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Clark Getting Close?

A few days ago, I reported that right wing Chris Clark was stepping up his skating in the hopes of returning in a couple of weeks from the groin injury that's kept him out of all but one game since Nov. 28.

Today, we have some evidence that he could be closer to coming back than he's been letting on.

Clark is the extra man on the checking line, which means he probably won't play tomorrow in Boston. But the fact that he's been assigned a jersey and is rotating in on drills is definitely another positive sign.

Based on the practice alignment, it looks Boyd Gordon will be David Steckel's replacement on the checking line and Brooks Laich will shift back to center. That means Tomas Fleischmann will get back into the lineup as the left wing on the second line.

Also, Cristobal Huet is on the ice and looks completely recovered from the back spasms that sidelined him in Buffalo on Wednesday. He's expected to start tomorrow.

Here's how they are lined up:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov
Fleischmann-Fedorov-Semin
Laing-Gordon-Bradley/Clark
Brashear-Laich-Fehr/Cooke

UpdateHere are some post-practice notes:

*Huet will indeed start tomorrow in Boston, but a decision on Sunday's starter will be determined after facing the Bruins.

*Chris Clark still wouldn't establish a timebable for his return, but he said he's feeling better.

"I'm skating consistently, so that's a good thing," Clark said. "I felt good. It's nice to get up to game tempo."

*George McPhee said it's premature to say that defenseman Brian Pothier (concussion) won't return at some point this season. He's been out since January 5th and still hasn't resumed strenuous physical activity.

*McPhee did, however, rule out the possibility of Michael Nylander coming back before next season. In recent days, Nylander, who underwent shoulder surgery in January, has begun skating on his own and doing some light stick-handling.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 7, 2008; 10:11 AM ET
 
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Next: Today's Lineup vs. Boston

Comments

First.

Posted by: Howie | March 7, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

At this point, I'd rather see Fehr on the 2nd line RW and leave Semin at LW.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | March 7, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm hoping we see this soon:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov
Clark-Fedorov-Semin
Fleischmann-Laich-Fehr
Brashear-Gordon-Cooke

Posted by: Stormblue | March 7, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

wow

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Boston is slumping badly.

Posted by: Finn | March 7, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to correct ya Tarik, but i believe you mean "in boston" rather than "in bruins"

Thanks for the updates

Posted by: Eric | March 7, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to correct ya Tarik, but i believe you mean "in boston" rather than "in bruins"

Thanks for the updates

Posted by: Eric | March 7, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Please keep Fleischmann out of there. Put in Laing, at least he doesn't disappoint based on what he's supposed to do.

Posted by: katzistan | March 7, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Sombrero Guy,

I totally agree with you. I think Fehr would drive to the net and feed well of the skill of his linemates.

Although, Semin has been a bit quieter recently and when he was scoring, Flash was generally there on the assists. Hopefully, the 2 days off get him back into the grove. I am so sick of seeing him miss empty nets, fan, and cough up the puck.

Posted by: Jordana | March 7, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Eric...he clearly meant "in Bruins." "in Boston" doesn't even make sense in that context.

Posted by: psh, Eric | March 7, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Also, I hope the team doesn't relax because of the Bruins beatdowns in their past 2 games. That second crushing will just light an even bigger fire underneath them.

The guys need to be hungry and play a full 60 minutes of their best hockey. The Bruins will certainly be hungry for revenge, especially Thomas.

And can Carolina please start losing!

Posted by: Jordana | March 7, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov
Fleischmann-Fedorov-Semin
Cooke-Laich-Fehr
Laing-Gordon-Bradley

Save Brashear for the Penguins.

Posted by: bc | March 7, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to correct you Eric, but you posted twice....=)

Posted by: Leigh | March 7, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

@Stormblue,
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov
Clark-Fedorov-Semin
Fleischmann-Laich-Fehr
Brashear-Gordon-Cooke

Agree - Wow, could you imagine Clark-Feds-Semin - That would give us two top lines - Scary these are the CAPS we are talking about! Not to mention Brashear playing some big hockey lately, anyone else agree that when he is on the ice the turnovers have become numerous and plentiful. I would be afraid of that knock out punch too! He is on fire as of late! Positive, Positive - My vision is No.8 having a big hit on Sids this weekend - Go Ovie!

Posted by: Greenie | March 7, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Finn,

Yeah, the B's are in a bad way right now, but the fact that the Caps outright embarrassed them on Monday might not bode well. I have a hunch tomorrow's going to be a grudge match. I hope Huet is still sharp and Brash brings his boxing gloves.

