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Morning Reading List

While the Capitals are off to a fast start through the first 17 games of the season, all they want to focus on as they begin a four-game road trip tonight in Anaheim are the numerous improvements they can make.

As you can read in Tarik's hard-copy story, some of Coach Bruce Boudreau's main concerns are finding consistency in goal, on defense, establishing regular secondary scoring and a high execution rate on special teams.

*It's been a long time since the Capitals visited California -- their last trip to the Honda Center was Jan. 13, 2006 when these were still the Mighty Ducks and Alex Ovechkin recorded his first NHL hat trick to give Washington a 3-2 victory. But this time, the Capitals aren't wearing blue and Ovechkin is the NHL's star attraction.

*The Caps are a less than desirable 3-4-2 on the road so far this season heading into this Western Conference swing. But they'll start the trip at 10 p.m. tonight at Honda Center -- where the Ducks are just 5-5-1.

*A few people were asking about the Caps rookie dinner, which took place during the team's first few days in California. So here's a video with comments from those who had to pay up -- Eric Fehr and Tyler Sloan -- along with some of the veterans' memories of their rookie dinners.

Ducks cliff notes:
*In their most recent game, the Ducks came away with a 2-0 win over Pacific Division rival Los Angeles.

*After losing defenseman Francois Beauchemin for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee, the Ducks called up defenseman Brett Festerling and forward Bobby Ryan from the AHL's Iowa Chops (what a name...) and plunked them down in the middle of the NHL fire. Festerling was paired with Scott Niedermayer and Ryan was inserted in Anaheim's top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

*ESPN's David Amber recently did a question and answer session with Ducks poster-boy and leading scorer Ryan Getzlaf.

*In case you've been living in a Western-Conference free bubble lately, you probably know that Brian Burke stepped down as Ducks GM last week. But in case you were, here's a refresher course on what happened and where he could go next.

In the system:
*Remember back when the Capitals made their final cuts before the season opener? When Boudreau and General Manager George McPhee talked about giving Karl Alzner time to learn in Hershey? Well he's rolling along quite efficiently for the Bears, with eight points and an impressive plus-13 rating in 18 games.

*Oskar Osala made The Hockey News' Hot List and his 12 goals ties him for best among the AHL's rookies.

*Bears Coach Bob Woods was a "free-agent addition" to yesterday's Black/White scrimmage at Giant Center and wound up scoring a goal.

*Folks in Hershey are taking notice of Grant McNeill's willingness to not just throw a few punches but to go toe-to-toe in long fights with some of the AHL's big-name enforcers.

By Katie Carrera  |  November 19, 2008; 8:39 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Semin Doubtful For Tomorrow
Next: Semin, Morrisonn, Fedorov Out Against Ducks


I didn't have audio, but the first part looked hilarious. What did he say - who ordered the lobster? something like that...

Posted by: _828 | November 19, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Katie. Good stuff.

Posted by: RickyRage | November 19, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Fehr was asked if he made a call to his credit card company to make sure he had enough to cover the bill.

Good video.

Posted by: JSchon | November 19, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I have lots of friends that aren't hockey fans, more importantly, Capitals fans. Its process that takes some time. So Saturday I will probably be out at dinner with my Caps knit cap on drinking wine and pretending I care about what their 3 year old did at day care.

During the week... C'mon Thursday night?

Posted by: JSchon | November 19, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Camelot? Overrated!!!!

Larry Flints joint in Baltimore, much better place for that type of thing, if you're into that type of thing.

Posted by: JSchon | November 19, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

And if you're into that type of thing, then driving an hour isnt an issue.

Sheraton Inner Harbour is nice for those overnight stays.

Posted by: JSchon | November 19, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Not that I know first hand.

Posted by: JSchon | November 19, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Can't watch the video at work. Will when I get home.

From previous thread - I'm open to anything on a Saturday night and am willing to drive down to the Virginia side. If you guys have a favorite watering hole that is Caps-friendly, I'm game.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 19, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

JSchon - if you're in the Baltimore area, then Thursday night is a possibility. I juset can't edo Virginia on a work night.

Re: Grant McNeill. I like McNeill - got to meet him at the last bears game against Binghamton. I liked him in the pre-season - anyone else think that he might just be Brash's replacement?

