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Injury Situation Worsens

Practice just started, and there are a few surprises to report:

*RW Chris Clark, who has been out since the end of November with a groin muscle injury, is practicing with the team for the first time since going down (though he's not assigned to a line.)

*G Brent Johnson is also out there and appears to be recovered from his left knee sprain. (Frederic Cassivi is still in town and practicing but I'm guessing not for long.)

*RW Alexander Semin has also returned from a tailbone injury and appears to be skating fine.

But C Michael Nylander and Ds Brian Pothier (head) and Tom Poti (upper body) are not out there. (I'll try to get some more info on their status after practice).

In the meantime, here are the forward combos:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Pettinger
Semin-Kozlov-Fleischmann
Laing-Steckel-Gordon
Brashear-Laich-Bradley
Clark

The 'D' Parings:

Green-Morrisonn
Schultz-Jurcina
Erskine-Eminger

Update: The team is scrimmaging right now, and Clark has been skating with Ovechkin and Backstrom. I should note that Clark moved up there when Pettinger came off early. Not sure what's wrong with Matt, but I'll check.

Update:Coach Bruce Boudreau just ruled out Chris Clark for Wednesday's game, but said he's hopeful to get him back on the homestand.

Update:Pettinger has been taken to the doctor. No word on what's wrong, but I did notice early on in practice that he looked out of sorts.

Update:The bigger news might be Nylander's absence. Apparently, he's not just resting. Boudreau declined to comment on it (which is rare) and instead referred all questions to GM George McPhee, who is in meetings all afternoon. Nylander, if you remember, has had shoulder issues earlier this season.

Also, I didn't see Poti or Pothier at all today. That doesn't mean they weren't here at some point receiving treatment, but that's definitely not a good sign.

Stay tuned. I expect to get an update later.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 7, 2008; 10:31 AM ET
 
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Next: Clymer on Re-Entry and P.M. Injury Update

Comments

Wow, is everyone else asleep around here?

I hope Nylander's ok. Last thing we need is yet more injuries. Great news on Clarkie. The sooner he can get back the better.

Posted by: EricS | January 7, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Yeah!!! Clarkie is almost back! Bet he's back in the line up starting on Sunday.

Posted by: Tracy | January 7, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully, Clark's return will trumpet in the end of the oh, so productive Matt Pettinger era. Fingers crossed.

Posted by: Puckguru | January 7, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

hhmm... so who sits when clark comes back? i'd guess it has to be either bradley or pettinger, though both have been doing their thing relatively well lately. the other options would be brash, laing or laich, but all three have been playing exceptionally in their roles, particularly laich and brash. good for laing for making his case to stick around.

Posted by: pgreene | January 7, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I could deal with Nylander being out (if only for a little bit), its having two of our D-men missing for extended periods of time that worries me. The loss of Poti is obvious, but I never thought I'd say that I miss Pothier.

Having only one game this week will hopefully get us back to full speed, or close to it.

Posted by: Pothier's Thumb | January 7, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Nylander is in his mid 30's i'm sure Bruce gave him the day off.........i hope petty sits......he hasn't done ANYTHING this season and i hope Flash plays.....he's the one who set up the pass to nylander.......who set Green up for the winner against montreal.....

Posted by: capshockey98 | January 7, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Ovechkin - Backstom - Clark

That would be awesome...

What is wrong with the Caps and injuries? We def need the D men as we are not deep in the D at all.

Posted by: 828 | January 7, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

INJURIES - last year in December when the CAPS had bunch of injuries, they went into a tail(bone) spin and out of the playoff run. This year, they keep winning. That is a big improvement right there.

Posted by: Dezlboy | January 7, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

good point

Posted by: Anonymous | January 7, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

If anyone wants to get pissed off...read this ESPN blog about Ovechkin and his future with the caps. You'll know what I'm saying once you read it....UGH!!!

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/columns/story?columnist=buccigross_john&id=3179964

Posted by: PIssedOffCapsFan! | January 7, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Huge 5 game homestand coming up-THIS IS THE SEASON, FOLKS- 10 points possible-I'd say you gotta 7 at least to be able to make noise the rest of the 2nd half. Thoughts?

Posted by: dave | January 7, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

PIssedOffCapsFan! - that was on this blog a few days ago.

Just ignore that type of stuff - nobody knows anything but Ted, GM, Alex, and yellow dog.

People want to sell newspapers and that is the type of bs they think will sell.

Posted by: 828 | January 7, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Dave,

Yeah, that's what I said on the other blog - 7-8 points out of the possible 10.

The Sens and Philly are prolly gonna give us the most trouble. We "should" be able to handle the Oilers, Florida, and a hurt Colorado team.

Posted by: 828 | January 7, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Tarik,

When Ovechkin scored 4 goals against the Sens, why was there a small, really small article on the cover of the Post? The whole page was covered in Skins' stuff for the playoffs...

Wish we could get some more support for hockey around here. Getting tired of people saying people should leave Washington or that hockey has no business in Washington.

