2008 12:07 AM | Report abuse

From the previous:

Argh! Lost a post ... do-over:

Kitty:
I agree that Jose had a decent game, but one good game does not impress me. Once he has a series of good games, steals a few games, maintains a winning record or does something else to prove that he is a #1 keeper, THEN I will jump back in his camp. Until then he remains on Booprobation.

Reading the Crosby article - it get's worse. After saying he is on top of the people of power list for the second year since he is still the face of the NHL, it goes on to say:

"But it's simply not enough that everyone in hockey has anointed Crosby the undisputed king of the coolest game on ice. It's time for Crosby to start wearing the crown. It's time for Crosby to act like a king. ... A king wouldn't have shrugged off (Semin's comments like Crosby did). ... Don't just wear the crown, assume the throne, like Gretzky."

Please.

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 27, 2008 12:09 AM | Report abuse

I don't disagree that it's not time to give him the keys to the city yet :) Hey, I know he's not all that. Just ... credit where credit is due, is all. That's all I ask. I'd like to see him climb out of the hole he's in, and I for one am willing to give him a hand.

And ... as I said in a previous post, don't boo him. It's counterproductive and stupid.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 27, 2008 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Also, @Boo: Re Crosby, I know, right? Tonight's goal and the Rangers game shows me that Crosby just isn't Ovechkin no matter how much the Canadian media fawns all over him, and no matter how hard he tries.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 27, 2008 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Tarik,
Workin late I see. I thought Theo's early saves were huge and When is Koz going get some national love. He has played brilliantly for the past month and has one of the most lethal snap shots I've seen. The defense tonight was really good. They held the line really well and were very good about clearing out any traffic when Theo gave up a rebound. Forwards all did a good job skating and back checking. We only had 2 or 3 penalties all night and one of those was a cheapie on Ovie for a love tap that they called a slash. A while on the subject, I have never seen a superstar who skates each shift like he is a rookie trying to win a spot on the big club's roster. It's fun to watch! He should get 2 points for that one. ... He scored Lalime too!!! Great win Caps!

Posted by: psugolf | December 27, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Another amazing goal by Ovi -- and what a great game for Helmer! And, JT60 had a good, solid game. Word on the street is that it is important to score on him in the 1st period, and he stopped them cold. The first goal he allowed can be charged to the failure of the D, no doubt about it. And, the second couldn't be stopped b/c of the deflection. A solid performance, and I hope he keeps it up.
And what about Kozzy? Wow!

Posted by: plinkwired | December 27, 2008 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Kitty:
The article ended "Hail the King" ... blech. BTW, I NEVER boo our boys; I can't stand it when people do that. As far as I am concerned that is ALWAYS uncalled for, regardless of the circumstances.

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 27, 2008 12:44 AM | Report abuse

@Boo: I'm glad. I know some people do and it drives me insane. We're supposed to be supporting them :) Let's see what JT comes up with. We know he can do it if he's in the right frame of mind, he just needs to get there and stay there.

As for Crosby ... amen, blech. A good player he may be - I won't argue with that - but the media just fawns all over him and good grief that's annoying.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 27, 2008 12:49 AM | Report abuse

I don't get it. Why does the media (and fans as well) seem to fawn over Crosby? He was even ahead of Ovie in the All Stars voting. If they are to fawn all over somebody on that team, shouldn't it at least be Malkin?

Posted by: caraveli | December 27, 2008 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: capsfan387 | December 27, 2008 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, the Crosby thing is annoying. Not because he is not a good player - he's a great player. It's annoying because Ovie is better and yet he does not get the respect that he deserves. Show the man his props, already! He was listed as #2 on that list (are they not aware of the awards that he has one?!?). Ironically in Ovie's write-up it said that he was the most exciting player in the NHL - hello?!? My guess is that this would be playing out much differently if Ovie was a pretty boy from Canada ...

Kitty:
At this point, I have high hopes and low expectations for Jose - I hope he proves me wrong. Also, one final note on booing your own team - that's just wrong.

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 27, 2008 1:05 AM | Report abuse

I was checking out A View from the Cheap Seats, and I think the blogger there has a point. If "good is not good enough", then we should be setting our sights higher than a division championship, and I think the boys are. Don't look now, but we just overtook the Rangers for the #2 seed in the conference, and we're currently 4th in the league. We're only three standings points down from the Red Wings. We face the Bruins twice in the next month. With a pair of wins out of that, who thinks we could catch them?

Posted by: kittypawz | December 27, 2008 1:10 AM | Report abuse

@Boo: Amen on the booing your own team, and as for Jose: who knows? We can't count these guys out of anything. Just when you're ready to throw the towel in, they come up with something amazing.

Oh hey. Any thoughts on why Buffalo didn't pull their goalie in the last minute?

Posted by: kittypawz | December 27, 2008 1:14 AM | Report abuse

Wow...that goal was ridiculous. I was too busy celebrating it to catch the replays on the jumbrotron haha. Thanks for posting it Tarik.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 27, 2008 2:30 AM | Report abuse

Any thoughts on why Buffalo didn't pull their goalie in the last minute?

