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Morning Reading List

On a night when everything seemed stacked against them -- the ever-present injuries to key players, a four-goal deficit and a starting goaltender who allowed three goals on the first five shots he faced in Madison Square Garden -- somehow the Capitals managed to pull out a dramatic 5-4 overtime win over the Rangers and bounce back from Saturday's drubbing in Philadelphia.

*Here's the game from the New York perspective along with the New York Times' look at the relationship between Bruce Boudreau and Alex Ovechkin, as Boudreau made his first trip to Madison Square Garden since his playing days in 1979.

*Mike Gartner might not have been considered a true rookie in his first NHL season, but his team-leading 68 points, 36 goals and plus-15 record helped spark the 27-40-13 Capitals in 1979-80 and gave fans a hope of better days ahead. Mike Vogel continues his series on Gartner here.

*For those who couldn't watch last night's game here are the video highlights. (If you want to avoid recreating the knot in your stomach that came with the first four goals, skip past the first 2 minutes.)

*Team Canada continues to try and ratchet up its intimidation factor before the World Junior Championships begin on Friday with a 7-0 thrashing of Slovakia. NHL.com has a player-by-player breakdown of the Canadian team as well.

*This week's edition of the The Hockey News' Hot List focuses on players who could make a splash at the WJC.

In the system:
*Between call ups and injuries of their own the Bears have been without many regulars from early in the season, but they've still managed to win thanks in part to the timely performances by players like Patrick McNeill, who is tops among AHL defensemen with a plus-15 rating.

*Here are Bear Tracks to help get you ready for Hershey's two-game set this weekend against the Binghamton Senators and Albany River Rats.

*Tim Leone looks back at Mike Emrick's career, including his history with the Bears.

Happy Holidays everyone. I'll be back with a reading list on Friday.

By Katie Carrera  |  December 24, 2008; 7:46 AM ET
 
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Next: Caps Recall Varlamov, Three Others (Updated)

Comments

Ovechkin for MVP! A real character win, Caps; well done. It's always nice to see the Rangers get handed one in their own building; almost as satisfying as the Bruins getting beat.

Posted by: rufusthedog | December 24, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

I think we all learned a lesson last night: Never, EVER count this team out, no matter the score, no matter how sluggish they are looking. I'm guilty for not believing last night. I kept on saying if we did score after the Rangers scored 4, Jose would just let in another 2, but I was so wrong and thank God I was. I think we've all watched this team long enough to know that if they don't make the comeback entirely they won't just lay down and die, they'll fight all the way, and that's why I LOVE THIS TEAM. I will never, ever doubt them again. :D Great game last night. I don't even think I've ever cheered that loud for the Redskins the way I cheered after every Caps goal last night. :D I hope Comcast replays the game so I can watch it again.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 24, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Merry Xmas Tarik. You and all our injured Caps soldiers deserve the 2 day rest.
Thanks for keeping us updated (and giving me something to read to get through my work days)

Posted by: tURBO8 | December 24, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

rachel216,
Well, last nights game was similar to last years playoff run. That Caps can do the unthinkiable... we just have to have faith. We did that with a hurt roster... there is no telling what we can do once the others get healthy.

As long as the Caps have Ovechkin, we always have a chance to win the game.

Posted by: _828 | December 24, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

@rachel216: Amen and well said. Don't stop believing. I turned it off at 2-0 because the defense looked horrid and Jose was hopeless. I turned it back on right at the beginning of the third to see how bad it got, and here we were 4-1, Jose was stopping every puck thrown at him, and Ovi was on fire. I thought ... maybe, just maybe, they'll make a game of it. And they didn't disappoint. Ovi's breakaway nearly had me out of my chair and terrorized my cats. :)

But damn, do we have to go down three or four goals to get that kind of performance out of these guys?

I don't think you guys give enough credit to Theodore on this one, though. He showed us what he is capable of being. Yeah, Boudreau's coaching and Ovi's leadership got us the scoring, but after several horrible games, an injury, and a bad started, somewhere he found the stones to get back in the saddle and turned in a spectacular performance in the last 40 minutes, without which we would have had no chance. Yeah, Ovi led it, but he had to backstop it, and backstop it he did. I'm not a fan of him right now, but credit where credit is due.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 24, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

tarik/katie,
merry christmas and thanks for all the great work. wondering if after games like this, tarik wouldn't mind sharing the gamer he wrote after two periods.

how bad was the ranger d on kozlov's goal? looked like the wiz giving up the lane for a lebron slam.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 24, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

kittypawz,
A win is a win. The Caps have always been like that - make things interesting. I'm the same way, I wish they would just win 6-0 ever night, but that is highly unlikely.
I'm not for or against Jose... I just think, if he has the ability to shutout MTL and play well in the past, then he has the ability to play well in the future. Can't give up hope.

How about Tampa Bay shuting out the Pens... I laughed so hard when I saw the score.

Posted by: _828 | December 24, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

@rachel216

Comcast is replaying the game on CSN at 11:30am today. Link to TV listings here, go Caps:

http://midatlantic.comcastsportsnet.com/pages/tv_listings

Wow, what a game. When they went down 3-0, I started saying "if only". If only, we don't give up a PP goal at the end of the first. If only we go into the 3rd down by 3 not 4. If only we score a goal early in the third, and so on. You can never count this team out.

OV had one of those games where he reminds everyone why should be player the league is promoting, not Crosby. I'm so happy we signed him for life.

And another good game for Kozlov.

Posted by: AMHV2772 | December 24, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

@828: Yeah. A win is a win - could wish we hadn't spotted them the point, though. Ah well.

One thing the rest of the league should take away from this, though - you MUST play a full 60 minutes against the Caps. You cannot give them space, you cannot let up, and you cannot ever assume that any lead is safe.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 24, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

@AMHV2772: That makes me think of a set of comments I read on another SB blog the other day (might have been PPP). Crosby socking - what was his name from Atlanta) the other day - he appeared to be okay, but damn what a low blow. Anyway, someone commented that Crosby seemed to be trying to take the team on his shoulders the way Ovi does, and wasn't succeeding at it.

That gave me little warm happy fuzzies. And yes, I think the conversation about who the best player in the NHL is ended last night.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 24, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

i was just looking at some of the posts about the rangers on the ny post. they are screaming about the coach, gm etc. they are also complaining about gomez/drury.

remember those guys. the big free agents before last season. lots of folks wanted the caps to sign one of those guys. well the rangers have almost $15M invested in those guys through 2012. thats a lot to pay for 16 goals and -15 rating. in fact, they've got $32M tied up in five guys through 2012 (one of them is lundquist, which is nice).

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 24, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I think this quote from Morrisonn says it all (from the NYtimes article)

“Alex, it’s amazing what he can do,” Morrisonn said. “He’s a great leader on the ice. He sparks the team. He believes, so we believe.”

Posted by: superpaqman | December 24, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I was on my way to pre-drink and had to listen to the game on the radio, by the time I parked my car at Tysons, it was 3-0 Rangers. Gross.

