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Caps 6, Leafs 1

Alex Ovechkin will get all of the headlines for his performance tonight, and rightfully so. But there was another forward who had an eye-opening effort: Mike Knuble, who is starting to look like the reliable, consistent, net-crashing winger the Caps signed in July to complement Ovechkin on the top line.

Knuble scored two goals tonight -- and both came inside in the crease. After struggling a bit following surgery to repair a broken finger earlier this season, he has five goals in his past five games.

"Six years in a row he's scored more than 20 goals," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Now he's back on that pace. ... I think they're pretty goals."

Check out my gamer here, then come on back for some notes and quotes:

*First, the news of the night. According to the rulebook, Jason Chimera faces an automatic one-game suspension for his fight with Jay Rosehill with 2:38 remaining. Chimera was assessed an instigator penalty, five minutes for fighting and a game misconduct.

Coach Bruce Boudreau also will be fined $10,000 because Chimera got the instigator in the final five minutes of the game.

*Boudreau praised Jose Theodore for his effort tonight and his overall resilience during a difficult season. He also said the goalie will likely get the nod Sunday against the Flyers.

"I hope this gets him some confidence," Boudreau said. "He'll probably start on Sunday afternoon. He's a competitor, a battler. He's done it his whole life being a small goaltender with the awards he won. So it's no surprise to me that he's gone in there and is saying, 'The heck with you guys, I'm going to be great.'"

Theodore made 28 saves, including 14 during a pivotal first period and 10 on Niklas Hagman. After that, I thought the Leafs, who were playing for the second time in two days, were done.

*Can't say a whole lot more about Ovechkin. But just when you think you've seen it all, he goes and gets four assists for the first time in his career.

Since being named captain six games ago, the two-time MVP has three goals and nine assists. And tell me if I'm just imagining this ... he also seems to be backchecking with more vigor, right?

*Just hours after being reassured that his sore right wrist is structurally sound, Alexander Semin notched two assists to give him his 16th multi-point game of the season. He also has five goals and four helpers in his past six contests. His spin and dish to Tom Poti was a thing of beauty.

*John Carlson, called up late morning to replace an injured Brian Pothier, arrived around 6:10 after flying in from Albany. The rookie skated 14:32, put two shots on net and earned the red hard hat from his teammates for the effort. The best part of the night, though, was the ovation he received when the starting lineups were announced. It was a thank you for his OT goal in the gold medal game at the world junior championships earlier this month that lifted Team USA to a win over Canada.

"It's pretty cool when you get cheered on like that," Carlson said. "It's cool to recognized like that. But you have to make sure to stay focused on the game, so they're still cheering for you after the game, too."

*Coach Ron Wilson with the quote of the night: "Ovechkin makes things happen. If you play the game with a deer in the headlights [look], then you're probably going to get run over by the car -- like a deer would."

That pretty much sums up tonight's game at Verizon Center.

Practice tomorrow is at 11 a.m.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 16, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
 | Tags: Toronto Maple Leafs  
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Next: Chimera won't face suspension


So proud to be a Caps fan!
Go Caps!

Posted by: chucktownCAPSfan | January 16, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

"A win is a win but I would rather beat teams 2 to 1 than 8 to 1."
-Ted Leonsis

I guess we were only two goals away from really disappointing Mr. Leonsis.

Posted by: redskinsux | January 16, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Nice game for the Caps! Lots of points for everyone, especially Ovi. Another 2 goal game for Knuble. And Flash and Fehr score again. Semin with 2 assists -- not bad for a guy who was originally not expected to play. In any case, glad he got good news from the wrist specialist and that he doesn't need surgery.

I wasn't at the game but on vacation in Florida where my husband and I were watching the game with TominFla and his family and rocking the red. We'll be attending the Philthy game.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 16, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Damn - we need to keep Chimera on the ice!

Posted by: Rocc00 | January 16, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

OV now up to 482 career points. Should be at 500 within the next 10 games, which is exciting.

Man, that Chimera trade looks better all the time. Now that he's adapted to the systems it appears that he's starting to thrive. He is putting up decent points and is showing an impressive willingness to scrap. He is doing more than Clark did which, coupled with the fact that it freed up salary space, makes this trade look even better.

Posted by: Aldred15 | January 16, 2010 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Wilson's metaphor isn't a good one. The car would be stopped in its tracks and seriously damaged.

Posted by: sonsofcain | January 16, 2010 7:41 AM | Report abuse

A few threads ago, we talked about fighting. I admit, fighting in hockey is not what thrills me the most.

