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Crosby: 'I Wasn't Happy With It'

Bruce Boudreau is usually a pretty affable fellow.

Not today. Not with his team on a three-game slide.

He was downright grumpy this morning after emerging from a longer than usual team meeting at Mellon Arena (there was no morning skate). The coach wouldn't divulge what was said, but I'm guessing a lot of his message was about staying focused on the game and not allowing all of the subplots -- Alex Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin vs. Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby vs. Alexander Semin -- get in the way of the ultimate goal: earning two points.

"I can't say what's going on in their heads," Boudreau said. "But tonight it's Pittsburgh vs. Washington. I don't think anyone should have any personal agendas going on because both teams need the win too much. It's not a distraction to me. I hope it's not a distraction to the players involved."

We'll have to see about that.

"It's just a regular game," Ovechkin said when asked if he might take a run or two at Malkin. "I always give big hits, so if I have a chance to hit him, why not? We both play in [the] Russian national team, so it's not a rivalry. We're not friends [but] we can still talk to one another."

Ovechkin told Slava Malamud of Sports-Express that he has not talked to his former buddy since the NHL Award Show in June.

Asked whether there had, in fact, been a falling out with Malkin, Ovechkin said: "It's just the media." Asked if he would be okay playing with Malkin for Russia in Vancouver, possibly on the same line, Ovechkin said, "Yeah. No problem. Why is there going to be a problem?"

Count Penguins Coach Michel Therrien among those who believe something happened between the former fiends and that the superstars now despise one another. (I'm in this camp, too). Ovechkin has consistently declined to talk about exactly what happened.

"Evgeni is an important player for us," Therrien said. "It's the same thing with Ovechkin. I'm not quite sure what happened between those two, but this is something we don't see very often when two star players are like this. They are important players for the NHL, so we certainly don't want to see any injuries from both parties."

Lost in all of this (sort of) is the fact that tonight will mark the first time the Pens and Caps have played since Semin made his now famous remarks about Crosby. Since I knew it was very unlikely that Semin would say much on the subject, and the Caps and Pens were available to reporters simultaneously, I decided to talk to Crosby.

"I wasn't happy with it," Crosby said of Semin's comments. "But there are things that are said all the time. You don't like to hear that stuff, and personally, I didn't like it. But you move on."

When I asked Crosby if he might try to send a message to Semin tonight, he smiled and added, "Not so much. I finish my hits all the time. There's always motivation in these games. There's always a little extra in the air, and that will be the case again tonight."


By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 14, 2009; 12:41 PM ET
 
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Comments

If you read articles in the Pittsburgh media, they never give both sides of a story. Ovechkin and Semin are always the bad guys and Crosby and Malkin are always portrayed as holier-than-thou, high road players. It just sickens me, especially with all of the cheap shots Crosby has been dealing out lately.

Posted by: sirbobalew | January 14, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Here's to the Caps scoring the FIRST goal tonight.

Posted by: HuskyHockey | January 14, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

BEEF

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Bring it on! Hopefully Bruce asked the team to play "old style" Caps hockey. I haven't seen too much grit in the past couple of games.

Posted by: hlalor | January 14, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Cindy finishes hits...? Sure.

Posted by: Steve_R | January 14, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

haha crosby hitting someone

Posted by: _stevo | January 14, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Cindy is good at the groin punch...class act all the way!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 14, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

hhhhmmmm...I really don't see how the media is blowing this drama all up.

Posted by: Andoy | January 14, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

1) As we wrote on the previous thread: Enough with the 'Rivalries' between AO/87/Geno,Semin etc. The Caps need to get that crap out of their minds and concentrate on playing/working hard for 60 minutes.
2) Seems Ovechkin loses his focus on his game and starts running around when he plays these guys.
http://newfaux.blogspot.com/

Posted by: fauxrumors | January 14, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

(Re-post)

In Re to Helmer being brought in:

Did you see "Miracle" - the part when Herb brings in a U of M player who had not been on the roster - it bent everybody out of shape to the point where the players went to Herb and said "you can't bring him in, we're a family" So Herb made his point and we know who eventually won the Gold...

Just a thought, probably just gibberish tho...

Posted by: NJNJ | January 14, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

We need Gordo back, since he's been hurt we've been losing.

Tarik any update on his back spasms?

Posted by: CapManJ | January 14, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

1) If the team really wanted to shake up the boys they bring up the Hershey Kid line for a practice and threaten to sit a few of the regular forwards unless they star working 60 minutes

Posted by: fauxrumors | January 14, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

OK, so Crosby doesnt like what Semin said about him, and Malkin doesnt know why Ovie hits him so much.

Therrien also doesnt know why they are 11 pts back from the Caps in the standings.

Posted by: SA-Town | January 14, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

i know many have said it already, but, you know, BB can be as pissed as he wants (and god bless him, I love the guy), BUT a lot of this mini slide falls on his shoulders in my opinion.

