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Morning Reading List

There are quite a few "In the system" links today as everyone waits to hear updates from practice at KCI and which defensemen may be ready to go for tomorrow's game against Edmonton.

*Here is Sports Illustrated's overall mid-season report along with Allan Muir's first-half awards.

In the system:
*The Capitals weren't the only team to struggle this weekend as Hershey also dropped two straight this weekend. First 6-4 loss to Albany on Saturday that ended the Bears' four-game winning streak and then a 6-2 loss to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton yesterday.

*Here's what Bears captain Bryan Helmer had to say after the loss to the Penguins:

"I think guys on our team think we can get by with just our skill," Helmer said. "We go up 2-1 and think it's going to be an easy night. Obviously, it wasn't. Guys have got to learn that skill doesn't get you through this league. You've got to have hard work to go with it."

*The weekend wasn't a total wash though, as the Bears defeated Houston 5-1 on Friday night with a little revenge in mind after the Aeros dolled out a 6-1 win back on Dec. 13.

*Defenseman John Carlson was named the OHL's rookie of the month for December. Carlson had 14 points in 10 games for the London Knights in December and is fourth among OHL defensemen with 39 points (11 goals).

*Carlson notched two goals in the Knights' 6-1 win Friday over the Oshawa Generals, former home of World Juniors MVP John Tavares who is now part of London's playoff push.

*While the OHL was buzzing about Tavares to London, Joel Broda was the centerpiece in a trade between the Moose Jaw Warriors and Calgary Hitmen before the WHL's deadline. Broda currently leads the WHL with 37 goals.

*Broda notched a goal and two assists in his second game with the Hitmen this weekend as his line combined for 10 points in a 7-3 win over Swift Current.

By Katie Carrera  |  January 12, 2009; 7:59 AM ET
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Next: Quick Morning Update (Updated)


My only request for tomorrow. No repeat of last year's mega-shootout. Let's take them down swiftly, convincingly and get the arena hopping again. I love when the place is so loud I can't hear the obnoxious jackass a section to my left.

Posted by: FFSEnough | January 12, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

why it's the Zoo what else do you expect. Probably a few macaws and roaring rhinos.

Posted by: windjammersouth | January 12, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Our system, Bruce's system, requires us to play on our the tips of our skates not the heels. We apply so much pressure and deny the other teams offense to set up. We take chances, but we have the players to play this way.

Between the Caps and Hershey, we 57-24-3 with this system. Both teams are in 1st in their division, Hershey has the best record despite having a lot their better players playing for us because of our injuries.

Quite complaining about how we play. Mike Babcock complemented and admired Bruce for his style of play as he watched from the audience seats as he lost the Jack Adams Award to Bruce, and yes Babcock won the Stanley Cup.

Oh BTW, we are 60-30-10 under Bruce with Jurcina, Erskine, Green, Mo, Poti, Schultz, Collins, Lepisto, Sloan, Helmer, Alzner and Eminger on the blueline.

Posted by: JSchon | January 12, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I know, JSchon. I'm something of a not-so-closet perfectionist, and I always look for ways that we could be and do better. We were out of position a LOT on Saturday, and it was frustrating to watch, so I think that if we could have the scoring punch of Backstrom/Semin/Ovi/Flash/Nylander/Laich and whoever else PLUS the defense we had in late December, we'd be frickin' set.

Oh, and there was someone a couple of posts back who was upset that the Canadian media would denounce our wins as a fluke. Um, who frickin' cares about power rankings or what the Canadian media thinks? Let them underestimate us, let them blow us off. All that does is raise the guys' ire, and they play better when they've got something to prove. I say let them blow smoke out their butts. We just play our hockey, kick tail and take names, and let them wear the egg at the end of the season. In the end, all that matters is the number of points in the standings, and that's all we should aim for.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 12, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I agree 100% with JSchon's comments. I've been a Bears fan for many years (I saw Frank Mathers as a player-coach for the Bears). Next to Frank - Bruce was the best coach I've ever seen handle the team. I was extremely sorry to see him leave but knew he was just what the Caps needed. After the obvious success he's had in Washington - I cannot believe some of the negative posts I read here about his performance and/or system. Do you want to return to those non-glory days of the previous coach and system - when the Caps NEVER made the playoffs and were one of the worse teams in the league? Bruce has finally brough exciting and competitive hockey to a town that's needed it for a long time - quit your complaining and enjoy it. The Bears/Capitals alignment was the best thing that could have happened for both teams - and Bruce is a big reason for that success.

Posted by: hersheybearfan | January 12, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Folks, Saturday's game was down right heartbreaking at the end. Now the other thing that was amazing about that came was the turning point. It's already been mentioned in a couple of the previous threads that Sloan's hooking penalty was a phantom call. It is sad because it wasn't even close to a penalty. I want to say one of the Kostytsin (Sp wrong for sure) fell on his own. Wasn't a cap with 4 feet of him. He fell while Sloan was engaged with another Canadien a little lower on the same boards. When you watch the replay the referee's arm goes up immediately after Kostytsin goes down so that "was" the infraction.

Now I am not usually a believer in conspiracies but no one can overlook the fact that the NHL has exactly what they want for the All-Star games East team. First, there are are 4 Montreal Canadiens in the starting line-up counting Price. Plus the NHL posterchild, Crosby, is there too. Malkin, although we Caps fans don't like him, has earned and belongs in the starting line-up. Last but, not least, with that win, coming without a doubt with a few questionable penalty calls at the end of the 2nd and during the 3rd, Guy gets to be behind the bench, thus rounding out the Canadiens presence.