Coastal Flats has 2 tv's, when I walked in the Wizrads were on one and the Mizzou/Illinois basketball game was on. It took me almost one full period to convince some guy that Mizzou was getting killed and he should give up and let me watch the Caps.

We switch over, 4-0. He said you guys are getting killed, which was true, but I told him we still have half the game to go. 1 minute later OV scores. 4-1, I told him to watch cause, and these were my exact words, "This is how you make a comeback, your Mizzou team should take notes". Now, I'm a 3 beers into it (one at Coastal, 2 at home), and a shot of GM, I'm not saying I truly believed we would comeback but I definitely had to say something to him because I convinced him to let me watch the TV. He believed that I believed and thats all that mattered at the time.

Start of the 3rd, I missed the goal, but my Mizzou fan didnt as he yelled "Goal Caps". As I was busy downing my 3rd beer at CF, Flash made it 4-2. Now the game has my undivided attention. Now I'm buying the Mizzou fan a beer and I'm trying educate him on the finer points of Caps hockey, Kozzie goal, 4-3.

We both scream, "Yes!"

This is a restaurant, not really a bar.

I noticed we started to get a crowd around the TV. There were these two guys behind us watching the game and cheering on the Caps too, one was a Flyers fan and just wanted the Rangers to loose. I wanted to punch him.

I nearly blew out Mizzou's eardrum when OV scored the tying goal. I also heard several other screams. It is now apparent to Mizzou that I am a clairvoyant. 4 to f-ing 4 bi**hes.

OT.

I count 8 people closely watching the game. I'm borderline in a lather and definitely buzzed. I was suppose to leave for a party a half hour ago, but how could I leave?

I can't even describe how loud we all were when Mo scored in OT. I mean it was loud. I thought they were going to ask us to leave. Game over, they did it again. Our Caps did it again. We have a resilient bunch of kids. And we now have another Caps fan, Mizzou.

Posted by: JSchon | December 24, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

It just hit me - why BB put Laich on the PP point. He was running with 5 forwards on the PP primary unit instead of his usual 4 forwards and a puck-moving D (either Green or Poti). With Poti and Green both out, he might have chosen Jurcina, but Jurcina wasn't having a real great game. So, why not Laich, who is a defensive forward starting to make stabs into D as well? Why not? (Man, what can't this guy do?)

Well, I daresay it worked. I'm thinking we might see Brooksy on the PP more often in the future.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 24, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

@AMHV2772: Thanks! :D

Posted by: rachel216 | December 24, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Great story, JSchon. :)

Posted by: kittypawz | December 24, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

JSchon,

Good story and way to recruit!

I liked Backstrom at the point - he seemed to have done a great job out there as well.

Posted by: _828 | December 24, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

The replays have the "C" on Alex.

Posted by: _828 | December 24, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

ovie was wearing the A.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 24, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Really, they had the dude on NHL on the fly say - "and that is why Alex is the Captain" and it showed a video of him with the "C"...

Posted by: _828 | December 24, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Riddler1 | December 24, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

btw, caps record vs top 7 teams in the east is 7-2-2.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 24, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

So much fun to crush the spirit out of the Rangers.

Posted by: Steve_R | December 24, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

OV definitely had the "C" on.

Posted by: JSchon | December 24, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

JSchon, nice story, but I'm hoping you didn't drive yourself back

Posted by: superpaqman | December 24, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I was playing a pickup game at Kettler when one of the ice technicians (zam guys) came over and told me the Caps just won 5-4 in overtime.

I really need a DVR.

Posted by: _jordan | December 24, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

828, the video must have been from the preseason when OV did wear the C. trust me, last night he wore the A and will for the rest of the season at least.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 24, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

dcsportsfan1,
I hear ya, but it would be odd if they were playing another game, ya know? As far as I'm concerned, he is the teams captain... with or without the "C".

Posted by: _828 | December 24, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon - Ovi was wearing a jersey with an "A" on it in the photo that is posted on the New York Times. It's a very clear shot.

THAT SAID: he may not have been wearing a C, but he sure was acting the part! WOW!

And props - HUGE major props - to Theodore for coming back in and making that critical save on Zherdev's shot. That was an AWESOME save, and proves why Theodore was signed: he *CAN* do it; all he has to do is believe!

Like all of us, Theodore got a lesson in the power of BELIEF last night. I'd say the Peerless Prognosticator got it right!

I am the way, I am the light
I am the dark inside the night
I hear your hopes, I feel your dreams
And in the dark I hear your screams
Don't turn away, Just take my hand
And when you make your final stand
I'll be right there, I'll never leave
All I ask of you... Believe

- Savatage, "Believe"

Posted by: irockthered | December 24, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

That's an awesome story JSchon :)

From the pics on the capitals website I can see OVI, Backstrom AND Bradley wearing the "A".

http://capitals.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=MediaGalleryPlayer&galleryId=9158

Posted by: mauree | December 24, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

@superpaqman

Thanks for the concern, I did manage to eat spinach and artichoke dip and some shrimp during the game and made it to my party aok.

Posted by: JSchon | December 24, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

http://www.nhl.com/ice/gallerylanding.htm?id=7166

2nd Photo, Alex has the "A" on.

Posted by: _828 | December 24, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Honestly, I don't care what letter Ovi has on his jersey. He was the captain out there last night and everyone knows it.

It makes me think about Clark, though. Can he come back and make something special happen?

Posted by: kittypawz | December 24, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I stand corrected, OV was wearing the "A". I'm watching the NHL Fly show they showed him wearing a "C".

Posted by: JSchon | December 24, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I do hope that Clark can come back from this latest injury and be one with the team... It really is all about believing with these guys, and if Clark can just catch it... he'll do all right. I hope he can, because there was obviously something there at one time that made the team give him the big red C on his jersey...

But one thing I know of the Caps: it ain't over 'til it's over, and I believe Clark does have something left in him to contribute. He will do everything he can for this team. Hell, he played hurt for I don't know how long before he had to sit down. Stress fractures aren't something sudden, and they can be asymptomatic until they suddenly just start hurting like crazy.

My confidence in this team is restored. If they can beat the Rangers in their own barn, beat them twice this season - a feat no other team has accomplished! - they can do anything they set their hearts and minds to. And they'll pull Clark up out of the depths with their enthusiasm. :-)

Posted by: irockthered | December 24, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon - He did once in the pre-season, I think.

Posted by: irockthered | December 24, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Ovie will wear the C some day and for a long time. lets not forget that, prior to his recent injury problems, clark had been the consummate captain. leading by example, playing hurt, etc. i for one think it's good that ov is no the captain yet. he doesn't need any additional pressure on him (not that he wouldn't handle it well or relish it). clark should remain the captain so long as he is on the team. then ovie gets to keep it.

more interestingly, i think giving backs the A was very telling. he appears to be a quiet, reserved guy. not someone you would expect to be considered an alternate captain, particularly with guys like bradley on the squad. i think its a great move and honor for a guy who is playing well. i assume the decision about who wears the A on a given night is made by the coaches. anyone know if that is indeed the case?

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 24, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

My question...