He took a chemistry that was clicking (ES and on the PP) and dismantled each line as we got our injured players back. Rather than easing Feds and Semin and Clark and Schultz back in he threw Semin onto the first line -- a real slight to Kozlov who had been fantastic on the top line and a real chemistry bomb as it turns out -- and also started rolling out Ovie, Semin, Backie, Feds and Green on the PP line 1 -- a slight to BOTH Laich and Koz, both of who were on on a crash-the-net/deflections goal scoring tear. The result? Ridiculously cute even strength play (and at many times mass confusion) and ZERO traffic on the PP. It's not rocket science in this case. In fact, it's chemistry. As others have pointed out, the obvious configurations should be:

Ovie-Backie-Koz
Semin-Feds-Laich
Flash-Steckel-Fehr
Brash-Clark (Gordon when he returns)-Brads

Green / Erskine (I liked this pairing)
Alzner / Jurcina
Schultz / Morrison

Power play #1:
on points: Ovie and Green
in front of net: Laich
wings: Backie, Koz

Power play #2
on points: Ovie and Feds
in front of net: Fehr (gotta learn this)
wings: Semin, Flash

Posted by: MTB7 | January 14, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Perfect opportunity for Ovechkin to get into his first real fight tonight. He has been practicing with Brashear, he doesnt like this team (Cindy or Geno), they are all-star starters and he isnt, we need a spark so we dont go on our longest losing streak of the season and maybe lose 2nd place in the division, Semin (his best bud) has beef too and is on his line(so if he sees someone going at Semin, he is right there to act).

The stars are in perfect alignment for a knockdown dragout donnybrook!!! Best thing is, the superstars/top lines cancel each other out. I like our chances if its a matter of depth vs. Pittsburgh.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | January 14, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

ovie is not that accurate on his wrist shots. he is just deadly quick. i feel he would rack up tons of more points on the PP if he did NOT work the point. he is big enough to throw his weight around.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Based on what Kane is doing for his team this year compared to what Crosby is doing for the Pens I don't see how anyone could say Semin's comments were incorrect. What he basically said is that there are a lot of good, exciting players in the NHL but everything is focused on Crosby and the media ignores other very good players like Kane. Take a look at this article from today:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/michael_farber/01/14/penguins.capitals/?eref=sircrc

Farber goes as far as saying if Semin things Kane is as good a player as Crosby he doesn't know what makes a winning team. Well, which of those two players is currently leading their team to victories, and which is out of the playoffs? Exactly the reporting Semin was referring to.

Posted by: Stu_c | January 14, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I think they were playing better with a few Hershey players in the lineup because those players play a much simpler game - get it out of the D zone, grind and forecheck, be defensively responsible.

It also allowed more ice time to star players.

Now with everyone back, not enough ice time for all the skill guys, and there is too much focus on fancy play. This is similar to how the year started.

I also think its going to take a bit of time for these guys like Semin and Fed to get back into a grove - they have missed significant time.

Posted by: stormblue | January 14, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

@MTB7

I like your configurations but I wonder if Fehr in front of the net would be good for him, back issues and all. I agree under normal circumstances thats where he should be, but he has to be able to take the punishment (crosscheck to the back).

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | January 14, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

so bummed out I'm not going to be able to watcht he game tonight :( At what point do you think Crosby with completely lose it and pull his patented sissy attack on an unsuspecting Semin? How many times will Ovie make Malkin cry?

Posted by: RedBirdie | January 14, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

federov looked terrible last night, slow and tired. and did we win ANY faceoffs last night?

Posted by: _stevo | January 14, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

i would rather not ovie make malkin cry. he took himself out of the game last time with those charges. calm down, ovie, really.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Fedorov has been off since he came back. He's missed a lot of games this year and could take some time to get his game intensity back. Huge difference between practicing and playing. I was surprised him and Fleischmann were put on the same line (and on the 2nd line) their first game back. That's really throwing them out there without any game experience in a long time. Since the team was doing so well at the time it was even stranger.

I agree with the people who say the regulars were put in too fast. Seems like the team doesn't think they need to play as hard without the injuries so they're sitting back and not working at all. I would have liked to have seen the guys brought in more slowly to get them back into form and not have such an abrupt line transition.

Posted by: Stu_c | January 14, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Bottom Line: With guys like Clark and Nylander playing over guys like Borque and Fehr, we're not playing with all of our best options.

Posted by: MTB7 | January 14, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Putting Feds in the lineup and scratching a healthy Fehr was a COACHING mistake. Bruce should more than anyone else know which of his players are ready to play based on how they look in practice. When you have a quality player such as Brooks Laich who can play wing or center then there's no reason to scratch a healthy young forward like Fehr who is still trying to find his groove for an older inconsistent and injured player like Fedorov.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 14, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

3 in a row because the Caps have not gotten any traffic in front of the net. A NHL goalie will stop almost everything if he can see it. We need to get big bodies in front of the net to screen the goalie...that leads to juicy rebounds too. This is how Philly beats us(i.e. Hartnell)...this is how you win in the second half of a season, and this is how you win in the playoffs.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 14, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

and did we win ANY faceoffs last night?