The winning goal was just a Caps disaster, but we shouldn't have been at that point with 21 seconds left. Although it would be nice for BB there, he definitely needs a break considering the work he has put in thus far this season. Backstrom playing in the Youngstars game is a crime. The young man is a bonified NHL all-star victimized by the flawed voting system. He wasn't the only one either. Other teams were slighted too. Anyhow, it's just a showcase, and a good chance for our guys to rest. Backstrom probably will just shoot in for the youngstars game which will require less distractions.

The Caps have to right the ship. We had our best 41 games as a franchise, but we are 0-2 now in the 2nd 41. I played, and now coach hockey, I would not want to be on the ice with BB today, the boys will be skating hard.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 12, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Katie, your roundup has been bizarre for weeks, but how can you leave out the best analytical piece on the Caps that's been written anywhere in weeks?! Is it that Japers is so much more thoughtful about the Caps than the Post is that it embarrasses the paper? Maybe if we found you a Tom Boswell "I discovered the Caps" bit of lameness to pump that would be better?

Posted by: j1234561 | January 12, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

There goes JSchon again, hoping facts can somehow overshadow this horrible season oops I mean this bummer weekend. And foul-mouthed Kitty, apparently satisfied with a wildly entertaining team on pace to lose four home games this season.
Did I mention that the SKY is FALLING?

Posted by: redlineblue | January 12, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

4 home losses? UNACCEPTABLE, I paid for 41 wins and thats what I want. I demand a refund for the 2 regulation losses but I will compromise on the OTL

Posted by: pebowers | January 12, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you, fanohock1 - no way, no how would I want to be out on the ice with BB today, or any day this week! He's gonna work the boys until their toes bleed! ;-)

That said, I firmly believe, given our pre-BB record and our current record, that:

A) Our system WORKS - when we play it.
B) We can - and WILL - come back from this.
C) Two losses after 7 wins is not the end of the world.

There were a lot of guys slighted because of the flawed All Star voting. We all know the system's a crock, so I'm all for ignoring the thing and working on our next "real" game. I'm sorry BB won't be coaching, but it may be better for us in the long run that he isn't; after all... We don't want those Habs and Pens folks learning what he's like as a coach, now, do we? ;-)

Posted by: irockthered | January 12, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: j1234561 | January 12, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Loved what Allan Muir had to say about BB and the boys (isn't that a 50's band?!?), but not crazy about SI's mid-season report. Hrmpf. Regardless, it was all an interesting read.

Thanks for taking the time to pull this together for us! I am confident that I speak for the vast majority when I say that we greatly appreciate your time and efforts. Keep up the great work!


Posted by: --Boo-- | January 12, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

So dramatic...

"B) We can - and WILL - come back from this"

Its 2 losses in a row in which we faced the potential Vezina Trophy winner on his A+ game and back to back game in Montreal, who happen to be a pretty good team.

Sorry, irockthered, that kinda made me laugh...

Posted by: JSchon | January 12, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

@redlineblue: Yup, sure is. I think a big chunk landed on your head. :)

Still hoping for better than four, and certainly a better road record than we've got. What can I say, I want it all :)

@j1234561: In all seriousness, she may not be permitted to. I found this out when I used to hang out on political blogs - the mainstream media looks down on bloggers, big time. They don't want to give these guys any airtime at all because that could cut into their credibility and thus their profit. It's the reality of the media these days, so don't expect it to change and don't blame Katie for it. My guess is that attitude is part of their culture and comes from the very top of the organization.

What really gets me is that the Post, after the non-coverage we get from everybody but Tarik and Katie and now Dan Steinberg, now has the nerve to try to hawk its papers at the home games. Does anyone else here find that incredibly galling?

Posted by: kittypawz | January 12, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

When I was attending Buffalo Bisons AHL games (before the Sabres arrival), the now-defunct Courier Express, a morning paper, would be hawking the early edition between the second and third periods.

Of course, some wise guy would always say to look in the sports section to see who won tonight's game.

Posted by: rw-c | January 12, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

@rw-c: Oh, it's not the papers I mind. It's that the Washington Post, who does not and has never given a rat's behind about the Caps, now is using the Caps' success to try to hawk their fishwrap?

To me, that just takes nerve.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 12, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it actually the Times that sells papers at VC?

Posted by: _jordan | January 12, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@_jordan: No, it's the Post, at least the new guys are. The Times might too, but I haven't seen them yet. I know I've seen the Post there. (I wouldn't mind the Times so much.)

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

Hey -someone else who remembers the old Buffalo Bisons (remember the year they beat my Bears for the Calder Cup - listened to the game on the radio - how depressing - LOL).

Posted by: hersheybearfan | January 12, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

We still could be coached by "Butch" Cassidy! How soon we forget. Remember that DB?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 12, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Actually the other night I was asked to sign up for Post home delievery and get a free sweatshirt.
When I responded that I already received the Post via home delivery, he said well then you can sign up for the Times too. So I think the people are actually hawking both papers.

Posted by: juicefan | January 12, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Huh. Still. I still think it's nervy of the Post to ignore the Caps till they succeed and then try to take advantage of them.

Ah well, at least they still have Tarik and Katie.

Back to hockey. This weekend was a serious bummer, no doubt about it. Looking forward to updates from practice, and yeah, somehow I'm expecting practice this morning to be pretty brutal.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 12, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I had that stomach flu on top of watching those two games, and now Monday has come way too quickly. Hope this week gets better!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 12, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Caps need some frickin' grit seasoning, and a big rig (stop it here!) who can take the biscuit to the basket. And Ovi needs some new twigs, that's an easy call.

Posted by: redlineblue | January 12, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Katie and Tarik - please ignore those ungrateful posters above. Most of us love this blog, and we have the clicking ability to find other content that might interest us as well. So, please keep doing what you're doing, your work is appreciated.

Posted by: katzistan | January 12, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

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