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Hurricanes 4, Caps 1

Division rival Carolina put up another impressive performance against the Caps tonight, taking a 4-1 victory in a hard-hitting game that may have been a third seed vs. sixth seed playoff preview.

One (small) bright spot: Defenseman Mike Green scored in his fourth consecutive game.

Tarik will be back soon with a recap, notes and quotes, so stay tuned.

Don Cherry: 'Ovechkin, Alex -- Is That His Name?'
And now, the moment we've all been waiting for, because it means we can finally stop talking about Alex Ovechkin's goal celebration:

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  March 21, 2009; 9:26 PM ET
 
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Next: Caps and 'Canes, Possible First-Round Opponents?

Comments

C'mon, Caps! Let's s*ck it up and get ready for the next game. Figure out what went wrong tonight and seriously get on the case of the people who weren't mentally here tonight. We still love you guys, but it's getting harder and harder to fight off the trolls here.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 21, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

I just hope Theo doesn't give up a goal like the second goal given up, that was really ugly.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Havent seen Bourque at all in this game. I really looked for an OT after 2nd period but a couple of mistakes in 3rd by D-men and no points :( Better luck against Toronto, they don't look for a PO spot like Carolina and should be much easier.
Fleischmann had a 1x1 shorty and didnt score again.

Posted by: Hazz | March 21, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't mind seeing Varly in a playoff game, I think he would do fine.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

I just hope Theo doesn't give up a goal like the second goal given up, that was really ugly.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2009 9:38 PM

he just like...fell over.

i didnt get it.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 21, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Fleischmann is struggling like crazy. He can't seem to get out of his own way. Games like this piss me off. People like Cherry, Don? Is that his name?

Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Im impressed with Don Cherry reaction for goal #50 celebration. Probably the media owner had a little talk with Cherry after he bashed Ovie, same like BB had a little talk with Ovie after his celebration :)

Posted by: Hazz | March 21, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Flash hasn't been bothering me too much. He's been fairly responsible. He seems to have caught the Fehr sickness. Tons of great chances, no finish.

Let's talk about how invisible Bourque was.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 21, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

First he gives up the juicy rebound then moves SO slowly laterally and goes down so low, giving himself no chance. He overcommitts to the initial shot and can never recover. Theo better not do that again. The third goal was on the defense, that Carolina guy SHOULD NOT have had all that time by himself while the defense just stood and watch (something they do a lot of, especially Morrisonn.)

Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Oops, i didn't even finish my sentence. That was supposed to be "People like Cherry, Don? Is that his name? piss me off as well." That made me sound really dumb.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Game thoughts

THE OFFICIATING: Not blaming it for the loss but I'm finished with two veteran referees making some dumbass calls. The dive on Fleischman no way. Then the retaliation on Green - NEVER - after the guy cross checked him HE CAME AFTER Green again and you're saying Green retaliated.
The no-call on Ovechkin being tripped early in the game - it was horrible. McCreary and Marouelli are a joke and to only give Brind'A'Mour only two minutes after that hit on Ovie - that was AT THE LEAST - a five minute major. Ok I'm done there. :)

DEFENSIVE LAPSES: It's bad enough to leave a guy alone in front of your net but a defensemen?????? It's inexcusable.

TOO MUCH PASSING: This team got out of it's KISS shell and started passing way too much AGAIN. Although props to Ward - he made some big saves when he had to.

INTANGIBLES: They didn't beat a team having played the night before. You gotta jump on them early. It didn't happen enough. Oh well - what are you going to do.

It's in the rearview mirror and on to Toronto.

Ice Breakers Goal Shakers

Posted by: Jonathan6 | March 21, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

The call on Green for retaliation was fine, but there should have been a double or two different minors for CAR.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 21, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Don Cherry needs to seriously stop making things seem bigger than they really are. You're trying to stir things up and make something out of nothing. That guy is going crazy.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

well it made my night to see that bozo Don Cherry (who just happens to share his name with one of the great free-jazz trumpeter's of all time R.I.P.) admit that Alex IS a class act and the BEST player in the game today. I'm not even sure if I am okay with what Alex did because once you start with the scripted stuff it is a fine line before you end up with Terrell Owens and Chad "Ocho Cinco" Johnson for now I give Alex the benefit of the doubt. LOVE his bouncing into the glass but enough with the scripted stuff.

peace
Marc

Posted by: sonikitty1 | March 21, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

DON CHERRY:
The man is a complete joke. An airhead. He only further puts his foot in his mouth. Hey bad suit - Get your facts straight - Ovie scored the FIRST goal for the Caps - they weren't beating them 5-1 already you dumbass.