Posted by: kittypawz | December 27, 2008 1:14 AM
-------------------------------------------
They did, but there was a stoppage (I forget for what) where Lalime had to come back in, and they didn't get a chance to come back to it.

And re:higher expectations, it's nice to see that Liz (and some others) are kind of recognizing something I've alluded to over the last few weeks. Winning the SE for the first time in years is nice, but it's the fracking SE. Watching the CAR and ATLs is nice to see what they're doing, but a little myopic when you talk about this squad. There's talent on this team that 29 others would kill to have, so until another phrase sounds better, "why not us?"

Oh, here's the CSN mix on the Tubes, which includes several different angles of it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFPr_GDtsYU&fmt=18

Posted by: Section117 | December 27, 2008 4:04 AM | Report abuse

@Tarik - Thanks for the Boudreau quote. I wasn't happy with the call from the angle I was watching, but if Boudreau said it's good, it's good.

Posted by: irockthered | December 27, 2008 5:45 AM | Report abuse

incredible game last night. i was there with my cousin who hadn't been to an nhl game in 20 years and now he is a ovechkin/capitals fan through and through. wants to get back to another one. i also had my camera and got an amazing shot of that goalie "interference" call. i will find a better way to get it on the web, but until then, i have it as my avatar here: http://www.sportsline.com/mcc/authors/author I don't think it is interference since you see they are both clearly out of the crease and the puck is behind the goalie!Tarik...please let me know your thoughts!

Posted by: CapsSkins | December 27, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

@117: Thanks. I missed it. He couldn't have been out for very long. I'm trying to remember what it could have been, but it was most likely a faceoff, probably the offsides call in that final minute.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 27, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Trying to remember clearly - I think that last faceoff was off an offsides call?

Also, I agree with you. I've been thinking after the Rangers game that we could have it all, especially when we get healthy, and I think that putting Fedorov on LTIR is a wise move to make sure he's healthy before bringing him back in.

And the fact that Philly lost last night makes this all the sweeter. :)

Posted by: kittypawz | December 27, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

It still amazes me how some people in here do not realize what this team is doing. The amazing, stunning, unbelievable and quite frankly astonishing accomplishments we have achieved up to date.

This team is on pace for over 100 points and are 2nd in the East with 180 man games lost due to injury.

Theo isnt my favorite player, but he aint going anywhere people. This team when healthy will be a top 3 or 4 team even with Theo in net.

Posted by: JSchon | December 27, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I totally agree, I was just thinking earlier "look out for the Caps" and teams around the league better be ready, if we're doing this with more than half our stars out, wait until we are healthy.

Also, I was at the game, and you could just see the determination in Ovie on that goal. He would not stop, no matter how much the D harrassed him from behind, and all I could say was "wow" when the puck was in the net.

Definitely 2 or 1B for AO.

Posted by: TheVampireCorndog | December 27, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

And the fact that Philly lost last night makes this all the sweeter. :)

Posted by: kittypawz | December 27, 2008 9:45 AM
-------------------------------------------
And might be without Hartnell and Timmonen to boot.

Posted by: Section117 | December 27, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

two thoughts on the posts today:

1. crosby...please, he isn't even the best player on his team so i am not sure why the nhl is treating him like a god. ohh well...i guess they feel the cold war is still on.

2. everyone needs to cut JT a little slack. yes...i have seen him let up some unexcusable goals, but if everyone is going to jump on the slap JT down bandwagon...remember...our defense (made up of mostly minor leaguers who haven't played with each other in the nhl much) has looked miserable on some of the goals. if you want to pass blame it should go around to everyone, but then remember...we are kicking a$$ with half a minor league team so let's just keep enjoying and wait for when we are fully healthy!!!

Posted by: CapsSkins | December 27, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I was at the game last night and had a great view of Ovi's goal and was just amazed at what he did. Great goal. However, of the top of my head I think I would put it #3 on his list. Obviously "The Goal" is number 1, but I would put the goal against the Flyers in Game 1 last year as number 2 just for the shear importance of it... and he made a great play to even get that puck. Thoughts?

Posted by: WVPhil | December 27, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

@WVPhil

probably it's taste at this point. One of my personal favorite is a goal in that series as well (forgot which game). It was a laser one timer. Even when reviewing it from all the angles, you could only slow it down to two frames: 1) OVI hits it. 2) Puck in the net.
That's how fast it was moving.

Posted by: mauree | December 27, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Best quote: "Booprobation" respecting JT -- so agree.

Still most overpaid Cap who needs to go when Feds gets healthy: Nylander -- slow and timid. The secondary scoring isn't there with Nyls. He should be picking up his game ala Kozlov, Jurinica, Flash (sick last night), Gordon, Bradley, & Laich due to injuries to Semin, Feds, Green, and Schultz. But no, his game is getting worse -- his effort is a joke. He is such a defensive liability and everyone knows he won't shoot. He gives the puck up like a scared kid to the class bully. Pathetic. I'm so stoked that the Caps are winning even with Nyls weak play.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | December 27, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

For me, OV's wrist shot inbetween the legs of the Habs defender and over the glove hand of Huet for his hattrick.