Posted by: 828 | January 7, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I think Petter would look great sitting next to Tarik next game. Actually, I really think the Clymer-Motzko-Pettinger line would look great in Chocolate town. (I know that isn't going to happen...)

Pothier is a problem. I think he's going to be out for awhile. Yes, he hasn't been the greatest D out there, but the guy is reasonably good and a rare thing, somewhat balanced. Not all offense, not all defense. Most of the Caps Ds seem to be one way guys, which is the way the league seems to be going, but is still somewhat boring.

@ pissedoff

Larry Brooks just emailed me and said that the Rangers have offered Ovechkin 50 million per year and Green 20 million per. How is that possible? Its New York, baby, and everyone good must play for the Rangers according to the CBA.

Posted by: old time hockey | January 7, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

With no game until Wed, It is probably a good idea to give injured guys a day off.

Posted by: SA -Town | January 7, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Ooohhhh ... Clark is scrimmaging!!

Tarik - how does he look?!?

Posted by: Boo! | January 7, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Old Time, I seem to remember Tarik saying that the players get to sit in a private box at home when they're scratched. On the road they're in the press box though.

828, you kind of answered your own question. Redskin's and playoffs, or just Redskins period. They always dominate the sports coverage in town no matter what they're doing.

Posted by: EricS | January 7, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

@Boo!

Clark is skating hard. So I'm taking that as a good sign.

Posted by: Tarik | January 7, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Re: Pothier

I've had a few concussions. (As you guys have probably deduced from my ridiculous ramblings) and you can never tell how quick you can recover.
It usually takes longer with each one. I'm not sure if Pothier has a history of these?
(Anyone care to step in here)
But usually the first step is being able to do a light workout without any dizziness or headaches. Then you move on to doing some skating and then progress to full contact drills with the team.
Each one is different and you just have to take your time and recover so it's hard to even guess about a timeframe.

Good news about some of the other guys though! Pothier's Thumb hit the nail in the head when he mentioned the beneficial schedule this week.


Posted by: pmoravek | January 7, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

The next couple weeks are absolutely crucial to the outcome of the season.

1) 5 straight home games. We have not been a great home team so far this year, with a slightly better road record. We need to assert a home ice advantage, and get at least 7-8 points (as seems to be a consensus in these comments).

2) We need to get healthy. With one game over a 7 day span, to start a homestand no-less, we need to get some of these guys back on the ice, starting with Clark and hopefully with Poti and/or Pothier soon to follow.

If we can have successful homestand while getting healthy (and avoiding more injuries), we are going to be in a good position heading into the end of January. I'd love to go into that Jan 21st game at Pitt with some serious momentum.

Posted by: JPC | January 7, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

When you get a chance pull up the Montreal Gazette, they can not wait to make an offer to OV. But OV was quoted as saying he loves playing there, but only once in a while not full time. But the article also mentions playing in Russia for 10 Mill or more, but tax free,so it appears that may be the real competition to sign him. Let us only hope he prefers to play in the best league in the world versus the cash...

Posted by: rich c | January 7, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

"Clark is skating hard. So I'm taking that as a good sign."

So glad to hear that.

@pmoravek
I know Pothier had a concussion around this time last season. Not sure if he had any before that.

Posted by: captnclark | January 7, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

The person who wrote that Gazette column is less informed about the options regarding Ovechkin and the Caps than any of the commenters on this blog. He is a very silly person.

Posted by: Cpl Cespod | January 7, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Tarik:
Thanks (as usual) for the update(s)!! :-D

rich c:
I'm not a hockey player, but I can only imagine that most dream of playing in the NHL, not Russia ... I really don't think Ovie is going to Montreal, Russia, or ANYplace. The Caps won't let him go - he's here for the longhaul.

Posted by: Boo! | January 7, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Ill tell you whats wrong with Matt, hes only got 5 points on the season. No excuse for that.

Posted by: TJ | January 7, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

@828

You answered your own question. A little write-up on Ovie scoring four in Ottawa vs. the Redskins going into the playoffs. It's a no brainer. Washington DC lives and breathes (for the most part) Redskins football. Whenever you want to check the pulse of this city....just look at the Redskins and how they are doing. If they are doing well, most people are feeling good about things. If they are doing poor, then they are in crappy moods.

I agree that it would be awesome to see the Capitals get more coverage in the DC Area, but until they become a "dynasty" team winning cup after cup it will never happen. Better yet, it probably wouldn't happen if they were a "dynasty" team.

Anyway, I'm glad to hear Clark, Johnny and Semin are all skating today. Hopefully we can keep the team healthy for the stretch run and climb the 5 point deficit we have to 8th place and surpass it into the division lead!

Posted by: Mitch | January 7, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Great news about Clark! I was saying during Saturday's game how much I miss him out there. Pettinger looks lost on Ovie's line (and every line). Not sure what's happened with him. Hope Nyles is OK!

Posted by: Jill | January 7, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I kinda rooted for the Seahawks. Happy they won.

Posted by: Finn | January 7, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

@EricS,

I was using the "sits next to Tarik" metaphorically. My recollection is the same as yours about where they actually sit. I think I've also read that some (like Clark) also work out during the games if its at home. I've also seen a few scratches eating in the Acela Club from time to time too, usually with family.