Yup, 60 percent of them

Posted by: nhcaps | January 14, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Feds looked bad last night, too. I think he gets the benefit of the doubt, though. He is sort of a hall-of-famer with 3 Stanley Cups. His leadership is what this team needs, he won't have many off games like that. Besides, what coach could bench Sergei Fedorov? He will never be scratched as long as he is on an NHL roster.

Posted by: katzistan | January 14, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Boy, I hope that Semin and Crosby don't fight tonight. Based on what I have seen of both of their fighting "stylings", it would NOT be pretty. (And that's the second time I have used the word styling in 24 hours ... who knew you could find so many applications for it?!?)

Steve:
"Hearing red or o or whatever during the SSB makes me want to go kung fu panda on peoples a@@es."
WOW ... I have never heard you be such a bruiser before!! You must really be passionate about this. Not that I disagree, just, well, wow!! ;-)

Posted by: Boo- | January 14, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

wow, 60%. Maybe it was just me, but everytime i watched it seemed like we were losing

Posted by: _stevo | January 14, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

The bigger point is that these losing stretches will happen. What's important is to be building a playoff-ready identity & style in this second half. This means working on making our playoff-style game rock solid through refinement game-by-game. More hard work in front of the net, more dirty goals, simplifying the PP, fewer penalties, positional D, strong forecheck, and balanced lines.

My fear is that if the playoffs were to start today how much truly better would we be from last year's team that was bumped in the first round? We make the same mistakes (too cute, not enough traffic, poor defensive assignments, too many penalties, inconsistent PP, and not good enough PK) that we made against the Flyers last year. We need to be working on one-by-one eliminating those mistakes from our game. You can't rely on off-wing wrist shots winning playoff games (even if they come off Ovie's stick).

Posted by: MTB7 | January 14, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

I'd be OK with Ovi making Malkin cry as long as he does it by scoring 4 or 5 goals rather than by hurting him...

Posted by: sirbobalew | January 14, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton
then there's no reason to scratch a healthy young forward like Fehr who is still trying to find his groove for an older inconsistent and injured player like Fedorov.

Are you serious? Really? Really.

I'm sorry but I will take a Hall-of-Fame and Cup winning legend over Fehr who cannot hit the side of a barn from 2 feet away at the moment. I hope you are just trying to stir things up in here and didn't really mean that? Fehr will be good eventually, but he no Federov- even an older hurt Feds.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 14, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Hope many of you are now starting to see my point on the good news headed our way down the road. The losing streaks are necessary from a mental standpoint.

Remember keep your glass full. It appears the Coach is learning that in limited circumstances the Alex squared and Backs experiment works but not at this time. Koz was having a great run so lets get him back on the top line. He will go to the net (some). I still clamor that in order to get to the second round of the playoffs we need a veteran LEADER defenseman who can move the puck like wild boy Greeny but with brains.

Is anyone more excited than me about the beginning of the stretch run?

Looking Ahead: Really really Good News (update)

The last 21 games of the season the Caps schedule includes:

13 games against division foe
4 against Atlanta
3 against Tampa
3 against Florida
3 against carolina (2 at home)

2 games against the Maple Leafs

1 against the Bruins (A)
1 against the Penguins (H)
1 against the Flyers (A)
1 against the Predators (A)
1 against the Sabers (H)
1 against the Islanders (A)

Looking good for the stretch run...no rush to rush back Poti.

Posted by: windjammersouth | January 14, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

CUT 'EM ALL! LET THE BEARS COME UP AND PLAY FOR THOSE PRIMA DONNA'S!

Sorry. A little frustration.

Posted by: Leeguru | January 14, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Lets hope OV stays on focus and doesn't waste his energy on dumb hits. Also, someone else said it, and I agree, although OV has a quick and hard shot he does not have a very accurate one, his shot selection is lacking. He can take a million shots, but when you miss the goal area or hit the goalie 99.99% time (ok. that is an exageration) you are not going to score.

Posted by: opita | January 14, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

windjammer - we got it - stop posting the schedule.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 14, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Even in the last 3 games that we won prior to this losing streak. We have not looked good. We are too confident and not hungry enough. In the 5 games after the Philly blow out we played with purpose. Ov was not as concerned with making a big hit as he was hungry,playing like a fourth line winger trying to win a spot with the big club. Hockey is a team game and when we get back to Caps hockey (puck pressure, pucks on net, going to the goal, making others fear us.) we will win again. Smart move to bring up Helmer. He is steady and a leader, very Poti like. BB should also insert Fehr into the lineup. He plays hungry and the goals will start to come!

Posted by: psugolf | January 14, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Now we are going to critize the Rocket Richard Award winner on how to score goals?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 14, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that Helmer is up. A pinching D-man that shoots right. Caps have only one right handed D man and that's Green.

