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Morning Reading List

Most of you have likely seen the NHL All Star rosters by now, and it's a reasonable guess that some of you are wondering why Alex Ovechkin is the only player representing the second place team in the Eastern Conference. For today's hard-copy story, Tarik shares the Capitals frustration with the All-Star selection process and breaks down individual stats.

*Dan Steinberg had quite a Capitals-filled day over on the D.C. Sports Bog talking about Donald Brashear learning Russian, Nicklas Backstrom's gift of hats to his teammates and why the Verizon Center crowd gives Karl Alzner headaches.

*If you didn't see Greg Wyshynski's post yesterday on Ovechkin and his interview with Russia Today, stop, go here and watch the video. Great stuff.

*'s Dan Rosen profiles Ovechkin and how his season took flight in November.

*CBSSports put out their mid-season awards, with Ovechkin taking the Hart Trophy again.

*Mike Vogel reminisces with Bengt Gustafsson about when he became the first Capital to score five goals (against the Flyers, no less) 25 years ago yesterday. The Caps 365 crew also caught up with Gus on video.

Blue Jackets Cliff notes:
*Columbus hasn't been lucky lately, especially with injuries. In their latest outing, not only did the Blue Jackets lose 3-0 to Detroit, but star Rick Nash left the game with a lower-body injury and did not return.

*In addition to Nash, who will not play tonight against the Caps, the Blue Jackets will be without forwards Kristian Huselius (concussion), Raffi Torres (knee), Derick Brassard (shoulder), Jason Chimera (groin), Jiri Novotny (upper body) and defenseman Rostislav Klesla (foot). They placed goaltender Pascal Leclaire (ankle) on injured reserve yesterday.

*On the other hand, rookie goaltender Steve Mason, who leads the league in save percentage (.934) and goals against average (1.82) is tied for the league lead with five shutouts, is the probable starter and forwards Fredrik Modin and Jared Boll are also expected to play.

*To help with the injuries the Blue Jackets recalled Nikita Filatov from the AHL's Syracuse Crunch earlier this week. The 18-year-old Filatov will get to face several fellow Russians tonight including Ovechkin who reminded him to "keep his head up" when he came to North America this season.

In the system:
*The Bears are busy these days, playing 12 games during a 19-day stretch that began on Dec. 31. They open their weekend slate tonight against Houston, before facing Albany on Saturday and visiting Wilkes-Barre Scranton on Sunday.

*Hershey traded right wing Tommy Maxwell, who spent the entire season with the ECHL's Stingrays, to the Manitoba Moose for future considerations.

*Stefan Della Rovere earns the title of "super pest" from the folks in Georgina, Ontario.

*Joel Broda was named the CHL player of the week.

*John Carlson and Justin Taylor and the rest of the London Knights got a new teammate yesterday in John Tavares.

By Katie Carrera  |  January 9, 2009; 7:40 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Caps React to All-Star Selections
Next: Sloan Recalled (Updated)


Tarik takes the chat house at 2, by the way.

Posted by: Section117 | January 9, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

I have family in St Catherines, Ont and my cousin (who knows I'm a Caps fan) emailed me this morning to say the local sports radio over there are talking about the Leafs trading for Nyls.

They have the cap room, $6m from NHLCaps, and apparently want a veteran leader to fill the gap left by Sundin.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | January 9, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Cerealman (from prev thread):

I’ve often thought of the relegation/ promotion system being applied in the States but it would never happen. The culture of UK and US sports differs greatly in some aspects and this is one. Plus the nature of the farm system makes it impossible.

Relegating the 3 worst NHL teams at the end of each season and promoting the best 3 AHL teams is a system can only happen with clubs in all leagues who are totally independent of one another.

I’ve also thought about how a FA Cup style knockout tournament would work in hockey. All NHL, AHL and ECHL clubs involved. Names in a hat, random draw, one off game, winners progress, losers go home. I would imagine there are a few NHL clubs who would want to avoid being drawn away to the Bears right now!!