Posted by: old time hockey | January 7, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh no. Did Nylander hurt himself trying to lift his oldest kid (Backstrom) over his head?

Posted by: old time hockey | January 7, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Eh, whatever about the Redskins, it's about the people at the post. They are the ones who says what goes - not the public. Maybe if they had more things in the Post, more people would start looking at the Caps. Granted, winning helps, but look at us, we are die hard Caps fans and they have not been that good in the past. So, the Caps are doing something right to bring us back, right? Now, grab some others and we eventually will have some sort of home ice advantage. The Verizon Center "can" get loud... people just need to be aware of it and get to the games.

I know I answered my own question, but I want to put everyone on notice that it's crap. How can we be a hockey town if the papers and media can't get the coverage.

Tarik, you are doing a great job, but we need more people in the Capital's surge.

However, Mitch, I am afraid you could be right about the dynasty thing. Even if the Caps were really good, would people come sell out the rink? I do not know the answer to it. The reason why I love hockey is because my parents took me to the Caps Center/US Air Arena... took me to practices, etc. I got hooked. It should be that simple, right?

Posted by: 828 | January 7, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Not that I believe this at all, but could the no comment mean that Nyls has been shipped off for a veteran defenseman?

Posted by: Yosh | January 7, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

So if Petty is not good for Wed and Clark is def out who would be put in his place?

Posted by: wondering | January 7, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

DUDE,

How are we supposed to win any games with everyone getting hurt? Nylander, Pettinger, Poti, Pothier, Clark... sit down when you pee - you are all women.

Well, I guess it's all up to Laing to block shots from getting to Olie and Ovechkin to score many goals.

Posted by: 828 | January 7, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

but the Redskins are so uninspiring lately, while the Caps have been so much fun to watch! Surely even hard-core football fans will turn an eye to the Caps... *looks at himself* I'm so naive...

I hope Nylander is ok - say what you want but he's a veteran and we need him. Plus he's playing rather good the last few games.

Posted by: mauree | January 7, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Yosh, you might be on to something - we are def hurting in the defense area - especially now. That's why BB said talk to GMGM.

Posted by: 828 | January 7, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

tarik,

Any chance nylander is traded? I know BB said he was "old" and he doesn't really fit into the system we are playing now. Im doubtful this is the case, but have you heard anything about a possible trade involving Nylander...especially since Backstrom is playing number 1 center

Posted by: Trade? | January 7, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we should try some B-12 and Lydocaine shots...Hell..hire Roger Clemens to be our personal trainer!

Posted by: SA-Town | January 7, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

@ mauree - I hate to get caught up in a Skins discussion on a Caps blog, but exactly what is "uninspiring" about going 4-0 the last 4 games of the season following a teammate's murder, to get into the playoffs? I'll admit their play was not up to snuff on Saturday, but I wholeheartedly disgaree with your assessment overall.

Posted by: Jill | January 7, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Yosh, no, I highly doubt that's the case. I really hope it's not the shoudler again. Sounds like Petty might have another concussion. Joy.

Ok Old Time, I was just saying. Yeah, Clark likes to be down on an exercise bike during games rather than watching from the box.

Posted by: EricS | January 7, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I think if we traded anyone it should be Kozlov...I'm not a fan of him at all. I hope they wouldn't do that to Nyls though after all the ruckus it caused this summer...

Posted by: K | January 7, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Boudreau's non-comment on Nylander, referring questions to McPhee, is very odd. Could this mean a trade is more likely than an injury?

Posted by: JimB | January 7, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Mitch- couldn't have said it better myself. Aside from our little cup run 10 years ago this city has never had the chance to get "hockey fever" like in detriot, new york, or philly (American market wise). It would be real interesting to see the overall area reaction to a true yearly contender.

It feels sooo great to see these guys playing hard and getting some points out of these games. Whoever referenced last season and the injuries was dead on. They caused us to fold, this season they seem to be a bit of a rallying point. With all the injuries though I wish somehow we could make a deal or sign someone because now depth is really becoming an issue. I like Nylander's play the last few games so I think that hurts. Can't wait for Wednesday

Posted by: PJ | January 7, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

My guess its either a trade or a 'leave of absence' from the team if all ?s are being referred to GMGM.

A trade isnt all that unlikely. To get something you have to give something and Nylander isnt really doing as well as they would have liked in Washington so maybe shipping him off for a vet of sorts might not be a bad idea.

Then again, with GMGM you never know...maybe Nylander has been shipped and Eminger has been packaged along with him freeing him from purgatory.

Posted by: BK | January 7, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's not a trade maybe there is just something wrong with someone in his family...too bad we'll have to wait all afternoon for answers...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 7, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with Jill.

I am a fervent fan of both teams, and don't understand why folks get so bent out of shape over the coverage the Redskins get.

I think it's starting to come around for the Caps, and the coverage will come around with it. If they can catch a buzz and put some wins together AFTER the buzz has started (unlike last season when it was promptly piddled away with the December tailspin), there's no reason they won't get at least more of their share of ink than they do as perennial losers.