However, last night I was very happy to see Shaone Morrisonn go after that Leafs player (was it Orr?) who flattened Mike Green with a dirty cross check hit when the puck was no where near them. That brought home the importance of "enforcement" on a team. So, maybe some fighting is necessary.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | January 16, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

I didn't see a good replay, but it seemed to me ShaMo held his own against Orr. ShaMo may frustrate at times, but he gained plenty of respect from me for last night. I thought that instigator call on Chimera was garbage, and now it's going to cost him (and us) a game against a team we could really use him. That was not the situation the NHL had in mind when they enacted the rule regarding fights with less than five minutes. Frustrating.
One other thing I noticed that was encouraging was it seemed that the Caps were way more physical overall last night. I didn't see the hits total, but I would bet it was top five all year in the amount of hits they gave.
Overall a fun game to watch. Now let's do it again tomorrow.

Posted by: Capcrazy77 | January 16, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Well, I semi-dissed Semin and Fehr -- who should I diss for the next game, so he shows me up? I'd diss OV, but how can a guy get more than 5 points? Maybe I should talk smack about Theodore so he gets a shut-out?

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | January 16, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

i'm beginning to wonder if semin shouldn't go see a neutral doctor, meaning someone not getting his/her paycheck from this organization. no offense, but this has been going on for some time.

a professional athlete knows his own body, knows when something is wrong, and whether the expert sees structural damage on the x-ray or mri or not is a mute point.

if semin knows that his wrist is not right, and this has been going on since at least playoffs last year if not before, then maybe it's time someone takes him seriously.

Posted by: 33spinner | January 16, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse


"Well, I semi-dissed Semin and Fehr -- who should I diss for the next game, so he shows me up?"

21 could use some mojo

Posted by: bluejeener1 | January 16, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

@JMALLCAPS1 & bluejeener1

And BMo.

Posted by: Steakum | January 16, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

For those who missed it last night, the Bears had a big night too:

Posted by: tess2201 | January 16, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Wilson's metaphor isn't a good one. The car would be stopped in its tracks and seriously damaged.

Posted by: sonsofcain | January 16, 2010 7:41 AM
A car, yes. But I saw an 18-wheeler hit a deer once. The deer was annihilated and the truck driver never even slowed down.

Posted by: tess2201 | January 16, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse


Why think small, diss the whole team. F-it.

Posted by: JSchon | January 16, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

... His spin and dish to Tom Poti was a thing of beauty" - Tarik.

Great Balls of Fire!!!! Tarik about Semin? Did he actually say anything positive about this player or am I still dreaming?

Posted by: hock1 | January 16, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

"...he also seems to be backchecking with more vigor, right? "

Fact. It was especially noticable last night.

Bummer about Chimera's suspension- we could sure use him tomorrow against the philth.

And anyone watching the Stoke/L'pool match right now? ESPN2- it's a good one.

Posted by: Fro_ | January 16, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

If I'm Peter LaViolette, I scratch Carcillo against the Caps. Last game the Flyers got absolutely buried because of one stupid move on his part, and they cannot afford to have that happen again.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 16, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse


Since Semin didn't go to practice and they weren't sure if he'd make it back in time for the game would indicate to me that it was in fact a doctor not part of the organization.
If the doctor was apart of the organization I would imagine Semin would have been looker at Kettler. I could be wrong about that, but if they were planning on him missing the game most of the day, I would think they were getting an outside opinion.
Clark had the wrist problems last year, and they sat him out and made him get it taken care of. I would think that they'd do the same thing with Semin if it was that bad.

Posted by: Capcrazy77 | January 16, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

... His spin and dish to Tom Poti was a thing of beauty" - Tarik.

Great Balls of Fire!!!! Tarik about Semin? Did he actually say anything positive about this player or am I still dreaming?

Posted by: hock1 | January 16, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

@hock1 -- I saw that too. Tarik, I luv ya, but I've observed that you seem to skip over Semin's great plays most of the time in your print articles, and rarely miss the chance to note a bad pass or penalty.

Posted by: Sonyask | January 16, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

VC was off the charts last night! What a fantastic time to be a Caps fan.

Bruce put Carlson among the starters, so he got the intro on the j'tron (to a heap of cheers) and stood out there for the anthems. Bruce did pull him off 15 seconds in, tho, so John didn't get +1 on the Ovi goal. Carlson was impressive! NHL-ready all the way. He's fast, laid hits, made deft defensive moves, and held position. Course last night was a fairly easy night to be great, but he was.

