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Morning Reading List

In case you missed it this weekend, Tom Boswell had a column about the Caps' monster, or as he's more commonly known, Alex Ovechkin.

*The Toronto Sun released it's annual list of the top 10 NHLers this weekend, with Ovechkin coming in as No. 1.

*Carolina defeated Montreal 3-2 in overtime last night off Tuomo Ruutu's goal with just over three minutes remaining in the extra session.

*The Hurricanes are now six points behind the Caps and here are the conference standings after this weekend's games as well.

*The Caps only play two games this holiday week, but to get an extra hockey fix don't forget about the World Junior Championships which begin Dec. 26 in Ottawa. Here is TSN's main page. The Canadians, who defeated Finland 7-3 in an exhibition game last night, are aiming for their fifth championship in a row.

*In something that doesn't always happen for players already in the NHL, Los Angeles gave Oscar Moller permission to play for Sweden.

*In the random category today we have a video of a burger cook off between Donald Brashear, Mike Green and Eric Fehr. Coming soon to a Jumbotron near you.


In the system:
*After having their first game the weekend snowed-out, the Bears snapped a two-game losing streak by defeated the Lowell Devils 4-2 on Saturday.

*Hershey followed up that win with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Lake Erie Monsters yesterday.

*Defensive prospect Joe Finley returned to the ice for North Dakota in the Fighting Sioux's 5-2 win in an exhibition game against the U.S. under-18 team Friday after missing 16 games because of a concussion.

*The Grand Forks Herald also has an audio clip of Finley talking about his return, which you can listen to here.

By Katie Carrera  |  December 22, 2008; 8:29 AM ET
 
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Comments

Caps' pick Stefan della Rovere had a goal (game winner), 2 assists and a couple of big hits in that game. He was pretty much the man of the game. You can watch highlights of that game on the tsn page Katie referred to.

Posted by: binnenreim | December 22, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Katie!

Hard to digest that loss still, especially with Carolina winning.

FYI, they already showed that clip on the jumbotron!

Posted by: cupcrzy | December 22, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

It appears that Nitta-Lucky took all of Philly's luck on Saturday, and there was some redemption on the goal line vs. the Eagles last night.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 22, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Katie, you missed talking about the brawl at the end of the Devils game! Great stuff.

*deep breath* Okay. God Saturday was incredibly depressing, and reading the blogs on Sunday makes me think that most people were as depressed about the Flyers game as I was. I keep telling myself that we were due a stinker, and that the same thing happened to the Pens, and that no matter how well you play, a hot goalie can ruin your day. That it's just one game, and that it's just the karmic price we paid for the charmed life we were living in Montreal.

But damn, did it have to be the Flyers?

Oh well. Deep breath. We played lights out the first half of that game, and only their goalie saved their heinies, because if our D played halfway as badly as theirs did, we'd be ready to send them all down to the minors. :) Yes, we need help in goal for the playoffs. Let's let the front office figure that one out when the time comes, because we're not there yet. Not even close.

Anyone remember this time last year? We were in the basement of the LEAGUE? We're still top of the SE Division right now and we're in a position to chase for that second seed. So, deep breath, and let's focus on the Rangers game. We're far from dead yet, ladies and gentlebeans.

I've got two questions in my mind right now about this game.

(1) The way our skaters played Saturday was fantastic for the most part, and we didn't get anywhere. Are they going to decide that it's futile to give their all and go sloppy on us? If they do, we're sunk. I sure hope they don't decide that, because the skaters were amazing in the first and need to play that way all the time.

(2) Who starts in goal? Always a question after a game like that. The logical choice is Johnson - one bad day does not a bad goalie make - but it's also true that Theodore needs to get back in the saddle and get back up to speed. No, we can't bring Varlamov up yet, and really shouldn't. Playoffs? Maybe. Next season? Assuredly. But he's not quite ready yet, and I think we are stuck with Theodore for the season. Might as well make the best of it. Somehow we're managing despite ourselves, n'est-ce pas?

Posted by: kittypawz | December 22, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Katie!

I'm past that loss. We kicked them all over the ice, and Nittylucky was a beast in the goal. Like I said: he was standing on his head... on pointe... on his fingertips... on his BACKSIDE to make saves. You can't do that forever; sooner or later, someone will score. Unfortunately, it was the next game, not ours, but hey - it's not the end of the world, and we are still - STILL - on the top of the Southeast Division.