Posted by: Goat | January 7, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

$10 says we'll see Motzko in the lineup on Wednesday...

Posted by: Jill | January 7, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Good grief ... Nyls misses one practice and people starting talking trade?!? Relax, already!! Did anyone listen to BB's "notebook" last week? When he was asked why Nyls missed that practice he said it was because he was OLD! Seriously! He was just letting him rest. That is probably what is happening today. So everyone take a deep breath and quietly chant, "let's go caps, let's go caps, let's go caps ...".

Posted by: Boo! | January 7, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Ben Clymer is on re-entry waivers.

Posted by: Jay | January 7, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Goat
I don't know that it is a case of being "bent" at the R-skins coverage.
It's probably a matter of people being disappointed at the coverage that the Caps DON'T get.
I can't speak for everyone but I know I would like to see more attention paid to hockey in general.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 7, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, he was old and got a practice off..that was hardly reason to refer to the GM. If it was just rest, he would say..."We are letting Nylander rest."

There is probably something going on in his personal life that is not allowing him to be at practice.

Posted by: tommy boy | January 7, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

@Jill, Goat
I apologize I didn't mean to offend Skins fans. I should have added it's my opinion.

I did not see the last 4 Skins regular season games, so I can't judge on those.

However I saw their all other games, including the playoffs game. What I find uninspiring is the fact that they cheered after many small plays but mostly missed on the big ones, the fact that before Collins I can't recall a consistent set of good drives that will make me go: "wow, they can't be stopped!". Instead they most often gain 50 yards just to be stopped in the end zone and having to kick... all season long. I also didn't like many coach decisions, especially on time management.

If I saw an average team play its heart out, I'd be more inspired.

Again, IMHO - and I admit maybe I don't know football well.

Posted by: mauree | January 7, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

What would be wrong with Clymer back up here on 3rd or 4th line D? Is he playing so below par in Hershey that Gabby would not consider it, anyone? Unless BB and GMGM are so set on developing Schultz, I saw give him a shot.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | January 7, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we can get a number one goalie for Nylander, Eminger and Kolzig:)

Posted by: Rolie Polie Olie | January 7, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Not saying that I want Nylander traded, but if a deal is in the works (which I don't believe is the case at this point) and we can get a quality, veteran defenseman to help solidify and shore up our blue line, I'd be all for it.

And if Nylander isn't enough, He//, throw in Eminger as well to sweeten the deal and maybe get us an even better return. All he's doing for us is collecting cobwebs.

I don't have a problem with either guy, nor do I necessarily want them to go, but if we can make a deal to substantially improve our D corps, I say pull the trigger.

Plus, it would help keep John "Molasses Feet" Erskine out of the lineup more often.

Posted by: Pothier's Thumb | January 7, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

So...hypothetically if Nylander was traded or anyone for that matter for a veteran D. Who would you like to see in a Caps sweater?

Realistically speak too..dont say Rob Blake and Chris Pronger because you know they arent going anywhere

Out of potentially available candidates, what would make sense?

Posted by: BK | January 7, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

As a note on where scratches sit, a couple of games, I've seen Flash sit in my row this season. Kind of cool.

Posted by: tallbear | January 7, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

now that the skins are out, maybe "our Caps" can get more coverage in the papers. Tarik thank god you there and keep up the great reporting/blogging!!

Posted by: daveo | January 7, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

@Rolie,
Which team did you have in mind that would give up a #1 goalie for Nyls, Emmie, and Olie?

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | January 7, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Also, without turning this into a Redskins blog, Santana Moss should be cut. End of story, thanks for playing.

The dude quit on numerous plays on Saturday, and the previous game he dropped AT LEAST 3 "gimme" balls thrown his way. He looked like he didn't care...at best, unfocused. If thats the case, the Foreskins should send him on his way.

Posted by: Pothier's Thumb | January 7, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Clymer is a forward and after the failed move to defense last year they told him they wouldn't move him back to defense again.

I think Clymer is on re-entry because they promised they'd take a shot to get him to another team this way and if no one ends up claiming him they'll have him in case they need him on Wednesday if Nylander and Pettinger will be out (in addition to Clark being out).

Posted by: Anonymous | January 7, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Just to clear any confusion...I was traded to the Panthers for Richard Zednik.

Posted by: Michael Nylander | January 7, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

So, people want a mid-season game report of a team ranked 14th out of 15 in the conference to get front page coverage when the Redskins are playing a playoff game. That is just ridiculous.

That would be like the Caps in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals and the Nationals game getting above the fold coverage for that late June tilt against the Reds.

It just won't happen.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | January 7, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

The last Clymer comment above was me, forgot to put my name in...

Posted by: Jay | January 7, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Maybe BB had no comment about Nyls because maybe he got his hand slapped last time he said he was old? He did follow that with, "You may not want to use that," or something like that to the media that was present. Maybe they don't want him talking so much in general, especially considering the fact that they are typically so secretive?!? Who knows! The point is, don't jump to conclusions - it may be nothing at all.

