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Morning Reading List: All Eyes on Theodore

(Bruce Bennett - Getty Images)

Playoff history is littered with tales of goaltenders who got hot at the right time and helped carry their teams through a game, series, or even a bulk of the postseason. Now it's time for the Capitals and the rest of the NHL to see if Jose Theodore can find a rhythm during these playoffs and perhaps steal a game or two for still-inexperienced Washington.

Check out a feature from the Washington Times on Nicklas Backstrom here.

The Hockey News' Ryan Kennedy believes that the Capitals-Rangers series is one of two in the East (along with Carolina-New Jersey) that he doesn't see a front runner in. has seven questions with Mike Green.

On to the deluge of playoff breakdowns, predictions, previews, etc.:

  • Pierre LeBrun sizes up the Caps-Rangers series. And here are his top 10 playoff story lines to watch.

  • dissects how the Capitals offense will fare against the New York defense.

  • TSN gives you their statistical keys to this series.

  • Analysis from The Hockey News on all eight first-round matchups.

This isn't Caps-centric, but if you haven't seen the Bruins' series of playoff ads head over to Puck Daddy for a few laughs.

From the Rangers' Looking Glass
If you haven't heard, Chris Drury is questionable for tomorrow's series opener.

The New York Times analyzes the Rangers' stats since the trade deadline and offers what it might all mean against the Caps.

In the System
Here is the Bears-Phantoms series schedule.

By Katie Carrera  |  April 14, 2009; 5:30 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Video: Getting Ready for the Rangers
Next: Poti Still 'Questionable' For Game 1


Nice reading Katie, thanks.

Very happy to see from the print edition that all of the Versus-televised games (4 of them) are also on CSN.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 14, 2009 6:05 AM | Report abuse

I am not worried about Avery going after Ovechkin. Ovi can take care of himself against that two-bit punk. And I'd bet dollars to donuts he's been coached against rising to the bait, too. We have one BIG advantage over Avery: we have his former coach on our side.

"I coached him for a week, and it felt like a year..." -BB

Posted by: irockthered | April 14, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

The Backstrom article was a good read this morning to start a work day, thanks! I found the article on Theo very interesting. I am hoping that Theo can back his theory up and prove that when he plays every game that he performs more consistenty. I feel like he can do it, I guess we will see tomorrow...I can't wait!

Posted by: NatyBG | April 14, 2009 7:52 AM | Report abuse

"I coached him for a week, and it felt like a year..." -BB

That is funny! Imagine how Torts must feel, he has to coach him and try to keep his true colors from bleeding out! I give him 1 game and he will break out of his post-therapy shell.

Posted by: NatyBG | April 14, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Great reading list! Thanks, Katie. Love the Bruins commercials and I agree - jersey tucking is a HUGE foul. I clicked through to the old "Cup Raise" commercial, too - truly epic.

Watching NHLN (after tracking it down since Comcast picking a most untimely moment to move it) - they just asked if the Rangers have a fighting chance against the Caps ... music to my ears! They also talked about how some have said they would actually rather play Boston than Washington (hee-hee). Of course the only fault they have highlighted is our goaltending. Argh. Theo don't fail me now!!!!

Posted by: --Boo-- | April 14, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Any word on whose riding shot-gun? Johnny or Varly?

Posted by: CapsFan44 | April 14, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

I am just ready to get this started. Verizon is going to be freakin' nuts!!! I like reading our comments but I'm done reading "experts" opinions on how this will play out. The fact is, the Rangers were in the second Tier of the Eastern Conference all season, even after Tortarella showed up. Besides Staal, the rest of the Rangers defensemen are very average. It goes without saying that Lundqvist is a good goaltender but his play dipped in the 2nd half of the season. Theo's save percentage on the other hand moved up from 88.7 to 90%. Lundqvist is now entering the playoffs for his 4th season in a row. Of the three previous showings he performed will in 2006-07, but performed substandard as compared to his regular season stats. At least in this round I don't think we are at much of a disadvantage as we may all think. On the other hand, even the seasons that Theo was below 90% during the regular season was 90% or above during that same playoff season.

It's just time for our boys to strap on the skates and let the rubber and bodies fly! I heard Verizon was going to open 30 minutes earlier for the playoff games. THANK GOD! LET'S GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 14, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

CLARIFICATION. Lundqvist played well in the 2006-07 playoffs but his numbers were not as good in the post season in 2005-06 or 2007-08.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 14, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

It's going to be off the charts tomorrow! There's nothing like a playoff game --it's electric!

Let's see some great passing from the Caps, crisp passes, puck possession. I think we'll lean back on D more than we've seen. Focus on playing a tight game in front of Theo, Caps; the offense will get it's chances and take care of business.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 14, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Mike Green is about to get his head shaved into a mohawk on DC 101 if anybody cares.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | April 14, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Theo is gonna be fine! dont look past the Rangers its bad karma,play like we did earlier in the season and we'll be just fine!!!!Lets Go CAPS!!!!! see u in the acela club weds for some refreshments.. cant wait the place is gonna be Rockin, and lets Rock the red and the hawk!.....

