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The Capitals received some well-timed heroics from Alex Ovechkin yesterday as he fired the puck past the Islanders' Joey MacDonald to give Washington a 5-4 overtime win. In addition to being Ovechkin's second goal of the game, the late tally was also the sixth overtime goal of his career -- a franchise record.

*Although the Caps have now won four straight and eight of their past 11 the extra point they snagged in overtime didn't hurt as they maintained an eight-point lead in the Southeast Division over Carolina, who beat Montreal 3-2 last night in Raleigh.

*The Caps' practice was pushed back to noon, so the updates will come a little bit later than usual today.

In the system:
*Winger Kip Brennan signed with the Bears and cleared waivers on Tuesday after leaving his Finnish team earlier this week.

*The Lebanon Daily News talks to Graham Mink about his decision to return to Hershey this year along with his offensive success (third on the team with 25 points, 12G, 13A) so far this season.

*After having their franchise record, 11-game winning streak come to an end in Texas, the Bears hope to rebound this weekend as they travel to face Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday then host Lowell and Lake Erie on Saturday and Sunday respectively, and here are the LDN's Bear Tracks and Tim Leone's practice update to get you up to speed.

*As many of you likely saw yesterday, Daren Machesney was named to the Canadian Spengler Cup team, which will defend its title as the world's oldest professional hockey tournament kicks off on Dec. 26.

*John Carlson made The Hockey News' hot list, their weekly roundup of players they're looking forward to seeing in the NHL.

By Katie Carrera  |  December 17, 2008; 8:10 AM ET
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Next: Wednesday Morning Update (Updated)


Gee, I really liked HeyBooBoo much better, can you change it back? It just had that Yogi mystique. :)

As far as last night goes, yes, it was an ugly two points. Giving up that one point to some other teams would have been worse, but the Isles I am not worried about. I hope BB is able to use this thoroughly as one of those lessons and that the team takes it to heart that you cannot let up on anyone.

Posted by: _Mark | December 17, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

From the previous:

I can't believe San Jose's record at home ... ugh.

Thanks - I still prefer the "other", but I'm not sure I could remember the login. Besides, it was Leeguru's choice, and the guru has spoken!

I would not call that ugly. To me, ugly is when we win because of grit, scrappy play and crashing the net (etc.). We won last night despite ourselves in the third. We barely shot the puck (ugly or otherwise) and let them shoot waaay too much. Sure, I'll take the two points, but like I said, it's a bittersweet win.

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 17, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Man, tough crowd ... remind me not to come to this board for suggestions to name a new pet or my first born ... ;-) Anyway, add guru to your name and we'll talk!! :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 17, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

the caps have a disturbing trend of being unable to clear their defensive zone for long stretches of games. inevitably that leads to penalties or goals, as was the case last night.

semen's behind the back pass was incredible. anyone else notice how tomb like the coliseum was. you could clearly hear the players whistling and yelling to each other. sad for a once great franchise. you think brendan witt is enjoying the rebuild w/ the isles?

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 17, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

I guess we will just have to petition Leeguru for a change. :)

Do I have to petition Leeguru for the addition of guru to my name, or does that go above him? Is there anyone above Leeguru?

Posted by: _Mark | December 17, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

@Boo: Well, there's ugly good and ugly bad. What you're talking about is ugly good. Last night was ugly bad. We got two points and should count ourselves lucky we weren't buried.

And seeing that, I am really liking the idea of putting Varlamov in net on Thursday. He can handle it, and we need to give Johnny the break so he'll be ready to take on the Flyers on Saturday. Now THAT game is one I want to win so bad I can taste it, and I know I'm not the only one.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 17, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

The pass from Semin was incredible - spot on!! Simply amazing. Given the NYIs losing streak, I wonder how many fans are showing up?

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 17, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I did not catch it on the feed last night, but according to others here at work, Brendan could clearly be heard voicing his displeasure on that unsportsmanlike penalty he took. Some choice words apparently.

Posted by: _Mark | December 17, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse


My favorite moment of the night was...I believe in the 2nd, while Gordo was getting manhandled in the corner (an no call was made, a surprise from the penalty-happy ref from last night) the VS camera was in the corner also and you could clearly hear Gordo drop an F-bomb while trying to explain to the ref that he was being interfered with.

And Gordo would have been right.

