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Laich out tomorrow vs. Flames

Here's your early afternoon practice update from KCI:

*Brooks Laich won't be in the lineup tomorrow, Coach Bruce Boudreau confirmed moments ago.

"As much as Brooks would like to play yesterday, he has to realize that he took a pretty significant shot to the face," Boudreau said.

For his full comments on the Laich's injury, click below.


*Shaone Morrisonn won't play against the Flames, either. He had four wisdom teeth pulled yesterday and did not practice today. "He'll be ready to go Monday," Boudreau said. "He's still a little tender."

*The other Morrison - Brendan - is hurting, too. He "tweaked" a leg in the Caps' 3-2 shootout loss in Carolina on Thursday and probably is out. "He'll be a game-time decision," Boudreau said. "With eight games to go before the playoffs, the [priority] is to be ready for the playoffs, in full force."

*With Boyd Gordon still in Hershey doing rehab on his back, Boudreau conceded that the Caps may have to recall a forward. Suddenly that newfound "depth" is getting pretty shallow.

*I'm writing a story for tomorrow's paper on the Caps being on the verge of clinching their first ever Eastern Conference regular season title and what that means for them. They can clinch tonight if New Jersey loses in Montreal (regulation or OT/shootout) or by gaining a point against the Flames.

"It's nice to have it in the back of your mind," Boudreau said. "You hope you don't have to win it in Game 7. That's where the advantage comes in."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 27, 2010; 12:23 PM ET
 
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Next: Report: Caps-Pens to play at Heinz Field

Comments

Game 7 home ice advantage? Yeah, right, didn't work last year vs. Pens.

Home ice advantage is debatable, still nice to have it, but careful what you wish for.

It's a perfect situation for a trap team playing on the road.

Posted by: CodePoetry | March 27, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I would rather have a game 7 at home then on the road. Sure it is not 100% gaurentee , but nothing in life is.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | March 27, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I think the home teams have slightly better than a 50 percent winning percetage in hockey, certainly not like in basketball where the home teams win more than 90 percent of the times in game 7s.

more than just game 7s, I've always thought it was an advantage to start a playoff series on the road...

Posted by: joek443 | March 27, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

There are two tangible areas where being the home team helps.

1) The road team has to put their guys on the ice first for faceoffs giving the home team an advantage in playing matchups.

2) Faceoffs, the home team gets to put their stick down second.

Those aren't going to win a game for you per se. But if, for example, two teams are 50/50 on neutral ice (with no team getting the advantage) maybe this boosts the home teams chances for winning from 50/50 to 52/48 and when they go on the road to a 48/52.

Only a 52/48 chance of winning is by no means guaranteed but I would take any advantage going into a game no matter how small. Anything that increases a teams chances of winning is better to have than not to have.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 27, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Game 7 home ice advantage? Yeah, right, didn't work last year vs. Pens
---------------------

nor the previous yr v the Flyers. We laid eggs, not a great effort in either game. We seem to play better when we're down in a series. Once we claw back its like the effort drops off.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 27, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Game 7 home ice advantage? Yeah, right, didn't work last year vs. Pens
---------------------

nor the previous yr v the Flyers. We laid eggs, not a great effort in either game. We seem to play better when we're down in a series. Once we claw back its like the effort drops off.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 27, 2010 1:31 PM

It did work against the Rangers though. I still don't know what happened against the Pens last year, but when we played the Flyers two years ago, we lost to a better team.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 27, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Nothing is guaranteed, but it's stupid to not want home ice.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 27, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The only reason the Caps had home ice advantage 2 years ago was because they won the SE division. The Flyers had more points and were a better team.

Last year, while over the entire year the Caps were better than the Pens, at the end of the year not only were the Pens playing better than the Caps, they were also a better more complete team.

This year, while there is no way to state with any certainty, the Caps do appear to be the best team in the East and maybe the entire NHL. Unfortunately that does not guarantee a Cup, but I would much rather be in the Caps position than any other team at this time.

Posted by: realoldcapsfan | March 27, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

In the face!

Posted by: jake81 | March 27, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Flames are getting spanked 5 zippo in Boston. They should be a nice hungry team to play against tomm nite. Brett Sutter got a recent callup. By my count thats like 54 Sutters have now played in the NHL.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 27, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

It did work against the Rangers though. I still don't know what happened against the Pens last year, but when we played the Flyers two years ago, we lost to a better team.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 27, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse


put it this way, the Caps didn't show up with a balls-out effort in all 7 games. Game 1 they escaped with a win. Game 2 the Caps barely showed up. It wasn't till halfway thru game 3 that the team really started playing hard.

