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Led by their top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin, who were on the ice for each of the Capitals goals, Washington put together its most dominant performance of the season in a convincing 5-1 win over Carolina to claim sole ownership of the Southeast Division lead. Semin's two goals and three assists gave him the league scoring lead with 27 points, pushing him ahead of Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin.

*For Carolina, the embarrassment at RBC Center left the Hurricanes with more questions about their faltering offense (they failed to score on a 1:18 two-man advantage, several players continued pointless streaks) and searching for a complete effort after losing three of their past four games.

Hurricanes rookie Brandon Sutter didn't mince words when asked how Carolina reacted to the Capitals' top line.

"We weren't hard enough on those guys. We just let them dance around," Sutter told the Raleigh News and Observer. "We've got to start hitting 'em and banging 'em right from the get-go. If you don't get after 'em it's going to be a long night."

*The dangerous hits (hits to the head, hits from behind, etc.) discussion keeps cropping up this season. First it was a hit from Coyotes Kurt Saur on Canadiens Andrei Kostitsyn in mid-October that fired up the debate, Islander Doug Weight's jarring hit on Carolina's Brandon Sutter soon followed.

On Saturday, Montreal's Tom Kostopoulos hit Toronto's Mike Van Ryn from behind -- Van Ryn is expected to miss a month and the NHL suspended Kostopoulos for three games. And then on Tuesday, Ottawa's Jarkko Ruutu elbowed Montreal's Maxime Lapierre and Ruutu was given a two-game suspension.

So, what do you think about these hits? Hitting is obviously a part of hockey and the question over how to police certain types of them is nothing new, but we seem to have seen more of these controversial collisions at the beginning of this season than ever before. Here's a smattering of opinions on the matter from TSN's Dave Hodge and The Hockey News' Ken Campbell, Ryan Dixon and Brian Costello.

In the system:
*Braden Holtby stopped a penalty shot in overtime and thwarted three of six shootout attempts to earn his 13th win of the season in the Saskatoon Blades' dramatic 2-1 shootout win over the Seattle Thunderbirds last night that put the Blades back in first place in the WHL's East Division.

By Katie Carrera  |  November 13, 2008; 8:42 AM ET
 
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Next: Morrisonn Returns; No Fedorov Or Johnson

Comments

Josie played well, congrats.

Posted by: majiksea | November 13, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I am heading to NJ for the game on Saturday. Any heads up about the area. Problems with fans when you represent your team etc?

Posted by: capsfan1 | November 13, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I think the Caps played a more complete game in the Vancouver shellacking. But I'm not going to complain about dominating within the Division.

@ capsfan1
I went to a game at Continental in 2001. Aside from the over-abundance of terrible techno during breaks in play, there was nothing to worry about. The arena was halfway empty and soulless. Don't know if the new arena has made any improvement.

Posted by: cityspirit | November 13, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Semin is Nasty!

Posted by: _828 | November 13, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I guess we will be seeing Alex and Alex on the same line from here on out. I think they have not lost since those two have been together.

Posted by: _828 | November 13, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Anybody see Semin wait to celebrate on his second goal. He wasn't sure if it went in... either that or he was being sarcastic with Ovechkin and celebrating by jumping up and down. Too funny...

Posted by: _828 | November 13, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

"So, what do you think about these hits?"

I dunno, I've kinda been off the grid on this, but it this year any different then others when it comes to this?

At the end of the day, all of this is/has been occurring on the Campbell/Bettman watch. They need to start making some rules designed for players safety and not to just score goals. It particularly scares me when 8 and 28 cut from the wing to the slot in the other team's zone, you get a ticked off or sloppy guy who hits you wrong, and those guys will be having headaches picking up their kids like Pothier (or worse).

Posted by: Section117 | November 13, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Vote for Semin, Ovechkin, and Green for the All Star game. Apparently, the Habs are voting for all of their players. Need to catch up.

Posted by: _828 | November 13, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I don't mind hits (in fact, I prefer them to fights), but I can't stand dirty ones. There's nothing wrong with a good, clean hit - especially on open ice or the forecheck (and I think it is weak when guys start fights over stuff like that - ala poor Sloan). I guess it is a fine line ... I don't know how you police it other than by coming down REALLY hard on this cheap hits that are OBVIOUSLY intentional. Wasn't it Weight's hit that was just clearly unfortunate circumstances? I guy can't be blamed for something like that. Frankly, I am almost more concerned about all of the cheap shots that have been allowed on goalies as of late - what's up with that?!?

Posted by: Boo- | November 13, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Concerning the hits and consequences, I say that it should be an eye for an eye policy, meaning that if the person receiving the hit is injured or cannot play for an extended period due to "valid" medical reasons, then the hittee should also be out during that same span of period. The "Valid" medical part should prevent teams from "Soccer-Faking" it whenever Ovechkins hits someone. But of course this will not prevent teams from sending a career minor leaguer to take a good whack at Sid "The Weak" Crosby, so the punishment must be a regular starter if that ever occurs. This should force some pause before anyone takes an illegal whack or hit on someone.