Where were we this time last year? Crawling up from the sludge below the bottom.

della Rovere is a good player, and I'm looking forward to watching him develop into a Cap one day. :-)

The Bears' game on Saturday was a lot of fun, and degenerated into a nearly bench-clearing brawl at the end.

Fraser (LOW): Roughing (2 minutes)
Fraser (LOW): Misconduct (10 minutes)
Machesney (HER): Leaving the Crease (2 minutes)
Mink (HER): Slashing (2 minutes)
Mink (HER): Misconduct (10 minutes)
Wellar (HER): Interference (2 minutes)

I'm very surprised only one roughing penalty got handed out for that mess, because, woah. :-)

Had a nice fight a bit earlier on, but Pinizzotto got his butt handed to him by Corrente, who got 2 minutes for roughing on top of the 5 for fighting...

It was a good game. We need to work on the PP up there (0/7), but otherwise - Machesney made a couple of impressive saves... one where everyone lost track of the puck that was right in front of him for a couple of seconds. Luckily, he got it out of there, but SHEESH! Fun stuff, the Bears games!

Oh - and from the previous thread, I am all for going on the next road trip, whenever it is. Sounds like a blast!

Posted by: irockthered | December 22, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town: Not that it does us a whole lot of good. Skins are pretty much out of the playoffs. At least they end at better than .500.

Just. Blah.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 22, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

And oh jeez: Patrice Bergeron is out with a concussion. Sorry to hear that... it was a near center ice collision with Dennis Seidenberg that resulted in Bergeron going face-first into the ice. OWWIES!

Posted by: irockthered | December 22, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I really do think that Niittymaki saved the Flyers' hind ends in that game. I hope their natural arrogance comes through and they start thinking of the Caps as an "easy" team to beat... If we play the way we did in the first half of that game, and their goaltender has even an average night on the 6th, we will slaughter them.

Historically this season, after a bad loss, we come out swinging. The only times we didn't were after bad losses when we were all dinged up. I think we'll keep our hearts intact. The "Monster" will see to that. :-)

Posted by: irockthered | December 22, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone besides me think that Ovechkin should be wearing the C on his jersey?

Posted by: irockthered | December 22, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

What's the latest on Semin? Sorry, have not been reading as much lately!

Posted by: vkova10 | December 22, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

@kittypaws

I was much more satisfied with the Eagles loss, then the Skins win.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 22, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

@irockthered

I was reading up on the Flyers after the game, and quotes from Stevens, and Carter both pointed toward them getting outplayed early, and Nitty being the difference.

Scott Hartnell was the only one with the "We come to play, our place is tough to win....blah..blah...Hartnell didnt give us any credit but Carter and Stevens did.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 22, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

>>>Does anyone besides me think that Ovechkin should be wearing the C on his jersey?

Yes, I do. It is long overdue, IMHO.

Caps will regroup and move on from Saturday's game.

Posted by: sessal | December 22, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

@vkova10 - Have not heard, other than he's hurt thanks to a nasty cross-check that went unpenalized...

@Katie or Tarik - Has the team made any noise about going to the League about that cross-check, and/or lodging a formal complaint about the refereeing in that game? Is there anything they CAN do about it?

Posted by: irockthered | December 22, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town - Hartnell is a Dbag. No if ands or buts about it.

Carter is one of those guys you hate unless he's on your team. Hartnell is a classless piece of crap.

Posted by: goskinsgo | December 22, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

@irockthered

There was also a blatant slash on Brashear at the end of the Flyers game. The refs stepped in before it could start which was probably a good thing. It was Aaron Asham who is 5-11. (What was he thinking?)

Isnt the NHL supposed to crack down on these instigators under the 5 minute mark?

Posted by: SA-Town | December 22, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Hartnell is a jerk.

@SA-Town: All things considered, if one Philly team had to lose, I'd rather it be the Flyers :) But hey, I'll take an Eagles loss too as a little consolation.

@irockthered: Agreed, and I wonder if that is the only other thing we could use. I was watching Bryan Helmer and his role on the team with a good deal of interest during the Saturday Bears game, what he does for the players. (He seems to be a really good C, by the way.) And I thought, who does that for the Caps? That's the person who should be wearing the C. The answer immediately came to mind - Ovi. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the Caps would follow Ovi straight into Hell itself if he asked.

I know about Chris Clark, and the C is his but ... right now, he's not doing that, either because of injury or because he has no room to talk. Ovi's the one really doing the job.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 22, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone besides me think that Ovechkin should be wearing the C on his jersey?