Might I also add, this is now the third game in a row that Semin has been tripped, from behind, behind the play, with no call. In all but tonight's instance, it has been to the detriment of a push up ice. Tonight, we just cleared the puck down and took a change.

Really seemed as if the Refs felt bad for giving Witter the unsportsmanlike early in the game.

First game in a while that BJ's not been allowed lanes to see the incoming shots in. We did a fantastic job of screening our own goalie tonight and it hurt us on just about every Isles goal. I don't care who you are, any goalie in this league will look like a speed bump when his team is standing between him and the puck.

As for the D. Did it feel to anyone else last night like BB benched Collins late in the game? We were rotating 5 Dmen but 62 would hop out very rarely. Wonder how much fatigue set in and caused some of those poor clearing attempts.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 17, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

One more thought and then I will get to work for real: I think we aren't giving the Islanders enough credit. Yeah, our special teams stunk up the building and our D didn't clear the crease like they should have, but give the Isles credit - they saw a chance to turn it around in the third and they went for it with everything they had. They played their hearts out out there, and they did it well. The reason we got the third point is that they didn't have a netminder who could handle Ovi, plain and simple. They worked hard out there, harder than we did, and it showed.

I don't think we were outplayed the whole game - far from it. We ran them around the rink at even strength in the first two, and had our special teams been worth crap, they wouldn't have had a snowball's chance in hell.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 17, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Oh. Last comment. VS needs to put Joe B. about 2FT infront of Jaffe, and on a 1ft box. Those two were comical on camera together last night. Jaffe's a monster!

Last last comment. VS really needs to put two broadcasters in the booth who have no affiliation with the teams they are calling. Sure, called games are better when you have the play-by-play guy familiar with one squad, but it's making for a lot of "My team's hurt more..." "No, My team's hurt more" type banter that just makes it sound like they're whining more than talking hockey.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 17, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

FFS, i find it funny that joe b. has to be as enthusiastic in calling the other teams goals as he does the caps. he is a true pro. you dont hear him call his partner locker or say that they are on comcast or give you a hint that he is the caps regular broadcast guy.

i just saw blake's spin-o-rama shoot out goal vs. the devils. sick. gives the goalie a nice ice shower while doing a 360 and shooting it into the net. nice.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 17, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Nice picture in the first link.

"Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (15), of Sweden" with a pic of Gordon stuffing the puck. Thats quality editing right there.

Posted by: _Tim | December 17, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

You could also hear the occasional "five seconds" or something similar when penalties were expiring. Dunno if that was Johnny or the NYI goalie.

Posted by: koalatek | December 17, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

FFS - I heard that also. I laughed and rewound it for my wife.

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 17, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I just knew that when Ovie's backhander hit both posts in OT, he was going to get mad and will the puck into the net. We're lucky to have this guy.

Posted by: _jordan | December 17, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Anybody here still want B. Witt back? -5 on the night...sheesh...

Posted by: panic13 | December 17, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Two things I noticied in the game that need to be addressed: (1) the energy line couldn't clear the puck for all they were worth in the third with Steckel looking really off his game (in the pk too) and (2) Nylander is a defensive liability. Sure he wins a lot of faceoffs, but he doesn't add much in terms of offense and guys skated by him or through him last night -- more than once. I wish Nyls did not have that NTC because it's time to trade his underachieving a$$ for a pick or defenseman.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | December 17, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse


I was thinking the same thing watching the broadcast, wondering to myself..."How does he turn that on and off?". Joe B. has a "homer" switch....ON-for Comcast....OFF-for Versus.....real pro.

Posted by: WTF_Fehr | December 17, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

The Caps really didn't play that badly to give up their lead. Not only was the first Collins' penalty complete crap, but the first goal was garbage, too, deflecting off of Poti's stick.

The rest of them, though... I dunno. Johnny was spectacular when he needed to be, but that certainly wasn't his best game, and by far his worst in a good while.

The Powerplay is playing with cuteness again, and it's infuriating -- SHOOT THE DAMN PUCK!

Now, I could be completely wrong about this because I didn't check the stat sheet afterwards, but during the spree of Isles' goals towards the end, I didn't notice either Alzner or Jurcina out there. I also noticed that it was Gordon's line getting manhandled by the Weight-Guerin line.

Weight and Guerin, though? Really? Gordon, Brash, and Steckel couldn't handle Weight and Guerin? At 38-39 years old against two 25 year olds, two of our best penalty killers couldn't get the puck out of the zone?