Posted by: HolyOlie | March 7, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

1) Don't like that 2nd line as written. Fehr should be up there. It keeps semin in his natural position AND gives the line someone who will go to the net
2) Sorry Flash, no room for you!

Posted by: Fauxrumors | March 7, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

C.Clark is a RW
and Semin is a natural LW

Semin/Fedorov/Clark

Posted by: JSchon | March 7, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Agree with Sombrero guy--keep flash out of there, and especially not on the 2nd line. He's a waste of space there, can't finish.

Posted by: 3vafans | March 7, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Tarik,

Why is Cooke now on the 4th line as opposed to being on the 3rd?

Posted by: Cooke demoted? | March 7, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I too, would prefer Flash sit.

Posted by: JSchon | March 7, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Having Clark back would be just be awesome-hope that's the final piece to to the playoff puzzle.

Posted by: dave | March 7, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

If I were coach, and Clark was healthy...

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov
Semin-Fedorov-Clark
Cooke-Laich-Fehr
Brashear-Gordon-Bradley

I was tempted to suggest Flash Laich Fehr and move Cooke to the 4th but Flash needs to get stronger on the puck and on the boards.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | March 7, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm slowly getting to the opinion that if Clark comes back, then Fehr needs to go back to the farm. As much as I like Eric, and want to see him as a RW for one of the Alex's next year, we really don't need yet another 3rd or 4th line winger. And, we're not helping his development as an in tight goal scorer by skating with Donald Brashear.

Posted by: old time hockey | March 7, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov
Clark-Fedorov-Semin
Fleischmann-Laich-Fehr
Brashear-Gordon-Cooke

What about Bradley... He is a heart and sole guy and Brads/Steck/Cooke has been our second best line.

Posted by: @Stormblue | March 7, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Positive news on Clark. (Keeping fingers crossed while knocking on wood)

Posted by: SCSU Hockey | March 7, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Excited about Clark's impending return, but it'll probably take him 10 games or so to get up to speed. I think the plan should be to groom him for 2nd-line duty by the end of the six-game road swing in March.

Posted by: Ben | March 7, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

@Old Time Hockey

At times, I have thought the same thing. Maybe we should let Fehr go down to Hershey and play with them for their playoff run, and hopefully average like a point per game.

With Stecks out, maybe we need Laing back in for PK purposes? Laing does not offer much offensively, but he plays responsibly.


Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov
Semin-Fedorov-Clark
Cooke-Laich-Bradley
Brashear-Gordon-Laing

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | March 7, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Olie should play in BeanTown & NOT against Pitt - he has clearly demonstrated an inability to beat the Pens.

Either that or let Huet play both games.

Posted by: None-Ya | March 7, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Arrggh. I had a feeling Boudreau would have Flash revisiting the Semin line. Perhaps Fedorov will be the difference, but Flash's game has not coordinated with Semin's. I would rather see a beefed-up Fehr on Semin's RW. Beef up Fehr!

Hopefully when Clark returns this situation will be resolved.

Posted by: bill | March 7, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Huet should play both games.

Posted by: Finn | March 7, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Bill - Where's the beef??

Posted by: AP | March 7, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Please get Flash out of there!!!! He is terrible!

Posted by: Brad | March 7, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

AP- not on Fehr (yet). or Flash. or Schultz.

Posted by: bill | March 7, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

How great would it be if he played on Sunday...

LETS GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: Go Skins Go | March 7, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Not going to lie - I'm really looking forward to see if Fleischmann can step it up with Fedorov on his line. I'm still holding out for Flash. I might be the only one.
I'm also still holding out for a
Cooke - Laich - Clark line.

Posted by: Whiter Mage | March 7, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Interesting write-up in the Buffalo Evening News this morning. For East teams currently 6 through 11 in the standings, they're saying the Caps have the easiest path to the playoffs (based on records of remaining opponents). Certainly doesn't feel like an easy path.

http://www.buffalonews.com/sports/story/293367.html

Posted by: 8 is enuf | March 7, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Olie's performance (and keep in mind I've been pretty hard on him this season) over his past several starts is enough to earn a start over a set of back-to-back games, and Huet will be right there to take over if he reverts to his earlier form.

Flash needs something, but the more time goes by, the more it looks like what he needs is not going to be found on the Capitals' roster. I cringe every time I see him with the puck and an opposing player heading for him.

