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Caps end a three-game slide

(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Morning roundup

A very abbreviated collection of links to get the day started:

*Matt Bradley cores his first goal in 26 games midway through the third period against Atlanta, sending Washington to its first win in four games. | Story »

*Caps blog recaps: Mike Vogel, RMNB, Ed Frankovic, CapsBlog, Rock the Red, Storming the Crease, Japers' Rink, FFODC.

*Poor Thrashers. (Fanhouse)

*Could Colby Armstrong be suspended for his hit on Mathieu Perreault? (AJC)

*A win is a win is another two points. (DC Examiner)

*Pre-postseason roundtable. (Japers' Rink)

*Conversation with a Washington legend. (OFB)

*Happy April Fool's Day. (Alex Ovetjkin)

*D.C. Sports Bog: Hug the Caps for good luck | Ovechkin "crosses the line" (brilliant play on words by coworker Steve Lewis)

Practice is at 11 a.m. More to come, so stay tuned.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 2, 2010; 5:46 AM ET
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Next: Perreault sent down


So the talk last night on the CI board is Ovi is hurting our PP playing the point? So our #1 PP in the league by more than 3 percentage points would be better without Ovi at the point? I agree that the team needs to work on the PK but the PP is fine. They only had 1 PP last night and have only averaged 3.5 PPs a game for the last 10. In that stretch the Caps are 9 for 35 for a 25.7% success rate which is just above their season rate of 25.6%. I have to go with the old saying here that if it ain't broke don't fix it. Oh, out of those 9 goals Ovi has 1 goals and 3 assists. Not Ovi like numbers for sure, but far from hurting the PP.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 2, 2010 7:15 AM | Report abuse

We do expect a lot from Ovi but it certainly says a lot about a player that has 16 points in his last 16 games (4 goals, 12 assists) and he is considered to be in a slump. For Ovi he is, but he is still averaging over a point a game because one of those 16 games was the Chicago game that he only played about 12 minutes. Not sure if anyone else noticed how well he was shooting in the third period yesterday. He had the sneaky short snap shot releasing a couple of lasers. Sometimes you have to give the opposing goaltenders some credit too. I know Kiprusoff made a highlight reel save on Ovi during the second period of the Calgary game. Ovi did a great job in the last minute getting the puck out of the zone to seal the win on two occasions.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 2, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

I was lucky to be at the game last night. I haven't seen this mentioned, but Steckel was playing absolutely GREAT last night. Ovi's passes were sometimes kind of sloppy, but there were his usual brilliant ones too. Knuble seemed off his game and unable to capitalize (CAPitalize?) on the chances his line was giving him.

Corvo was probably a weak link, but you'd think he'd single handedly lost the game, judging by some of the comments on this blog. Geez! Pothier was very good and he's being missed and all that, but he had off nights too. I think Corvo needs more time.

Perrault was fun to watch. Some people I was with kept saying, "Who is that number 85?"

Posted by: dccitizen1 | April 2, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Sorry---that's spelled Perreault

Posted by: dccitizen1 | April 2, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

I like the way these first-round playoff match-ups are right now.

New Jersey-Ottawa

Posted by: Cerealman | April 2, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I like the way these first-round playoff match-ups are right now.

New Jersey-Ottawa

Posted by: Cerealman | April 2, 2010 8:09 AM

Agreed. That NJ-Ott mathup would bode well for the Caps. Both are tough.

Posted by: saltine182 | April 2, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Having read the last night comments, you would think we are on a 10 game loosing streak, fighting for the 8th place, and McPhee gave the farm away in exchange for poor Joe Corvo! Who, btw, seems to finally be on the way to finding his appropriate spot in BB's pecking order - on the 3rd d pair, along with Mo or Erskine, no more than 15-17 minutes a night with no or very little PK time and away from the other team's top line.

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 2, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

With the way they're playing I think Philly will end up 8th or not in the playoffs. Especially with their final two games being against the Rangers. They are a mess right now.

Without Jeff Carter I think Philly would lose to Pittsburgh in 5 and maybe 4.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 2, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Was at the last two games and if you watch Corvo you see a guy that barely looks like he should be a professional hockey player let alone an NHLer. You'd think a guy who's going to want a contract next year would play like it but at this point I think we'd be better off sitting him for Sloan. It'll be nice to have Carlson back in the lineup.

MP is always a fan favorite. He looks so tiny out there but skates with so much energy and heart.

Ovi once again spent a lot of time on the ice just standing there waiting for someone to get him the puck. BB said it a few days ago Alex is best when he's going out there and making his own opportunities. Maybe he's just sitting back waiting for the playoffs to start but I sure hope he can turn it on when it counts.