Now don't get me totally wrong... Weight and Guerin are still good players, but they made Gordon and Steckel look absolutely silly out there.

Semin looked a little lazy last night. Great assist and all, but he didn't seem like he had the fire last night.

Backstrom continues to impress me. If he's playing like this now, I can only imagine what he'll be like in the years to come.

And a good game by Ovechkin, also. He was triple teamed for most of the night, but he knows how to make the most of his situation. Can't wait for tomorrow's game!

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | December 17, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

speaking of photo editing, picture on the caps page of the post shows OV clearly on his hands and knees but the caption reads "ovechkin takes a pass from backstrom..."

its either blatent incompetance or just nobody cares...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 17, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Actually Jurcina was on the ice for the last two Islanders goals, which incidentally were even strength goals. Alzner was out there for both of the Islanders PP goals and goal 3 which was even strength. The 23/27 combo were only on the ice together for the 3rd Islanders goal. For those that constantly trash Green for his defensive play he was a +3 with 1 assist, and not on the ice for a single goal against. He played the PK too, it just wasn't his shift when the biscuit hit the basket as Lacher would say. Poti (our other so called defensive liability so to speak) was only on the ice for the 1 PP goal against (the one he deflected past BJ), and was a +1. Collins probably had his worst game as a Cap and his two interference calls were earned whether we like it or not. I saw both infractions before the officials arm went up. The official even let him hold off the Islanders for a couple of shoves before finally putting his arm up.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 17, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I don't think anybody thinks of Poti as a defensive liability. If they do, Al Koken would like to have a word with them.

Posted by: _jordan | December 17, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I still say that the reason all of the Isles' goals happened was too much traffic in front of the net. All those deflections, Johnny not seeing the puck - get the blueshirts out of the crease, sheesh! Muscle 'em out of there if you have to, but that's the same thing that happened to us vs. the Sharks. If Johnny could see the puck, he was lights out every time. It's when he couldn't see through traffic that the biscuit got through.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 17, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

flash i think looked terrible out there last night, as well as morrison ( needs to clear people out front of the net), and needless to say nylander. flash CAN'T take that penalty with under 5 minutes left and we have a 1 goal lead.

thank the lord we have the OBS line

Posted by: _stevo | December 17, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

@ DrinkingPartner -- Collins earned his time in the sinbin (another Lacherism), and he should had at least one more I saw in the second. He was playing out of position and flatfooted each time. The speed was too much for him last night. Maybe it's time to send Collins down and call up the more fleet-footed Sami.

I do agree that the fourth line looked mighty weak at the end of the game. Steckel, Gordo, and Brash couldn't clear the puck up ice to save their souls. I can't remember how many times I said, "Clear the d--n puck and get to the bench". I think last night BB shuold have shortened his bench. It didn't help that Nylander looked particularly cr--py back and fore checking.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | December 17, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

nylander may be the most frustrating player to watch

Posted by: _stevo | December 17, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Poor JoeB, paired with a big guy with a huge head for the game last night. It looked kind of weird with the other guy hunched over and looking down in to Joe's ear while Joe was talking.

Needed some special effects like they used in the Lord of the Rings movies to make the two of them look more even. :)

Posted by: _Mark | December 17, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

When the D lineup consisted of 4 new call-ups, Collins, Alzner, Helmer, Lepisto (Sloan had already been here for a while but was injured too) many were saying how much better the team was defensively. The discussion turned to Poti being soft (who put a Bruin head first into the net his first game back) and Green a free wheeling puck carrier that lacked defensive skill. It has become evident in a short time since their return that Green and Poti were not only missed on the score sheet, but in the defensive zone as well.

Last night's win was ugly. Johnson's game wasn't his best but him giving up 2 third period goals on 17 shots was not as painful as Theodore's 2 goals on 6 shots in the 3rd against Carolina. Johnson's save with about 30 seconds left was awesome. Also, I don't remember any of the 4 goals being very soft. Our first 2 were very soft and the ones I am used to season when JT plays. But much like the Isles goaltender, I don't think JT's showings are due to lack of effort, just extremely bad luck. Maybe JT broke a mirror when he moved into his new place in the DC area.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 17, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

all four lines scored last night, right? we get secondary scoring from lines 2, 3, and 4 while the OBS line eats up the best defenders and tires them out. What happens? AO scores the last two to bring it home.