Posted by: Boo! | January 7, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

@Trade?

I thought the same thing initially too. (The cryptic response to go see GMGM.) But, he strikes as one of the least likely to be traded. He's a solid scroing line center, and while we technically have an extra one of those, his role as the Backstrom mentor needs to continue. They could trade Nylander and Backstrom might play worse. Absent some blockbuster involving 44, 92 and ? for some 1st line right wing stud, I just don't see 92 being trade bait.

Kozlov would be the more likely trade candidate among the centers, but who would want him?

Posted by: old time hockey | January 7, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Here is a thought

Denis Gauthier..played for Calgary, Phoenix for a year, and more recently Philly. He is on the Phantoms this year and possibly one of the harder hitting D men out there these days. He is the type of player that you know he is going to make forwards afraid to touch the puck.

He had some shoulder problems last year but still plays at a very high level. Personally I think Philly could use him in their lineup. GMGM could go after a guy like that..you know he can play in the NHL and you know it wont cost you much to get him from Philly.

Also, Philly's Rory Fitzpatrick just cleared waivers. Now if Eminger wants a place to play more than every 25 games, Philly might be the place, he may play more there than here.

Ive never been a fan of Fitzpatrick but he is a guy who can fill in if needed..his +/- sucks but he'd be a good guy to put in Emingers place.

Posted by: ... | January 7, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Clymer play D when he was in Tampa?

Posted by: k | January 7, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

pmovarek:

I understand what you're saying, and without question I hope that the Capitals get the attention they deserve instead of being the stepchildren of the local media. It IS practically criminal that one of the brightest stars in the league (with, in my opinion, the best personality out of the lot) is practically anonymous outside of those who already follow the sport. I think they are completely forgotten citizens on most days in the sports landscape.

But instead of focusing the blame on the media, some (SOME, mind you, not all) seem to develop some sort of vendetta against the team they see as hogging the spotlight.

That's what I don't get.

Posted by: Goat | January 7, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Mauree:
No offense taken at all. I actually understand where you're coming from.
It's all good.

Posted by: Goat | January 7, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

@ Goat - I hate to say it, but that kinda sums up the Crosby situation too. Not that he's so likeable, but it's all the media attention that really sticks in Caps fans' craw. No matter that the U.S. media would never heap that much attention on a Euro, no matter how much more personable he may be.

As they say, don't hate the playa, hate the game.

Posted by: Jill | January 7, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Goat,

I saw you new years at the OTT game...new jersey is looking good......(no homo)

Posted by: capshockey98 | January 7, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

freakinandpeakin

No, I want coverage on the bad ass player we have on the Caps team. 4 goals is a big deal. Keeping him here is a big deal.

I don't care what the Caps rank is - although, we prolly have one of the best records since BB took over. What we have is the other half of the "face of the NHL". That is something to write about.

Name one person in Washington sports that has a bigger name than Ovechkin? Seriously? Gilbert Arenas might be the only one - might be.

Posted by: 828 | January 7, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Re: Caps Coverage. While I agree that the Caps deserve a bit more coverage from the Post, you cannot blame the Post for dedicating practically the entire sports section, plus parts of other sections to their playoff game. On Saturday, just running around doing my normal errands I saw many people wearing their Redskins colors, moms, dads, kids, pets. When the Caps are in the playoffs, how many people do you see around town wearing Caps jerseys? How many people around town even know the Caps are in the playoffs? The Post is playing to their audience, pure and simple. Sure they could help boost the Caps visibility a bit, but this will never be a Caps town, where even Redskins off-season news gets more attention by the general public than most Caps related news.

I must admit, though, that Tarik has really enhanced the Caps coverage around here. We actually get up-to-the-minute news from the Post, which was previously only the case for the Redskins.

Posted by: JPC | January 7, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

More damn injuries!? Maybe it's time to upgrade the medical and training staff.

I hope Nyls is not traded. Our lineup looks much worse having Kozlov centering the 2nd line.

Posted by: jwh37 | January 7, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert Arenas? I honestly never heard of him. Must be a football player...I don't follow pro football...Much too slow for my taste.

Posted by: Who? | January 7, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

@ Goat,

Let's go Caps! (my voice doesn't carry quite as far)

Posted by: Pothier's Thumb | January 7, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

@Rich C.

I heard on CBC (I think) that the new Russian Elite league has a cap of $22 M. Any team giving away 10 M would leave them with little extra.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 7, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

What, the Post can't add one more page with Ads and Caps? I forgot, their computers and printers won't allow them to add pages. It's only the year 2008, right? They don't have that technology yet.

Posted by: 828 | January 7, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

jwh37

I don't want to see Kozlov centering ANY line. He has been a total bust in D.C.

Posted by: BearsWoooo | January 7, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I like Nylander too, and think he adds value to the team, but can anyone explain why a player of his quality has the fifth worst plus/minus in the entire NHL?

Posted by: JimB | January 7, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Gilbert Arenas is the pitcher for the Washington Redskins.