It couldn’t ever happen though because what if an NHL club were drawn against one of its affiliates? What if two teams were in a playoff race and one drew the other teams affiliate, would the affiliate go headhunting to help their big brother out?

It’s fun to think about and it would be fun to see the superstars of the NHL having to cope with ECHL conditions, imagine how fired up an ECHL crowd would be getting the chance to take on the big boys? But as I say, wouldn’t ever happen.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | January 9, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

With Brian Burke over there now? Well, Ponikarovsky might be intriguing.

Posted by: Section117 | January 9, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

John Carlson

9 Goals 28 Assist 37 points in 31 games +11

There are so many teams that need a pivot. CHI, TOR, BUF, MTL

I do not need a player in return for Nyls unless its Komisarek (I'm an expert on him). Just get rid of his 2 yr 10M contract free up the cap space for Alzner.

Posted by: JSchon | January 9, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Liked some of the quotes in the article with Alzner. Its also good to hear some creativity being used with the "1,2,3,4....all your fault" taunt to Mike Smith.

In the UK hockey goals get the "Teabag, Teabag, Teabag!" chant if they let a couple of quick ones in. As in, they are as porous as a teabag!

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | January 9, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse


I'm starting that trend in the States, until I get beat up cause someone's boyfriend think I'm talking about his girl.

Posted by: JSchon | January 9, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

@117: Hmmm. What's Ponikarovsky's cap hit right now, and do we really need another LW? A lot of people are thinking veteran D, and if we do veteran D, stats-wise I'd be looking for Mike Van Ryn.

Yeah, it's all speculation, but it's fun to think about.

In the meantime, obligatory - CBJ may not have enough scoring punch to scare a wet paper bag, but their goalie is scary good, and we've had trouble with scary good goalies lately. Don't blow them off, and one-timers probably won't get us much of anywhere. We need to create traffic in front of the net and do some more of that crazy passing like we did in Buffalo.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 9, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse


Way to warn us of our impending doom with CLB...

Posted by: JSchon | January 9, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

What's Ponikarovsky's cap hit right now, and do we really need another LW? A lot of people are thinking veteran D, and if we do veteran D, stats-wise I'd be looking for Mike Van Ryn.

It's a little over 2.1, and he's signed through next year. Something to ponder in case Kozlov (who's 5 years older and about the same size) isn't re-signed.

As far as Van Ryn goes, he's on LTIR with a concussion since 12/19, dunno if he's skating yet or not.

Posted by: Section117 | January 9, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse


Teabagging is indeed something you would get hit for if you mentioned it to someone's girlfriend. See also "Dutch Blindfold".

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | January 9, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Apparently there are a couple of definitions in the urban dictionary... Both are extremely funny...

Posted by: JSchon | January 9, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Mason has been unbelieveable (he did shut us out at the end of November didn't he?) but he has been a little off his game of late.

Plus, he hasn't had to deal with the wall of noise that is the Phone Booth.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | January 9, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Kaberle said an odd thing just out of the blue,

Nyls to Toronto, Kaberle here, then we have two power play Dmen?
cap hit for Kaberle is 4.2, Nyls is 4.8?

Not sure how much that helps out Alzner to stay, but then maybe Shultz is inc in the deal?

Posted by: caps28fan | January 9, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I was thinking of Kaberle too, but I'd presume Burke would get more out of shopping him separately.

Posted by: Section117 | January 9, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

don't think Burke has any picks to offer for Shultz though

Posted by: caps28fan | January 9, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

(if he was to get shopped...)

Posted by: Section117 | January 9, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

true, just throwing it out there.

Posted by: caps28fan | January 9, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse


How would Nylander help Toronto in their need to get younger and rebuild? Nice thought, but Nylander is only going to be attractive to a contender who is looking for depth at center and on the power play. You wont find a bottom dweller even taking calls for Nylander, unless we package some major prospects and they just take him off our hands with the prospects being the focal point.