Posted by: irockthered | December 22, 2008 9:11 AM
-----------------------

I think a lot of us feel that way, but I don't think Bruce is going to take it away from Clark. He just doesn't do things that way. It seems to me that it would be up to Clark to offer the C to Ovi.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 22, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I wonder more why people care so much about whether or not Ovechkin is wearing a C or an A. Leaders are leaders, whether they're wearing a C, an A or nothing at all. Do we even know how the Caps choose the letters? Player vote? Coach's choice?

Posted by: koalatek | December 22, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town - I missed the last five minutes, but yes, the NHL is. If they get an "instigator" penalty in the last 5 minutes, it's an automatic suspension, or supposed to be, if I read the rules correctly - and I'm 90% sure I can read legalese well enough to decipher something like that. ;-)

It's rule #47.12 and 47.22:

Instigator in Final Five Minutes of Regulation Time (or Anytime in Overtime) - A player or goalkeeper who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five (5) minutes of regulation time or at any time in overtime shall be assessed an instiagtor minor penalty, a major penalty for fighting, and a game misconduct penalty (see 47.22).

Also, from 47.22: Fines and Suspensions - Instigator in Final Five Minutes of Regulation Time (or Anytime in Overtime) - A player or goalkeeper who is deemed to be the instiagtor of an altercation for the third time in one Regular season shall be suspended for the next two regular season games of his team.

...

A player or goalkeeper who is deemed to be the instiagtor of an altercation in the final five (5) minutes of regulation time or at any time in overtime, shall automatically be suspended for one game. The Director of Hockey Operations will review every such incident and may rescind the suspension based on a number of criteria. The criteria for the review shall include, but not limited to, the score, previous incidents, etc. The length of suspension will double for each subsequent offense. This suspension shall be served in addition to any other automatic suspensions a player may incur for an accumulation of three or more instigator penalties.

When the one-game suspension is imposed, the Coach shall be fined $10,000 - a fine that will double for each subsequent incident.

Posted by: irockthered | December 22, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

@tess2201 - I don't expect Boudreau to pull the C off of Clark's jersey and hand it to Ovechkin, no, but Ovi is acting the part, and Clark has not been for the most part, unfortunately...

@koalatek - I don't know, but it's a matter of perception... the reason people care is that if it looks like the Captain (the "official" Captain) isn't doing his job, then the team is perceived as having poor leadership, even if the real leadership comes from elsewhere. It's like the assistant manager doing the manager's job because the manager's playing online Canasta... It's perception. That's all.

Posted by: irockthered | December 22, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Going off on a tangent here, the buger joint they did that video at is so good. It's crazy to think the guy who owns it was on top chef though.

Posted by: superpaqman | December 22, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town - Regarding "instigator", though... they have to actually assess the penalty in question (Instigator) before the rule really counts.

Was an Instigator penalty assessed on the guy who slashed Brashear (Asham?! What was he thinking?!), or was it just slashing? Or anything at all? *looks it up*

Brash got an Unsportsmanlike Conduct and a 10 minute Misconduct; Asham got a Slashing and a 10 minute Misconduct. No Instigator involved, so no suspension.

One of these days, though, Cote will learn to NOT drop the gloves with Brash, because he gets is arsenic and old lace handed to him every time!

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

@irockthered

There was no instigator called. My point is, how do you get to take a BLATANT whack at Brashear's leg in the last 2 minutes, and not have the league take a look. It was dirty..

Posted by: SA-Town | December 22, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Any way of getting to watch these World Juniors Games on TV or just the internet?

Posted by: lornemyoung | December 22, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town - I wish I knew. The League needs to review some of this schtick, though... and it isn't just the Caps that are getting bad / dirty hits made on them with no penalty called.

Tempted to start a petition... if they start suspending for dangerous hits, maybe people will stop hitting to hurt. Body checks and all that are fine, but some of these stick offenses - the slash on Brash, the cross-check on Semin - those can break bones, and Semin's out for God knows how long because of his injury. That could've broken his neck, and the ref said he was "diving".

WOW, I'm still mad about that... I'm so not watching the clip until I can do it without exploding all over my monitor...

Posted by: irockthered | December 22, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

lornemyoung,
I believe the World Juniors games are being aired on the NHL Network, if you are lucky enough to have it.

Posted by: _Mark | December 22, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

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