Posted by: 828 | January 7, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for keeping us up to date!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 7, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Re coverage -- this same discussion takes place once a week over on the Nats blog. The fact is, the Post loves the Redskins more than anything else and will always disproportionately cover them. Sure, when they're in the playoffs they should have a substantial amount of the front page and section, but we're talking about a newspaper that has front page stories on the Skins in June for crying out loud!

I agree that hockey's premier player on our own team scoring 4 goals in a game is as worthy of front page coverage as anything else that might have been going on (including a yet-to-be played football playoff game).

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | January 7, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

@828,

Here's a list of about 55 players who are probably better known than Ovechkin around town- on top of Arenas.

http://www.redskins.com/team/

Posted by: Schultz for Calder | January 7, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

The situation with Emminger and Clymer is just typically indicative of GMGM, waiting too long to make a decision and pull the trigger. The same reason Hanlon was kept so long. I'd like to think McPhee has a plan with Emminger and Clymer but judging by his track record, I doubt it. Oh wait, draft picks for those two, sure, right. What was I thinking.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | January 7, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Here are a couple of quotes from that Montreal story.

Then, with the cameras rolling and the notepads at the ready, he made it very clear how he feels about playing here.
"It's my favourite place to play," he said. "This is my favourite city. The crowds, the noise, the music. It's a great place to play. I love to be here."
So, Alexander - it sounds like you would like to play here all the time? Ovechkin grinned from ear to ear: "Ummmmm - no."
So there you have it. Not a firm nyet, but a rather hesitant, smiling "no." Obviously, the young man's English is more than up to the challenge of sparring with reporters.
But the fact remains: Ovechkin has refused to sign a long-term deal with the Capitals. He will be a restricted free agent at season's end, perhaps the most sought-after restricted free agent in NHL history. And he loves Montreal.
Make of it what you will. Ovechkin might, as my friend Pat Hickey believes, opt to play in Russia next year, to earn $8 million tax free with his homeland at his feet. He might sign a deal to stay in Washington until he's old and grey. Or, for the right inducement - say 15 years at $10 million per year - he might elect to play in a place where his talents will be appreciated, which will never be the case in the U.S. capital.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to signing Ovechkin is not his status as a restricted free agent but the salary cap: Somehow, the Canadiens would have to fit $10 million or a figure very close to it under the cap on an annual basis, a trick that may be more difficult than stopping Ovechkin's wrist shot.
After seeing Ovechkin play yesterday, most Canadiens fans would be happy to send Bob Gainey a magic wand, let him find a way to pull No. 8 out of a hat, sit back and watch the magic unfold on the ice.
Ovechkin's act at the Bell Centre? It would be quite a show.

http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/sports/story.html?id=e20c9251-4521-47f0-9f16-647c438360e6&k=16946&p=1

Looks like the Canadiens (and other teams) will drive OV's price up. GREAT JOB gmgm.

Posted by: someone else who knows | January 7, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

People on here crack me up. Nobody is trading for Nylander's contract and Ovechkin isn't giving up a Hall of Fame career(and American girls....Hey now!) to play in Russia. Nylander is hurt. The simplest explanation is usually the correct one. As for the Deadskins they are just lucky they don't have to face me next year(unless A Reid hires me). They deserve no coverage. They suck. I was a toddler the last time they won anything.

Posted by: Brian"The Unemployed Brain"Billick | January 7, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

The Caps will never achieve even 1/5th the coverage that the Washington football club receives. It is a Catch-22: the Caps might win a lot, but know one will know because of the lack of coverage. Without the coverage, there isn't any excitement generated. Without excitement, no one goes to the games. And since no one goes to the games, there is no reason to cover the Caps.

I am still amazed that Glen Hanlon was allowed to coach as long as he did and the silence by the local media on the subject was deafening. The editors that make the choices about what to cover apply the same sort of thinking that anointed Hillary Clinton the Democratic Party nominee last fall. They think that they know best.

Posted by: Clarendon | January 7, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

@Clarendon,
Well, all that is changing. About Hillary I mean. lol

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | January 7, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Jagirl is missing his Nylander. Nylander for Gomez.

Posted by: kevin | January 7, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

capshockey98:
Thanks. It took me a while to get used to that much red, but I'm diggin' it. I had to get with the times, y'know?

-----

Pothier's Thumb:
I never knew thumbs had voices, so that's pretty good right there!

-----

Oh, and while I know I was mostly discussing the lack of Caps coverage, I would be remiss if I didn't actually thank you, Tarik, for putting the work into this blog that you do. I can't think of having as reliable a source for info on the Caps than this, and it's great!

Posted by: Goat | January 7, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

"someone else who knows "

You know how many articles you are going to see about this? What, Ovechkin is going to say, your city stinks, I don't like playing in it? I don't see Ovechkin being the type of guy that is NOT going to be nice - especially in front of the camera or reporters.

I guess up in Canada, they don't try to sell newspapers like they do in the states.

Alex's price is already up. And, due to the possible Cap increase - it may be even higher.