Posted by: Sonyask | January 16, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

@Sonyask: I hesitate to dub someone NHL-ready or not based on a single game, especially one where we flatten the other team. I'd want to have ten games at least to decide that.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 16, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Don't get me wrong, I think Carlson is very very good. And he'll be with the Caps next year. But NHL-ready now? Not so sure. I give you this quote from Tim Leone's write up of the Bears/Norfolk game on Wed.:

"Norfolk Admirals winger Mark Parrish, taking advantage of a John Carlson turnover, scored unassisted with seven seconds left in regulation to deliver a 4-3 victory that ended Hershey’s club-record 12-game winning streak."

Don't we see plenty of blueline turnovers already from Green and Co.?

Posted by: tess2201 | January 16, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Kitty & Tess -- I can accept that. As I said, it's easy to be great in a game like that. He was given a great deal of recognition, he was pumped, the team was pumped, VC was pumped, and Bruce gave him more time as the game went on to reward his strong play. I imagine we'll see him sent down once Pothier and/or Erskine are ready, and that will be fine for now. John did not distinguish himself his last time up and is still in development.

In any event, last night was a good sign for him.

Posted by: Sonyask | January 16, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Interesting reaction to the friggin Capstronaut last night. He sat in Ted's box for a while and when he got a piece on the Jumbotron for a couple of minutes, people were just mystified -- lots of grumbling, a few chuckles, no cheers. I'm not sure the team will be ready to give him much play for a while.

I'm just glad I don't have to sit behind him.

Posted by: Sonyask | January 16, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I thought Capstronaut was just another quirky fan. But my opinion changed after reading Steinberg's story on him. Since more than one person has used the suit at games and there are some corporate logos on the suit, it comes across to me as just an attention getting gimmick, not a way of one fan showing support for the team.

Posted by: NovaCath1 | January 16, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

The reason we still need fighting in the game is because the officiating doesn't yet address some of the fouls. Orr should have been given a five-minute major for intent to injure when he crosschecked Green up high like that. Had that happened, the problems in the game would have ended and we wouldn't be losing Chimera for Filthy. What did Orr get, two minutes for a crosscheck just below the adam's apple? That's absurd. Those of you who go back awhile will recall that having an automatic five for high stick with blood, which was the rule for five years or so in the early 90s, has pretty much taken face carving out of hockey. Green was also blasted in Colorado and that player didn't get suspended. The NHL won't clean things up because the league wants the retaliation. It's the league's fault. Call the fould properly and the Colton Orrs will be gone from the game.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 16, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

i think both instigator calls on Morrison and Chimera were BS ..i think Orr instigated that with the Xcheck on Green and an AHL call up goon vs. Chimera who do you really think instigated that one when the score is 6-1

Posted by: heathdog1119 | January 16, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Although the rules stipulate that Chimera is to receive a 1 game suspension, the suspension CAN be rescinded after review by the director of hockey operations. I would assume all suspensions are reviewed. From what I saw happening, I would wager that the suspension will be rescinded due to the circumstances. (I believe that would also eliminate the fine on Bruce.)

Posted by: gewhiteva | January 16, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I think all instigator penalties are reviewed, because Bradley's from the TB game ago was rescinded the next day. Chimera's should be, and I'd hope the NHL suspends Orr for the Green hit.

Posted by: timmyv38 | January 16, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Refs should be given discretion when calling the instigator if the instigation was a direct result of a penalized aggrssion play such as high stick, rough, etc.

The instigator penalty obviously does not deter actions such as what shamo did last night nor does it deter punks like Orr from doing what they do.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 16, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Brads instigator was not recinded, only the misconduct forleaving thebench

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 16, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

For your viewing pleasure...
We have 10 players with 10+ goals this season. Here is a list of how they rank as for points per minute played (ppmp).

(points scored)ATOI x Games played

8 - 0.0752 ppmp
25 - 0.0613 ppmp (Caps games only FWIW)
19 - 0.0562 ppmp
28 - 0.0556 ppmp
16 - 0.0522 ppmp
14 - 0.0508 ppmp
22 - 0.0425 ppmp
52 - 0.0414 ppmp
9 - 0.0357 ppmp
21 - 0.0353 ppmp

Fehr is my boy. 5th and little PP time.

Posted by: JSchon | January 16, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I sit behind the home goal, so the Orr hit on Green looked vicious, what with Orr's hands and stick up in Green's face.

When I saw it on replay at home, however, I was not so sure Orr's hit was intentional. the puck was high in the air and both Green's and Orr's eyes were averted from their pending collision. Orr looked down and saw Green for the first time when he was only about 3 feet from him, and his hands came up in reaction. Green never saw Orr coming (not the first time that's happened to Greenie).

I might be wrong, but that's how I saw it.