Posted by: kittypawz | November 19, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Dude, I'm not going to a 'club'. Drinking wine? That is a late dinner - just do dinner, they have to tend to the kids and we can go out and watch the Caps do something no other team has done this year.

Thursday, possibly... we shall see. I guess that is tomorrow right?

The 'content' police will be here soon to complain about this convo not being about hockey, we better scatter.

Posted by: _828 | November 19, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

kittypawz and everyone else... We will figure it out by Saturday and find a place in which we can all watch the game.

Posted by: _828 | November 19, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

and by scatter, I mean - JSchon, sent you an email.

Posted by: _828 | November 19, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Sounds good, 828. Saturday's really best for me, and given that the Caps game will be late (probably 10 PM) I think we can manage to evade the kids.

Tarik, any word on whether the lines are going to stay as they were given yesterday?

Posted by: kittypawz | November 19, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I do not go to the club. I'll try to make it Saturday.

Posted by: JSchon | November 19, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

In addition to the concerns identified by Boudreau, IMHO the Caps need to work on their break outs. Their inability to get the puck out of their zone has been costly at times (i.e. the Debs [sic] in Jersey).

Posted by: BetterOffWithFederov | November 19, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I'm out for Sat, going to the MD/FSU game in college park. I plan on catching the end caps game at a bar just off campus though

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 19, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Seriously, the "Continue Reading This Post..." has got to go. Someone make some calls and get it done!

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 19, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm out for Saturday this week, unfortunately...

Posted by: irockthered | November 19, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I'm out for Saturday this week, unfortunately...

Posted by: irockthered | November 19, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse


man I was thinking the same thing... petition:

>> the "Continue Reading This Post..." has got to go

sign up!


Posted by: mauree | November 19, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

freakin malkin and crosby are ahead of our boys in all-star votes. And it is real cool that the eastern starting lineup will be the habs

Posted by: _stevo | November 19, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Any word on who starts in goal tonight?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 19, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

just playing the devils advocate here, but what's the big deal with the continue reading link? You have to click on it to see comments anyway....

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 19, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 19, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I don't comment on every single post, though, for whatever reason. I don't mind going the extra click when I have something to say, but I'd rather be able to read the whole post so that i can decide if it's worth any extra clicks!

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 19, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I cannot imagine any situation where I won't want to read on. I just don't see why it's useful.

Posted by: mauree | November 19, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

It's a shame that Nylander is deep in Gabby's dog house. He's a skilled player that is wasting time on an energy line. I fear he will ask for a trade and we may lose him. I think he still has much more to give the Caps. I'm not second guessing Gabby though he got both Backstrom and Kozlov kickstarted with his style. Nylander may not be getting points but he is an awesome puck control guy. He carries the puck out of the zone under complete control when most players on the 3rd line and checking line just chip the puck to the neutral zone. Clark being on the energy line is no surprise at all. He had his career year when he scored 36 (I think) goals in a young line-up and skating with OV. Clark is right where he belongs on the energy line and can be effective Captain from there too. The Caps are coming along freakin' awesome. Their depth is amazing. Flash is getting goal scorers goals, and Laich, Steckel, and Fehr are poking in big goals. With Feds out of the line-up they've managed to keep winning even though he'll play and be effective where ever Gabby puts him, I've been kind of surprised at our success without him. This is a tough road trip for the team and us fans. Gotta watch the games on the DVR or I'll be outta commission at work this week.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 19, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, and OV is showing why he earned the MVP awards last year. What an honor it is to witness this guys career. I cannot believe I am lucky enough to have season tickets to watch this legend in the making.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 19, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

That 4th line doesn't skate together unless Bruce is on crack, they are fill-ins for other lines. It's a call-out.

In a game shortly after the spanking the team got from BB, Nylander showed he still has serious wheels in a few bursts and one notable break-away. That more than anything exposes him for skating less than 100% to his abilities.

Posted by: austinsteve | November 19, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Just a hunch, but maybe Nylander and Clark are together so they can both jump start each other. Brash can beat off everyone while Nyls circles and feeds puck to Clark waiting in front of the net. On the fourth line they should be up against weaker D and maybe that will help get Clark going. Everyone needs a start, and having Nylander as your Center is not a bad way to do it.