Posted by: HolyOlie | March 7, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Bill

Yea definately not Schultz, Flash has been looking a little pudgy though

Posted by: AP | March 7, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

http://newslink.org/ This is a great websight, it list every newspaper, TV, radio etc in the world. I usually read the opponents paper the day before/after to get a feel for what others think of the caps and their own team and chances...

Posted by: Rich C | March 7, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Melrose is such a buffoon. He predicted in the beginning of the season that the Caps would make the play-offs, now he is saying they wont. Hedging his bet?

He also pronounced Huet, HEWIT. He has become such a caricature of himself.

Posted by: JSchon | March 7, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

@Jschon

for a while in Montreal, Huet told the media to pronounce his name "hew-it". Joe B and Laughlin have joked about his multiple pronounciations

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | March 7, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Irregardless, Melrose is a buffoon. Maybe Hewit is too?

Posted by: JSchon | March 7, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Caps versus Bruins
Chara versus Ovechkin
Another Blowout?

Posted by: Haiku | March 7, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

clarkie=captin=playoffs

Posted by: jds | March 7, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why you consider Melrose a buffoon for stating now that the caps may not make the playoffs. He has been our biggest and sometimes only national media supporter this season.

And to clairify, claiming the caps will make the playoffs at the beginning of the season, then now saying they will not is not somebody changing their answer on the same question. It is somebody answering two different questions.

We all believed when this season started that we would be back in the playoffs. At this point of the season, we are not yet "in" and have a tough road ahead of us to get there. Would I expect Melrose to claim we are in, heck no.

Posted by: FFS Enough | March 7, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

@sombrero guy,

Don't get me wrong, I love watching Laing play. The guy isn't going to win any raw talent competitions, but he has such great energy and selflessnes it makes the team play better and crowd gets into it. Ditto Brads, but with a different physical skill set.

My thing with Fehr is we need a long term 1st line RW. If he is going to be it, he needs to play 1st line RW.

Posted by: old time hockey | March 7, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I used the word buffoon, because he's funny. I find Melrose funny and easily a figure that you can make fun of.

A caricature of himself.

Posted by: JSchon | March 7, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

@JSchon
I agree about Melrose - he is the Jimmy Johnson of Hockey with that terrible hair of his. He is always talking out of both sides of his "Mouth"! He is at best a mediocre. I think Joe "B" is one of the best announcers, he is not really that biased and knows his stats, sometimes corney, but he knows his hockey.

Posted by: Greenie | March 7, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

on a different note has anyone been looking at the point totals for players lately. it looks to me that only ovie and malkin have a good shot at 100 points everyone else needs to be on a better than point per game streak. I know its not common for players to hit 100 points but usually more than 2 do

Posted by: luis | March 7, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Wait I need to clarify both sides of his mouth means - one day he says one thing and the next day he has changed his mind - He is funny, not bashing, he's just "Simple" that's all.

Posted by: Greenie | March 7, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Joe B. knowing has stats, has anyone ever been up in the press box? It is AMAZING how much data Joe and Locker have laid out in front of them ... I don't know how they keep it all straight!

JIM/Steve: Thanks for the moot props ... I think ... ;-)

Posted by: Boo! | March 7, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Excellent news about Clark, though I would be suprised to see him this weekend. Maybe against Calgary or Atlanta next week.

Posted by: EricS | March 7, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I say Laing is the Rudy of this team.

Posted by: AP | March 7, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Interesting NHL.com poll ... and the Caps are winning!!

Which non-playoff team from last season would be the most dangerous to face should they qualify this year?

Posted by: Boo! | March 7, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

From NHL.com:
NHL Network presents 'An Ovechkin Ovation' Sunday, March 9th at 4:30 P.M. ET Special programming block celebrates Ovechkin's signature 5-point games from the 2007-08 NHL season on his way to scoring 50 goals and beyond.

This past Monday, March 3rd, Washington Capitals scoring sensation Alexander Ovechkin's hat trick resulted in his 50th, 51st and 52nd goals of the season. To commemorate this achievement, NHL Network presents "An Ovechkin Ovation," a collection of Alex's three 5-point performances from the 2007-08 season. This special programming begins at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 9th following the NBC Sunday Game of the Week, which features Ovechkin and the Capitals against Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins at 12:30 p.m. ET.

The "Ovation" begins with a look back to Ovechkin's rookie season in the 30-minute program "Top 10 Alexander Ovechkin Goals of 2005-06." Included in that list is his incredible sprawling-on-the-ice, no-look, backhand goal against the Coyotes that is still a favorite moment among fans.