Posted by: JohnWWW | November 13, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I am assuming Theodore goes tomorrow even if Johnny wakes up and feels pretty good today?

Posted by: SA-Town | November 13, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

JohnWWW,

What is someone is already injured - lets say, their ankle. Then, they get hit and the hurt ankle becomes worse and is out for the year. Would that mean that the player that hit the guy is out for the year too?

About these hits - you are always going to have these dirty hits just like you are always going to have someone trying to steal money or trying to put a virus on your computer. That is life. Suspend the player... if the team keeps it up, fine the coach, etc (like they did with Philly last year). You are always going to have this happening - I feel like this is nothing new. Now, the NFL is a bit different and sooner rather than later, we will be seeing flags on the QB. In order to get a sack, you need to pull the flag.

What did they expect from a sport with sharpe objects, ice, a rubber bullet, and spears all enclosed in a cage made of plexiglass?

Posted by: _828 | November 13, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

What if - not what is ^

Posted by: _828 | November 13, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

hits like ruutu and kostopoulis need to be penalized more harshly. i'm tired of these armchair analysis apologizing for the brutality of these hits or blaming the victims. the game has changed, players are bigger and faster but the rink is the same size. hits to the head such as ruutu's elbow should result in "indefinite" suspensions and fines.

weights hit was clearly legal and a good solid body check on a player who clearly put himself in a vulnerable position. even clean hits can result in long term damage and you would hate to see that happen more often. i think the league needs to be more serious about mandating helmet saftey and consider eliminating some of the nfl like shoulder pads that players wear these days. the nhlpa needs to think about their players safety and not so much concern themselves with a players right to choose a helmet that looks the best in the mirror.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 13, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

828:
It took me a sec to realize that you were talking about your previous post - at first I thought you were being very deep and philosophical ... ;-)

Posted by: Boo- | November 13, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I haven't seen a team stand around that much in a long time. The canes were literally just standing still. It was shocking. THey would just stand there and watch, not moving, like traffic cones, while the Caps passed around them. Too many Vets on that team to let that happen. Ridiculous. Backstrom's goal should never have happened. Hard to cover someone when they keep moving and you keep standing.

No more hits to the head. Ruutu does it too often for such a small suspension. I like big open ice hits; I like what Sloan did, I like what Stevens used to do, I like some of the hits that Juice has been throwing. But as soon as you get an elbow up to the head, you should be gone. If the punishment escalated for each player, regardless of seasons ending and starting, Ruutu's would have been 20 games.

Posted by: oo7 | November 13, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Tarik,

I love this morning reading list feature, one stop shopping!

Posted by: chrislarry | November 13, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

@oo7

Maybe you think teams are standing around because they put too much focus on the gameplan, and making sure not to leave anyone open ever? Tampa stood around in the first also, and seemed to "just play," in the second.

I know sometimes you can overcoach, and over prepare, and once the game starts...your a deer in headlights.

Posted by: SA-Town | November 13, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

The hits this year aren't all that much different from the hits that began the season with Philadelphia having most of its team suspended in the first two months of last year. The Patrice Bergeron hit was the most infamous, but there were a good many hits like what's happened this year. I don't think it's anything new, I think it's bad players trying to stay up with their teams by doing anything they can (at least, I think that's what it was last year -- this year might be pure recklessness on at least the Weight-Sutter hit).

As for the policing, though, I think that Kostpoulos should be out as long as Van Ryn is out. If Kostopoulos' dirty-ass hit puts Van Ryn out for a month, then he should sit for a month, too.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 13, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

DrinkingPartner,

What if Van Ryn hadn't been hurt, though? Do you just not punish the dirty hit? I think that's the problem with the time-matching idea for policing dirty hits.

Posted by: _jordan | November 13, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I say you take straight cash away homey...

5% of anyone salary + coach fine $100,000 team fine, $250,000 for any hits deemed malicious, ie Kostpoulos.

It wont take many of those hits for a franchise to realize there is no place for dirty play.

I'd like to fine some people in this blog for any comments deemed idiotic, and have money placed in a low baring interest savings account for a year end party for the people that make sense in here.

Posted by: JSchon | November 13, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Who should I make my check out too?

Posted by: JSchon | November 13, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

@Jschon,

Who decides whose comments are idiotic?=)

Posted by: thecapsfan79 | November 13, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

the people of course... we are a democracy...

Posted by: JSchon | November 13, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

JSchon,

That's idiotic...

I have spoken, thus it is done...

Posted by: NJNJ | November 13, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I can no longer afford to post if that were the case.

Did Joe-Say get the hard hat because he played well or because he didn't give up a goal on the first shot?

Posted by: Leeguru | November 13, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Leeguru, of all people... not you...

I'm well over my monthly petty cash allotment with just my post over last 2 days.

Posted by: JSchon | November 13, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Weight's was clean. The others were dirty. The league might have to start giving out longer suspensions for blows (elbows) to the head, and even longer suspensions for repeat offenders. I love seeing good hits but headhunting isn't cool.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 13, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I tried voting for All stars and was told i couldn't vote more than once per minute. Funny as I had not yet voted today.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 13, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

The all star voting is screwed up every year. Why don't they just give us non-flashy HTML check boxes? Ugly, but it would get the friggin' job done.