Posted by: psujohn | April 2, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

"Without Jeff Carter I think Philly would lose to Pittsburgh in 5 and maybe 4."

Totally agree, with the way Philly has been playing as of late I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see them to get swept if they even end up making the playoffs.

Posted by: eorr53 | April 2, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Leighton being out has more of a negative effect than Carter right now. Leighton was stealing games.

Corvo admitted he still does not have his burst of speed since returning from his calf being cut by Alzner. His confidence does look shaken. He tends to stand still during a breakout and backs up as the forechecker comes in and paints himself into a corner. He used to be considered a one man breakout just like Green so hopefully he can regain that status. If not the Caps and Corvo can part ways this summer.

I know it is just my opinion but I thought Ovi had a good game last night. He back-checked hard and carried the puck out of the zone a few occasions that immediately alleviated pressure.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 2, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Was at the last two games and if you watch Corvo you see a guy that barely looks like he should be a professional hockey player let alone an NHLer.
Posted by: psujohn | April 2, 2010 9:00 AM

And if you had a chance to watch Van-LA late last night, you saw a whole very good team that looked totally beer-league... These guys have nothing to play for until playoffs. I am by no means a Corvo fan - but there is no question he is a legit NHLer. Can he accept a role that is clearly lesser than what he is used to - we'll find out soon.

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 2, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

He didn't need to be outstanding last night, but I think Varly is slowly returning to the Varly of old.

It will be an interesting situation for BB. When on, Varly can be a shutdown goalie. When on, I still think Theo gives up 2-3 goals a game. Just a matter of who is on.

I think having 2 goalies during the playoffs is kind of like what they say about having 2 QB's. If you have 2, then you really have none. I think starting with the Pitt game, pick 1 and go with him.

Posted by: adamkatzen | April 2, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Here's a surprising stat regarding end of year placement. Out of the last 10 Stanley Cup Champions four (Red Wings twice, Avalanche, and Starts) were President trophy winners. Four, yes four had the fourth best record in the league (Ducks, Hurricanes, and Devils twice). Of those four, three of them finished second in their Conference, and one (Devils finished fourth in the Conference due to divisional placement).

Basically, getting the Presidents trophy, or falling just short has been a recipe for winning it all. The fourth place in the league finish and second seed in the Conference is most likely a great place to finish because there isn't as much pressure on them compared to the President's trophy winner. Still, a 40% chance to win the Stanley Cup are pretty good odds. Strangely enough the odds are just as good the the fourth place finisher.

Right now the Phoenix Coyotes have the fourth best overall record in the NHL which is fourth seed in the West. The Devils won Stanley Cup in 1999-2000 from that same exact league and conference postion.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 2, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

LOL @ Armstrong saying the hit was an accident. What kind of "accident" was that? Another dirty hit that will go undetected. So funny how all these guys say "it was an accident" when we clearly know it was anything but an accident. He blatantly threw his arm up toward Matty's head. Can't see how that it just "following through with your hit." IDIOT.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 2, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Colby Armstrong's hit on Perrault, if Mike Green gets 3 games for his hit on Frolik, then Armstrong should get the same.

That said, I'm resigned to the fact that he won't get anything more than a small fine.

Posted by: cainoo7x | April 2, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

If not the Caps and Corvo can part ways this summer.
Posted by: fanohock1

Caps and Corvo WILL part ways this summer - if he plays well enough to earn any consideration for the next season, they can't afford him under the cap, as some GM out there will give him $3M/year. And unless Carlson has a monster sophomore slump, they have no use for Corvo next season anyways.

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 2, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Wow, you're really "following through with your hit" Armstrong.. that has cheap shot written all over it.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 2, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I would love to see Ovie on the PK. I know he already plays a lot of minutes during the rest of the game so BB tries to get him some rest but I would like to see how different the PK would be. It can't be that much worse. When was the last time he played the PK? Rookie year?

Posted by: NFeKPo | April 2, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, well, igor_k17, that's your opinion. Many thought ShaMo was out of DC last summer but he's still here. I wasn't sold on ShaMo last year, but he played a good physical brand of hockey in last year's playoffs, and I really like his play this year. He stepped up and knocked Artyukhin (6'4" 255) on his @$$ in the neutral zone. He is getting very good at deciding when to deliver the blow. Erskine works his tail off and delivers some nice hits but tends to take himself out of position more often than not when nailing someone. Probably a speed issue for Erskine more than anything else.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 2, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

One question: would you rather have Ovi scoring a bunch of goals now to win the scoring title or have him go on a goal scoring frezy in the playoffs? Nuff said. He'll be back when it matters. Chilax.