Of the many memorable performances by the 22-year-old Russian scorer this season, NHL Network presents the three games where Ovechkin's dynamic skills are on full display as he tallies 5-points in each game. First, at 5:00 p.m. ET, is the December 29th tilt in Ottawa against the Senators where Ovechkin had 4 goals and an assist in an 8-6 Capitals win. At 7:00 p.m. ET, see Alex score four more goals - including the overtime game winner - and an assist after sustaining a broken nose in the January 31st victory against the Montreal Canadiens. At 9:00 p.m. ET, re-live Washington's scoring outburst from this past Monday as his first-period hat trick and 2 assists helped the Capitals defeat the Boston Bruins 10-2.

Five points is a good week for most players. For Alexander Ovechkin, it is just another day at the office.

Posted by: Boo! | March 7, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

per tarik....Nylander might come back this season? Wow that'll be great, but I wouldn't risk it.

Posted by: RIT | March 7, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

RIT,

McPhee ruled out the Nylander possibility. You must have misread it.

Posted by: Leigh | March 7, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

WOW - from ESPN.COM:

"Habs GM Gainey shows conviction in trading away Huet. .... [Gainey] believes unequivocally Huet will falter in the postseason. .... Gainey obviously came to the firm conclusion the Canadiens weren't going to win anything with Huet and, on that value judgment, he made a decision based on what he saw and felt in his gut, not what convention would tell him to do."

The aricle is really about Price; read the entire article here:
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?page=campbell080303

Posted by: Boo! | March 7, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Why didnt McPhee say that Nylanders injury was an upper-middle-lower-rear of the head injury... and he could be back as early as tommorrow, and as late as the middle of next year?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

From Burnsides chat:

Mark (McLean, VA): Ovechkin = MVP Backstrom = ROTY How much fun is it going to be to watch them play together for the next decade or so?

Scott Burnside: (1:10 PM ET ) Certainly that 13-year contract looks like a bargain with the way Ovechkin has been playing. Nicklas Backstrom, I think, has the potential to be a top position for the RoY voting. They complement one another so well. Backstrom's playmaking and vision, and Ovechkin's uncanny ability to find the back of the net--it will be interesting to see if they have enough to sneak into the playoffs, either by catching Carolina at the top of the Southeast or squeezing into the No. 8 seed. I think if they do, they will give whoever they play all they can handle.

Posted by: Leigh | March 7, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

If the Caps had been winning all season at the same pace they have been since BB took over, we'd end up with 102 points on the season.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | March 7, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

@Leigh
AMEN to that!
We are just hard to handle these days!

Posted by: Greenie | March 7, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

@Sombrero Guy:

Even better - if we had won half of the 14 games we lost under Hanlon, we'd be in the playoffs now!

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | March 7, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Through 68 games the Caps would have 85 points, good for 1st in the Eastern Conference.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | March 7, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@Boo!

The article (and numerous others) do bring up some interesting thoughts about the trades at the deadline. Where many fans think this was a total win for us, it can actually be considered a win-win trade. The HABS wanted to go into the playoffs with a clear #1. In a city that loves to write about it's players, it almost makes it easier to eliminate the 2nd guessing on the coach to which one to play, and lets the GM take the heat for second-guessing his trade. For the sake of the team, I think it was a good move. It also makes having a goalie controversy a moot point.
That doesn't even address the salary cap room, the FA issues, and solves questions about their plans next year.

It's a good thing when you have options, and in this case, Montreal has the options at goalie.

Shoot, I'd even say they are potentially better off then the CAPS, as we are now in the quiet midst of a goalie controversy. While Chris, Olie and Brent have said the right things so far, and do appear to be great teammates, we all know that it's bubbling under the surface. Not something I like to think about as we head into the home stretch where the team's mentality needs to be focused.

So, any thoughts as to who's playing in net on Sunday vs the sold out Pens? It's obviously a huge game....

Posted by: fricknoutstandin | March 7, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Ladies and gentlemen, can I point something out by using a fun limerick?

"If 'if's and but's' were candy and nuts, wouldn't it be a Merry Christmas?"

-Don Meredith

I think so too, just replace Christmas with playoffs, but hey it is what it is.