Its really the personality to not have a sense of urgency until its absolutely imperative.

and then for whatever reason in a game 7, they've mailed in their effort.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 27, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

letz be real. at the right hand side of lord stanley sits his prince, Prince Crosby. ALL HAIL THE PRINCE AND THE CAPS! q from pg.

Posted by: qfrompg | March 27, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

ouch, matt cooke just laid out a Flyer. Clean hit too :)

And he just scored his 14th goal of the season to put the Flyers on ice. Pens with a 3-1 lead now in the 3rd

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 27, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Where are you coming from q from pg?

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | March 27, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm coming from a place where the streets have no name. Except for Crosby is King Blvd and Natinals Fail Rd. q from pg

Posted by: qfrompg | March 27, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

philly might not even make the playoffs, hope they don't...

Posted by: joek443 | March 27, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Unrelated note:

Dig Gretzky talking about the Caps. 99's right. And I think JT60 can show us all what he's made of. He can take us all the way.

http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=35&id=64055

Posted by: large23220 | March 27, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

With a team as dominant as the Caps have been this year (especially lately) there better NOT be any game 7 - in any series. The ultimate statement is to not play down to opponents this year and win in fewer games than the league champions of last year.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | March 27, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Well, get back there q from pg.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | March 27, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Ok Dad!

Posted by: qfrompg | March 27, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Bruins beat the Flames 5-0. I'm really hoping the Flames are just that bad right now. For the Flames, a desperate team isn't a dangerous team I guess. That's pretty sad, to be battling for a playoff spot and lose 5-0.

and joek443's right, Flyers may soon be out of a playoff spot. They have serious goaltending issues that they cannot sort out.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 27, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

*"With Boyd Gordon still in Hershey doing rehab on his back, Boudreau conceded that the Caps may have to recall a forward. Suddenly that newfound "depth" is getting pretty shallow."

Imagine what dire straits we might be in if we hadn't been carrying extra players already.

BTW, you all probably know this, but Habs/Devils is the matchup on HNIC tonight.

LET'S G0, CAPS!!!

Posted by: wocoliz | March 27, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

"They can clinch tonight if New Jersey loses in Montreal (regulation or OT/shootout) or by gaining a point against the Flames."

----------------------
I'm kinda hoping NJ wins so we can clinch it ourselves tomorrow. Gives them some extra incentive to play well.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 27, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Recall of Perreault from Hershey is now up on the AHL transaction log. Yea, Matty P is back!!

Posted by: NovaCath1 | March 27, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Great news, NovaCath1! I'm tempted to order a #85 shirt while I can. ;-) Love that Mini Me!

Posted by: wocoliz | March 27, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

rachel216, Yes, yes they really are that bad right now. I am also a fan of the Red Wings so I have been following the Flames closly for the last month or so. They have now lost three of their last four all against non-playoff teams and one was a loss against the Islanders. The Caps should get a first hand look at how bad they are tomorrow. They were ahead of Detroit March 13th and now are 6 points back with an extra game played. The Flames season has been on the rocks ever since they went 4-8-3 in January and now they are falling apart again.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 27, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Bears and Baby Pens are tied at 1 after one period. Bacashihua in goal for Hershey.

Posted by: wocoliz | March 27, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Is it coincidence that the Flames flamed out as soon as they traded Phaneuf?

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 27, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1 The Flames went 4-8-3 in January and Phaneuf was traded on the 31st of January which is actually when they started winning again. In fact his last game was the first they won in nine games. After the trade the went 3-3-1 until the Olympics and were 4-1 coming out of the break before starting thier recent fall.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 27, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Bears lead Baby Pens 3-2 after two periods.

Posted by: wocoliz | March 27, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

It's not "the other Morrison" when there is only one "Morrison".

Suppose you could say, "the other Mo".

Posted by: TheOriginalEgon | March 27, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

And the Bears polish off WBS 4-2.

Posted by: wocoliz | March 27, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Nothing is guaranteed, but it's stupid to not want home ice.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 27, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse
------------------------------------------
Very true and it's so obvious it only needs to be stated on this board!

Posted by: pokerface1208 | March 27, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

With a team as dominant as the Caps have been this year (especially lately) there better NOT be any game 7 - in any series. The ultimate statement is to not play down to opponents this year and win in fewer games than the league champions of last year.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | March 27, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse
-------------------------------------------

Couldn't agree more although the deeper you go in the playoffs the tougher it typically gets so if we go to a Game 7 in the EC or Cup Finals so be it.

Regardless game 7 will (most likely) be in our barn and regardless of stats I want game 7 at home. We have the best home record in the NHL this yr so I'll take it.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | March 27, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

And the Caps will have to clinch the East themselves. Side note wow the Sabers get 7 tonight in a game they are resting Miller. Maybe they would play better if they played like he wasn't in net and they would score more.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 27, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Is it coincidence that the Flames flamed out as soon as they traded Phaneuf?