I'd guess that Alzner is in, Juice sits.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 14, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised no one has brought up trade rumors with helmer being called up

Posted by: _stevo | January 14, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Crosby saying "I always finish my checks" and the Press saying "Ovechkin's not known for throwing his weight around": Starting comments in the WTF All-Star Game.

Posted by: redlineblue | January 14, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

None of this would have happened if we had had Clutterbuck and Burns (isn't that an old radio show?).

Posted by: Boo- | January 14, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Stevo

Give it time, my friend. Give it time.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 14, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Malkin and Ov + Crosby and Semin should just drop the gloves and try and beat the crap out of each other at the starting face off and get it over with. Then they cloud can be lifted and hockey can be played.

Posted by: FusilliJerry1 | January 14, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

@MTB7
"Bottom Line: With guys like Clark and Nylander playing over guys like Borque and Fehr, we're not playing with all of our best options."

Seriously...wow. Clarke, the Captain and Nylander (600 points + in the NHL) over Fehr and Bourque (a future AHL hall-of-famer).

Nylander is not the reason why the Caps aren't winning currently nor would Fehr make a difference. Anyone who has played the sport competitively understands that mini-slumps will happen to the best of them. The guys need to get back to basics and our star players need to stop trying to carry the whole team on their shoulder. BB and his team need to get the guys to refocus on what has been a winning formula for them. We have seen that slump before (beginning of the season) and we got through it.


Posted by: atybat | January 14, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

MTB7, I like your lines. IMO it could be:

Ovie-Backie-Koz
Semin-Feds-Flash (could sub Laich on this wing)
Laich-Steckel/Nylander-Fehr
Brash-Clark (Gordon when he returns)-Brads

OBK needs to stay together IMO.

Posted by: DrAdamson | January 14, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

once again, underestimating your opponent is the first mistake. playing our division doesnt mean we have an easy stretch, it means we actually have to DIG DEEP to retain our #1 spot in our division.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

the idea that clark is still the "real" captain of this team is an absolute joke

Posted by: MTB7 | January 14, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Sure. Ovie picks a fight with Cindy, gets nineteen penalty minutes, a game misconduct, and risks injuring his hands and eyes. GREAT idea. And anyone who suggests BB is not a motivator or deserving of the Adams trophy is obviously one of these Tommy (Boswell) come lately's I was decrying last week. Do you remember last season? Had you ever heard of the Caps before their playoff run last year? Get off it. I'm not saying BB is perfect, on the contrary, some of the posts questioning recent lines/ personnel moves are interesting but the man is the coach of the year for a reason. A three game losing streak is not the end of the world. All y'all, chill the eff out.

Posted by: kevbnyc | January 14, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Nah boo, not a bruiser, just don't like the SSB being disrespected.

Posted by: Steve_R | January 14, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Feds was slow but he had allot of decent plays putting the puck where it should be. I think with Semin on his line he'll have more oppurtunity to set things up.

Posted by: cappies | January 14, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Hey, for the players and more knowledgeable out there...

If teams have decided to essentially have four players at the blue line to meet the Caps as they push up ice, what's the remedy for that? I'm curious.

Posted by: saintex | January 14, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Richmond Phil...you are the only one on here that thinks Ovi charges every game. He hits hard, and if it's a charge then why isn't it called. I'm all for Ovechkin hitting Malkin. The refs will call a fair game (I think Alex has one charge all season). If he does charge as much as you say he does, he'd have more than one penalty in that category. I disagree with your assessment that those hits are penalties. Let the refs call the game, and we can all enjoy the greatest player in the world tonight. Go Caps!!!

Posted by: reesem37 | January 14, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

"Ovechkin is a great player, but every time he hits me -- I don't know why," Malkin said.

Shrek needs a kleenex and a diaper change.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 14, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

@Saintex

Dump and chase, unfortunately

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 14, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

the only comment i made about ovechkin charging on this blog entry was the last pens game. are you really denying that ovechkin charged at malkin a few times?

and once again, all you have to do is watch replays of ovechkins hits to see that, about 25% of the time, he leaves his feet. ovechkin rarely ever takes someone one on one, squared up too. which is weird to me, because usually when it DOES happen, ovechkin stands the guy up.

im not saying he is the dirtiest player in the league, but he is far from the cleanest. 95% of the comments on here are not from an objective viewpoint anyway. go to any non-team bias message board and there will always be a few here and theres about ovechkins questionable hitting.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"I finish my hits" Did he say that tongue in cheek or was he serious? Right, Sid is a tough guy now. Obviously that is why they put Matt Cooke on the top line last night. So that Sid could protect him from the physical play of the Flyers. Hope the Caps not only tie down their jerseys but also bring along industrial strength cups.

Maybe Malkin doesn't know why. But, I seriously doubt that as well. Still not sure if it is purely personal or if Ovi has noticed that Malkin has a hard time sustaining 100% effort for 60 minutes. Maybe he is just trying to wear him out.