How would anyone's confidence be gone with this team. They are 8-2-0 in the last 10 games. They are still in 1st place in the SE division and have been for over a month now. They are winning games when most of their team is hurt. When was the confidence lost?

I'm just confused about how people don't believe... Did people just forget that the Caps had to win the last 14 games of the regular season to make the playoffs? And they did that... Anything is possible... especially with the best player in the world. I guess I am just confused as to why people would lose faith.

Posted by: _828 | December 24, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I think everyone is getting confused because there was a still photo on NHL on the Fly last night that had OV wearing a C. It must have been from preseason. During the autograph session at Six Flags OV was wearing a C on his jersey. I congratulated him but he was quick to say that he wasn't the Captain. Anyhow, he should be. He is an assistant though and when we assign assistants on our team they are selected because they are respected and set the example as well.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 24, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Oh, by the way, after I saw the still photo on NHL on the the fly I got back on the DVR and tried to find out what OV was wearing. I'll be honest with you, he was flying around so much last night that it took a long time for me to find a piece of film where I could find the A. Looks like Green's partner wants to compete for the the nickname "game over." Well, maybe not, but good for Shawn.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 24, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Just talked to a co-worker who is a big Penguins fan. I said "you were watching the wrong game last night." He said "The Penguins suck this year. Other than Crosby and Malkinm, we've got nothing. Our defense is terrible. Our only tough guys are Goddard and Matt Cooke, and Cooke gets beat every time."

Posted by: tess2201 | December 24, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I'm really not trying to be a downer when I say this - as much as this was great, we cannot spot 3- and 4- goal leads and expect to be a Cup contender. Yes, we've got the heart to come back and win in the regular season, but the Rangers let up. They didn't finish the job. Philly did, and that was the difference. They were ready and willing to utterly crush us - the Rangers were not. Expect that if we pull this kind of crap in the playoffs, we will get crushed like we did on Saturday.

Thrilling, yeah, a character win, definitely, but it's not something we can afford to keep doing. We've got to grab the lead early and never look back and never let up. THAT is how we get to the top.

Say I'm a naysayer, say I'm rushing to the Cup, say what you want. I'm a competitor and I believe in this team. If we could just get healthy and solve the goaltending issue, we could have it all. I really believe that. We can take anybody. But in order to do that, we've got to start thinking like a winning team. We've been pounded into the dirt for so long that I don't know if we know how to think like winners.

Ovi does. Boudreau does. And they're going to have to teach everyone else to think like a team that will win it all. If they can do that, then we could go all the way.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 24, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

_828 - Perhaps "restored" is the wrong word, and "renewed" would be better. I was worried about last night; I admit it. Especially when I heard Theodore was starting. My confidence was, I confess, not there - and I have eaten of the grilled crow and liked it.

Every time I start doubting the team's ability to do something, they prove me wrong, and I couldn't be happier!

Posted by: irockthered | December 24, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

@tess

Other than Crosby and Malkin

I watched the last 3 games of the Pens (except yesterday). Those two didn't show much in any of them. Yesterday the Pens were outshot 29-15... at their home... from TB!!! And they'll probably lose friday in NJ. Not looking good for the Pens fans... *insert evil laugh here*

Posted by: mauree | December 24, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

That said, kittypawz is right about one thing: The team has to THINK like winners to BE winners. Ovi and Boudreau do, and it seems to be infectious. Once the rest of the team catches it - once they start bringing it to every game - THEN we will be the team I know in my heart of hearts we can be.

This team CAN win Lord Stanley's cup.

And I'm not gonna say "maybe not this year," because I think they can do it.

If they bring their A-game all 60 minutes of every game, if they get healthy and stay that way, if they stay out of the penalty box - which, compared to most of the rest of the NHL, they have done a wonderful job of doing - then they can do it. They WILL do it. :-)

Posted by: irockthered | December 24, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

kittypaws,

"I'm really not trying to be a downer when I say this - as much as this was great, we cannot spot 3- and 4- goal leads and expect to be a Cup contender."

Seriously? Honestly? I will answer that question when the WHOLE Caps team is back. When 60% of our offensive power is hurt and 60% of our defense is hurt... you really can't make comments like that until the whole team is healthy. If this is the way it's going to be like during the playoffs, Semin and Green hurt, then so be it. But, I serously doubt that.

I think the Caps are doing one heck of a job while the majority of the Caps are injured.

Posted by: _828 | December 24, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Check out the standings. Pens 4th in the Atl, just makes me smile.

Posted by: Steve_R | December 24, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm a STH and will be at Verizon on Friday and Sunday but I noticed the Bears are home on Saturday. At the risk of my wife lighting me up I'm thinkin'...ROAD TRIP. Are any of you connected with STH to the Bears that may be looking at selling their Saturday tickets because they'll be out of town for the Christmas holiday. If so, I could pay to take those tickets off your hands.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 24, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

irockthered,

No worries, I am just trying to get people to believe. Everyone is entitled to their opinin. This team will disappoint you and they will make you happy - that's just being a Caps fan. Remember that one article that had a Caps fan tell their son or another younger Caps fan on how they will be disappointed and how they will be happy. Ahh, I forgot what article - it was last year... such a good one.

Either way, the Caps are sitting really good considering how many injuries we have had. That is a good sign! Most teams would have keelled over already. I don't even know if 'keelled' is a word!

Posted by: _828 | December 24, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

@kittypaws

Its a long season, there are ebbs and flows throughout. We aren't healthy. At some point we will be. This team has done an amazing job with all the players out. Relax. We are one of top 8 teams in the league and we still haven't played our best hockey.

Posted by: JSchon | December 24, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

@mauree - It's those new powder blue jerseys. Crosby and Malkin look good in them. The rest of the guys? Not so much... ;-)

*grins evilly*

I still need to design that perfume bottle for "Sulky by Cindy..." ;-) I think I'll make it powder blue...

Posted by: irockthered | December 24, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

kittypawz,

I agree 100%. That doesn't mean we're nay-sayers.

I too want the cup right now: this team can do it if they pull it together. I can't be too patient: who knows what will happen next year, or a few years from now? Not always a team re-build results in the Cup. The skill is there to have it THIS year, or next, and that's when I want it, with the spirit that I'll take anything good, even if the Cup doesn't come.

Posted by: mauree | December 24, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

oo7:
Dig that catchy tune!

I did not change the channel (I missed the first half of the game; I did not want to miss any more). I knew they could come back (they've done it before!), but I was not convinced they would. Regardless, I never give up on our boys. It makes my DH crazy - whether at the game or watching on TV, I don't stop watching until it's over (Mr. Boo, on the other hand, is half way out the door). That was a good one ... now let's just hope they can do it at home this weekend without the cardiac arrest part!!

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 24, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I don't know Boo, the cardiac arrest spice adds that particular flavor to victory... *shops online for Bypass Surgery*

Posted by: mauree | December 24, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I turn the game on at the first intermission only to see that my man JT is gettin owned.

But, I refused to turn the game off and was rewarded with a spectacular come back on the road.