If Clark can score tonight, he will hear me all the way in LA. My neighbors have already been warned.

Posted by: Kim-3 | November 19, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I disagree austinsteve. Gabby's track record shows that in tight low scoring road games he will continue to roll 4 lines even in the 3rd. I believe that's why the Caps tend to finish strong. The horses on the 1st and 2nd lines aren't spent when it's crunch time in the 3rd.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 19, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

You may be right, it's more of a "let's see if I'm right" thing.

But in a tight game I know *I* am not sending that line out!

Brash moving up to the 3rd line reunites the normal energy line, Clark doesn't play much lately, and Nylander...well, as people say, he needs talent to feed to. And not one of the 3 is positive in +/-

(But interestingly, added together their combined negative +/- score equals Fleischman's...)

Posted by: austinsteve | November 19, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

i can't wait for the donald to beatdown george "porn-stache" parros tonight

Posted by: _stevo | November 19, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Clark had seasons of 20 and 30 goals in 05-06 and 06-07.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 19, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I've been thinking more and more about Nylander getting traded. My gut reaction was "hell, no!" And I felt that way because the Caps are deep at center -- but they're only really deep at center while Nylander is still there. I mean, how deep is a team with Backs/Feds/Nyls/Laich/Gordon/Steckel (damn) when Feds is hurt and laich's on the wing, etc.

And that leads me to my change of heart. Even without Nylander, assuming Fedorov stays even a glimpse of healthy, we are still pretty deep at center -- just not as #2 centers.

But, to go along with that, Nyls has been pretty indistinguishable lately (and so has Clark, for that matter). No matter how deep at center we are, if Nyls doesn't pick up the slack and create some secondary scoring (and we've seen that Flash is finally a solid sniper and that Laich is a good grinder/screener, so Nyls kinda has no excuse), he's just not doing the team any good.

The rumor was for Byfuglien. I don't know much about him, honestly, but he had a decent year last year. But is he the right fit?

Then again, if Byfuglien is all we get back, that frees up a LOT of Cap space, and that might be the biggest factor (Bouwmeester, anyone -- not JSchon, obviously :-) ).

So, I can see keeping him or trading him. But can HE see trading him?

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 19, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Hey, _stevo! Ease up on the ivy leaguers!

That is a wicked stache though...

Posted by: Greg S. | November 19, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Re: the "Continue Reading This Post" - I for one appreciate it when I'm accessing the blog from my Blackberry. Scrolling through long posts is difficult and frustrating on a BB, and this makes it much easier.

In all truth, I think the handwriting is on the wall re: Nylander. Nylander is very, very good, and I don't deny that. But, consider these points:

- We desperately need the cap space. See JP's post yesterday if you don't believe me.
- Nylander, who's making about $4.8M, isn't producing what he's making right now. Not even close. He makes twice as much as Clark does at $2.5M.
- Perhaps most importantly, we have plenty of centers, both here and in Hershey, who are NHL-ready. Backstrom, Fedorov, Laich, Steckel, Gordon, Aucoin. Putting these centers as centers where they belong adds to their game and leaves us room to bring up wingers like Bourque.

I don't deny that Nylander brings a lot to any team's table - he's good at what he does. But, does he bring more to our table as a center or as a trade?

Posted by: kittypawz | November 19, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I think it's funny that a Princeton U. schooled Economics major and wrote his senior thesis on the West Coast longshoremen's labor dispute is their "enforcer". From what I've seen of his "fights" there's not much there. Maybe he should work on the docks awhile and learn to fight better.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 19, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Please. The Post steals links from Japers' Rink, it doesn't "read it." If it did, it would be truly embarrassed about being beaten to the cap story.