Of course, the D is another issue but I still want the OBS line to stay together.

Bobbleheads tomorrow night! Yes!

Posted by: saintex | December 17, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

If Richard Park and especially Jon Sim played the Caps every night, they would eclipse Gretzky and Kurri. Yeesh.

Posted by: basrfg | December 17, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Regarding the quiet atmosphere at the rink, you could actually hear Brenden Witt yelling about the high stick, that got him his unsportsmanlike.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 17, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Talk about an ugly win! Jeez, I just don't see the "playoff urgency" in every game. Too lazy of a team effort. Horrible end zone clearing!!! And yes, shoot the d*mn puck already!!! Semin just drives me nuts with trying to drag the puck every single time. Drag and shoot!!!

Did anyone else notice the female Vs. commentator say that Brett Leonhardt was cast into duty because CURTIS JOSEPH was injured? Jeez o peez. Don't cast off another useless veteran goalie on us!!!

Posted by: dsphvywght | December 17, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse


I did catch her say curtis joseph was injured...pretty funny

Posted by: _stevo | December 17, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I heard the CuJo comment. Wonder how much grief and ribbing she got over that.

Posted by: _Mark | December 17, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Well, it's nice to be on the right end of an ugly win. THAT my friends is the sign of a team turning the corner and becoming a powerhouse. When the Redwings win 50+ games not all of them are filled with highlights, but they find ways to pull them out.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 17, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

The Red Wings also have really long losing streaks, so lets all remember that before we blast our team when they stumble in the future.

Posted by: _jordan | December 17, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I loved during the 4 on 4 in OT having Semin, OV, Backstrom and Green out there. Who can the other team focus on? 4 potential all stars, all in there early 20's, that can all change the game at any second on the ice. Have the Caps ever had players like this on the ice at the same time before - I dont think so. Has any team?

This team can win the whole thing. I'm fired up.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | December 17, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure whoever was in charge of the photos did it as a joke to see how many comments the mistakes would get in this section.

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | December 17, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Greg Laughlin: Hockey's answer to Yogi Berra.

Always found "Produce Section" and "Sin Bin" amusing


Other Penalty Box Metaphors:

The Plexiglass Jail
le Ch√Ęteau de Bow-Wow
The Transgression Tin
The Hate Hopper
The Punishment Pit

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 17, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Talk about an ugly win! Jeez, I just don't see the "playoff urgency" in every game. Too lazy of a team effort. Horrible end zone clearing!!! And yes, shoot the d*mn puck already!!! Semin just drives me nuts with trying to drag the puck every single time. Drag and shoot!!!

Posted by: dsphvywght | December 17, 2008 10:20 AM
Playoff urgency might not be the best phrase to use. I mean, is every game win or go home? Well, not until around February maybe. You can't carry that mentality front and center for 80 games, and then expect it to be there in April/May/June.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not excusing the effort last night, but if the expectation is for every game to be like March was, I'd say the boys might not be there yet, physically and emotionally.

Posted by: Section117 | December 17, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

SombreroGuy: We heard both Gordo's "F--- YOU!" and Witt's loud complaining (very clearly: "High Stick!") I said to my daughter the game would be more interesting if they put more mics inside the playing area. I realize this would get you more cussing and so forth. Maybe an option going forward, as technology improves, you can click a button on your remote and you get the "added in game sound." We have all adults in my house, so the value in hearing the chatter outweighs language that can't be any worse than you average R-Rated movie. It would be a real eye-opener I think for hockey fans to hear the players talking.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 17, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I can't hold Johnson responsible for anything last night. THat was a weird game. All those deflections, on both sides, generally mean that luck (and a little Ovechkin) are needed to win. Especially if the team relaxes and stops taking their opponent seriously. It might only be the isles, but if Guerin and Weight are in the lineup, its best not to fall asleep at the wheel.

Witt. Ha. Punk.

Jurcina playing better when saddled up to Alzner? That leaves Erskine the odd man out, doesn't it?

Posted by: oo7 | December 17, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I think when a player breaks his stick it might be better to just haul ass to the bench and get another "twig" rather than try to stay out there and be a pylon.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 17, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Unless you just throw yourself at the puck like Brooks did a few games ago.