You say we're laughing at you - Nope I'm one of MANY laughing with him. Screw you and your ohhh Tampa this and Tampa that and bad season this and bad season that. Tough crap. The man had every right to celebrate in the way he wanted. And Green didn't skate away he was already cycling in that directon and came back to him. The old fart just loves to exaggerate things just like his suit.

The only person being laughed AT here is YOU. Do the hockey world a favor and shut up. Get over it.

Nuff said. :)

Posted by: Jonathan6 | March 21, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Apparently Don Cherry is getting down on Malkin for this cheapie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CROEuT_VGsM

Posted by: richmondphil | March 21, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

@Don Cherry:

Ovie's goal came in the first pd. when the score was 0-0...so TB was not "losing 5-1" when Ovechkin scored. It was still early in game that at the time was close.

That said, I do agree with some of the "it was too over the top" sentiment...but it was #50. At least Cherry was able to admit that Ovechkin is the best player playing today. I also agree that people would show up to watch his show even if it didn't include celebrations like that.

Posted by: PaintDrinkingPete | March 21, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Bourque only played 5:04

Totally agree with your assessment that the CAR dude should have also gotten a roughing. McCreary and Maroulleli both are awful.

Posted by: ralCapsFan | March 21, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe Tocchet, McKenna, Malone, St. Louis were so insulted by it. Such thin-skinned people. Don't let stuff like that bother you so much. Cherry is so stupid. So let me try to understand what this crazy man is trying to say... so he says Tampa is having a really bad season, don't do this to them... what exactly does this do to them?? Nobody feels sorry for Tampa, it's their own fault they suck.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Is that all? Did the 4th line get that time, or just him? I know BB usually likes to roll 4 lines.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 21, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

@ rachel and richmond:

I have a really hard time blaming Theo for that second goal. He was defending a rebound and did the only thing he could.
That goal is completely on Glassjaw Pothier.

We are supposed to be tuning up for the playoffs and he (followed by Morrisonn on the next goal) just let the guy sit there and have all the time in the world to pop in rebounds? If this team wants to do any better this year in the playoffs, someone on our D line is going to have to grow a pair.

The penalty calls on Fleischmann, Green, and Ovechkin were all completely ridiculous, but they really didn't affect the outcome of the game. Our ball-less defenseman did.

Seriously, other than Erskine, who on our D routinely drops the shoulder and takes the man not the puck? Jurcina when he's pissed and Morrison every 5th game?

Posted by: DirtyDannyV | March 21, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Yeah...surprised me too.

4th line TOT on ice:
Bourque 5:04
Brads 8:42
Stecks 11:33

Posted by: ralCapsFan | March 21, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

@DirtyDannyV

I actually thought the 2nd goal originated with Nyls (don't mean to start the Nyls bashing bandwagon) losing the puck at CAR blueline with misplay/pass which then set the play in motion.

Agreed...Mo totally chose the wrong side to defend on #3.

Posted by: ralCapsFan | March 21, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Theo flopped down awkwardly. He stayed with him, but he either lost his balance or just fell down on purpose. You buff your chest out and get your glove up. Theo did neither.

I dont blame much on Theo but the way he played that was awkward. But your point is valid; he should have never have to deal with that situation anyway.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 21, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

I did not realize professional hockey players were in the business of worrying about opposing players feelings.

Posted by: The_Spear | March 21, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm getting so weary of watching the opposing team just waltz their way to the net. At what point do we start having our defensemen act like defensemen? The last month has been really disappointing. Maybe I'm just spoiled but I'm starting to think that teams have got our number now. I certainly don't expect the Caps to win every game, but it's concerning how inconsistent they've been of late and just how non-existent their defense seems to be.

Posted by: deann_r2002 | March 21, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

danny,
pretty classy calling pothier glassjaw. guy almost couldnt lead a normal life much less play hockey. but you sound like the type of tough guy who would probably play without a helmet and never give it a second thought. yeah.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | March 21, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

@Don Cherry; F off.

First, a man like you has no pedestal from which to preach about class. Secondly, don't try to mix in your poison attack on OV with saying he's "above" something or he's the best player in the league--nobody's falling for it. Face it, this guy is a player you could never have been, and you just cannot stand it. If ONLY that OV guy would pretend like he hadn't done anything special, everything would be fine...

Since when, Don Cherry, do we care how a celebration of a MAJOR milestone in a man's career makes another team feel? Did we skate around the rink with an American flag when we beat the Soviets? Did Brodeur CUT the net off of the goal? How did that make the Hawks feel? Did it hurt their feelings?