Ovie definitely deserves the "C", his effort was amazing.

Giroux's second breakaway attempt seemed pretty weak to me (compared to Callahan's) anyone else agree?

Thank you Caps for the early Christmas present!

Posted by: CapManJ | December 24, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

@CapManJ: I agree with your assessment of Giroux's attempt. If memory serves with the two he had last night, that makes a total of 3 since he's been in the bigs. He hasn't buried any of them. As soon as he missed I yelled he's not ready for the show. Of course my dog was the only one that heard since my family was out doing other things.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 24, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

and that performance last night by Ovie is why he is the MVP last year and he should be hands down the front runner this year. The kid is a dirty dog.


He was wearing an "A" last night, but I did see the NHL on the Fly wear it was a picture of him with the 'C"

Posted by: _stevo | December 24, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Kittypawz and Mauree. The Caps are a great team that can beat ANYONE. I think they'll prove that when they host and crush the Philthy Flyers on 1/5 (or thereabouts). The talent is there; the zeal is there; the system is there; the organization is scary deep. The only two things lacking right now are health and a consistent netminder. The team will get better. The goaltending is the big issue. BJ has health problems; JT has talent but is a head case; Varly is young and inexperienced. BJ can get healthy; JT can get his head straight; Varly can get experienced. I think by the playoffs, this team gels in a big way and a goalie asserts himself. I know it'll be fun to watch the development.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | December 24, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

JSchon - enjoyed the story - but why would any bar / restaurant not have the game on to begin with? The wizards are pathetic (not to mention its the nba) and the caps are the talk of the town. Every time I post on here I say this, but lets all sit back and enjoy the ride because this team is special!

Posted by: capsfansince74 | December 24, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

@828, JSchon: Absolutely no argument that these guys are doing an amazing job considering the number of injuries. We've taken an injury hit that would have destroyed most teams' seasons. Full credit goes to BB, to Bob Woods, to Doug Yingst, to GMGM, and last but not least to Ted Leonsis for building an organization that is in a position to contend for years to come. We're so deep it's ridiculous, and the organization passed an absolutely brutal test of its depth so far this season. There're probably a lot of other organizations who are looking at us with unfettered envy.

I completely believe that we are going to get healthy and we are going to tear the league up when we do if we can just get our goaltending straightened out. But, the mindset begins now. A winner doesn't make excuses. A winner doesn't give up and say "too many injuries". Quitters never win and winners never quit. After last night, the guys know that deep down in their souls. Hell, most of them knew that already and needed the reminder.

We really dodged a bullet last night, more than I think you realize. We almost fell into a mental "we're screwed" trap last night, and that trap is DEADLY for a team. Ovi and Boudreau pulled our guys out of that trap by sheer force of will, and the Rangers let us do it. Other teams like Philly and Boston will not let us do that. We need to avoid falling into that mental trap in the first place if we want to succeed in March and April and in the playoffs.

That is my point - we've got to avoid that mental trap. I know we can, but injuries or not, we've got the manpower to fill in and to succeed. There is no doubt in my mind of that. Yes, they're doing a great job, but that mental trap almost killed us last night, and it's a bullet we've got to dodge in the future.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 24, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

oo7:
Dig that catchy tune!

Thanks Boo!
I was watching the game while wrapping gifts and putting together kids toys (stupid allen wrench; just let me use my electric screwdriver damnit!)I started singing that little song during the first intermission.
That said, I never change the channel. Ever.

Anyway, I didn't think Theo was the problem. I felt bad for him actually, especially when he got pulled. And then Ovechkin did what I've only seen Ovie do. Sure, Mario and Gretzky did amazing things, and I remember hating and loving Mario for it, but no one has ever done it like Ovechkin. He's a walking disaster, he's a demolition man (I put that song on at one point, because it was like that). Merry Christmas, Mr. Ovechkin. THank you. Ovie is Santa Claus.

FOr those who want to sing a little tune today:

Here comes Varlamov, here comes Varlamov,
right down capital lane
The futures shining brighter and brighter
after every save
No more heartache No more headache
No staring up at the lights
We'll all see what he can bring cause Varlamov comes tonight.

Happy Holidays!

Posted by: oo7 | December 24, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

_828 - it's "keeled", but yes, it is a word. It's a nautical term. ;-)

And yeah - totally agreed. Between the injuries and now illnesses, this team is AMAZING with what they can do. And when they're healthy... well, let's just say if the team is all healthy and skating by February-March time frame... look out!

Posted by: irockthered | December 24, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Observations from last nights game.

Fantastic comeback by Caps. This time I wasn't surprised & had no thoughts about turning off the game.

Game within the game. I found out why the Rags are free falling in spite of still being in 2nd place in the east. Without their fast start or 8-1 record in shootouts, they would be where they will end up at the end of the season---fighting for a playoff spot & probably not making it. The only way they will make it , is because of Lundquist. In spite of their 4-0 lead early on in the game, i saw NOTHING to impress me about them.

Posted by: sidehillman | December 24, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

JSchon - Great story and way to persevere!

I still shake my head at AO's crashing of the net. It should be highlight reel stuff, but I doubt it will be aired. Pushing 2 defenders through the paint, getting the puck and taking a shot? No one does that! No one except AO now.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 24, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Another really important milestone for the Caps. They pulled out a tough win in a hostile arena ON THE ROAD. The Caps are dominant at home, but iffy on the road so far. Winning a character game away from the phone booth will give this team the confidence it needs to play in the playoffs.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | December 24, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

@Kittypaws

Sigh...

Man, you are too wrapped up into this. None of us are in the locker room before or after the game. We aren't in meetings or the flights to away games. We certainly arent playing on 2nd line or the penalty kill.

I believe in your passion for the Caps, I have it too. But all I'm saying is that we need to relax. Don't invest so much emotion into any one loss or win or even period of the game during the regular season.

Save it for the playoffs when we are the #2 seed and we host the PENS for a best of 7.

This team is alright. We have OV and BB and soon we will have Semin, Green, Fedorov, Poti, Clark and Schultz. I hope not Erskine (I kid, kind of).

Posted by: JSchon | December 24, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Re: Theodore - After Theo got put back in last night, knowing he had no choice but to perform, he found his legs and came out as the goaltender we're paying him to be. All he needs is to believe in himself. I think we need to stop crunching on him. Lose the "Threeormore" nickname! The man's confidence has been heading towards shattered lately, and that is a bad trap for a goaltender to be in.

We've seen what making just ONE GOOD SAVE can and will do for his confidence. And from seeing that, I know he has the ability to be the goaltender we need him to be, IF he believes himself capable of it.

If we believe, he'll believe. One thing I've seen from the fans is that we are, as a whole, very quick to turn on anyone who isn't perfect - or what our perception of perfect should be. We give out praise - usually - when it's deserved, but we heap scorn too.

So let's give Ovi a bit of a hand with carrying the team. The team has said that the fans in the Phone Booth are the 7th man on the ice. A little confidence goes a LONG way with these guys. One good save, one lucky goal, and you saw what they could do with it if they started running like hell.