Posted by: SA-Town | January 9, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon: My job, dude.


@117: Oh, that's right, he was the one Lucic put through the glass, wasn't he? Very true, but who from Toronto other than Ponikarovsky would we want?

Or for that matter, do we want anyone at all? Would we benefit more from draft picks? Or do we need a veteran to take us deep into the playoffs and maybe to a final? Do we care about getting our money's worth for Nylander? Toronto should probably hold on to its draft picks - I smell a rebuild in the works for them in the next few years.

It occurs to me, though - should we be watching our scouting and drafting staff? One would think that, given what appears to be a wild, smashingly successful rebuild, the Caps' scouting and drafting staff could see some pretty handsome job offers from other team offices. Is that a crazy thought or is there some truth to that?

Posted by: kittypawz | January 9, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

You are also assuming Nylander waives his no-trade to go to a donkey team in the standings. Not going to happen.

Posted by: SA-Town | January 9, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Toronto is already young.

Posted by: JSchon | January 9, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I think if we want to make a deal it would be for a power forward to add some grit in front of the net. Probably a veteran. If we could get another gritty veteran d-men then that would be attractive also.

Posted by: SA-Town | January 9, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

@ SA-Town

Oh I don't think that it would be helpful to Burke and the Leafs, just going down the path from DaveUKcapsfan's comments about the Leafs looking to fill the void from Sundin at pivot.

Posted by: caps28fan | January 9, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse


I know they are point is they probably want to stay that way. Nylander's children are probably more attractive to the Leafs lineup then he is.

Posted by: SA-Town | January 9, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

What about Brenden Witt?

Posted by: _jordan | January 9, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Toronto is already young.

I think the Brad May deal might have made them that much older (than the Caps, anyway)

Posted by: Section117 | January 9, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

It's cool that the Capitals layers all get along so well. You have alot of teams where they players play hockey together and that is it.

OV and Backs have been to the skins games together at the Wiz game together the other night. Backs hooking up all the players with hats is cool.

Not sure if you all caught the story about OV giving the buffalo sabre fan a signed jersey from an all star game, after he sent him a letter asking for a autograph pic. Its nice to have good guy, that happen to be great players....awesume

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | January 9, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Lots has been made of Mrs Nylander and her choice of city. Toronto is cosmopolitan, European influenced and where better for his kids to play hockey.

Plus if its a choice between riding the pine in DC and playing a central role in TO?

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | January 9, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

B. Witt wanted to leave DC to go play for a contender. Look @ him now. Witt is no better than Sloan or Collins.

Posted by: 555Mass | January 9, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

The NMC that Nylander has isn't a huge obstacle. The team has some say in the deal. Call in Nylander to the office.

GMGM: Michael, we want to move you so we can get some of our younger guys into the fold, and quite frankly we are up against the salary cap and your an asset that many team want.

Nyls: I like it here.

GMGM: Michael, we want to move you to team that we can all agree on.

Nyls: I like it here.

GMGM: Michael, we will healthy scratch you and that wont be fun for you or us.

Nyls: I like Tor and Chi.

Posted by: JSchon | January 9, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Trying to get some coordination going with the Caps Guest Services division. Seeing as how Uncle Ted's birthday was yesterday, and tonight is Bruce's, it would be especially AWESOME if we could get all 17k tonight to sing happy birthday in unison. Only problem is if we don't have help from the organization, we'll get washed out by "LOOK OUT CAPS FANS, IT'S TIME FOR FLYING TEESHIRTS!"

If I hear anything back from Guest Services, I'll let everyone know.

Posted by: FFSEnough | January 9, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone attend practice this morning?
I hear OV was practicing his trick shot for what is one of the only good things about the ASG, wondering what he was doing.....

Posted by: caps28fan | January 9, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Carolina had what's becoming an increasingly rare loss last night. We've got a game in hand on them and an opportunity to increase the lead in the SE to 12 points tonight. Let's go CAPS!