Posted by: letsgoCaps | April 2, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

BTW, an interesting stat I heard during the postgame on the way home yesterday was that Ovi played less than 20 minutes last night. Lack of PPs had something to do with it but BB was only coaching his butt off in the last 5 minutes of the game. He went to three lines and the shifts were only about 30 seconds long. That contributed greatly to Atlanta's inability to rally at the end of the game.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 2, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Last nights game was very similar to a playoff game. I know people are saying that it is just Atlanta, but looking at the standings Atlanta is basically just as good as any team the Caps will face in the 1st round and it may even be Atlanta (probably not but it could be).

The last 10 minutes BB stopped playing the Fehr/Flash line and moved Belanger to 2nd line center with Laich and Semin. I think this is what we will see during the playoffs if the Caps have a lead with under 10 minutes remaining. With BMo/Fehr/Flash sitting out the final 10 minutes.

Having Chimera with Steckel and Bradley adds much needed speed to that line and they looked very good last night. I think that will be the 4th line in the playoffs with Walker/Gordon/Laing as injury replacements depending on position.

I really think that the lines of that game will be the playoffs line except having BMo switch with MP.

In addition, people were complaining the Caps only won 2-1. But they played the lockdown defensive game people were crying for. When you play that style you will score less but the Caps held Atlanta to only 20 shots and very few scoring chances. Isn't that what everyone has been asking for the past few weeks?

Posted by: sgm3 | April 2, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

ShaMo was an RFA last summer - and with no obvious replacement in the pipeline for a physical stay-at-home D, just letting him walk was not going to happen. And I agree that ShaMo has the physical component that we are not very blessed with otherwise, and his skating is not a liability like Erskine's - it's his regular brain cramps, be it a stupid penalty or a play like last night when ATL scored that so far has kept him from becoming a bona fide top 4 NHL caliber D.

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 2, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse


Let us know if Colin Campbell decides to be a contradiction again and force us to realize that there is a complete bias by not suspending Armstrong.

Based on the new rules... it's black and white. I'm not sold on Campbell understanding the rules though.

Posted by: blanknerc | April 2, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

The Armstrong hit last night actually doesn't fall under the new rule, because it was not a blindside hit. However, it is a suspendable hit and has been. Armstrong blatantly threw a elbow up into Perreault's head, and should receive at least 3 games. Assuming Campbell doesn't stick to his old mantra of "don't suspend players for going after Caps...."

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 2, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

If Green got suspended for an elbow to Frolik in the Florida game a while back so should Armstrong for that hit.

Posted by: jdove80 | April 2, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Not sure if this was apparent on TV or not, but at the game you could see that Armstrong was bending the referees ear a couple of times in the first. Not exactly sure why. Having seen that earlier in the game, his hit on Perrault was apparently out of frustration. The sad fact was the officials never put their arms up on the initial hit. If ShaMo wouldn't have reacted I doubt there would have been any calls at all. ShaMo showed good restraint because when Armstrong wouldn't go he didn't pummel him. That would have resulted in multiple penalties on the Caps.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 2, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

exactly timmyv38.. Green got suspended for his elbow to Frolik.. Frolik didn't get hurt either. But as we all know, nothing will happen.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 2, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Artmstrong was probably bending their ears about the bloody nose he got earlier in the game from Erskine. Erskine got a penalty, but he may have caught Armstrong with the butt end of his stick.

Posted by: _Mark | April 2, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

_Mark: Fair enough, but have you seen Armstrong's beak. He probably nose butted Erskines stick.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 2, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Good call fanohock1.

Posted by: _Mark | April 2, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

If they don't give Armstrong anything, the "new" head shot rule will have no legs to stand on. They went out of there way to make a rule regaurding just that type of hit, I think he gets atlest a 2 game suspension.

Flyers are reeling, I am not sure they have enough to hold onto the 8th spot in the conf. They had Gaetan Duschenes kid as back up last night, and read this moring the signed a goalie from the swedish league.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 2, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

"He probably nose butted Erskines stick."

Just spit soda at my computer screen fanohock1, thanks I needed a good laugh today!

Posted by: PhilR | April 2, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Not sure how Caron will do but he's not new to the NHL. He played for the Pens when they were throwing games to get top picks after the 2003, 04, and 06 seasons. Due to those "down" years that some experts say were tanked on purpose resulted in:

- 2003 #1 overall pick Fleury
- 2004 #2 overall pick Malkin
- 2005 #1 overall pick Crosby
- 2006 #2 overall pick Jordon Staal

Staal is a good player but thanks not for not taking Backstrom St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Chicago. Even though Erik Johnson, Jordan Staal, and Jonathon Toews are all good/great players, Backstrom is a KEY reason the Caps are the powerhouse they are now.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 2, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse


Best post of the week! I'm still wiping the tears out of my eyes after laughing!

Posted by: AADCDERM | April 2, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

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