Posted by: _jordan | December 17, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

How can anyone complain right now? "Playoff urgency" in mid December when we are in 1st place? We are 8 points ahead of Carolina and have one of the best records in the conference. This might be the best Caps team I have ever seen. Sit back and enjoy the ride people!

Posted by: capsfansince74 | December 17, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

It would be a real eye-opener I think for hockey fans to hear the players talking.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 17, 2008 10:50 AM
For newbs, there's a clip out there of Kevin Stevens and Bryan Trottier on the bench "talking" to Brian Bellows that's worth checking out. I'd link to it, but this is a family blog.

Posted by: Section117 | December 17, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

So did the Caps take an early dinner break last night or something? 5 shots on net in the 3rd? I think they were generous on that count. AO's first goal, though was a beautifully set up play.

BTW, Laughlin's "Lockerisms" are really old school stuff we used back in the 60's and probably earlier. "Sin bin" goes way back...

Posted by: Greg S. | December 17, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I miss chief and windy

Posted by: billd2 | December 17, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I coach High School and Midget hockey. Trust me, we'd rather not hear what the players are saying out there. The first english words spoken by foreigners are profane words so we'd even hear what Semin and Varlamov have to say. The nice thing is that the players have enough class to watch their language when a player is "mich'd" up for a game. The players of the NHL (except for Avery obviously) really try hard to project a positive image when interviewed. They usually even appear humbled that they are being interviewed before a game. OV even looked a little nervous. I especially like his crack that he, Semin, and Backstrom work so well together because their European. Even the players notice the Canadien powers that be overlook the talent of non-Canadien born players at times. Don Cherry said OV was a one-hit wonder, even though he had average over 50 goals a season for his first 3, and said he was done.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 17, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Steckel was more than a pylon on the pk with no stick -- he was a mobile 6'5" goalie screen. Laich showed what a player can do without a stick; Steckel showed what a player should not do without a stick -- great clinic. I was surprised because Steckel has been so good on the pk in the past. Hopefully he isn't part of the skating wounded; hopefully just an off night.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | December 17, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Is it comforting to anyone else to know that we're actually in third place in the east because of our point total and not because of leading the SE division?

Posted by: superpaqman | December 17, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse


Don Cherry said Ovie was one hit wonder because he is an idiot

Posted by: _stevo | December 17, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I love Semin, but, God, I wish he would stop coughing up the puck in the defensive zone. Too cute back there leading to defensive zone breakaways.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 17, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Cherry changed his tune during the Caps-Ottawa broadcast. He oozed OV love, so it's interesting that he did not apologize at all. Fickle and a terrible dresser, that velvet red jacket makes Hugh Heffner look classy.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | December 17, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Not to rehash but i missed the whole thing living in Roanoke...What did Pat Collins say about the Caps? Isn't/wasn't he a weatherman? Shouldn't he be concentrating on clouds and Care Bears?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 17, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Only the Broons and Sharks have better records over their past 10 games than the Caps. Pretty nice.

Posted by: _jordan | December 17, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Re: Players on-ice comments

Click the VOD tab (video on demand). Go to page 2 of the listing. Look for November 20: Greg Amadio Mic'd Up.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 17, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if we are talking about the same thing, but what Cherry said is isn't going to score 65 this year. He said this at the beginning of the year on HNIC, which is when Ovi was slumping. The next HNIC he mentioned how much the press jumped on him for it and he reiterated that Ovi won't score that much however he did say he thought he would be in the 50's.

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 17, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

By the way Cherry isn't an idiot. He has forgotten more about hockey than you will ever know.

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 17, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Section117 | December 17, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Came across this bit of news that might be interesting to some of you. One of our goalies Daren Machesney was named to Canada's roster for the annual Spengler Cup.

For those who have never heard of it Spengler Cup is an annual X-mas time tournament in Switzerland that is hosted by HC Davos and features a few club teams from around Europe (this year there will be one from Russia, one from the Czech Rep and one from Germany) as well as team Canada comprised mostly of Canadian players who are playing professionally in Europe.

I guess this means that Michal Neuvirth will get called up to Hershey and get a run of AHL games under his belt.

P.S. As for last night you know that squandering the 2-goal lead was just a ploy to get Ovechkin yet another dramatic game winner :)

Posted by: ranndino | December 17, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The Caps needed to win on the road and they did. They didn't make or receive any breaks in the third, but ask any Dedskins/Wizards/Nats/Mystics fan if they'd like a late-game collapse that ends in "W"...