BTW... OV really hasn't had many very important goals YET. Those are to come.

Posted by: JSchon | December 27, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

That was the game where he got crushed by Boullion, cut in the face and broke his nose and scored 4 goals with his 4th in OT.

Posted by: JSchon | December 27, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Great Ovie goals?!? I also liked Ovie's goal that brought us into OT in the last second earlier this season (just as much credit for that goes to Backs for his wicked pass). We didn't win that one, but that goal alone was worth the price of admission (which was free, since it was an away game that I watched on TV, but you get my point).

BTW, on the post-game show last night they said that last night's goal was better than "the goal" because last night's goal was ALL work while the other was a lot of luck ... chew on that! :-)

CapsSkins:
I can't see the picture. :-( But at least you have your priorities straight (listing the Caps first in your screen name)! ;-)

JSchon:
I think most Caps fans recognize that this team has achieved "amazing, stunning, unbelievable and quite frankly astonishing accomplishments", despite being depleted. What makes you think otherwise?

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 27, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

JSchon:
I don't know if that was one of Ovie's best goals, but it certainly was one of his best games!! He's a monster.

Jim:
Thanks - I aim to please ... ;-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 27, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

This blog has way too many complainers and worrywarts.

Posted by: JSchon | December 27, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

OH MY (Insert Diety of your choice here) that was a great goal. Just the effort alone to get it down the ice and get a shot off. Only the best player in the world could finish like that. And I don't get excited by stuff like that. And somehow he is the 7th best forward in the league (according to the all star voting)

tied for 2nd in the East. Me Me happy

Posted by: Leeguru | December 27, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

But it is those people that keep my interested in the blog... I guess...

Keep on complaining complainers...
Keep on worrying worriers...

Posted by: JSchon | December 27, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Lee ... the "Me Me" creeps me out - it gives me bad flashbacks. (*shudder*) :-P

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 27, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I had to come up with something that would grab my reader.

Posted by: Leeguru | December 27, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

JSchon:
That's the spirit! ;-) Besides, they are more characters for the circus (and hopefully a replacement for me so that I can take on that big promotion)!

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 27, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Leeguru:
Yeah, it grabs me and creeps me out! Does that mean that your name is changing to LeeGuruJammer? Or WindyLeeGuru? Or ... ?!? ;-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 27, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Well, while the team is winning we don't see Cheef or windsuckersoutheast, so i gotta have my fun

Posted by: Leeguru | December 27, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

re: booing

theres nothing wrong with booing, just because you boo dosent mean you dont support your team, it means you dont approve of your teams play, and you want to show them your disappointed...example: when your kids are in trouble dont yell at them cause your suppose to be supporting them to do good things, but you know you have to yell to get your point across, and let them know you mean business...i boo my teams...but only when they are playing under what they could be playing, or are being lazy, and keep making the same mistake over and over(see hershey bears power play)...they expect us to cheer when they play good, they should expect us to boo when they play bad, its a part of sports, always will be...

Posted by: bearsfan26 | December 27, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

tied for 2nd in the East. Me Me happy

Posted by: Leeguru | December 27, 2008 10:44 AM
-------------------------------------------
Actually, the Rangers lose the tiebreaker right now (Caps have a game in hand and better GD).

Posted by: Section117 | December 27, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Son of a gun! I missed the game due to a family commitment. Sounds like I picked the wrong week to quit blowing off commitments to watch hockey.

I'm so glad CSN replays the games.

My son, who has never really shown any interest before, has watched a few minutes of the last few games with me. Maybe this afternoon's replay will be a good one to get him to sit down and watch. Or maybe just the third period.

Posted by: grackle5 | December 27, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Crosby is not worth my time or my words. He simply is a pretty boy who couldn't fight his way out of a wet paper bag.
I think the greater travisty was the top plays by ESPN that put some dunk by a 3rd tier player in front of OV's goal. And as good as that goal was, it wasn't the best of the night. Team Canada's Johnathan Tavares' Goal was incredible. here is the YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-zmRP0e3kE&eurl=http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Video-Future-star-John-Tavares-s-incredible-puc;_ylt=Atb54Vz9oQWIX7t7C3Xj
That was the night's Top Play!

Posted by: psugolf | December 27, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of replays, Comcast is doing it today at 4 I think.

Posted by: Section117 | December 27, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

psugolf: Couldn't agree with you more about the ESPN top plays. I watched it this morning and immediately scratched my head. In fact, one of the anchors made a comment about the #1 play being something incredible (or something to that effect). Ends up being another NBA dunk with no defense. Compare that to the goal that OV made, fighting off a defender, losing his edge and STILL putting the goal in the net.

Posted by: TimDz | December 27, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Boo, I have seen approximately 99% of Ovechkin's NHL goals, and that is definitely one of Ovechkin's ten most spectacular goals. I secretly think top five, but I say top ten just for the sake of erring on the side of caution.

I don't know what screen you're watching it on. That goal was awesome. One of the very coolest goals I have ever seen.

Posted by: youaresquishy | December 27, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

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