We can do this. Let's all remember that our team is made up of elite athletes, who also happen to be human beings. They have tremendous ability, and human failings like all of us. And the more we encourage them, the more they will believe in themselves.

The team got a HUGE shot in the confidence last night. And after the first frame, Theodore went 19/20 for a SV% of 0.95. THAT is what we're paying him for!

LET'S GO, CAPS!!!

Posted by: irockthered | December 24, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

@GregS - I actually hit rewind on that play by OV because I couldnt believe it. He drives the net, leaves the puck for just a second, runs two guys, than gets the puck back and puts a nice shot on goal. If that one went in, you could have added it to his high-light reel goals.

He amazes me every single night.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | December 24, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon - Kitty's right, though. The "we're screwed" mind trap is what we need to avoid. We've seen it happen more than once this season, most notably and recently against the Flyers.

Caps Hockey is 60% skill, 35% heart and 5% luck. When the skill is there, but the heart isn't, we lose. When the heart is there, but the skill isn't... we lose. But if we have both, we are unstoppable. Just unstoppable.

Posted by: irockthered | December 24, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I saw that too Greg S. @ capfansince74...

That was sick and I had never seen it before.

I didn't even know how to explain it last night, I just said did you see that.

Posted by: JSchon | December 24, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

mauree:
Let me know where you find that online - we should all have it under the tree this year!! ;-)

oo7:
I will be singing that all day!! :-) Merry Christmas!!

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 24, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

@Kittypaws

Same as Jschon...

You can't forece a square peg into a circle hole. Things will happen. I am not worried about a 'mind trap'... if that were the case, the Caps would have failed a long time ago... especially after the 5-0 loss to Buffalo or the 7-4 loss against the Atlanta Thrashers. This is a long season, things that are happening now, may not be happening in the future. Take a look at Philly and how they lost the first 6 games they played.

Is San Jose a cup contender? They got beat 6-0 to Detroit

Is Detroit a cup contender? They spotted 3 goals to the Pens in the 3rd period and lost in OT.

Is Pittsburg a cup contender? They just got shut out by the worst team in the league.

Things happen and right now, we are winning with AHLers...

There is no point in stressing about the future as the only constant is change.

Posted by: _828 | December 24, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

ahh yes _828


thank you for mentioning that the penguins did get shutout by tampa bay. That capped off a nice little evening

Posted by: _stevo | December 24, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

@irockthered

Fine. I look at the league and see us with the 6th best record. 8-2 last 10. 13-1-1 at home. Our injuries. 8 points up on CAR. Us with a 10-3-2 vs current playoff teams and smile.

Posted by: JSchon | December 24, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

The "we're screwed" mind trap

I guess the Caps showed their fans nothing when they were the worst team in the league last year with 6 wins.

Posted by: _828 | December 24, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Also, being injured is not an excuse for failure... it's my excuse for our success. Had we not been injured, who knows, I bet would have have at least 5 more points... 5 points minimum. So, that would make us tied with the Red Wings for the 3rd best record in the NHL.

Posted by: _828 | December 24, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone read that NY Times artcile? It's great!! Keep in mind that it's in the NY TIMES, not the Post (or the WA Times); it certainly does not read like an article that is in another team's paper. That's some serious props!! Here's the link in case you missed it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/24/sports/hockey/24rangers.html?_r=1&ref=hockey

RE: Ovie wearing the C, does it really matter?!? He is clearly a leader on and off the ice. Olie was the same way - he was looked at as the team's leader even though he could not wear the C; the same thing is true with Ovie. The difference is that Ovie's time will come. We (and the Caps) have more important things to worry about right now - that will resolve itself eventually.

BTW, is anyone else surprised that McNeill is not called up when Brash is out?

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 24, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Oops - typo! Maybe I can get a spell-checker for Christmas?

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 24, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I'm with irockthered, let's lose that Theo nick, he's our goalie for crying out loud.

Posted by: mauree | December 24, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, i rewound that ovechkin net crash a few times. He let the puck drift, hit the guys out of the way, and then took the shot. He's a demolition man, I'm telling you. I think Clark should just paste the C on his chest. I mean, who's kidding who? We all know it, they all know it, the whole league knows it. Stamp that C on his chest. There is no better leader in the NHL, and no better hero.


Posted by: oo7 | December 24, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

That move was impressive by Ov.

It's going to be fun to watch when everybody is healthy.

Posted by: Steve_R | December 24, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, I can not relinquish the 'threeormore' nickname until he stops giving up three or more.

Posted by: rdy4all2000 | December 24, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Hello all! Not enough time to read all the posts, but I went to the game last night and here is my take.

For the most part, the fans were pretty decent with me. They gave me a bit of mocking when it was 4-0, but it is expected. The guy behind was an idiot though. Kept calling OV a goon and a cry baby after he got hit. I turned around after the tieing goal to say "not bad for a goon, after all, you paid $200 to see this MVP goon in action".

I was about to leave after the second period, but decided to stay because my 5 year old was having a good time with his cotton candy and the Caps got one goal. I figured if they got one early enough, there could be a chance.

The silence after the OT winner was a beautiful thing to hear. Several Caps fans where in attendance and you could hear them whooping it up.

Seeing the boys fall over each other after the winner was a reminder of how young and fun this team is. Reminded me of last spring.

This was an awesome game and I am thrilled to say I was there.

Game notes: you could feel it in the stands how much OV took this game over. After Flash scored the goal to make it 4-2 he was getting everyone on the bench so revved up.

He is the MVP!!

We made a sign for Alex that read Merry Christmas, Alex in Russian. My son held it up throughout warm ups and Alex through him a puck. My son was so lit up with excitement, it was unbelievable. Alex is a true joy!

Let's go Caps and Happy Holidays to everyone!

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | December 24, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

15 home games played so far, 20 road.
1 5 game homestand and 2 4 game homestands. No more west coast trips. 1 more long road trip 7 out 8 road games that include dates with NSH, PHI, ATL, FLA, TB, CAR and TOR.

A very favorable rest of the season schedule.

Posted by: JSchon | December 24, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Sombrero Guy, looks like other sombreros have infiltrated the hockey universe

http://capitals.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?catid=2&id=28827

Posted by: superpaqman | December 24, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

@Jschon

And then after he drives the net and takes the shot the defenseman takes a shot at him and Ov stands up and gives him a little kiss on the chin. What a player, I rewound it a few times to show my wife, she got annoyed after the third or forth time. Hahaha

Posted by: ludeman95 | December 24, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

CTCapsPhan:
Awh! That's such a cool story! What a great idea - I'm so glad it paid off for your son (and the comeback win must have been icing on the cake!?!). Merry Christmas, eh? :-)

oo7:
Does it REALLY matter?!?

mauree/irockthered:
But you have to admit, it is both a clever and accurate nickname?!? Just sayin' ... :-X

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 24, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Great comeback win, and especially by the top line who was defensively weak to start the game. They didn't cover anyone in the first 2 periods but they came thru offensively.