Posted by: AP | March 7, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

@fricknoutstandin

Well put. A lot of people have clubbed Gainey for his moves or lack there of at the deadline. The only one he made IMHO is not getting more than a 2009 2nd pick from WAS for Huet, although I'm not complaining. Not getting Hossa may turn out as a blessing. PIT overpaid for Hossa. ATL wanted too much from MTL to make the deal, Higgins and 2 other NHL players and a high draft pick from what was rumored. C.Price is really good young goalie and should be the cornerstone of the team for years.

Huet had to go. UFA and had no future in MTL beyond this season.

Posted by: JSchon | March 7, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

1) GMGM should just say that Pothier is done for the season. IF he's still having any symptoms, its best to allow him to shut it down until next fall
2) Even if he felt 100% tomorrow how long would it take for him to get back into game shape after not practicing for 3+ months? The last 10 games is no time for 'training camp'.
http://newfaux.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Fauxrumors | March 7, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Jschon,

I don't think that anyone in MTL is overly upset that Huet left, because you're right - he had to go. What they're pissed about is that they let a legit top-10 goalie go for peanuts in return. Huet should have at least been able to garner a pretty good live body considering his performance and age.

Suck for MTL, great for WAS ;)

Posted by: HolyOlie | March 7, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I am rather relieved that our so called defense won't be playing tomorrow.

Posted by: Bob | March 7, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

@HolyOlie
I totally agree 100% we stole Huet and they should have gotten more. Kudos to George for bargain shopping, not bad pick ups especially for the fact of Vets in the locker room. No one has really addressed how solid Kozie has been, it still amazes me the level he brings to this game night in and night out! I love to watch him make passes no one else could shoe string, I think it has rubbed of on Backie!

Posted by: Greenie | March 7, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

@AP

Yes I was playing the "if" game but only to reiterate just how well the team has performed since BB took over.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | March 7, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Sombrero Guy
Sorry I wasn't directing that at anyone in particular, I'm just trying to say what's done is done, we can look back after we play the final game of the season.

Posted by: AP | March 7, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

That and I enjoy a good limerick

Posted by: AP | March 7, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

@Greenie

I'm a long time non-believe in Kozlov. I thought he was a huge mistake when it was announced (I was stoked for Nylander though). One of the best things about being a pessimist is that humble pie tastes soooo good. Boy was I wrong. He has turned into a great RW option on the first line. His size and vision helps to set up Ovi, and he plays great with Backstrom. Watching Backstrom mature this year, and Koz turn it up has been one of my favorite parts of this season.

I just wish we could get Semin back on track. When we get Clark and Nylander back, that 2nd line is really going to be a formidable force to reckon with. I'd personally like to see Fehr on the first line RW next year, and Semin-Nylander-Kozlov become a 2nd.

It's a good time to be a fan.

Posted by: fricknoutstandin | March 7, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Well, McPhee doesn't want to jinx Nylander, but I'm telling ya, if we go deep, very very deep, I mean deep deep into playoffs, don't rule out Nylander.

It will be when I will unleash Washington Capitals secret weapon, my half slap shot.

The tower of Caps defence,
the lead in +/- category among Caps d-men,
future replacement for Boudreau,
Genereal Chief of Stuff,

Papa Panzer Schultz

P.S. There no 'i' in either Papa, Panzer or Schultz.

Achtung, Panzer!

Posted by: Papa Panzer Schultz | March 7, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

@AP haha no worries. I think on St Patty's day we should all attempt a Capitals based Limerick.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | March 7, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

please tell me that BB is thinking about scratching cooke or fehr to put flash in. keep him the f out of the lineup.

Posted by: flashsucks43 | March 7, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: HolyOlie | March 7, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

What will they do with fedorov when nylander gets back?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Blank,

They won't have that problem since Nylander won't be back this year. Tarik says so up in his updated blog post.

Posted by: Leigh | March 7, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

@fricknoutstandin
I am so glad your pie is yummy also. I'm so impressed with Kozie and I was so happy for the GM to bring Nylander home, even at 80% he was still doing things most guys don't do at 100%, but he did suffer in the +/- ratings. Kozie gives Ovie the room he needs and if the puck isn't on Ovie's stick, Kozie still seems to have that magic on putting the puck in the back of the net. As for Semin, I'm a fan, but sometimes he really looks confused, as you said,"off track" maybe in a daze - I don't know, he still has a heck of a wrist-er!

Posted by: g | March 7, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: HolyOlie | March 7, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone not think that Ovie will get 60?

Posted by: Blank | March 7, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Blank,

I think we should give him a real challenge and set the bar at 70. A goal per game from here on out.

Posted by: HolyOlie | March 7, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: 828 | March 7, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

@Blank

Ha! Thats funny...