We know how Ovi usually responds when he is mad. Wonder how Semin will. Because I know the Pens fans are going to give him all kinds of grief, and expect the refs will be watching him.

Posted by: Kim-3 | January 14, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I've noticed allot of times he ends up leaving his feet after the contact which is ok. You just can't leaver your feet prior to the impact. But yes, he does hit allot differently then someone like Brashear who bulldozes you through the boards

Posted by: cappies | January 14, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton
then there's no reason to scratch a healthy young forward like Fehr who is still trying to find his groove for an older inconsistent and injured player like Fedorov.

Are you serious? Really? Really.

I'm sorry but I will take a Hall-of-Fame and Cup winning legend over Fehr who cannot hit the side of a barn from 2 feet away at the moment. I hope you are just trying to stir things up in here and didn't really mean that? Fehr will be good eventually, but he no Federov- even an older hurt Feds.


Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 14, 2009 1:38 PM


When Fedorov is completely healthy and shows he's capable of contributing on every shift, then you can scratch a young healthy player if that player is not playing well. Fedorov added little when he was reinserted into the lineup. He has a couple of shifts then he hurts himself and hobbles around the rest of the game. You can see he's nowhere near ready to play at the level we need him.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 14, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I posted this earlier. I think Helmer is up because Shultz finger is still hurting. He questionable going into yesterdays pre-skate.

Posted by: SA-Town | January 14, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

all this hype about OV/Malkin & Semin/Cindy is a sideshow. who cares! all that matters is solid Caps hockey and the 2 points.

Posted by: doughless | January 14, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Once again I will reiterate...IF it's a charge then why isn't it called. The refs don't know what a charge is but us as fans do? Ovi hits hard and clean...Philly and Pens fans are a bunch of p*****s and think that every hit Ovi takes is a head hunt or a charge. If he really left his feet 25% of the time like you claim he does, he'd have more than one or two boarding or charging calls. I just don't agree with you, and that's fine...you're entitled to your opinion. Ovi shouldn't be chasing Malkin all over the ice taking himself out of the play to hit him, I agree with that, but your statement that 25% of his hits are "illegal" is just flat-out wrong.

Posted by: reesem37 | January 14, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

@cappies

leaving his feet before or after contact is an empirical question. the bottom line is is that it is questionable, and you recognized that.

and folks, lets not get it wrong here. I am still a caps fan, but I am a hockey fan first. questionable hitting is questionable hitting. there is still..probably only 2 or 3 other guys i would want over ovechkin, given a 1for1 deal.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

i never said they were illegal. i said it was questionable hitting. calm down, really.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

HOPE EVERYONE CAN MEET US OUT AT MISTER DAYS IN CLARENDON TONIGHT....

WE NEED 2 PTS TONIGHT!!!!

Posted by: numero94 | January 14, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm calm, but your statements are false. Ovi is not a dirty player; he's tenacious, aggressive, and a very solid hitter. Just do your homework before you come on here saying he charges every game. It just pisses me off that people think he runs everyone and that he's a dirty player. As a Caps fan, I'm bias, but the only teams I hear cry and complain about Ovi being dirty are Pens and Flyers fans. Where are the other 28 teams that he plays against? And Jamie Heward saying that Ovi is one of the "cleanest" players in the league. Why would he say that, if it didn't have some truth? We're all Caps fans here...I just hate seeing Ovi get a bad rap for playing with his heart on his sleeve.

Posted by: reesem37 | January 14, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

The missed hit against the Flyers where he took out Clarke was the only time that I really cringed. I have a Flyers fan friend who tells me all the time that Ovie is his favorite player in the league because of how hard but clean he hits. That says allot to me. Whether he is on the cusp of going over the legal limits or not that's for him to learn on his own.

Posted by: cappies | January 14, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

For the person asking about standing 4 guys at the blue line.

The simple remedy is to dump the puck hard along the boards so the goalie cant stop it, or put a soft one into the corner and go chase and dig it out.

Thats the simple solution.

If you are talking about a good ole neutral zone trap or left wing lock or whatever you want to call it..the solution is hitting the neutral zone with speed if you get any open ice. The carrier will usually face 3 defenders so that means someone is open..most likely a quick pass back to the opposite side D to free up the lock on the your side of the ice

Posted by: rdy4all2000 | January 14, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil: I don't think I'd trade Ovechkin 1-for-1 for anyone. Maybe I'd trade him for Scott Niedermeyer if I could magically move Niedermeyer back to 23 years old and be guaranteed the performance he's had over those last 11 or 12 years. I'd trade him for Gretzky if Gretzky were 23, maybe Messier too. Ovechkin for Lemieux with both at 23? A toss-up. I wouldn't do it because I always disliked Lemieux for his smugness. Marty Brodeur at 23? Maybe.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 14, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

BTW, the Ovechkin slump started soon after the Heward hit. He also lost his grandfather. And he plays 25 mins a game. Maybe he's just burned out a little bit. Too bad he can't take a vacation over the all-star weekend and get away for a few days.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 14, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Steve:
Pfew! I was starting to get a little concerned!! ;-) But I'm with ya - I have never taken part in those antics and never will.