I don't know about the rest of these people, but you don't fool me for one second. You are a racist and nationalist--anybody from Europe is the enemy, and nobody is allowed to celebrate their successes. You pruny ol' prick, this sport will be 10x better when you carry your ass out of the studio.

Posted by: wutzthedeal | March 21, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I had a feeling that with all the complaints about the celebration, Cherry would either not discuss it or take a different avenue.

There is plenty of room in the middleground who like spontaneous celebrations but thought the stick thing was a bit much.

Posted by: metatext | March 21, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

My Thoughts-

I think the 1st period, we dominated them. We were very agressive. If we can play like that for 60 minutes, and we have for most of the year, we can beat anybody.

The problem right now is lack of determination. Its the level of determination that dictates how agressive we play.

I think that will all change and we will be good to go come playoffs.

Looking ahead:

My concern is that even though we can turn it on and play agressive, and play mostly in the opponents end, we can still get robbed by a hot goalie, make some key defensive mistakes ourselves that result in goals against.

I propose this-
Since our d is clearly incapable of consistently controlling and clearing out inocent play out of their own end against a good forecheck, what if we were to play a system of having 3 guys back (2 d and 1 f). I know this isn't firewagon hockey that we're used to, but its clearly a pattern that in close games (which the playoffs will be anyways), we loose to tough grinding teams because of misplays by our d. And its not like we have Brodeur back there. If we had a 3rd guy back there, it would reduce the number of odd man rushes, and hopefully make it easier for us to control dump ins, and reduce turnovers when existing our zone.

I think that is what this team's achillis heal really is - inability for our d to control the puck after a dump in and tough forechecking, + when we do control the puck, we can't cleanly exit with control of it. We keep trying to blindly clear it along the boards, or try for the strech pass. Other than Greeny (and he has his share of cough ups), few of our D seem to have enough poise and hockey skill (skating and puck handling) to carry it out themselves.

So what does everyone think of moving to a 3 man d system? Playoff games are going to be close, so why not swtich to this system to reduce odd man rushes and stupid turnovers?

Posted by: floms | March 21, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Wow. I, along with Hazz, is pretty impressed with what Cherry said. I expected a lot more bashing than that..

Posted by: elicea | March 21, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Just got done watching the game a little delayed on my DVR. What a boring game. It has gotten to the point of being rediculous when it comes to more players chipping in. If the Alex's don't score, we usually don't win. If we don't get more contributors there is no way we can make a deep run into the playoffs. I am not complaining and there is NO WAY anyone here is a bigger Caps fan than me so I don't want someone to come back on me and pull the "doom and gloom" or "wheels are falling off the car" card. There are players on this team that are not putting the puck in the net and they need to start now.

I have been here cheering through all of the collapses. The 3-1 game lead on the Pens where Carey gets pulled Olie goes in, blows out his knee, Carey comes back in, the Caps lose that game 7-1 and the series 4-3. The series, against the Pens again, where, in OT, Gonchar tripped over his own feet and I think Straka stole the puck and buried it. GAME OVER. The series they blew against Tampa after being up 2-0, came back to MCI and changed lines around and lost the series 4-2. There are many others but I'm ready to brag. I'm ready to tell non-believers I told you so. I am ready to tell the Pens and Flyers fans when my sons go on travel game road trips to pack sand. I am now, and will always be a Caps fan, no doubt, but I'm ready for a good run. This team is good enough to make a run, I believe that, but the Alex's need help and they need it to come within the next couple of weeks and be there until June.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 21, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

@floms
I believe backchecking means 5 men on D.

The problem seems to be seams to me. We allowed a guying hanging high to swoop in between the d covering low front and back. That's either the center's job or depending, probably the guy in back.

It's like in doubles tennis where the ball goes in the middle, someone's gotta take initiative. The D both kinda looked at eachother as if to say "See?" "Yes I see him", "Okay" and proceeded to leave him there to make the play.
It's not clear to me if that was the centers job to chase him down there, but either way it's a basic timing play common to numerous sports.

Posted by: SpeedSchtick | March 21, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

It certainly was depressing to see all those shots on goal and next to nada. And then burned by every mistake. It seems like we have no margin for error. Maybe the 3 defenseman idea that floms suggested is what we should do in the playoffs. (1 forward remaining on the blue line with the D.) Okay, which forward should be back with the D on Ovi's line (or Fedorov's line)?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 21, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

The one problem I have with Caps' offense is the lack of willingness to get in front of the opposing net and get the "ugly" goals. Caps have so much star power that on most nights, or at least as of late, they seem to get too cute.

Posted by: elicea | March 21, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Sick of watching Nylander on the ice. Should had traded him at the deadline. At least call up some young players and let them play. It would be an upgrade.