Posted by: JSchon | March 7, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Holieolie, that sounds good to me

Posted by: Blank | March 7, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else find it funny that on NHL.com, if you use their big RBK Edge ad, and go to the Canadiens jersey the quote is from Huet?

Posted by: AP | March 7, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

How tight would that be if Alex scores 2 goals a game from here on out?

That would put him at 82.

Posted by: 828 | March 7, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

82 for 8... 828

Posted by: 828 | March 7, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Sombrero Guy:
102 ... that's amazing!

Posted by: Boo! | March 7, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Haha 828 that is funny

Posted by: Blank | March 7, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

AP:
I don't see the ad ... where is it on nhl.com?

Posted by: Boo! | March 7, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I am really looking forward to tomorrow night does anyone think the caps could have another blow out against Boston?

Posted by: Blank | March 7, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Is GMGM others going to the Bears/Monarchs game tonight? And pass up a nice night in the Ritz?? P.S Do the Caps have practice at Kettler on the 11th and the 13th??? Thanks GO CAPS

Posted by: Go SOX GO | March 7, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Blank,

The way both goalies for Boston are playing - I would not be surprised... but, then again - it never seems to happen that way. I see a 2-1 game or something along those lines... I would like to see 8-0 though

Posted by: 828 | March 7, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I really don't think Ovie is thinking too much about getting 60 or 70 for that matter. Post-season seems more of his goal. Heck, Ovie getting 70 or the Caps making post-season? You all know what I prefer.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | March 7, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

8-0 - That would be another dream and additional spanking for the B's. We like to cause havoc and trauma for anyone willing to let us in! The CAPS are a KNOCKING! Oh B's let us in! Go OVIE, how awesome would it be to see another hat trick for him in the first period. Don't think anything else could top that except a playoff spot with a Cup coming to Washington!

Posted by: Greenie | March 7, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Boo, it might be a randomly generated one but it was the banner ad when I checked

Posted by: AP | March 7, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

That would be real nice Greenie.

Posted by: Blank | March 7, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: sg | March 7, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Daydreaming... 2010

OV/Backstrom/Fehr
Semin/Nylander/Gionta
Cooke/Laich/Bouchard
Brashear/Steckel/Bradley

Green/Alzner
Pothier/Morrison
Schultz/Lepisto

Huet/Varlamov


Posted by: JSchon | March 7, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

@JSchon
Fantastic, we are all on the same page - do I need to pinch you as well or do you need an additional cup of coffee this afternoon?

Posted by: Greenie | March 7, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm on my B game today Greenie...

which is most peoples C games....

Posted by: JSchon | March 7, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

from that Sports Illustrated link above:

"Ovechkin is, for lack of a better cliché, a goal-scoring machine and he makes no apologies for it. He's not much on the defensive side of the game and no one would accuse him of having the overall skill set of Gretzky, the puck-handling talents of Lemieux, or even the lightning-like release of Bossy or Hull."


Yeah, i guess he's right, Ovechkin doesn't have any redeeming qualities except that he scores goals. A real one-dimensional guy. HAAAAAAAA.

Posted by: laing4prez | March 7, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

70? Just like Bernie Nichols. Hopefully his follow-up years will be better.

(For those who don't remember, Bernie was the guy who potted 70 skating on a line not containing Gretzky in LA, and then cashed in and went to the Rangers, where he promptly spent 3 years not getting 70 more combined.)

Posted by: old time hockey | March 7, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

The 4th line could include A.Gordon and C.Bourque... instead of Steckel and Bradley... Brashear could be gone by then. We'd need an enforcer.

Posted by: JSchon | March 7, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

@old time hockey

How many millionaires has Gretzky made in his career?

Posted by: JSchon | March 7, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I was hoping for the "A" game JSchon - it was still good dreaming, but you left out some others like - Hossa, Forsberg & Teemoo etc..... to name a few!

Posted by: Greenie | March 7, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking realistic, but I can really cause a stir in here.

Posted by: JSchon | March 7, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Sports Illustrated is idiotic. I've been following hockey for 30 years and have no doubt that if today's Ovechkin played in the Gretzky/Bossy era, he would score 120 goals against those terrible goalies with tiny pads. His shooting percentage would probably hover around 50%. However, Gretzky's records will never be broken because you're comparing apples to oranges here...

Posted by: Sabah | March 7, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Stir on JSchon!