Alzner didn't have a good game last night, he looked intimidated. His pairing was a -3 but it could have been a -5. There were two pointblank saves by our goalie where Alzner was caught out of position.

imo Fehr and Steckel had strong games too and hopefully Giroux starts buring some of these chances or he'll find himself back out of the lineup when it gets healthy

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 24, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Alright all, heading out from work.

Everyone have a safe and Merry Christmas. Hopefully Santa will leave a lil something under the tree for the game against the Sabres.

Posted by: _828 | December 24, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Boo, I don't know how the accuracy can be disputed.

Posted by: Steve_R | December 24, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

oops!

Happy Holidays!

Posted by: _828 | December 24, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Have a good one 828, Merry Christmas to you as well.

cstanton, I think that's the first post of yours that doesn't somewhere have in it that Green sucks.

Posted by: Steve_R | December 24, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Steve:
Exactly ... you always were the voice of reason! ;-)

superpaqman:
That's pretty funny! Looks like Sombrero has some competition!

ludeman95:
Did I miss something? Ovie kissed who?

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 24, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Boo,

he's our goalie though, and deserve respect, especially since he doesn't seem arrogant, and he does try. Besides, many of those goals were not his fault.

Posted by: mauree | December 24, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Mauree,

Was it rude to point out that Olie had a gaping 5 hole last year?

I have a deal for you: when Jose gets his GAA South of 3.0 I'll join you in your effort to put the kabosh on the three'or'more nick name, but until then it's fair.

Posted by: Steve_R | December 24, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

No, not a kiss literaly, kissed him on the chin with his fist. Haha, sorry for the confusion.

Posted by: ludeman95 | December 24, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I am hugely excited about this team and all of the prospects in the pipeline. Great teams win the games they're supposed to, and many of the ones they're not. The NYR have skated 24 players this year so far; we've skated 34 give or take a few.

And we're winning games.

The Cardiac Caps are back! Hang on tight, boys and girls. It's gonna be one helluva ride!

Posted by: Greg S. | December 24, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the idea that some of the goals are not the fault of JT as he has often been put in bad situations by the Caps defense. Al Koken showed during the post game show last night how the Caps defense was out of position for the first goals in both the Flyers and Rangers games - and that the forwards were often not covering down on open players as well.

Posted by: MReilly9 | December 24, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Guys. Of course we can come back. We've shown that. Many times. I have absolute faith on our ability to come back from almost anything. But ... if we come in with that killer instinct and winning attitude from the word "go", it never has to get that far! Don't you see? The desperation comebacks are great, and this team has both the heart and the skill to do it, but isn't it better to start on top and stay there? That's all I'm saying is that we can, injuries or not, and it takes that mindset to stay there. It almost got destroyed in Philly, and THAT is what we've got to avoid.

That's all I'm saying, guys.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 24, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

mauree:
I beleive that everyone deserves respect - you don't have to earn it with me, but you can lose it (i.e. I'll give anyone the benefit of the doubt from the get go). At this point, do you believe that the fans and the team respect Jose? Did you see the way this board exploded when it was announced that he would start last night? I have to say, there were some pretty amazing blocks in that game (really above and beyond type efforts) and it made me wonder if the guys don't trust him to stop shots; those blocks were almost desperate. I agree Jose is not arrogant, but if he was it would be laughable. You know me, I tend to defend players (and people on this board :-)) but Jose has had a lot of time to prove himself and he has been incredibly inconsistent at best. I'm finding it difficult to still be in his corner and not think about the alternatives. Defending Olie was one thing ... I am having a hard time STILL defending Jose. I really hate to say it, but that's how I feel. Sorry. :-(

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 24, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

It's not rude to point out one's weaknesses but I don't recall anybody name-calling Olie. Anyhow, I respect you guys opinions. I feel like supporting Theo for some reason :D

Posted by: mauree | December 24, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

@Greg S.: Amen, that's exactly what I'm saying. This is exciting, we can do it, if we can keep the faith and not let a bunch of bullies drag us down.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 24, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Happy holidays to all. Keep it safe and joyous. Do everyone a favor and help someone less fortunate than we are. We're all in this together.

Special thanks to Tarik and Katie. You guys are THE best!

Posted by: Greg S. | December 24, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Yeah Happy Holidays to all!

Posted by: mauree | December 24, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

mauree:
With all due respect, ARE YOU KIDDING?!? Olie was SLAUGHTERED here last season!! Do I have to rattle off the names and commentary?!?

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 24, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

lol calm down I said name-calling. Olie was slaughtered here all right.

Posted by: mauree | December 24, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Wow, what a come back! Given all the injuries and all the road games (most in the NHL at this point I believe), it is amazing that the Caps record is as good as it is. Sure, the goaltending is a big concern, but one thing is for sure and that is that character isn't.

Posted by: poguesmahone | December 24, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

re: names for Theodore. I guess I'm getting soft in my old age, but the people who know us can always come up with accurate nicknames that we would rather they keep silent. I'll stick with The Beaver for now.

Posted by: uncatim | December 24, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Boo, you want to start with keef?

Posted by: Steve_R | December 24, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I see no need to call Jose names, but I also see no need to bust chops when other people do. His play has earned the chop busting.

Posted by: Steve_R | December 24, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh I'm calm, doggoneit! :-) And this is nothing personal - you know I think mauree rocks. But he was called names (ex: Oldzig). Frankly, he was beaten up more than Jose has been (talk about deserving a little respect). It was ugly. (Steve - back me up here, buddy!)

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 24, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Okay, guys. How long before we start seeing cheef? Any bets?

Happy holidays to all, and here's to another flying win on Friday!

And absolutely nothing in this world would be more satisfying than to absolutely crush the Flyers in our barn on the 6th.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 24, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Steve:
LOL! What are you talking about? :-P

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 24, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

This should have made the "reading" list too... Nice feature on Brooks Laich:


http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98645807

Posted by: chrisketane | December 24, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Ah gee. I wasn't busting anybody's chops -- especially not Boo!. Just stating my personal preference for the caps. I am thrilled to trash other teams, their players, and a maggot named jagr. When JT deserves more from most people who post here, he'll get it.

Posted by: uncatim | December 24, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Boo, I think it was keef (or finn) who always commented that Olie was like an axe murder swinging his stick around, called him a maniac etc etc.

Posted by: Steve_R | December 24, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I personally liked

Holie the Goalie

Posted by: rdy4all2000 | December 24, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Tim:
No worries. I don't tend to resort to name calling either (although I think the name in question is both clever and accurate), and I also like the name the Beaver. :-) (Speaking of, what's the matter with the Beaver? ;-)) Somehow that exchange ended up being about Olie, so I was just sayin' ...

Steve:
Oh yes - that's right! Now that you mention it, what ever happened to keef?

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 24, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Oh, that name is definitely both clever and accurate, unfortunately. It just makes me regret my smirk.

And Boo! is also right about Olie -- it is hard to remember anyone so thoroughly trashed for so long on this blog.

I had forgotten about both keef and Finn.