Posted by: _jordan | November 13, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Aren't the IIHF rules on hits (boarding, charging, elbowing, etc.) a little tougher than the NHL's? I don't know, just asking.

Posted by: Section117 | November 13, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

capsfan1 - I've been going to Devils home games since their inception (as an NJ-based Caps fan). In my experience, the Devils fans are largely very gracious. A lot of times I will get into some lighthearted ribbing with those around me, but that is always in fun. I have seen altercations (mostly at Devils/Rangers games), but that is usually reserved for the exceedingly drunk and/or belligerent.

Posted by: AngryNomad | November 13, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

JSchon,

Who is the 'deadwood' that I am playing against this week in fantasy? I really believe I am going to get a shutout.

Posted by: _828 | November 13, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town- Yeah, too much game plan, too much emphasis on positioning. It resulted in a lot of guys standing in their positions, which allowed a puck moving team with some pretty good passers to pinball the puck to the net. THe boxes were too big, the defensmen too static. I just kept shaking my head. And yet,all that worry about being in position, and guys were left to take shots without coverage. The green goal was screened, but he just walked in pretty deep before someone went down. That second Semin goal had no one anywhere near the shooter. Canes are looking iffy at the moment.

Then again, the Caps looked iffy not too long ago.

Posted by: oo7 | November 13, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

From a Cane's Fan:
I went to the RBC Center for the big Hurricanes v. Capitals matchup last night and watched what for Canes fans might have well been called a horror movie entitled "Two Russians named Alexander on a Rampage"......starring Ovechkin and Semin.....with Backstrom and Green playing the role of Best supporting cast.....

Seriously I have never seen one line dominate a game like that ever in person!!! Literally everytime Ovechkin or Semin got the puck everyone in my section held their breath because we knew it was trouble.

The Hurricanes played with no intensity (with the exception of Ruutu and Sutter who laid a few hits on unsuspecting Caps players).....the once vaunted power play looked anemic at best....blowing a 5 on 3 for 1:17 was bad.....numerous power play opportunites the Caps let the Hurricanes have and we only cashed in on the Walker goal which he almost missed....

The Caniacs aren't too happy right now.

Posted by: _828 | November 13, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Semin sucks

He is an overrated *****

He sucks last year, and everyone said he is a waste of money. Now everyone would like to kiss his ***

Capts will finish 7th and get kick out of playoff by Flyers once again

Washington : city of loosers

Posted by: PaulMorin88 | November 13, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I'd be broke too if I had to pay every time I said something stupid. XD Come to think of it, I think we'd end up with just about no comments at all, and certainly nothing interesting, if there were a fine for idiocy.

I don't mind the odd idiot. Even the fool has their story, and sometimes there's a seed of truth in the mess of silliness. I learn from everything I see here, and to me, it's all good.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 13, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

5) Mike Richards is still better than Semin

4) K, Timonen is better than M. Green

3) Biron is better than Thé 0 or Johnson

2) Coté is a bettre fighter than Brashear

1) You suck, Flyers beat you in playoff

Posted by: PaulMorin88 | November 13, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

PaulMorin88

And how deep did Cryolina get in the playoffs last year? Oh, wait. They didn't go did they.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 13, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

On Semin:

http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2008020223

"RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -If Alexander Semin keeps this up, he might not be the other Alex in Washington for long.

"Semin had two goals and three assists to take the NHL scoring lead, and the Capitals routed the Carolina Hurricanes 5-1 on Wednesday night to take sole possession of the Southeast Division lead.

"I hope he's going to play the same way - he's going to be the best player in the league," said linemate - and face of the franchise - Alex Ovechkin."

Posted by: Greg S. | November 13, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

PaulMorin88

And how deep did Cryolina get in the playoffs last year? Oh, wait. They didn't go did they.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 13, 2008 12:08 PM

didn't give a f*** about the Hurricanes, I hate them, i am a flyers fan and they are better than your russian hockey team

Posted by: PaulMorin88 | November 13, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I guess school let out early. Remember kids, stay in school and study hard.

Posted by: _Mark | November 13, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Ooohhhh! A big strong Flyers fan. It's raining outside, so his day labor center must not be sending out workers. Please, share more nuggets of Flyers wisdom with us!

Posted by: Leeguru | November 13, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

i figure if somene hits from behind, leaves the ground, elbows, drives someone into the boards, or uses a stick to hit someone in the head causing a long-term time away from the game (more than 3 games), the person who injured should not be able to return before the person who was injured.

Posted by: am_jim | November 13, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Both of those hits were cheap and dirty, particularly Ruutu's.

Drop the instigator rule, let teams police themselves. If not then I support JohnWWW's comments.

Guys like Downie and Ruutu shouldn't be allowed to skate if someone they took out cant skate.

Posted by: pch49 | November 13, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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