Posted by: RicketyCricket | January 9, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse


Yeah, the affiliates make the idea of promotion / relegation impossible. Plus, the NHL owners in Tampa Bay and Atlanta would scream at the idea of being demoted.

Of course, it might work better in MLS -- can you imagine the overpriced L.A. Galaxy being demoted to the USL, while the Vancouver Whitecaps jump to the "big leagues" ...


If Columbus can keep their main players healthy, they stand a good chance of making the playoffs out West behind stellar goaltending. But let's hope their goaltending isn't "too" stellar tonight.

Posted by: Cerealman | January 9, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"Nylander's children are probably more attractive to the Leafs lineup then he is."
HA! But seriously, you don't think they could benefit from a seasoned guy at all? Even off the ice?!?

Posted by: --Boo-- | January 9, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I have a really hard time being comfortable with a stretch run relying on Feds' health and/or Laich/Stecks/Gordo at the pivot for the 2nd line.

Posted by: FFSEnough | January 9, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

OV was practicing his moves (yesterday?) and appartently CSN filmed it. ESPN picked it up and Sports Center had it on their TOP 10 this morning. But no mention of the fact that the team with the second best record in the conference only had one rep on the all-star team.

Posted by: Dave_in_Alexandria | January 9, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Bobby Ryan had a nasty goal last night. You can see it here.

Posted by: SA-Town | January 9, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Corey reports that Tyler Sloan has been recalled.

The plot gets thicker.

Posted by: Section117 | January 9, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

@FFSEnough: That would be awesome indeed. How many stadiums do that? :) But how would you do that? Who would you contact?

Posted by: kittypawz | January 9, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

NEW POST with strange news

Posted by: goskinsgo | January 9, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

JSchon, DaveUKCapsFan

I learn soooo much from these posts. I just hope I don't get fired as a result of it. :)

Posted by: Greg S. | January 9, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Tea Bags, too funny.

Didn't "The Face of The NHL" land a few to Boris Valabik's tea bags during one of his "fights" in Atlanta this week?

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | January 9, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse


This morning, Tim Brant for Channel 7 Sports showed Ovie practicing his breakaway shot during the morning news. It was the same as last year with him flipping the puck up, 360 spin, and a swing aiming for the fence. Brant said, if he scores, he'll win. Hopefully, Ovie will at least hit the puck this
Maybe he'll show it again on the evening news.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | January 9, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

(Repost from Previous thread)

Wouldn't it be cool if Ovie went out in the 1st period wearing his name on his jersey, then in the 2nd period have Backs on his jersey then in the 3rd have Greenie on his jersey.

Just a thought.

Posted by: NFeKPo | January 8, 2009 1:14 PM

@NFeKPo: I LIKE it!!!!!

We are the Washington Capitals.
We are the Black Sheep of the NHL.
Live it, Love it, Embrace it!

Posted by: LIVINIT1 | January 8, 2009 1:20 PM

@LIVINIT1: I can certainly support that argument. Rememeber when Jeremy Roenick became a UFA at the end of his time in Phoenix? GMGM followed the NHL rules and and waited until the appopriate date to approach Roenick about coming to the Washington...only to find out on that date that Roenick's signing with Philthadelphia was ALREADY A DONE DEAL!!!

For D-men you could toss in PIMs ranked highest to lowest as the tiebreaker. Give guys like Brash a chance to make the squad and might add an edge to the ASG itself with some of the "tough guys" on the ice.

You could use a pressure rigged dummy like they have in the show "Fight Science" and add "Hardest Hit" to the skills competition.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | January 8, 2009 7:07 PM

@RicketyCricket: I LOVE it!!! LOL...Maybe Punches Per Minute also

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 9, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Bye bye juiceph i think you ruined every one's weekend. T for time to leave

Posted by: masterx09 | January 10, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

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