Posted by: Greenie | March 7, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Since I'm still dreaming JSchon, how about bringing Nick Lidstrom & Brian Rafalski, Chris Phillips and say Doug Murray for "D"??

Posted by: Greenie | March 7, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Amen Sabah

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | March 7, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Great to watch the majority of the players succeed despite the front office.
In the end, it's about the room, luckily GM can't screw that up like everything else

Posted by: Chief | March 7, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

@jschon,

Plenty. Nichols is a great joke. Gretzky was on a line that featured Kurri and Robitaille which-surprise, surprise-had to fight off all the tough D guys. It would be as if we moved Semin to the first line and Flash scored 70.

Posted by: old time hockey | March 7, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I dont see the Caps going into the market for a lot players, certainly not high-profile players. But Brian Gionta was being shopped around by NJ this year and could be had for a reasonable sized contract.

Lets try to get E.Johnson and D.Phaneuf.

Posted by: JSchon | March 7, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm exhausted, just the thought of any of those guys makes me love this game more, but you are right about Gionta that is realistic! I'll try to check in later to see if there is any more hype worth considering - this has been a highlight day on the blog!

Posted by: Greenie | March 7, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

When did Dan Snyder start writing on this blog with his dream teams winning the Super Bowl in 2045 when he is the last owner from the previous century without a Super Bowl, even the Lions have won twice..lol

Posted by: Rich C | March 7, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

@Rich C
We just wanted to stir things up a bit and have a little fun. Everything was so edgy recently with the goalie conflict.

Posted by: Greenie | March 7, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Wow we loose a crucial part of our PK and we put Flash in?!?!?! If Flash gets in and we continue to sit Laing I'm gonna freak out. I've been furious that he hasn't been playing even before Steckel got injured now it'd just be plain old stupid not to put him into the lineup.

Posted by: DC FURY | March 7, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Old, but Gold.. Let's give a slack to Kolzig. But remember the reason why Huet is not in top 10 is the same reason why he ended up with Caps. Ovechkin sent him into slump and eventually to Washington, D.C.


NAME SV% GA SOG GP MIN W L
1 Khabibulin, Chi. 95.8 7 165 5 310 3 0
2 Giguere, Ana. 94.9 13 253 10 608 8 1
3 Bryzgalov, Ana.-Pho. 93.5 23 355 11 616 4 4
4 Turco, Dal. 92.6 21 282 11 662 9 2
5 Brodeur, N.J. 92.5 32 428 15 917 9 3
6 Smith, Dal.-T.B. 92.5 10 133 5 300 4 1
7 Price, Mtl. 92.5 19 252 9 490 5 2
8 Conklin, Pit. 92.4 26 344 11 631 6 2
9 Kolzig, Was. 92.2 19 244 8 489 4 2
10 Budaj, Colo 92.0 11 138 5 285 1 1

http://mirtle.blogspot.com/2008/03/how-well-do-you-know-olaf-kolzig.html

Posted by: Yo | March 7, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Forgot...
That was a stat for the month of February

http://mirtle.blogspot.com/2008/03/februarys-top-performers.html

Posted by: Yo | March 7, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I did post here the name Bryzgalov, didn't I? :)

Somebody gotta be after me... :)

Posted by: Yo | March 7, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

@ DC FURY

Tarik posted of the possible line-ups, and Laing is in it.

But I do agree. I still don't understand why Bruce sits him out. He plays hard in every single game he plays. He may not be that offensive, but his defensive plays is great. He blocks shots, and helps out our goaltenders.

Posted by: elicea | March 7, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Yo:
I loved the article/stats summary, but I just KNEW that it would provoke someone to mention Bryzgalov ... here we go with ANOTHER overly debated goalie controversy. UGH!!! :-P

Posted by: Boo! | March 7, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin sent another goalie into slump:

Boston.com:
Thomas logged three sparkling starts last week, going 3-0 with a 0.97 goals-against average and a .962 save percentage. But he hasn't finished his last two starts. Thomas played 36 minutes 30 seconds in Monday's 10-2 loss to Washington, allowing seven goals on 24 shots. He lasted 31:50 last night, giving up five goals on 23 shots. Thomas has been pulled in three of his last six starts.

Posted by: Yo | March 7, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Ladies & Gentlemen,
We have just got to let this goalie stuff settle for a day, it has me all stressed. Ovie has the right stuff to send any goalie into a slide. But honestly, I can't do anymore thinking about the goalie controversy we have examined it from every direction and we still haven't solved a darn thing. We can start again tomorrow - that's all for now.