Posted by: 828 | January 7, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

The Montreal article doesnt seem to me to be an uninformed piece. Its just a local journalist writing about something he would like to see happen. More of an op ed piece. Anything is possible with each passing day OV is not signed to a long term deal in Washington. If it gets to be July 1st and he still is not signed then watch his price inflate higher. Teams that can afford 10 mil a yr for the first few yrs will be battling it out for him and the Caps will be forced to match and once again 'rebuild'

It probably wont happen, im sure a deal would be in the works to keep him around, but each time he scores a goal this more money he is worth.

Think of this too..a few yrs ago I read an article about Canadian teams having trouble because they pay their players in American money but all their revenue comes in the form of the Canadian dollar. Now with the dollar weakening, Canadian teams can be more competitive being as their revenue and the salaries they pay are going to be on equal footing, thus creating a few more dollars they can spread around.

Posted by: Jamie | January 7, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

A while ago people were complaining that GMGM didn't take the interim tag off of BB. I guess they thought that because it hadn't been done that GMGM was never going to do it. But wait, he did!

Just because a player isn't signed yet doesn't mean that GMGM isn't trying to get it done or doesn't have a plan in place. Do you really think that OV is going to be allowed to walk because GMGM thinks the team would be better without him? GMGM is going to be gone if he doesn't get this team to the playoffs, and 5 1st rounds picks isn't going to make that happen.

I know everyone wants OV signed yesterday, but really, if the options are sign him today at 9-10 mil, or match an offer sheet on July 1st for 9-10 mil, THERE'S NO DIFFERENCE. I'd prefer not to sign him today and maybe get him signed at 8-8.5 mil between now and July 1st knowing that we can still match the max contract anyhow.

Teams can't really drive up his price because he's (reportedly) looking for nearly a max contract.

Posted by: Jeff | January 7, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm from Montreal and I can tell you this, the city (fans and media) are hungry for a super star caliber player. They haven't had one since Patrick Roy. The last superstar forward was Guy lafleur !!!!!

Last week when Tampa Bay and Lecavalier were in town, it was the same story.....

Its wishful thinking on the part of a hockey crazy, superstar hungry city

Posted by: red dragon | January 7, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Do any caps fans realize OV isn't going anywhere???? even if he gets signed to another team and lets say the canadiens sign him, what of there current team would be left? OV and Price????and a bunch of no names....... anyteam that offers ov 9-10+ will be in no shape and have to rebuild...ie like the caps have done....so why wouldn't he stay here with backstrom,semin and clark? alzner comes up next year......he already says he likes varlamov so......why would he leave?

Posted by: capshockey98 | January 7, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Bigger problem is getting Green signed. I believe they will get an OV deal done.

Tarik - any insight on Mike Green getting a deal? How does management feel? Do you think they will wait until the last moment?

Posted by: cs | January 7, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

check out the latest Melrose Line for midseason awards.

Mike Green is 2nd runner-up for best defenseman behind Zubov and the winner Lindstrom. Says at his age Green is doing amazing things and could be a superstar in this league. Not news to us but certainly the rest of the hockey world.

Bruce Bodreau WINS his coach of the year award...some props to the Caps as he mentions us surging into the playoff picture and our back-to-back wins against Ottawa


Posted by: MTB | January 7, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Little premature of Melrose dont you think?

Congrats..the Melrose jinx is on.

Posted by: BK | January 7, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

@Jeff,
I just like the sound of you saying GMGM will be gone. That sounds almost as good as saying Ovie has been signed.
Just monday mornin' quarterbackin'.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | January 7, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

828:

"Yeah, Gilbert Arenas is the pitcher for the Washington Redskins."

haha!! good one! :-D

Posted by: Boo! | January 7, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

BernieWolfeFan,

The negative of my statement is that if they DO make the playoffs, he'll be around for (at least) another year.

To be quite honest, considering the injuries (not an excuse, but should be considered), and the tiny payroll, this team has looked pretty darn good since Thanksgiving.

I get that Hanlon could/should have been cut sooner, but the bottom line is that the players that GMGM has assembled has beaten the best team in the East 3 times, and went to a SO against the best team in the West. This team is improving, and the best part (to me) is the potential impact players coming along quickly in the minors.

Posted by: Jeff | January 7, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Jeff,

Why would Ovechkin sign for less money than Crosby? If there is another team willing to pay $9-$10m?

I am still (what's the word?) puzzled at Tarik's comment that he (if he was GMGM?) wouldn't pay a $0.01 more than what Crosbytch got. I still don't understand, Tarik, in accordance with your theory, if there is a team that offers MORE than that, should the Caps match? Or not?

Posted by: Finn | January 7, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Finn -- that's kind of my point. I don't really expect OV to give the Caps a home-team discount, and certainly not today.

But, let's for the sake of the argument, say that the Caps continue this streak and make the playoffs, only to get knocked out in the first round.

If GMGM goes to OV and says, "Look, we will match whatever you are offered, so you aren't going anywhere. What we'd really like to do is sign you at 8.5-9 mil and spend that extra mil on Player X."

Do you really think OV would automatically decline that offer if this team makes the playoffs this season when he has his buddies Semin and Kozlov on the team?