Posted by: redlineblue | December 17, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Ha! Maybe I should have read the rest of Tarik's post before posting the above. Seems he already covered it.

BTW, would be interesting to have a post about our prospect Stefan della Rovere who will play for Canada at the upcoming WJC. Actually would be good to have a separate post on all of our prospects involved in that tournament. It starts soon and will be covered by NHL Network this year.

Posted by: ranndino | December 17, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

For all you Green critics out there, I hope you listened to the Versus color guy (whoever that was paired with Joe B last night) raving about Green throughout the game.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | December 17, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse


If Varly is back in Hershey by then, he'll probably get the playing time. Every time we've need a goalie call-up from SC they send Bobby Goepfert. I guess they're still trying to avoid having Neuvirth dress for Hershey. If Neuvirth dresses for Hershey, and then we loan him to another AHL team (which is what they wanted to do earlier in the season), we can't get him back in Hershey till next season.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 17, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Cherry's comments were prior to the regular season starting so I am sure he was very impressed with himself during the first few weeks of the season. Then reality set in again.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 17, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Last year I subscribed to Center Ice...Even though the cable provider has a disclaimer that Caps' fans should not order b/c their games are not seen there.

I did this just so I could see HNIC and Don Cherry for myself--to find out what all the buzz was about.

IMHO, it was worth it just for the amusement value of Don Cherry's fake tan, bad suits and mind-boggling malaprops.

That said, somehow I don't think he'll ever come right out and admit he's wrong about anything...ever. Not even if--strike that--when OV breaks all of Gretzky's records.

Don Cherry: the Clown Prince of the NHL...but on some level you gotta love the guy anyway.

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 17, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The most improved player of the night without a doubt was JOE B. - He was finally doing his play-by-play job. There is still some room for improvement, but my hat is off to him for the work last night.
I really enjoyed the game last night. I thought it was an equally matched play from both teams. And Joe B's imitation of a play-by-play guy was icing on the cake.
Semin two passes behind his back were spot on, to me, that is not "cute", it is a skill.

Posted by: opita | December 17, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm a huge OV fan, but I would say that any player in today's NHL has one heck of an uphill battle to break any of Gretzky's records. 92 goals in a single season? 215 points in a single season?

Gretzky scored 894 goals in his career. OV would have to average 50 goals a season for the next 14 and a half years to break it.

Now if Ovechkin played back in the early 80's, who knows what he could have done.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 17, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

no one will ever come close to gretzky's records or 200 points in a season. I doubt if someone will ever even get to 180 again. Agreed that if ovie played in the 80's he would have all the goals records imaginable

Posted by: _stevo | December 17, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Joe B always does a better job when he's doing a Versus game. He doesn't do well when he and Craig are together. I think it's because they genuinely have a great time hanging out. Kind of the the "two guys watching a game in a bar" analogy that was used yesterday. Again, my complaint with Joe B isn't that I need to know what is going on in the screen I can see, it's the stuff going on outside of the screen. Like I mentioned yesterday, when guys disappear from the bench, etc.

Nevertheless, can't wait to be sitting at Verizon tomorrow. Although I agree with many of you regarding Varlamov needing more time in Hershey, I have to admit I'd be pretty happy to see him between the pipes tomorrow.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 17, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Another funny thing I noticed about Center Ice:

On the odd occasions where only the French Language feed of a Habs game was offered, I noticed that the score was almost never displayed on the screen except maybe at intermission...I'm not great at French but I understand enough that it seemed the commentators seldom if ever mentioned the score during play, either.

It was almost as if a Message was being sent. The Paranoid in me believes the Message may have been something like this:

"Yeeew eegnorant eengleesh peeg-dogs...eef yeew need to ask wat ze score eez yeew are nut a fan of Les Habitants so yeew are nut a true hockey fan at all and dezerve to die...enny-wan who needz to see ze score on ze screen eez nut paying enof attenshon!"

Again, just like the NY Yankees, who don't put names on the backs of their jerseys: "You're just supposed to KNOW...and if you don't you're not a true Yankee fan and don't deserve to live"

Just my opinion...I could be wrong.

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 17, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Or maybe they just don't want to clutter up the screen with a giant ugly graphic.