Posted by: Greenie | March 7, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Greenie. I, too, am getting tired of it.

Posted by: elicea | March 7, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

sometimes i cant stand watching/listing to the national broadcast guys, like melrose. no doubt they are very knowledgeable and are experience. but the way they dumb some things down, ive noticed lately they haven't been that bad. but sometimes they sound so stupid. . Joe B. is great and respected, Craig L.'s style is goofy and somethings he says are odd. id still listen to him any day over the VS guys. they need some new blood, and definitely someone charismatic

Posted by: timbers | March 7, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/video/videopage?videoId=3281315

Second time I've linked Pettinger... It's with about 1:26 left if you just want to skip ahead in the video. The score is 2 to 1 with 13:50 left in the 1st.

Looks like both players were a better fit on their new teams!

Posted by: Raber | March 8, 2008 1:01 AM | Report abuse

I just got nostalgic hearing the ESPN hockey theme song. It brought back a Lot of memories, specifically around playoff time,

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | March 8, 2008 2:48 AM | Report abuse

Continuing the stirring

Okay, I know he's considered the anti-christ because of the 02-03 playoffs, but I think the perfect fit (along with Backsrtom) would be Marty St. Louis. Look how he feeds Lecavalier all the time, often with no-look passes, and doesn't hesitate on a pass back to him. The guy can score, is shifty as heck, one of the fastest skaters in the league, and would be the only player on the team with a fire in his belly equal to Ovechkin's. I think he'd be able to help put Ovie over 160.

Considering that the Lightning might be shopping over the summer...maybe he can make up for 02-03 by helping us win a Cup.

Posted by: Pete | March 8, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Don't get the love affair BB has with Flash. I'd rather see Laing in there.

Wish we could have picked up Sergei Samsonov. Ten points in last seven games for the Hurricanes, who don't look like they're about to give up their grip on #3. Caps may need to go the #8 route.

Posted by: hotdog88gt | March 8, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

@Pete,

St. Louis would be an ok fit, but he's not the type of player we need. We don't need another guy to be flashy, we need a guy like Dino to go hang out in front of the net. Kozlov, in some ways is a nice combo of the two types. He's big, and can stick around in front. But, he's also got some skating and passing skills. Of course, all this skill is a little hard to see given the miserable year he had.

Posted by: old time hockey | March 8, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

@old time hockey

yeah, the "big" factor is something I conveniently left out ;)

Still, much like people saying that Ovie's just a pure goal-scorer, St. Louis is much more than flashy, he's also great defensively (minus being able to push anyone out of the way...whatsoever)

I guess I have to conced to Kozie being able to give Ovie room...but then again if you've got a guy others are chasing around instead of Ovie maybe you get the same effect and then he gets a pass back while he's open...man it would be nice to have Ovie scoring 80 goals!

Posted by: Pete | March 8, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I'll stop.

Posted by: Pete | March 8, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

OK Caps Fans,

Unfortunately have to run appts. in the rain today, but at least I can hear the game on the radio. Let's get these points!!!

LET'S GO CAPS!

Posted by: Super | March 8, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I wish time was ticking a bit faster, I'm ready for game time. GO CAPS - This may be the biggest game of the year, but aren't they all from here on out! I expect to see a big game, think the first period will tell the story. I expect a fight within the first 5 minutes or a huge hit from both teams. Boston will be out for Brashears no doubt.

Posted by: Greenie | March 8, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

LETS GO CAPS indeed :D

Today's and tomorrow's game are to be treated as Stanley Cup finals. Huge challenges that can be met only by the top team effort we saw the last two games.

And it's double the challenge since the Bruins are pretty pissed off (three straight loss, 19 goals against, 10 against the Caps).

And the Penguins lost #1 position in the conference and last game. All their fans are demanding to "beat the crapitals".

So GO CAPS indeed :) let's sink the Bruins ship and silence the Penguins in the melting heat of the Capitals offense.

Posted by: mauree | March 8, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Chief Boo,

I have returned to put balance back into the force. I see that our boys did supurb this week (I was able to watch the buffalo game. Steve R kept me post on the Boston game)

Looking forward to this afternoons game, and going to watch Cydney get wallopped tomorrow!

Posted by: Leeguru | March 8, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

The Montreal Gazette says: Even if the Caps do not make the playoffs, Ovechkin still wins the Hart.

http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/sports/story.html?id=5368fc80-d07f-409f-bcd3-2d6bd966d035

Posted by: Jon | March 8, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

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