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Morning Reading List: Caps Clinch No. 2 Seed

(Steve Nesius - The Associated Press)

The Capitals set a franchise record with 108 points and tied another with their 50th win of the season. But most importantly, they clinched the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference and must now wait to see if they play Montreal or New York in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

If you missed it yesterday, the 2010 Winter Classic will be at Fenway Park and the Bruins might possibly host the Capitals in the league's third annual outdoor game.

Here are the highlights from yesterday's win.

You can check out the Washington Times recap here and get the Lightning perspective from the St. Petersburg Times and the Tampa Tribune.

CBC's Scott Morrison believes Alex Ovechkin will prevail in the Hart Trophy race.

In the System
Tonight the Bears take on the Phantoms in the final regular-season game at the storied Spectrum.

Frozen Four
While on the road Mike Vogel talked to some of the Caps about their college hockey experiences.

Before today's Hobey Baker Memorial Award ceremony, get to know one of the finalists, Terriers co-captain Matt Gilroy.

If you missed the games yesterday here's a recap of Miami's 4-1 win over Bemidji State (along with a photo gallery) and Boston University's 5-4 win against Vermont.

For more on the Catamounts check out the Burlington Free Press and on the end of the Cindrella tale of the Beavers head to the Bemidji Pioneer.

By Katie Carrera  |  April 10, 2009; 5:30 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Up Next For Caps: Montreal or New York
Next: Poll: Rangers or Canadiens?


The Caps would be a great choice for the Winter Classic with 2 of the greatest young stars in the game. Can't wait for the play offs. Not sure who would be the preferred oponent. I'm thinking Habs.

Posted by: ridgely1 | April 10, 2009 6:24 AM | Report abuse

I hope they are in the winter classic. I plan on surprising my family by coming back to US on christmas, then could just pick my dad up and drive to boston for new years.

Posted by: trunkenmath | April 10, 2009 6:28 AM | Report abuse

Since this last game means nothing to anyone, I think it would be special if Brent Johnson would be able to play to have what is likely his last game as a Capital on his own terms. Florida is out, so the game means nothing to then and the Caps are #2 no matter what happens. So, unless Johnny isn't healthy enough, why not?

Posted by: lornemyoung | April 10, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

I'm a naysayer here but I really would prefer the Caps steer clear of that Winter Classic -- its a TV marketing gimmick and disrupts the flow of the season. I'd rather just have the traditional home New Year's Day game, try to have a good season next year and leave the showboating to Sidney Crosby.

Posted by: raymitten | April 10, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm hoping for a Canadiens win tomorrow and a Rangers loss on Sunday! =) Caps vs. Candiens. :D

Posted by: rachel216 | April 10, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

@lornemyoung: I don't think he'll be healthy enough, honestly.

It makes me sad that Johnson probably won't be resigned. He's been good for us and filled in when it mattered; I hope he can parlay that into a good slot somewhere else.

Posted by: kittypawz | April 10, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Regarding which of New York or Montreal I'd rather have: I think I'd rather have Montreal, but we should be able to handle the Rags and Henrik okay with a little net traffic and some solid defensive play.

And, after watching parts of Boston vs. Montreal last night, I almost have to be willing to give them Montreal just for the entertainment value. That will be a great series. Those two teams despise each other.

For entertainment value, I think the best set of matchups goes like this:


Posted by: kittypawz | April 10, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I disagree. The Winter Classic is something special and seems the same as a regular season game. It didnĀ“t seem to hurt the Blackhawks or Redwings this year.

Outdoor games are pretty epic and it would be a special thing to see. I think season openers in Europe are much more disruptive as the participants have to fight jet lag and such for a while.

To be fair though, I live in Germany and have the time/funds to get to a winter classic so either would be fine with me.

Posted by: trunkenmath | April 10, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Anyone know updates on Gordon and Brash?