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 27, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

or that Toronto started playing much better

I think with the emergence of Mark Giordano in Calgary the Flames felt Dion was sort of expendable. But wow they got very little in return.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 27, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

The Caps should have a bit of a cakewalk if they face Atlanta who is only 2 pts behind for the 8th.

Funny how that works, Atlanta traded away their only real scoring forward with a great degree of skill and actually becomes a BETTER team. Sometimes trading offense for defense like they did getting Oduya ends up being a better deal. Its not always about which player had more skill.

*trade Semin*

lol

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 27, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

It's going to be interesting to see how the second and third lines work tomorrow. Definitely enough talent on the second line to be a threat, but I don't think Fehr has ever been on a line with Semin. The third line has definite potential to be a great checking line - speed, grit, and hitting. Should be a great game.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 27, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

@timmyv38

I was always wondering what a line with Semin and Fehr would be like. Now we'll get to find out. Both would not be in their "natural" positions.

But I recall Semin had moved to RW since Ovi would take long shifts and BB wanted to get Semin on the ice while Ovi was still there.

Of course, Semin's been on a line with every other "Top 9" forward this year, except for Knuble (and Fehr) but now we see Fehr. Fehr and Semin have actually been more most productive goal scorers as of late.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 27, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Okay, some things we have to do ourselves. Meh, that's okay. I'd rather win this one at home anyway.

Matty Perreault has been recalled per Tim Leone, by the by. So MiniMe might get another shot if BMo can't go. Suits me.

Some grit will be necessary with Calgary. Calgary strikes me as the West's version of Boston - decent goaltending, v. physical, can't score to save their lives. Rask worries me more than Kiprusoff, though.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 27, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

the only people who should be worried tomorrow are the Sutters who will probably their jobs next month...

Posted by: joek443 | March 27, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

lose their jobs next month...

Posted by: joek443 | March 27, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

the trashers were a game over .500 before the Kovalchuk trade and two games over .500 since the trade... yes that's technically becoming a better team since the trade

but how many more empty seats since the trade in ATL? they were forced to make the deal... they sure as heck didn't make the deal because they thought it would improve the team. They were just trying to make the best outta the terrible situation.

Posted by: joek443 | March 27, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Calgary actually is very much like Boston. They are 5th in goals allowed, where Boston is 2nd, and they are 28th in goals for, where Boston is 30th. Rask is better than Kiprusoff in both GAA and sav % though. We should be able to handle them easily, seeing how we beat the Bruins 4-1 both times we faced them. Also, Calgary is on the second game of a back-to-back.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 27, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

SHOCKED nobody posted about this yet. Mike Green was supposed to be at the Giant in Columbia from noon to 1 to sign autographs. I've never seen anything like it. The line was around the freaking Giant. I mean 1,000 people waiting to get his autograph. And at 1:15 me and my kids left because Greenie was a no show. Was anyone there? Did he show? My kids were crying. I love my caps but this left a bitter taste in my mouth. Thank god we had only been there for 2 hours. Some people had been there since 9 am. I've never seen anything like it. Shame it turned out the way it did.

Posted by: RickyBobby | March 27, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

@RickyBobby

From what I heard, Green finally did show up but VERY late. He had ran into really bad traffic, among other things.

Trying to arrive at 12:00 in Columbia after practice in Arlington that starts at 10:30 or so was probably not exactly the best job of scheduling. And then there were delays in getting there.
I'm sorry you weren't able to stay.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 27, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

@Caps

That makes me feel a little bit better I guess, but you're so right... whoever scheduled this appearance is an idiot. There were a thousand people in Columbia freaking MD of all places waiting for him... people lined up in the delivery section behind Giant just waiting to meet him. I've never seen such a thing. It was very disappointing.

Posted by: RickyBobby | March 27, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Of course the Caps want home ice. I could care less about the past. Look at their performance at home this season. Speaks for itself.
We already knew the Skins, the Wizards, and the Nationals suck and now it looks like United does as well. The Capitals are carrying the weight of an entire city on their backs. Rock the Red!

Posted by: croftonpost | March 28, 2010 4:51 AM | Report abuse

Autograph seekers should just go to Kettler. I'm not big on autographs but I went for a stick and shoot at kettler and saw BB and Neuvy just walking around like it was no big deal. !000 people deep for a Green autograph is ridiculous.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | March 28, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

@ RickyBobby

it was the Giant in Hickory Ridge, was it?

Posted by: joek443 | March 28, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

oops, I meant to ask it wasn't the Giant in Hickory Ridge, was it?