Posted by: Boo- | January 14, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

OK, here's ahteory as to why some might "question" Ovie's hitting. It seems to me that often Ovie does not exhibit the same degree of body control in delivering his checks that, say, A Scott Stevens does. Like almost every facet of his game, Ovie's checks exhibit a degree of "irrational exhuberance," if you will, that often leads to them being at the edge of controlled.

Posted by: Baildog | January 14, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1:
I don't think it has anything to do with Heward - if so, I would be more inclined to think his hitting would have been impacted, and it has not been. For some reason I think it has more to do with guys getting healthy and coming back. Sounds counter-intuitive, but I think there is something to it.

Posted by: Boo- | January 14, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

F Crosby, F Malkin.

Pittsburg tonight and ya'll wondering if our best player is dirty. ????????

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 14, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

As much as I like the 8, I'm not comfortable seeing him take runs at Malkin. It's very obvious that it's personal and the Russian hockey federation should do something about it (this type of animosity between teammates can ruin an entire team's chemistry; just ask any team that has had TO on it).

If I were them, in the offseason, I would bring both of them to Moscow, set them up in the nicest hotel in town, get them into the same room with a mediator, and lock them all in until they resolve their differences. If not, Russia won't even make it to the medal podium.

Posted by: playahatah | January 14, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Big game tonight...a win will give us some breathing room in the conference standings.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 14, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I bet you Malkin is the one who starts off taking runs....He will find out quickly that it was a bad idea.

Im sorry but he got clowned with his quotes, and the fact that he wouldnt stick up for himself. Even Crosby said he has to stick up for himself. Malkin is a big boy...It;s not like Ovie is going after Malkin.

I really think Ovie was trying to send a message to Russians that he is the best scorer, and the strongest player in the league.

Posted by: SA-Town | January 14, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

For better and worse, Ovechkin tries to do everything bigger and harder than the next guy.Watch him stop to change direction, he does that Hard, too. His ratio of shoulder checks to PIM probably would not support any contention that he's a dirty player.
Priming the refs to put #8 in the Mellon Arena sin bin is part of Crysby's job, along with low blows and lip gloss endorsements.
Drop the damn puck already.

Posted by: redlineblue | January 14, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The first things neutral observers (hockey fans, non-hockey fans) say when I bring up the Ovechkin / Malkin friendship-to-hatred scenario is that's it's a girl. Every single one of them - guys and girls say the same thing. What else would cause something to go so horribly wrong? They haven't knocked each other out off the playoffs, I don't think it's money, fame, or fortune (It's Kovalchuk the most popular Russian player?). What? Thoughts?

Posted by: saintex | January 14, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I have a pretty good feeling about this game. The Caps have been talking about this game for awhile, even to the expense of losing a game last night. They've been stung by lesser teams 3 times in a row. It's embarrasing to lose to those teams.

I'm hoping that they'll come out agressive and with relentless pressure. We know they can shoot. We'll just have to see if they can get traffic in front or not. If they can, we have a strong shot.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 14, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil - According to the definition of charging, Ovechkin typically does NOT charge, from all the replays I've seen of his hits. Yes, he hits hard, but no, he doesn't charge or board.

He was not moving his feet when he skated into Heward. He *was* in the last game when he got the charging penalty.

He doesn't leave his feet against other teams; he comes in with his shoulder down and raises his shoulders into the hit. That is legal.

If they could call him on charging his own teammates after a goal, that might be a possibility. *snicker* He *POUNCES* on them! But charging the other team? Not typically. Not according to the definition of "charging".

Charging - A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player or goalkeeper who skates or jumps into, or charges an opponent in any manner.

Charging shall mean the actions of a player or goalkeeper who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice.

Boarding – A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player or goalkeeper who checks an opponent in such a manner that causes
the opponent to be thrown violently in the boards. The severity of the penalty, based upon the degree of violence of the impact with the boards, shall be at the discretion of the Referee.

I am on the NHL Officials Association BBoard, and am asking for clarification on both these rules, but I am 90%+ sure that what Ovechkin does is legal, and his two charging and one boarding penalties all season back me on that. And hell, Backstrom has a boarding penalty this year; anybody can do it once!

Posted by: irockthered | January 14, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

PP woes as stated previously are rooted in the obvious. Players are being overly cute, no traffic in front and the point men are not holding in the puck at the line. Add 1 turnover per PP by Mr Green and that leads to problems. So its really upto Bruce to reprimand his top PP unit(s) by replacing them with different players during a game when they don't show any sign of adjusting their style. If Boudreau doesn't make adjustments mid-game, then he has no one but himself to blame if his PP units keep slacking off out there.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 14, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

TEB

Any word on line combos?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 14, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

saintex, I think the girl in question is Mother Russia.
Greg S., I hope you're right about pride. I know you're right about traffic!
I'd platoon Fehr and Fedorov until one of them breaks out. I'd expect Fehr to do so, with 91's full game on tap for march. and april. etc.