Is the above far fetched? Probably -- but the thing is, there's really not much to lose by NOT signing him today (or even before July 1st).

As was said above, Green may be the higher priority to get under contract before July 1st.

Posted by: Jeff | January 7, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

that's why they're midseason awards BK

Posted by: MTB | January 7, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

There is a ton to lose by NOT signing him by July 1. You could lose HIM. Look, we are going on the assumption that the Cap's pockets are going to be an abyss of money in case someone offers AO a big contract.

What if he gets offered an 8 year deal worth something like 75 mil with the first 3 yrs giving him 10 mil a yr and 9 mil each subsequent year. On top of that you load his contract full of easily obtainable incentives and a nice signing bonus.

GMGM looks at this and says..well for 3 yrs I can not afford to pay him 10 mil I would have to lose players a, b, and c. So he doesnt match the offer. (I know, the numbers are off because you know he would pay AO 10 mil a yr in a heartbeat to keep him but what if those numbers were higher?)

The point is, anything is possible in the NHL today. The way the salary caps are set up and the way players move teams more than I've moved apartments makes for some very interesting signings.

Posted by: Johnny Jeep | January 7, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

@Finn,
I agree, if Corby is getting 8.7M and Ovie 10M per year, all the 'guins fans can figure out 1.3 Million Dollars buys a whole lotta Primatti Brothers Sandwiches!

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | January 7, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

What if Ovechkin is offered a $10m per year deal that takes him to free agency only?

Posted by: Finn | January 7, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

As much as I'd love to see him back up here in Hershey, good for Laing for sticking around up there. If anyone deserves it, it's him, the way I've watched him kick his own butt in practice. I just hope Deano comes back soon... we're stretching a little for leadership right now!

Posted by: Teka | January 7, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

There are no incentives for players in OV's situation.

My point simply was that teams can't really offer much more than he already is asking for. It's not like if the Caps can only allot 3 mil for Green and someone comes along and offers him 6.

There is a max salary with the new CBA, and OV is essentially requesting it (pending the adjustment to the salary cap once revenues are figured out).

Posted by: Jeff | January 7, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

@ Finn

In theory that would be wonderful..get him here then renegotiate the contract when the time comes, but it would be best to lock him in long term because you know you are going to be in this situation a few years down the road.

A long contract can work 2 ways. You can see yourself as having made a great deal for an awesome player who has produced more than you thought..and now you have saved a ton of money in the process

Or you can look at the Isles' situation. An astronomical contract for a goalie they thought would take them to the promised land..and its not quite turning out that way.

Posted by: Johnny Jeep | January 7, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I just hope the Caps don't get stuck on the "we-are-not-offering-a-penny-more-than-Crosby-got" idea.

Posted by: Finn | January 7, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

There are plenty of incentives...score 50 make a million

lead the league in scoring another million

make the playoffs
2 million

win the cup
5 million

Any team can load up a contract with incentives.

Posted by: a | January 7, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

As for the concern that someone will only offer a 4 year contract, well, isn't that the same risk any offering team is taking? Ovie might leave for another team after four years.

Posted by: tallbear | January 7, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Ugh -- I wish people would stop making stuff up. According to the CBA (as per NHL.com)

What players may earn in performance bonuses?

Performance bonuses will only be permissible for the following types of players: (1) players on entry-level contracts; (2) players signing one-year contracts after returning from long-term injuries (players with 400 or more games who spent 100 or more days on injured reserve in the last year of their most recent contract); and senior veteran players who sign a one-year contract after the age of 35.

Obviously, AO will NOT fall under either of these things. Thus, there will NOT be performance bonuses on his new contract.

Posted by: Jeff | January 7, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm not one to read into situations, and i seriously doubt Nylander's being traded but if he were one team that comes to mind is the Rangers. They are struggling with offense and with Nylander back he could boost the scoring and get Jagr playing well. then you ask what we might get if we give up our second line center, and the name that comes to mind for me is Chris Drury. He's a second line center and would be a GREAT fit into the caps. I say again that i doubt this will get done, but how cool would it be if it did.

Posted by: DC FURY | January 7, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Just listened to BB's notebook - interesting comments about today's practice. Was anyone there to provide further insight?

Posted by: Boo! | January 7, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Seeing a lot of discussion in here about Skins & Caps.

My issue isn't that they cover the Redskins in depth. My issue is that they wrote 7.5 pages (counted them) on a Redskins' playoff embarrassment in Sunday's paper. The Capitals, on the other hand, received back page treatment for an OT win against a tough Eastern Conference team.

Yes, this is a Redskins town. But I refuse to believe that there was no repetition throughout those 7.5 pages. If the Post is going to be that serious about it, then they should put out a Redskins section and a regular Sports section with a small article on the front page.

They did put out a separate Redskins section in Sunday's sports page, but they also put out 3.5 pages on Redskins coverage that weren't part of that section. It's unnecessary.

Posted by: Raber | January 8, 2008 4:01 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, how do you think Joe Gibbs resigning is going to affect the Caps power play?

Posted by: dave | January 8, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

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