Posted by: baddabing1 | November 19, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Montreal must be cheating on the All Star voting - it's ridiculous

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 19, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

hey i got nothing against parros, the stache is amazing, but he tends to get beatdown by donald. I bet he isn't to good at micro-economics or linear functions after fighting the donald

Posted by: _stevo | November 19, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

@ Kittypawz

Actually, I'd argue the opposite. I've got an iPhone, and I find it very annoying to have to click again just to get the entire post open. I'd rather just sit through a single load time than two long ones. 3G or not, it's a slow load either way, and I'd just assume sit through as few as possible.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 19, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

If the Caps did move Nylander I doubt they'd be able to move all of is $4.8 mil salary, most likely they would eat some of it. Yup, overlooked Clark's 20 goal season. His scoring days are behind him in my opinion, but he's still a good captain. Even if a team took half of Nylander's salary if he was moved that would still give the Caps the flexibility of moving Alzner up when we get injuries on the back line. I understand he put over a mil against the Cap which is the main reason he hasn't been called up. Moving him rather than Bourque lets a healthy Feds stay at forward. Alzner's gonna be a beast for us in the near future.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 19, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse


Is he a good captain, though? I mean, is he a better captain than Ovechkin? From what I, the [more informed than most] typical fan (like everyone on here), can see, Ovechkin has long taken the reigns from Clark as Captain -- it's Ovechkin out disputing calls by the Ref these days, not Clark; it's Ovechkin pulling the kids under his wing, not Clark; and etcetera, etcetera.

That said, I like Clark a lot, but his role has significantly diminished on this team since his injury -- and I'm not entirely sure he'll ever regain the role he once had.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 19, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

crap, i did it, too: "reins" *

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 19, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Greg S,

I work on the docks, fighting on the job will get you banned from the waterfront for awhile. Then if there are any convictions for criminal charges filed for the brawl homeland security can block you from getting you in the gate.

To make a long story short, he'd get better on the job training in a@@ kicking off the docks, it is a kinder and gentler waterfront....

Posted by: Steve_R | November 19, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Clark is averaging less than a shot per game-played for the first time since his rookie season.

I will be curious to see when he's on-ice what is preventing him from registering SOG's. (aside from ice time)

Posted by: austinsteve | November 19, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1 - With the current CBA, teams are not able to retain or "eat" portions of contracts. Anybody who trades for a player is on the hook for duration of the contract.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 19, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Clark is probably done - then we will trade him and watch he will be good again!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 19, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

So,ESPN does a Q and A with the Ducks poster-boy and LEADING SCORER Ryan Getzlaf,who went # 19 in the draft. Who went to the Caps with the # 18 pick? Why,that scoring-machine winger named Eric Fehr. Can you imagine what the Caps line-up would look like if we added Getzlaf instead of a wanna-be NHL'er? Thanks GMGM for that insightful pick.

Posted by: roccky | November 19, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

that makes me want to cry that GMGM picked fehr over getzlaf

Posted by: _stevo | November 19, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse


Where's a good place to watch the Caps game in DC on Saturday night?

Posted by: DannyBoy1975 | November 19, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse


In the city you will probably find most good sports joints will have College Football on.

You might find some Caps fans at Front Page in Arlington, or go to Bugsy's in Old Town. Maybe the Green Turtle by Verizon would have a few Caps fans. Rocket bar would probably have it on too by Verizon.

Posted by: SA-Town | November 19, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse


There are probably some busts that were taken before Green, Backstrom and Semin...So calling out one missed pick isnt really worth it.

Posted by: SA-Town | November 19, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the CBA info, I honestly didn't know that.


Not sure if OV's ready or not. Although many lauguages are spoken in the Caps locker room, English is still the common language. OV's English, although way better than my Russian, still needs a little more fine tuning. He was awesome at the season ticket signing but couldn't really understand what he was saying. I could care less about his English though he's the most exciting hockey player I have ever seen play the game. I'm an old fart too. I've had the pleasure of watching Gretzky, Lemieux, Messier, Bure, Mogilny, Federov, Neely, Jagr, etc from start to finish in their careers. Plus, I'd rather have OV wear an "A" which lets him still worry a little more about himself than the team. That way he can worry about OV if he finds himself in another rut.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 19, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

regarding the Fehr va Getzlaf pick, its fair to note that while GMGM passed over Getzlaf, 17 other GM's did as well.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 19, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Something kind of odd. I just voted for our boys for the all star game, and decided to check out and see how others on the team are doing.