Posted by: TracyMD1 | April 14, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

My son is going to grow a playoff beard, and although he's only 19 he'll need hedge clippers by the time the Finals are over. Now with Green getting his mohawk, my wife and I are going to be hard pressed to keep him from getting it done too. He already said he wanted to. Oh well, he's a college student beards and mohawks are expected right?

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 14, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Cutting down on turnovers at the blue line and the high risk passes that lead to odd man rushes is more of a concern to me than JT. In the preseason many pundits said the Caps would only need adequate goal tending to be successful given our offensive firepower and JT has been more than adequate in the 2nd half of the season and has made some outstanding saves when the D has broken down in front of him.

Can't wait for tomorrow night.

Posted by: ds_kelly | April 14, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

BTW - Congratulations to new STHer and fellow poster Ralph4100 on his impending wedding this weekend. Though why you plan it for playoff season is beyond me!:)

Posted by: ds_kelly | April 14, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Im assuming the stRangers came to town last night, and will practice at Verizon Center today?

Posted by: SA-Town | April 14, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Anyone interested I have a single ticket in Secion 409 available for Wed nights game I will let go at the face value of $60. I have it posted on the ticket exchange and they added about a 15% surcharge. You can e-mail me at

Posted by: _LFR | April 14, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I think JT will out play the King in the series. All eyes are on JT he will rise to the ocassion, the "D" will step up to the task. JT is 4-0 in first round series.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 14, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

SA-Town - With the "Dead" show at the VC tonight, I kinda doubt the Rags are practicing there.

Posted by: CapsChick | April 14, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: mikebrady1 | April 14, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse


I forgot about that. Boy that place is going to be a hot mess late into the night....They better get it cooled down and ready for tomorrow...

It will probably smell like pot for the game.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 14, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

anyone know if the game is on Center Ice?

Posted by: FancyDan | April 14, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I am hoping that Theo can back his theory up and prove that when he plays every game that he performs more consistenty.

Theo's theory seems pretty accurate. When he plays consistently he seems to get better and make big saves. When he sits for a game, he either lose the next game he plays or has a poor performance in the game.

Posted by: bajgirl | April 14, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Starting another thread here: shouldn't the NHL change its playoffs from the current 2-2-1-1-1 format to a 2-3-2 format? Besides providing a more meaningful home-ice advantage to the top seeds, it would reduce travel and probably produce better hockey because the teams would have more rest time between games. Besides, with teams traveling from one coast to another, shouldn't we give them a bit more time to adjust to time changes, especially in the later stages of each round? It seems strange to me to make tired teams fly across the country and back three times within a week. Comments?

Posted by: ghenschel | April 14, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

On Theo, I think Boudreau is smart and keeping a skeptical eye on his netminder. I trust Theo to come through and play his best, but BB won't hesitate to enact an insurance policy for the good of the team. I can see Varly stealing this series if he gets a taste of the action. I can also see Theo being less of a factor than the Caps offense - which will play to our favor.

On a potential Avery-Ovechkin matchup, I think it's great for the sport. Here are two guys that are fantastic players and have a psychological edge over anyone they face. Two guys that could care less what anyone thinks of them. i've got to think that Tortorella will be smart and match Avery to Ovechkin, which, if he works, may force the caps to put out an enforcer on Ovie's line and disrupt the potency of the front line.

what a series! I've got caps in six - two ugly losses, four uglier wins.

Posted by: fronesis1016 | April 14, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Rangers will be "Going down the road feelin' bad" - get it?

Posted by: NJNJ | April 14, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

ghenschel, it used to be 2-3-2, but then owners complained that the higher seeds were winning in five too often and thus deprieving their home fans of seeing their team in game 5 (and losing a game's worth of concessions, parking and souvenirs).

Posted by: koalatek | April 14, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I never liked the 2-3-2 format, I felt that if the lower seeded team won one of the first two games it would have obtained an incredible advantage over the high seeded one.

Posted by: opita1 | April 14, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

the day before a playoff game the vc holds a concert. nice.
that will do wonders for the ice. Dead show with no parking lot activity and no Garcia?worthless.

Posted by: oo7 | April 14, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Why are people worried about Avery getting on Ovi? Avery knows better, he'll try to go after someone like Semin or Green that'll retaliate or Backstrom or Schultz who probably won't do much of anything.

Posted by: superpaqman | April 14, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

For some reason I just get the feeling the Caps match up well with the Rangers and are going to move on to the second round in convincing fashion.

The two teams that I have my eye on are Philly and Pittsburgh. These guys are tough opponents for the Caps in the postseason.

To me the Rangers don't score enough goals to keep Ovechkin and Co. from buzzing Lundqvist.

Posted by: leopard09 | April 14, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Poster for sitting behind the Rangers' bench:

1. Avery wears lacey things under his
2. 210 goals? That's it?!!!
3. Avery: K-Fed wants his look back.
4. Avery: Puck Off.

Any other ideas? =)

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | April 14, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

FYI: The Rags are practicing in NY before heading down later today.

I like the 2-2-1-1-1 for the playoffs better, not sure why.

I think that many are speculating that Tort's will have Avery on Green, since he the "offensive defensemen". I feel like they will use Staal a lot, he is one of their best d-men.