I would love to see them crack the line-up on Saturday to get a rehab game in.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 10, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all you fans. I am going to be shameless here and beg for money. I am in the Beard-a-Thon and hope I end up with 2 months of growth. I'm sure you all know, but this is to raise money for the Capitals Charities. You can pledge either a lump sum or by the day. If you don't have any friends to pledge for and are in a giving mood, please pledge for a co-poster. Go to and search for Dieter Kelly. I will be updating my photo as the beard comes in. I am on day 3 so I will post a new photo when I get back from NY on Sunday. Thanks.

Posted by: ds_kelly | April 10, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I want the Canadiens because their goalie situation isn't good at all. Both Halak and Price have struggled all season.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 10, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

P.S. Sorry Rocco00 for not staying on subject with the blog post.

Posted by: ds_kelly | April 10, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

@ds_kelly: You might have to shave again Sunday night. I saw a thing about playoff beards and from what I gathered, it is only good luck if a playoff beard is started when the regular season is over. For the NHL that is officially Sunday night. Although I applaud you growing a beard for charity, please don't hex the Caps by starting it too early.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 10, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you about waiting till Sunday night to start the beards. I heard one of the guys on Comcast Sportnet say he started his beard already and my immediate thought was "no, that's too soon."

Posted by: tess2201 | April 10, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I don't care which one of these teams we face. Neither of them have proved that they are ready for the playoffs. The Flyers, Pens and Canes are the teams storming into the playoffs. I'm just happy we locked up the 2nd seed so we don't have to see those teams until later in the playoffs.

I think you pick your poison with the Rangers and Canadians. The Rangers have very little offense even with Antrapov on their team....AVERY IS ON THEIR TOP LINE! That should say a lot. But they have a great goalie. But we've scored plenty on him this season.

Then you have the high powered Canadian offense that will be missing their top defenseman and top power play producer in Markov. To me, I think they are the more dangerous team and it could turn into a real shootout. Give me Avery and the Rangers!

Posted by: ZMANN84 | April 10, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

ZMANN84: Good points. I think we match up pretty well with both teams. I would like the Canadiens over the Rangers.

I don't want to see Avery starting his little antics, or harrasing Jose the way he does to every goalie. The Rangers are a more gritty team than the Canadiens as well. Carey Price has been really inconsistent this year and he's beatable. And if Markov is out, even better!

I'll take my chances with the Canadiens but I think we will definitely get out of the first round no matter if it's the Rangers or the Canadiens.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 10, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

The top 5 teams in the NHL have at least 50 wins each. The next highest number of wins is 45. That's pretty insane.

Posted by: CapitalIdea | April 10, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I don't worry too much about Avery, really. One thing I've noticed about this Caps team when comparing them with other teams this season is that they're pretty cool-headed as teams go. Not to say that they won't take exception to running the goalie, but their games seldom get nasty, and chirping generally doesn't have a whole lot of effect on them that I've observed. I have to question how effective Avery is against a team that doesn't get their dander up easily.

Posted by: kittypawz | April 10, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Need to stop counting chickens, remember when Detroit was bounced two years in arow by #8 seed. Playoffs are a different animal and I hope the Caps can remember the disapointment of last years game 7 and really play hard for all 60 minutes, I know it sounds trite but we haven't played a 60 minute game in a long time, and if we don't things can go bad fast. Rock the Red

Posted by: billd2 | April 10, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I don't worry too much about Avery, really. One thing I've noticed about this Caps team when comparing them with other teams this season is that they're pretty cool-headed as teams go.

Posted by: kittypawz | April 10, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Cool-headed, maybe. Disciplined? I dunno...

Posted by: Section117 | April 10, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the dumb question, but can someone tell me when they set the schedule for the playoffs? Sunday night? I cannot find anything anywhere with the dates (with the who and the where TBA, obviously). Thanks!

Posted by: suzannepdc | April 10, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Rachel: Great points. I'm not so worried about Avery....All teams have guys who have the job of parking themselves in front of the net and trying to screen the goalie. In our case it's Laich. Avery is a pest but I'd take him over Alex Kovalev. And who's he going to pick a fight with? Brashear? He's a little guy and I don't think guys like Erskine and Juice should have a problem with shoving him out of the way. He's also just one guy and is not skilled enough to lead that team.