Posted by: joek443 | March 28, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

as far as home ice, if you're playing well it shouldn't matter where you play... at home, on the road or on the moon for that matter

yes, it's an advantage although it's only a small one in hockey but you can't go into the playoffs thinking "home ice" will bail you out when needed.

also almost all signature or breakout games of championship teams in any sport have been played on the road... again if you're good enough to be a championship team, it shoudn't matter where the games are played. in the end they will have to win pretty much an equal amount of games on the road to win the cup.

Posted by: joek443 | March 28, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Anybody who argues against wanting home ice isn't thinking clearly. Even if all other things were equal (which they are not) there are two good reasons for hosting games on your home ice:
1. So the fans can be there
2. So the owner can make some money to help keep our ticket costs down.

Now, please stop the nonsense talk.

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | March 28, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

those reasons have NOTHING to do with winning a championship... championship teams don't get scared of playing anywhere

that's what makes them champions... nobody's arguing AGAINST having the home ice

but in the end that's NOT gonna play any major part in winning the Cup.

Posted by: joek443 | March 28, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

No it doesn't win championships, but I want home ice always.

Today, I'm assuming Walker is not back but if so put him in for Laing:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble
Fleischmann-Belanger-Semin
Chimera-Perreault-Fehr
Laing-Steckel-Bradley

Schultz-Green
Poti-Corvo
Erskine-Carlson

Theo

Posted by: Sonyask | March 28, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

This story about Ovi is positive despite the title. Rossi includes good stories about Ovi and discusses how great he's been for turning Washington into a hockey town.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_673742.html

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 28, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

Agree on that. Thanks for the link.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 28, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

@Tarik and Lindsay,

Any update on the standings in the NCAA pool the players and Bruce are participating in? I seem to recall a CI post stating that Boudrea had picked West Virginia to win it all and then a quote from Brooks saying something along the lines of "That's why coach isn't going to win the pool." I'm just wondering if anyone is wiping the egg of their face now that WVU is in the final four and Kansas, Kentucky and Syracuse are all out of it.

Posted by: cainoo7x | March 28, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

you can bet that the top 4 teams in the west hope and pray that the red wings won't be their first round opponent... the caps are lucky that none of their possible first round match-ups are anywhere near the caliber of detroit

it could very well be atlanta since philly is in a free fall... which should be a sweep

Posted by: joek443 | March 28, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Joek,

It was the Giant off 108 near Howard High School.

Posted by: RickyBobby | March 28, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

@joek443

Maybe not a sweep but likely a short series.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 28, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

This story about Ovi is positive despite the title. Rossi includes good stories about Ovi and discusses how great he's been for turning Washington into a hockey town.
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_673742.html
Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 28, 2010

-----
The sad thing is that most Pens fans (myself included) respect Ovechkin as a player. We don't hate him, but the media would lead you to believe that.

We do, however, tire of the Crosby-Ovechkin rivalry hype, and that's only going to get worse if it's true the Classic is being played at Heinz field next year. http://post-gazette.com/pg/10087/1046280-61.stm

Posted by: Dalliquippa | March 28, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

@Dalliquippa - Yeah, that's the difference - we don't respect Crosby because he is a whiney little nut-puncher.

Posted by: zmega | March 28, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Sonya I like those lines, especially the top 3. I would flip Carlson and Corvo on D though; I'd really like to see Poti and Carlson together. Love Erskine's attitude and what he brings but he just gets turned too easily and makes his partner work extremely hard.

Posted by: govtimbo | March 28, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Love Semin together with Flash; we're going to need two lines scoring to go deep.

Btw cstanton - good point about Kovalchuk - but don't forget about Bergfors going to ATL - yet another in a long line of underrated Swedish forwards. He's been almost a PPG guy of late, IIRC. And Kovalchuk could make NJ very tough in the playoffs, although Brodeur is definitely beatable.

Posted by: govtimbo | March 28, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

@ Dalliquippa. I live in Pittsburgh for school and I can tell you that there are a very large number of people who hate Ovechkin. When I wear my jersey to school people will boo me even if I don't know them and the Caps and Pens haven't played in weeks.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 28, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

They can clinch tonight if New Jersey loses in Montreal (regulation or OT/shootout) or by gaining a point against the Flames.

It feels so odd that now it's "or" for the Caps to clinch the Conference rather than "and" just to make the playoffs.

It means that they are beyond simply being (please forgive the oh-so-tired sports cliché) "in control of their destiny"

Odd...but nice!

GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 28, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

@ RickyBobby

ok thanks, that's even a few miles further north of where I live... no way Greenie would have made it there by noon after the practice

what moron scheduled that event...

Posted by: joek443 | March 28, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Matty Perreault has been recalled per Tim Leone, by the by. So MiniMe might get anohher shot if BMo can't go. Suits me.

@kittypawz: Don't you mean MicrOvechkin, a.k.a. the Great 8.5?

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 28, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

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