Posted by: redlineblue | January 14, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

“Ovechkin is a great player, but every time he hits me - I don’t know why,” Malkin said.

You would think he knows they wear different uniforms.

I like Feds, but he looked like a pylon while he was penalty killing yesterday.
Whenever we gain control of the puck while killing a penalty, and we do not clear it comes back to haunt us.

Here is to a victory tonight and help forget what transpired last nite.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | January 14, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

@saintex - My take on it is that if neither player wants to talk about it, we won't find out, and discussions of that nature without knowledge of what's going on are gossip.

The media are the main thing keeping this so-called "feud" out in front of people. If the media would shut their pie-holes about it, it would probably fade out, given time. But people like feuds, and the media wants to turn Malkin and Ovechkin into Hatfield and McCoy. It's annoying, if you ask me. They're both good hockey players! Let's concentrate on that and let them deal with their own "feud" their own way.

Posted by: irockthered | January 14, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

According to capitals.nhl.com, possible combinations for tonight are:

Washington Forwards
8-Ovechkin, 91-Fedorov, 25-Kozlov
21-Laich, 19-Backstrom, 28-Semin
14-Fleischmann, 92-Nylander, 17-Clark
87-Brashear, 39-Steckel, 10-Bradley

Washington Defensemen
4-Erskine, 52-Green
26-Morrisonn 55-Schultz
27-Alzner, 23-Jurcina

Goaltenders
1-Johnson, 60-Theodore

Posted by: irockthered | January 14, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh - and I still think Pittsburgh should trade Satan to the Devils, LOL!

Posted by: irockthered | January 14, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Well, a feud's a feud and it is interesting. I don't think I questioned that they're both great players but there's clearly something between them that's changed. I don't think it's just the media that's keeping this going - I'm pretty sure AO fanned the flames with his play last game. It appears that the way they deal with their feud is on the ice, we're watching, and we're part of it. It's another layer of intrigue in the Caps / Pens battle.

I don't know that it's a girl - that's a neutral observation, but it's clearly something. I'd find it just as curious if suddenly Semin and AO hated each other, wouldn't you?

Posted by: saintex | January 14, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Interesting if those lines are accurate - Feds and backstrom trade spots?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 14, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

If those lines are true then we've got some serious change on the first two. I like the All Russian first line - Backstrom hasn't had and success of late - and I think he might step up with Semin and Laich.

Posted by: saintex | January 14, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

@irockthered

they should trade him to the devils only if he agrees to wear #66. Also, Tampa needs to trade St. Louis to the Blues.

Posted by: sirbobalew | January 14, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Sirbob, I'll never rest until the Fehr-Flash-Gordon line takes the ice.
Remember when lines had nicknames, like the French Connection in Buffalo, etc.? You'd think the Semin-Ovechkin-Backstrom line would get one. Semin-Feds-Ovechkin could be the Russian Front, but that might be bad news for...Schu-u-u-ltz!

Posted by: redlineblue | January 14, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

The 21-19-28 line is the one that had that pretty passing play goal last season during the playoffs. I'd be okay with them playing together.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | January 14, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

i think the power play should look like this,

fedorov and green on the points, with kozlov on the left side board, ovi crashing the net and sitting in the high slot with the pucks down low with backstrom on the right side board or sliding down the goal line when the pucks on the left side, that would set up plenty of one timers and ovi is strong enough to get good position in front

second unit with juice and alzener on the point, semin on the left side clark or laich crashing the net and nylander on on the right sideboards

Posted by: andy19 | January 14, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"Semin-Feds-Ovechkin could be the Russian Front, but that might be bad news for...Schu-u-u-ltz!"
Why does that make me think of Hogan's Heroes?

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | January 14, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

This is seriously all of the gossip that we get today until game time? C'mon now Tarik, it's Penguins day!

Posted by: MarylanDChris | January 14, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I was on Mister Days webpage checking out the menu. I was thinking of just a burger - you know, keeping it simple. But an all Russian line up front? Has me thinking of a Black Russian sandwich. Don't know what my doctor would say about that, but he won't be there.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 14, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure TEB is taking his pre-game nap!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 14, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

>>Why does that make me think of Hogan's Heroes?

Exactly! Thanks for your merciful take on my childish sense of humor.
Speaking of nicknames: Alzner's game, like his vocabulary, is so frickin tidy. Even his penalties (figure of speech) are against procedure, not against players. Karl Alzner is...Mr. Kleen!

Posted by: redlineblue | January 14, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Put Kozzie or Steckle in front of the net during a PP - they are both 6'5" and over 220lbs. Need an intimadating force in front of the goalie.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 14, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

The key for me is Ovie and Semin on two different lines, it's gravy if Flash is also on a different line. Now we have three natural scorers (Ovie and Semin being elite) on three lines. That's balance. All that said, why split Ovie and Backie? honestly...