Posted by: hessone | March 21, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

I thought some of the Capitals D stood around too much on the goals.

Erskine was a beast tonight ... hustling, stepping up in the offensive zone and showing why he deserves to be in the lineup.

The diving call on Flash was horrendous. The NHL needs to look at this "penalty + diving" fiasco.

The retaliation by Green should have also resulted in an additional two minutes for Pitkanen. More bad officiating.

I watched the replay several times of the Ovechkin boarding ... I didn't think Brind'Amour hit him that hard and Ovechkin fell kind of easy. That was a two minute penalty ... not five minutes.

Regardless of the poor officiating, the Capitals didn't show much enthusiasm for scoring.

Posted by: Cerealman | March 21, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

I like the Caps, but this team will go no place in the playoffs.

Posted by: Dougeb | March 21, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Yet another inflammatory and uninformative post by Lindsay Applebaum. My opinion is that this blog is losing its appeal and changing its character. I don't speak for any others, but this had nothing to do with this game. I'm out of here.

One then before I find another blog though, it is funny that Grapes called Tochett a good guy. Tochett is a convicted felon.

Posted by: lornemyoung | March 22, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

@DC Sports fan

"pretty classy calling pothier glassjaw. guy almost couldnt lead a normal life much less play hockey. but you sound like the type of tough guy who would probably play without a helmet and never give it a second thought."

That's why girls don't play the game.

I think it's great that he was able to recover and play again, great feel good story for Tarik and sportswriters.

However, if he can't mix it up in front of the net, play physical, and move people around, what good is he as an NHL defenseman on a playoff team? He was a soft player before his concussions, now he's just taking up space.

Posted by: DirtyDannyV | March 22, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Pothier is just taking up space at the moment. He was involved in Carolina's second goal when he basically just stood and watched Pitkanen take his time to deke Theodore out. Pothier should have been in the right position in the first place but he seems to be always a second late or a second slow. I just hope that he is just getting his timing and endurance down with these last few games of the season. Otherwise I agree that he is just another soft defensemen for the Capitals.

Posted by: JohnWWW | March 22, 2009 12:51 AM | Report abuse

@ sonikitty 1,
If you're hip to the great Don cherry, I assume you're also hip to Albert Ayler, Eric Dolphy, Mingus, "Bird", and "Trane".

Posted by: Puckguru | March 22, 2009 3:33 AM | Report abuse

Officiating sucked today. Already mentioned in detail by someone else above. Agree on the calls mentioned. Couldn't believe some of them.

We totally outplayed Carolina, but Ward played great. Theo got outplayed by the opposing goalie yet again. What else is new? It's time to give Varlamov a few games in a row. We need a goalie who can match the opposing one save for save. Enough already of making excuses for Theo. Once in a blue moon he plays a good game and everyone gets happy. There are 2 rookies in the NHL this season (Steve Mason & Pekka Rinne) who are stealing games for their teams constantly. Theo hasn't stolen 1 all year. His stats are terrible. His GAA sucks, his save % sucks and for a goalie that has as many wins he only has 1 shutout and it was in a game he had nothing to do. Varlamov can be consistently better than this. I'm 100% convinced of that.

Haven't seen anyone mention this, but Poti has been atrocious in the past few games. School boy errors, as the British soccer commentators like to say.

To the people getting on Bourque's case. Perhaps you should look at the facts first. The kid played a total of 5 minutes on a 4th line with a couple of checkers. How visible do you think he could possibly be?

Posted by: ranndino | March 22, 2009 4:40 AM | Report abuse

Pretty good comments by Cherry. He can be kind of smart when he wants to. That celebration was indeed a bit silly and it's true, Ovy should be beyond that.
btw he's been playing pretty horrible the last few games, especially defensively. Just waving the stick at a guy and cherrypicking at the blue line is not gonna make you the mvp.

Posted by: binnenreim | March 22, 2009 4:47 AM | Report abuse

Ovie went down a notch in my book after the 'celebration'...now he's at notch 99. I bet there are 29 other teams that would gladly have any of their players celebrate anyway they wanted if they could score 50 goals even once let alone 3 seasons in a row.

Cherry - did you happen to notice the glasses your sidekick put on during your anti-Ovie tirade? Who's laughing at whom? We appreciate your guidance on what constitutes a good example of a hockey player or citizen, but really - is what Ovie (or Alex or whatever his name is) did worse than say, being convicted of running an illegal gambling operation, or hiring Barry Melrose, or being the 2nd worse team in the NHL even though you have players like St. Louis, Lecavalier, and Prospal on your roster? Maybe Melrose was right after all!