Posted by: Sonyask | January 16, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse


Did you saw this:

What is your opinion an the win taste of our "heroes"? Are they all connoisseurs? Or is it just the name ...

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | January 16, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

It seems like the caps have a team full of enforcers who are also productive players. Chimera, Bradley, Steckel (fought recently), Fehr (fought recently, I think), Erskine (has been out for a while); this arrangement seems like a good way for compensating for Brashear's departure.

Posted by: j762 | January 16, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I watched the TSN feed last night (I cannot stand Locker and his giggly antics). In addition to heaping praise on the usual Caps suspects they mentioned two things that caught my attention.

First, they said Schultz was the leagues best unknown D-man.

Second, they could not believe that a team so full of young talent is playing without an enforcer. The said and I am paraphrasing "enforcers are a dime a dozen, cheap and readily available. Players such as Semin, Green, OV, etc are one in a million. Why on earth does McPhee not have anyone on the roster to protect them? Forcing non fighters to fight, no fear of retaliation, etc"

Two very good observations IMHO.

Posted by: FLDave | January 16, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse


so having players that are willing to fight is not enough - they must also 'win' the fight?

Ø maybe they should look at some MMA guys and find ones that can skate Ø

IMO having a brash type guy does not keep orr from doing what he does. if your brash player is not on the ice - he is useless at that point. sending brash out later to fight is too late. i think a better method is to not be shy about laying hits on the opponents skill guys (i'm not taking about cheap shots here). the message that sends is stronger than - i'll send my tough guy to fight your tough guy.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 16, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse


When Orr is on the ice your throw your enforcer out on the ice as well. That keeps guys like Morrisonn, Steckle or Bradley from having to fight a goon like Orr. It simply keeps the other enforcer in check.

Posted by: FLDave | January 16, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I have my problems understanding the discussion about enforcers.

Enforcers are not able to prevent cheap shots as we saw last season. Even with Brash in the line-up cheap shots were comming at our players (e.g. Semin) ...

... and people on this board were discussing why Brash didn't retaliate ...

... and am I right that enforcers are only "allowed" to fight enforcers due to the unwritten rules?

So, as tominfl1 said:
"Call the fouls properly and the Colton Orrs will be gone from the game."

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | January 16, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse


The day the Colton Orrs are gone is the day the NHL will lose a huge amount of fans.

When was the last hockey fight you saw where everyone remained in their seats and booed? It is an exciting part of the game, fans love it. From the drive thru guy at Burger King to the 'sophisticated" white collar executive everyone enjoys a good hockey fight.

Posted by: FLDave | January 16, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse


So is it more enjoying, to see Brash and Orr "dance" than seeing Ovie playing?

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | January 16, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse


It can be as exciting and important to the game. It sure is better than watching Steckle or Bradley take a beat down or Ovechkin taking off his helmet.

The "our enforcer is our power play" is out the window in the third period of a 5-1 game.

Posted by: FLDave | January 16, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

FCKoeln1: Most people, including myself, know very little about wine. Wine and beer are two different things. I have been drinking wine for 25 years and my guess I know 10% of what there is two know. Boudreau, Ovi and Green likley know next to nothing. First off, the bottles of wine in the lockers are being stored upright when the should be stored on their sides - in the dark, with constant temperature of 55 degrees F. Caymus IMO is overrated. And, Boudreau being dissed for an under $20 wine, means the writer on JR has no clue himself (article is being written funny anyway). Only a person with discriminating tastes should pay more than $20 for a bottle of wine (we're talking wine store price, not 4X restaurant price). My wife and I get wowed sometimes by a $30, $40 or $50 bottle of red. We have a few in our collection. We go to lots of wine store tastings though and often a $100 bottle (Caymus) tastes no better to us than a $20 bottle of something else.

Most of the good California wineries (Simi, Clos du Bois, Chateau St Jean, Robt Mondavi) sell Napa or Sonoma cabs under $20. And they are nice wines. Most people won't even realize how nice they are. I really doubt Ovi, Backie, Bouds or Green could pick them out from the more expensive bottles. Congrats to Bouds on not wasting his money.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 16, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse


I know far less about wine than you. Do I need to store my twist top bottle on their side?

Posted by: FLDave | January 16, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

i feel you put your team at a disadvantage when you put someone on the ice that has very little skills other than being able to fight. i understand 'protecting' your skill players is important - but not at the expense of possibly losing the game by having players with few actual hockey skills

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 16, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse


Thank you very much for your comments! ... and I agree ...

... the article shows, that, BB aside, the guys have money to spend but seemingly not enough knowledge about wine ...

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | January 16, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

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