Posted by: uncatim | December 24, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

@Boo,

ok I was wrong :) they did called Olie names (although I don't recall one in particular used by many people, as Theo's) ... well it wasn't cool then, and it's not cool now :D

yeah I remember keef, where is he?

Posted by: mauree | December 24, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

mauree:
With a little help from my friends, have I made my point? :-)

Boy, I feel like GrinchBoo. Enough of that - Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Peace on Earth and Big Wins to all Caps!! See ya at the booth.

-Boo!

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 24, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

You too, Boo!. All the best. I'll have a stiff holiday beverage for you. And best wishes to all my other fellow posters, but I can't drink for all of you.

Posted by: uncatim | December 24, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Me me happy the Caps won. Could NOT believe it the way they played in the beginning.

I finally have an issue with the Post. I haven't complained before to my recolection (about this) but the Caps come back from 4 goals down to the #2 ranked team in the conference and win in OT. THe Post editors thought the following stories were more important:

1. an overpaid baseball player goes to the yankees. The worst team in baseball loses out. (two stories)
2. The dunbar girls have to get up early to train for whatever sport they participate in.

Tarik was given 1/4 of a page total for the story. That is unaccepatable!

bah humbug!

Posted by: Leeguru | December 24, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

it doesn't make any difference what we call Joe-Say. i just want whoever is in net to stop the first or second shot. i wonder what the record is for allowing the most goals on the first shot for a season is? johnson has easily been the best so far. TheOdore (get it - sometimes he stinks) shouldn't get much more time to get his act together - 40 minutes of good play won't win in the nhl - it needs to be for the full 60. the reality is - he's not going anywhere anytime soon - he is a cap and i'll root for him to do well and be disappointed when he doesn't. just as i did when we were the doormat of the SE div.

Posted by: kdwiedel | December 24, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Loved the game last night for sure. So much so that I'm watching the replay at home while "working". At some point in the second period last night, a 5-4 result for the Caps crossed my mind, an unusual thought for such a fatalist as myself. But when I think back on why I thought this, it's because the team was actually playing pretty well. I think the Caps controlled most of the game but the Rangers had a few good plays that they cashed in on and the Caps didn't. They also had a few fortunate bounces and the Caps hadn't. And Lundqvist was stopping everything and JT wasn't. The same thing happened in Philly on Saturday. But I know I'm not saying anything new for those of you who watched the same game I did.

But think of this, had the Rangers scored the OT winner, this game would have been a mirror copy of the Caps/Islanders game last week. In that game, the Caps got the early lead, tried to sit on it and the Isles continued working and the play started to tilt in their favor.

Games like this always remind of a few things: 1) rarely does the same team control play in all three periods of a game, 2) it is not uncommon for teams to control the overall play but get down on the scoreboard, 3) there's a big difference between bad overall play and a bad play or two.

IMHO the missing component right now is in the net. A confident and solid goalie makes for confident defenders, defenders that stand up forwards at the blueline and look to make controlled breakouts and make smart decisions about pinching in the offensive zone. What I saw early last night was some tentative defensive play, resulting in a 4 goal deficit. Once the Rangers took their foot off the pedal, the Caps were able to get out of their zone a little more easily and the forwards began to maintain puck possession in the offensive zone. With more possession and more chances, came more confidence, eventually resulting in more goals. JT kept them in it with some huge saves after the game's midway point.

For sure this game was not a recipe for how to continue to win throughout the rest of the season but it did reveal the many ingredients the Caps have that make them so potentially good. Solid, consistent goaltending and a healthy starting roster is what is needed to be successful as the season progresses. We'll just have to wait and see how this book ends but it certainly is an exciting read.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | December 24, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Not that it matters to anyone else but me, I am glad to hear that there were other people who saw the "C" on OV in a NHL On The Fly clip.
Maybe Tarik can write about it. NHL On The Fly should recognize the error, otherwise, their reporting will forever be questioned. And if we, the ones who saw it, are wrong then we should check into the nearest mental institution where they serve a good cold ale.

Wishes to everyone for a happy holyday.

Posted by: opita | December 24, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

JT is still trying to get used to playing with sub-par defense, he's bound to get better give the man a break.

Posted by: CapManJ | December 24, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

"Okay, guys. How long before we start seeing cheef? Any bets?"

I'm pretty sure (about 95%) that Cheef is my roommate. I cannot confirm this, but I would bet on it. If that's the case- he is gone until Monday morning with no (or limited) internet access.

Posted by: Fro_ | December 24, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

@Fro_

You live in Cheef parents basement?

Posted by: JSchon | December 24, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Posted by: CodePoetry | December 24, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Wow Leeguru,
When you started your last post with "me me" I almost skipped it thinking it was windy.

Tarik, Katie, and everyone else have a Merry Christmas! For those that want to be offended by that, it is meant to be the warmest and cheeriest greeting and well wish that I can give in this wonderful season.

Posted by: _Mark | December 24, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Protect the easily offended and ban everything (insert sarcasm)

Posted by: CapManJ | December 24, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

@Fro_: Short-sheet his bed for us. :)

Posted by: kittypawz | December 24, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

i'm watching the replay right now (Kozlov just scored to make it 4-3) and I have to say Backs stick handling is right up there with Ovie and Semin, that guy has incredible hands and vision. I even saw him dole out some hits.

Posted by: Moose33 | December 24, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

As I'm watching, I also want to add there are still way too many cute passes in our defensive zones that results in scoring oppotunities for the other team...ovie just scored, can't get enough of that goal.

Posted by: Moose33 | December 24, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"You live in Cheef parents basement?"

Best post of the day. Well done JSchon.

Posted by: Steve_R | December 24, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

(Repost from previous thread)

Though I'm relatively new to hockey (didn't start following until my late 20's; didn't pick up a stick or attend an NHL game until my 30's; didn't play organized hockey until age 38), I have seen a fair number of games that might best be described as manic-depressive in nature.

In terms of rollercoasters, I'd have to say this one takes the cake.


Only 1 word to say on last night's win...


WOW.


Think I'll go to practice Friday. Anybody know how to get KCI from Tyson's?...or just tell me the address and I'll MapQuest it from my house.

Happy Holidays everyone!

^

Das Rhino


Posted by: Rhino40 | December 24, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Fro_

Really? Your roommate is an insecure, bragging 13-year-old? Tell me -- is he also secretly windjammer? :)

JSchon and kittypawz -- LOL!

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | December 24, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

fanohock1,
If you are still looking for Hershey tickets, shoot me an email at jmu.capsgirl. at Gmail. I'll give you the email of the guy I got mine from.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 24, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

@Fro - Is your roommate related to "Sluggo" the former caps equipment manager?

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 24, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

@Opita
I watched some of the NHL on the fly and I didn't see any replays with a C on Ov's jersey but I did hear them say something along the lines of " that's why he's the captain of this team, because he plays like it" Dont know where they got that from.

Posted by: ludeman95 | December 24, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

@Rhino

66E
exit 71 Glebe Rd/Fairfax Dr
make a right onto Glebe Rd (second light)
at the second light make a left into Ballston Common Mall...

KCI is located ontop of the parking garage.