Perhaps Ovie should be reminded how SERIOUS hockey is and learn from a good Canadian boy (Crosby) on how to conduct himself on the ice - F-bomb anyone who touches you!!

Let's let the players PLAY and have some fun, ok? I'm sure the kids who watched him score that 50th goal thought the celebration was pretty funny, and in no way disrespectful to the LIghtning or the GAME of hockey.

You go Ovie!

Posted by: phockey | March 22, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I think one thing that is lost in this whole celebration thing is that it was all a practical joke on Alex. His team mates encouraged him to do it and said they would all come in and join in. Some even off the bench as they had when Green scored in 8 straight. Then at the moment of truth when it happened and Alex went through with the planned little skit, they all skated away and left him out to dry. After the game he got the pie in the face routine. Alex is the biggest practical joker on the team and they got him and it was hilarious. Have none of you (well for sure not Don Cherry) ever played a team sport? This kind of stuff goes on all the time, you just don't usually get to see it. The same thing at the all star game with that getup he wore. His team mates convinced him to do it and look silly. It would have been better if they waited and did it on his first goal at home instead of in someone elses building. Oh well it didnt happen that way, but the last persons opinions we should care anything about is Rick the felon Tochet and that stick in the mud Cherry.

Posted by: dbrine1261 | March 22, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Cherry held back big time. Must have something to do with a LOT of people finding his earlier rant about Ovi and the way he set it up as racist and anti-Russian/European. How's this - the NHL call him up and tell him point blank to chill out or they stop paying his ugly suit stipend.

Why is it everyone keeps forgetting that Ovi was egged on by Theodore and Green, both Canadian. I love our Caps, regardless of where they're from, but they make it sound like Ovi's intent is to hurt and maim people with his celebratory antics. 23 years old, people, 23. Ask yourselves what kind of person were YOU at 23?

I guess it's a little hard for Cherry to think that far back. Heck, he prolly can't remember when the last time he was able to pass gas without making a mess so I guess I can cut him some slack. He did show some restraint so I'll give him credit for that. And the only ugly thing about his suit was the tie...and the flower and the handkerchief....making strides in his atonement for his assinine remarks, I suppose. Still, I'd rather they replace him with someone who is more in touch with the NHL as it is today. I mean, after all, we did retire the Model-T Fords, didn't we?

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 23, 2009 2:10 AM | Report abuse

@wutzthedeal,

I'm with you for the most part... clap, clap, clap man...

I was impressed that Cherry did challenge Ovie to be better, even if where it was coming from made it sound contradictory...

Cherry is great for entertainment purposes, but not much else to me!

Posted by: FrankM73 | March 23, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I've said it before and I'll say it again: with 30 teams in the NHL (that's a maximum of 15 different games being played on any given night, each requiring a Referee and two Linesmen for a total of 45 on-ice officials) there should be enough work elsewhere in the league so that McCreary need NEVER officiate another Caps' game.

I am sick to death of his bogus calls. His long-time anti-Caps bias is well-documented and irrefutable. His decisions have been been at best an annoyance, and at worst have cost use i-don't-know-how-many games outright.

The League needs to step in and deal with this cancer. Brind'Amour's premeditated boarding of OV was inexcusable and should have been at the very least a double-minor, if not a major + misconduct. But no, he just gets the two for...Roughing?!?!? I, for one am amazed that OV seemed unaffected by a hit that would have put many a strong man in a wheelchair.

Calling that "roughing" is like calling the 9/11 attacks an error in navigation.

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 23, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Look, I realize you are mostly Americans reading this news item and the Caps are your team.... But Don Cherry has a point. Celebrations are fine, but he gets carried away with the celebrating... that type of grandstanding is frowned upon in Canada because it is considered poor sportsmanship.
He is young, and a great hockey player. He doesn't need to grandstand like that.

Posted by: coreydeep | March 24, 2009 3:11 AM | Report abuse

Cherry can suck it!

Ovie is by far the most exciting player in the NHL. After Gretzky retired I had no team to root for, until #8 came along. Now I love the Caps and I go to games and buy the gear so I am the type of fan the NHL needs. If the other players in the NHL are offended by his celebrations, then don't let him score on you or your team. If anyone thinks he was TRYING to show up the Bolts they have not been paying attention the last 4 years. Ovie loves to score, and loves to express it, end of story.

As for the Caps, they are a good goalie away from being real Cup contenders. Unfortunately they only have an adequate one at best. Hopefully Varlamov is given a legimate chance next year in camp. He is the real deal from all the scouting reports.

Posted by: mig991 | March 24, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

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