Posted by: MTB7 | January 14, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

How about the SOB line for 28,8 and 19?

Posted by: bryaningrocery | January 14, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Bryan: Playin' against 'em certainly is a sonofa!

Posted by: redlineblue | January 14, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

redlineblue, haha. I kept thinking, "Where do I know that from?" Hogan's Heroes on TV Land was a favorite in my house when I was a kid. M*A*S*H, too.
I like the Mr. Kleen thing, too. If Alzner starts keeping guys out of Theo/Johnny's kitchen on a regular basis, he'd really earn it. He'd even have his own theme song!
87-39-10...BSB? I'm sure there's a Backstreet Boy connection in there somewhere, but, eh. Somebody had something about the homecoming king for this line, can't think of it now.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | January 14, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

@Playahatah

Just like Feds said in an interveiw with Csn, the Russian federation has no authority with what happens in the Nhl. I'm sure they don't like it but o'well.

Posted by: ludeman95 | January 14, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

exactly!!! redlineblue

Posted by: bryaningrocery | January 14, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

CodePoetry, they changed the pic of Clark. Funny how a well placed suggestion yields results, no?

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | January 14, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see that Semin has gotten into the wuss' head.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 14, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

"Hogan's Heroes on TV Land was a favorite in my house when I was a kid"

You are so young!

Posted by: Baildog | January 14, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Ok, a little off topic, I know, but does anyone know of a good place in MoCo to watch the game tonight? It seems like the only viewing parties seem to be out in VA.

Posted by: luvfades | January 14, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

watching in the customer lounge of my dealership. Of course, there will be no beer. But it is a flat screen!

Posted by: Leeguru | January 14, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Baildog, Yeah, I know. The Caps are only 12 years older than me, that's gotta count for something?

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | January 14, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

time...is...so ...slow

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 14, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Good way to drum up business, Lee, only if no beer, what's the point? Couldn't get a liquor license for your car dealership? :)

Could be a whole new business model. Drink here, wreck your car, then replace it with one from here. Sweet! Think I'll Trade Mark that one.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 14, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Greg, hooters is right down the street. If only I can get them to deliver....

Posted by: Leeguru | January 14, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Stepping out alone from behind his net, I swear I saw Alzner excuse himself. He'll never be a destroyer in the crease, but I think he's already Most Likely to Engage when the enemy is loitering. He just gets, I don't know, mixed up between the Other Guy and the puck. When he occasionally gets smoked he gives up a clean breakaway; when he separates you from the puck it's like your mom selecting a melon at the market. I think he babysits between periods.
Quick Question, Karl: D'you mind if I call you Mr. Kleen?

Posted by: redlineblue | January 14, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

"I think he babysits between periods." XD I can see it now actually. Probably Clark's kids. I've never heard of a more polite 20-year old. I even probably sound like a sailor compared to him.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | January 14, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

new post!

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | January 14, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

ovechkin constantly leaves his feet. once again, it is questionable hitting, not illegal hitting. i know all of you guys can do a quick wiki search and post something about the rules, but it really means nothing. all your dreams of wanting to be a fantasy caps GM can be found on a video game, go hypothesize there. once again, i hate pulling this card, but how many of you played full contact hockey? I am imagining hardly any of you, and especially the ones who want to call ovechkin one of the cleaner hitters in the league. I like how none of you talked about how ovechkin never squares up one on one for a hit, and only takes runs from the side or peripheral. i dont really care what caps fan on a caps blog have to say to me about ovechkin's play, when 99% of any non-bias blog or message board has constant posts about his questionable hits. your logic of how officiating is done is flawed. so wait...you are going to constantly bash the refs when a non-call or call does not go your way, and then use called penalties as an assessment on how calls are objective? okay there, from now on i better not see ANY of you complain about the officiating. ovechkin throws questionable hits, and you are a bias caps fan. i mean, honestly, its apparent no one should really take half of your comments seriously when 99% of you talk about how crosby and malkin aren't even good players, and i WAS around in the 90s so i actually did see the Patrick Division rivalry in action, so i imagine my pens hate being quite a bit over yours.

@tomin
hmm... what about iginla? id do ovie for iginla straight up any day. datsyuk? maybe, but he is getting old. i was just thinking about forwards too, no defenseman.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Pittsburgh is a good club. But I don't like 'em. Nothing better than seeing them go down to the Red Wings in the Finals last year.

Posted by: leopard09 | January 14, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Hope Erskine turns down an invitation from Bissonette tonight. He doesn't need another concussion. Brash can take on Godard, Bradley can lose to Bissonette, and Erskine needs to not drop the gloves with another heavyweight for at least the rest of the season. One more concussion and he'll be playing with legos at Pothier's house

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 14, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

This just in:
I don't give a crap about the Pittsburgh Crosbys. Never have. Never will. So stop it media!!!

Posted by: TheSkyIsntFalling | January 14, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

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