Try to park on the top level by taking the circular ramp all the way up.

Posted by: JSchon | December 24, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so who here is planning on going to Friday's morning skate? I know I am - living outside of Baltimore as I do, I don't get out there that often. I love government holidays :)

@Moose33: I know, right? I have a fan video that is slowly taking shape in my head. I'm looking for pieces of it, and I think - nah, screw it, it does - that goal goes somewhere in that video. That's a season highlight right there.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 24, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Rhino, Kitty,
I may just see you there as well. A nice start to the day watching the guys at the morning skate to get ready for Friday night. With it being an optional skate (I think) after a couple days off, I would guess that we will see most of the Caps there.

Posted by: _Mark | December 24, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"Your roommate is an insecure, bragging 13-year-old? "

Close, but he's only 12. And no worries, what he doesn't know is that I secretly rub his head-gear and retainer in my jock-strap after every soccer game...

Posted by: Fro_ | December 24, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I missed the game last night. Probably a good thing because I would have been disgusted after the first period. But I was on the road on my way to Myrtle Beach. It is about ~70 degrees today and that is how it is going to be for the next couple days. Doesn't feel right.

Glad the Caps found some intestinal fortitude and pulled out a win. Good team character building stuffs there.

Posted by: FusilliJerry1 | December 24, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

@Jschon:

Thanks!

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 24, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Fro_

Oh man...You had me chuckling out loud over here!

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | December 24, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I was more impressed with the comeback against the Pens.

Anyone that bothers to read my stuff will confirm I've declared the Caps a Competitive, high skilled team, which was demonstrated again last night.

Aside from winning the Stanley Cup, there will never come a time when I will declare the Caps ownership group and Front Office as anything but losers.

Correct me if I'm wrong but there is still a HUGE gap in goal and another on defense.

Enjoy the regular season and Happy Holiday.

Posted by: Cheef | December 24, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

hey, cheef shows up after a win. wow, a holiday mircle. something tells me he had a different post ready to go after the second period last night.

and your comments about the front office and gm just continue to prove that you have a singular agenda and no amount of facts will be enough to get you off of said agenda. why don't you fess up and tell us why you hate them so much. they didn't hire you for a job, stole your lunch money, unrequited love? i'd love to know.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 24, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

"I was more impressed with the comeback against the Pens."

way too positive for cheef. a clever impersonator, and spot on with the one sentence paragraphs, but there's just not enough vitriol and hate.

Posted by: bigonetimer | December 24, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

this comeback had nothing on the Ottawa comeback in 2004.

i will admit guys, i started watching the boston/nj game more after the first, haha.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 24, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

this comeback had nothing on the Ottawa comeback in 2004.

i will admit guys, i started watching the boston/nj game more after the first, haha.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 24, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

One other thing I forgot to post earlier about my experience at the game. During warm ups GMGM was walking around our section (we were all down by the ice) and he came over to me and my family (all rocked out in red with Caps jerseys) and just chatted with us for a few minutes. Really nice guy and classy.

Have to say that JSchon's story was fantastic!

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | December 24, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Time and time again we have seen Alex Ovechkin carry this team and lift them on his shoulders. There is no better,more exciting player to watch in the NHL. I see no one worthy enough to take the MVP award from him. Ovechkin feast on the NHL and the rest of the Caps team is left grabbing up all the crumbs. Henceforth they shall be called "Ovie and the Crumb Bunch"!)

Posted by: ergoroc | December 25, 2008 6:09 AM | Report abuse

MERRY CHRISTMAS TARIK!! :-)

Posted by: rachel216 | December 25, 2008 7:24 AM | Report abuse

There are 23 Rangers that are going to be voting for OV for the Pearson.

Posted by: JSchon | December 25, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

I CAN'T WAIT FOR TOMORROW'S GAME! :D SO EXCITED!

Posted by: rachel216 | December 25, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas! Every-one!

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | December 25, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Well. It's Christmas morning and I opened my present on Tuesday evening. THANKS CAPS! The kids and wife are satisfied with their gifts too. Now, if only I could get this blessed day to go by quickly because this 32 hours and 11 minutes of waiting for the drop of the puck tomorrow night is going to be like nails on a chalk board. Doing most of the "time" at the in-laws too. Guess I will have to get through the day by watching the NHL network.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 25, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, prayed at church last night to find forgiveness in my heart but still can't get over that Cheef, Puckguru, and Windjammer are boneheads. Happy Holidays to everyone else.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 25, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas, folks! Hope everyone got what they wanted (and the parents out there got enough sleep)!

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 25, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Same here, fanohock1, I CANNOT wait for Friday's game, this waiting is killing me.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 25, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Happy holidays to each and all.
Tomorrow is a revenge game for that 5-0 pasting that we were handed. I believe our worst game of the season.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 25, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Some good stuff about the Caps,OV and the Rangers....from N.Y..

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 25, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 25, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas F*ckers

I got exactly what I have always wanted. Season tickets (had em) to a competitive hockey team in Washington without premodonas (sp?), that work hard, and play the game the way its supposed to me.

I also got a new car with a cup holder this big {------------- -------------}.

Thanks Tarik,

I mean santa...

Posted by: numero94 | December 25, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

My wife knows that in my life she is number 1 and hockey, especially the Capitals, is 1A.

So for Christmas, she gave me an Albert Einstein action figure!

I could not make this up.

Joe B

Posted by: rw-c | December 25, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Joe:
And here I thought all you wanted was membership in the girls' club?!? ;-)

The best presents that I received this Christmas are:

1) A requisite Caps gift.
2) Getting carded at the grocery store today.
3) Mr. Boo (who does not consider himself a hockey "fan") agreeing to become a STH (granted, that was years ago, but it's the gift that keeps on giving!).
4) A gift card to the spa (aaaaahhhh!).
5) Two home games in one weekend.

What more could a girl ask for?!? :-)

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!!

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 25, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Boo:

Membership in the girls' club is part of 1A!

Getting carded! Hallelujah!

The last time I was carded (centuries ago!), I was 20 and had to settle for a Coke. My 18 year-old girlfriend was served with no problem. I guess I should have used more makeup.

Posted by: rw-c | December 25, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Any predictions about who is in and who is out tomorrow? It should be another interesting game, huh?

Gotta say, Caps fans seem to be coming out of the woodwork. I was out and about this afternoon and saw more Caps tshirts, sweatshirts and hats than ever before. I was also approached by a guy last week who wanted to talk Caps (I was wearing a Caps sweatshirt). I've seen more stickers and personalized plates on cars lately, games are packed and there are more people posting here. It's nice to see the team get so much support and to be a part of a larger fan base. I just hope it continues no matter what.

Joe:
So would that be 1Ai? BTW, I'll have you know that I was not wearing any makeup (come on - it's a sweatshirt and ponytail day); I think the key is to get a cashier who must be visually impaired ... ;-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 25, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

New thread - woo hoo!

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 25, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Is there a special "express lane" from Hershey to Washington? Seems like they need to have their own devoted lane .

Lets Finish off 2008 -w- a "W".

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 29, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

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