Fedorov has 1378
Theo has 335
Clark has 17
Fehr has 16

look at clark and fehr's totals, then think about their jersey numbers....

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 19, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

And if Getzlaf had been injured like Fehr, perhaps the story would be different. I still hold out hope that Fehr will still become the player that he was expected to be.

Posted by: _Mark | November 19, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Johnson has 2919 write in votes
Flash - 78
Brash - 169
Kozlov - 8
Backstrom - 2077
Laich - 614
Nylander - 40
Bradley - 14
Gordon - 9
Schultz - 80
Mo -117
Erskine - 519
Jurcina - 107
Sloan - 91
Poti - 1251
Steckel - 15

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 19, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Damned feds take all the fun out of a job. Guess I'm a relic.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 19, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

@ fanohock1 - no problem. That was a new part of the post lockout CBA. Its often overlooked, especially by us Caps fans who saw Ted paying for Jagr for so long after he left.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 19, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

We'd better start voting for AO and Semin. Right now, Cindy and Butugly are ahead of them.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 19, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

@sombrero guy

make it 519 and 520 votes for the sexy lumberjack

Posted by: _stevo | November 19, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Why bother with the All Star voting. With the automated voting by the Montreal fans, there is no chance for other players anyway. The NHL screwed this one up by allowing unlimited manual voting and then some people decided to make it worse. Just a farce.

Posted by: _Mark | November 19, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

You've been busy, _stevo. :)

Posted by: Greg S. | November 19, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse


Absolute farce - I can't beleive how far ahead they are

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 19, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I guess they wanted to see large numbers of votes to make it look like there was more interest and instead they have driven many fans away by allowing the cheating to stand. I am sure that I am not in the minority being among those that are not continuing to vote.

Posted by: _Mark | November 19, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Any word on who starts in goal tonight?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 19, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Bot voting has been stopped. I don't know if Pistburgh's fans are smart enought to make a bot to do the voting for them or not. Cindy and Butugly are about 2x AO and Semin's at this time.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 19, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Morning Skate should be just about over by now, no?

Hopefully we'll get an update soon.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 19, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but did everyone get to see Crosby miss during the shootout last night? He missed on the last Pens attempt and the Pens lost the shootout to the Minnesota Wild IN Pittsburgh. It was great!

Posted by: MReilly9 | November 19, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"[T]heir last trip to the Honda Center was Jan. 13, 2006 .... But this time, the Capitals aren't wearing blue ...."

The Capitals didn't wear blue in 2006 either.

Posted by: 1995hoo | November 19, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Of course the NHL in an effort to make it look good have built a widget to cast votes. All you have to do is install it and then click on the icon to vote. I'm sure someone will figure out how to automate THAT, too.

The voting is a farce at this point. Still, I can't stand AO and Semin not being on top.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 19, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse


It makes those of us who can't go out jealous.

Now then, don't you peeps think that the NHL has a hard on for Pittsburgh and Montreal players starting in the all star game? How many times have we noted the bias?

I fear our boys will come out flat tonight. Long break long trip never bode well.

Posted by: Leeguru | November 19, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

It will be tough to catch the Habs players but Ovechkin is only a few thousand behind Malkin

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 19, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

You know it would really cool if the East team was all Habs and Pens, I'm sure all the boys could appreciate the extra couple days off.

Posted by: Section117 | November 19, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Now THAT would make Bettman look really stupid. Moreso than he already does.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 19, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Is the game going to stream on tonight? Can someone whose internet is not blocked at work check for me? I'd be much obliged. If I could, I would give the person checking for me a cookie. Not an internet cookie, a real one.

Posted by: ThisGuy | November 19, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

who are the 169 morons that think Brash is an all star? No wonder no one takes caps fans seriouly around the league.
40 more thinknylander is an all star what a frigging joke those people are
They are an embarrassement to hockey fans everywhere

Posted by: wendel2 | November 19, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Rumors floating, if your into the rumor thing. Nylander to Chicago a done deal once Chicago frees up "cap" space by trading a goaltender. TSN reports.

Hockey Buzz has the CAPITALS in the running for Mat Sundin......that would be interesting if it were doable.....
I don't see it happening , but it's nice to think about the possibility.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | November 19, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

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