A concert the night before playoffs begin, come on, and a bad one at that! What a waste! The ice better be top notch!

I can't wait until tomorrow, the VC will be crazy. This is making me have flash backs to last year. Let's Go Caps!

Posted by: NatyBG | April 14, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

As far as playoff format, why not change it to 2-3-1-1? Except flip it so that the higher seed gets the second set of games, like in the ECHL. More pressure to clinch the series in front of the home fans in games four and five. If need be, it also leaves game seven on home ice for the top teams.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 14, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

@ LeftCoastCapsFan:

Hey Avery
Gay called

it's for you!

Posted by: NatyBG | April 14, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Ryan Kennedy doesn't see a front-runner in this series? Is he SERIE-ous?

Avery, Antropov, and Morris didn't make NYR contenders, in fact, they barely squeaked in because they still couldn't score.

Caps were 3-0-1 against this team in the regular season. Ryan, it makes for good print discussion, but let's get to the ice. Since when does a 2 seed not have a decided edge going in on a 7 seed?

Posted by: cwiseman | April 14, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

A little off topic, but I had been following some of the previous prospects down in SC (Stingrays), anyone know what happened to Viktor Dovgan?

Posted by: abuddy2004 | April 14, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

phaneuf > avery


elisha cuthbert

Posted by: _stevo | April 14, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I want the Rangers team I watched in Carolina to show up. They were awful, no two ways about it.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 14, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

@ _stevo:

Too funny!

Posted by: NatyBG | April 14, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

how does lebrun have practice updates before tarik

Posted by: _stevo | April 14, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Starting another thread here: shouldn't the NHL change its playoffs from the current 2-2-1-1-1 format to a 2-3-2 format?

Posted by: ghenschel

I don't actually like the 2-3-2 set-up for one reason: if the team with home ice splits the first two games then they may not get home for another game. I know that some will answer that "winning both games" would alleviate that issue, but in most series you'll see some road victories. I don't think that either team should get too much of an advantage - hey, if you sweep in four, props, and format doesn't matter. But I think 2-3-2 actuallly favors the road team a bit more.

Posted by: saintex | April 14, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I agree with opita1 and saintex - I think the 2-2-1-1-1 format gives the higher-seeded team more of an advantage than the 2-3-2 format.

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 14, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

If Schultz of Nicky wouldn't bite on Avery's tactics then he won't go after then; doesn't fit his M.O. We know AO won't bite and I doubt Semin will either - he only snapped when Staal instigated. I don't think Avery's a fighter so I don't ever see him dropping gloves. The only issue is to me is JT60 getting protection and the D keeping Avery on his can if he's near the net. Briere is very similar to Avery in front of the net so we've had practice in playoffs against that breed of pest. I don't think the team will allow it to stand. I expect a very focused effort tomorrow night...

Ready to roll...

Posted by: saintex | April 14, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Thinking about the 2-3-2 and last season - the Caps would have had to win that game #5 in Philly to survive and get back home and I'm not sure that would have happened. There was blood in the air in Wachovia...

Posted by: saintex | April 14, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

It's 12:12 Why no pratice update yet?

Posted by: rarcr | April 14, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, why don't we have a practice update? Did Greenie go to the scalp with his T-hawk this year? I really wish I could take a day off from work to catch a practice. Can't do it though, I expect a long run which will include some rediculously late OT games that will result in a cough and a fever the next morning.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 14, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Avery won't be doing any of his antics. the leagues is watching.
They want the mega supernova - Ovie to light up these playoffs esp. since the NBA is zzzzzzzzz as hell these days.

Posted by: Rocc00 | April 14, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I am def looking to Jose to step it up, or for Bruce to give Varly the chance. They both have a lot of potential but both really have to prove that they can be consistent...

I'll be watching and cheering from some bar in NYC with my one fellow caps fan here! LETS GO CAPS!

Posted by: mrszilla | April 14, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Not sure if everyone saw this yet, The Sporting News has a good write up on the Easter Confernce in todays edition - they pick the Caps in 6!


Posted by: OldCapsFan | April 14, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

For the Avery sign....

"Avery is the Stars' sloppy seconds"

Posted by: joe47 | April 14, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Thanks NatyBG and joe47! Looks like I got some winners there. I could cry. Those are freakin' hilarious! Sent my cousin a text so she can help me plan to get the poster board and markers and crap. =P You guys rock! Let's GOOO Caps!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | April 14, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

@_stevo: Liked that one too! Are 3 signs too much for 2 people to be holding up behind the Rangers' bench?

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | April 14, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I find it puzzling that Kennedy is so high on the Rangers. He states that their defense is so much better than the Caps but looking deeper into the numbers the Caps actually gave up fewer even strength goals than the Rangers. The key to the series will be how many stupid penalties the Rangers can get to the Caps to take.

Posted by: ouvan59 | April 14, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

NHL Fan Fav Award:

The winner will be announced at the NHL Awards in July. Caps fans should be voting, because both Green and Ovechkin are in the race! You register and then you can vote once a day, well or at least once for our guys!

Posted by: NatyBG | April 14, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

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