Posted by: _jordan | December 17, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1: Of course he needs more time in Hershey. No doubt about it. He goes back down as soon as Jose's healthy, and we all know that. Let's make the most of his time here.

That said, maybe it's good to get Johnny on a roll heading into the Flyers game on Saturday, so I can see that argument for starting Johnny Thursday versus the Blues. Still, I'd like to get a gander at Varlamov.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 17, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

@_stevo & Sombreroguy:

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe OV won't rack up Gretzky-type numbers. Maybe he will...who knows for sure?

But then again, the point I was trying to make was that Cherry was wrong to disrespect OV, but--unlike you or me--will probably NEVER admit that he was mistaken.

Seems to me that sort of remark might have been more applicable to Evgeni "I don't know why he hit me so much" Malkin.

As always: just my opinion...I could be wrong.

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 17, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Kitty, I'm glad someone else pointed that out. Some credit has to be given to NYI. They were hungry to the point of desperation. That, coupled with the fact they have Sim, meant the Caps weren't getting out of that building quietly.

But they won. Those two points don't come with an asterisk or a clause. While I understand the concern, I think it should be pointed out that 1) the team has not been consistently poor - tonight was the exception to the rule, and they still got the win, and 2) we'll all be thankful for these two points come April.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 17, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

WTF, regarding Joe B's professionalism, I was first made aware of his ability to call an even, objective game last year during a Pens/Caps game on Versus. You're right. A real pro.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 17, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what Cherry said about OV to open the season but as a Caps fan, I didn't expect him to score 65 again this season. Not a knock, I love him, but that was a huge year. Does it mean I hoped he wouldn't? Nope. But it's a fair point to make if someone asked me: Will he score 65 again this season?

As for the 50 goals over 14+ seasons to catch Gretzky. Again, not likely, but not at all impossible. I used to marvel at 755 HRs in a career back in the late 80s when the math was almost exactly the same: 50 HRs for 15 years....and then 5 more. It seemed unfathomable. Back then, we were in a 10-15 year run of no one hitting 50 in one season. I don't believe any record (aside from Cy Young's 511 wins) is unbreakable - I'm over that.

AO just turned 23 so after another 13 or 14 years he'd be hanging in at around 38. I don't know most players' ages but I'd say there are some guys in their mid- to late- 30s still racking up some significant goals (a little help from the gang out there). Every season over 50 - through the next 10 years - knocks that many off the requirement at the end of AO's career. His 65 for a LW was a record...never been it has.

His career totals are unpredicatable but I'd imagine he will be up around 800 goals with a chance to go higher. Gretzky's record? How about a 15% chance of breaking it. That's pretty good; and we get to watch it unfold.

Also, remember Mario's numbers. Gretzky's stunning numbers are gettable.

Posted by: saintex | December 17, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Cherry is a xenophobic a-hole

Posted by: Steve_R | December 17, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Capsfanmiss: I said the same thing last night when Steckel broke his stick: "Oh no! Five on three-and-a-half! We always give up a goal! He should just go get a new stick!"

My daughter answered with what Jordan said: "But what about how Laich blocked the shots?"

I said: It's not worth the risk!"

Sure enough, a minute or so later, after which time he could've gotten another stick, Steckel screens Johnson and the puck goes in.

I doubt if they keep statistics 5 on 4, with one the 4 w/o a stick, but the Caps success rate is very low.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 17, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

This is what Gretzky had to say about Ovi last March:

"I think he could score 90 in a season," said the Phoenix Coyotes head coach, who once scored 92 goals in a season, his third in the NHL when he was 21 years old.
Ovechkin has the release and hands that Bossy had. He's got the quickness that Kurri had. And he's got the toughness that Messier had. He's the whole package," said Gretzky, who marvels at the Russians' sheer joy after every goal. Jumping into the glass. Hugging everybody but the Zamboni driver.

"He just loves to score. The thing about scoring goals is some guys enjoy it more than others. That's Ovechkin," said Gretzky, whose Coyotes faced the Oilers on Saturday night. "It's like he wants to keep the puck for every one of them. He's great for the game. He brings excitement to the game."

"It's not like Ovechkin is getting the garbage goals, the seventh, eighth and ninth ones when the game's 6-2, either. He gets the two, three and four when it's 1-1. He gets them at the crucial times.

That's what separates the stars from the superstars."

Posted by: RedRocker1 | December 17, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

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