But I agree I think we get out of the 1st round no matter what and I'm just happy our boys locked up that 2nd spot so these are the two teams we're worried about and not the tougher ones...Unlike these two teams we have more than one line that can score! I'm psyched for the Playoffs to start!

Posted by: ZMANN84 | April 10, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Koho can now have all the doughnuts he wants. Like him or not he should be thanked for 32 years of service to the game! As for our first round opponent. It doesn't really matter. I guess we should root for whoever we think can knock off Boston then we will be the number 1 seed going into the second round!

Lets Go Caps!!!!!

Posted by: psugolf | April 10, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Why is it that we prefer Montreal over the Rangers again? Is it Henrik? As far as I can tell we are 3-0-1 with both teams. If we keep the same ratio in the playoffs, we should win the series.

On the whole, the Caps seem to do well with teams that they consider a challenge and someown energize them, and badly with teams that they don't think too highly off. Which of the two do you think would most energize the Caps and keep them on their toes?

Posted by: caraveli | April 10, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I'm with those who say be careful what you wish for -- there's no sense in our hoping for the Rangers or the Canadians because one or the other is the "weaker" team. We can take either. We're in very good shape with a great team and the second seed.

I'm in 100% with you, Kitty, on this:

For entertainment value, I think the best set of matchups goes like this:


Posted by: kittypawz | April 10, 2009 8:44 AM

The Habs have the best chance of stretching out a series with the Bruins; these two have a history. Car-NJD is a great goaltending matchup, and Pit-Phi would be awesome. I don't care if we play with less spotlight -- I'm gonna enjoy every one of our games -- but those other matchups are great.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 10, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

@caraveli: That's a lot of the reason why I'm leaning towards the Rangers. The other reason being that I now see Boston fans' point about Montreal, and I want to see that matchup.

Posted by: kittypawz | April 10, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

@Section117: Disciplined? Who said anything about disciplined? But they don't seem to respond to chirping, and that's my point.

Posted by: kittypawz | April 10, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

(assuming that we can beat either team)The Canadians are probably the best team for the caps to play just because they aren't as physical as the Rangers. It wouldn't be a very gritty first round and it would keep the skilled players on their toes.

Of course the Rangers would be a tough gritty game and we would have to stick to the basics to beat them and that also might be best for the Caps. I don't really care. I just want the playoffs to start already!!

Posted by: ZMANN84 | April 10, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

It actually looks like the Car-Phi will play. The carnage will be epic.

Posted by: Greg S. | April 10, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

@Section117: Disciplined? Who said anything about disciplined? But they don't seem to respond to chirping, and that's my point.

Posted by: kittypawz | April 10, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, but my point is while they don't respond to it, they're committing their own dumb-arsed penalties (*cough Fedorov *cough).

Posted by: Section117 | April 10, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I agree Carolina-Philadelphia will be a bloodbath. I like playing MTL more than NYR cuz the Caps are a bit worse against teams with hot-goal tenders and guys who park in the crease. I think the Caps can outshoot, out-goalie, and out-skate MTL. OV also really gets up for games in MTL and NYC -- should be fun to watch.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | April 10, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the tip, I will shave one more time on Saturday. Wouldn't want to jinx the Caps.

Posted by: ds_kelly | April 10, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

@lornemyoung The game still means something... few examples: A win will give the Caps the most in team history. Flash needs one more goal for 20. Circles needs one more goal for 10. Steckel needs two more goals for 10. Ovechkin needs six points and hope Malkin is pointless. Granted the last two scenarios are unlikely, but it's still something to shoot for. Theo will be goalie (unless he comes down with an illness/injury.)

Posted by: UngaBunga | April 10, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Make that 5 points that Ovie needs.

Posted by: UngaBunga | April 10, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping the Caps have had this car on cruise control for the past few weeks. Come next week, its turned off and pedal to the metal time. Personally, I don't care who we play. It wasn't that long ago the playoffs were always something that we looked forward to and hoped for "next season." GO CAPS!

Posted by: pacapsfan | April 10, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

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