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After a week-long hiatus the Washington Capitals still have the same concern about discipline after an ill timed penalty led to a Boston power play and goal to give the Bruins a 3-2 overtime win last night. The win extended Boston's lead over the Caps in the Eastern Conference to 11 points.

*The Caps suffered a scare when Alex Ovechkin crashed hard into the boards in the second period but the star left winger returned for the third and said after the game he'll be okay.

*Here are Bruins perspectives on the games from the Boston Globe and Boston Herald. The highlights from last night's game follow:

*Thrashers star Ilya Kovalchuk downplays his role in the mending of Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin's friendship.

*Dan Steinberg compares the Wizards' television ratings to the Capitals' over on the D.C. Sports Bog. Washington, by the way, ranked seventh among U.S. markets with higher ratings for the NHL All Star game than cities like Detroit and Denver.

In the system:
*Amid Hershey's impressive statistics and individual accolades throughout the season, Francois Bouchard has quietly racked up 25 points and a plus-20 rating that is second best on the team.

*The Bears get back to work this weekend when they travel Wilkes-Barre Scranton Friday night then host Norfolk on Saturday. And of course here are Bear Tracks to give you a jump start.

*Former Hershey goaltender Wendell Young, who went 12-0 in the 1987-1988 playoffs to propel the Bears to a Calder Cup title reminisces about that season. And just as his name was slated to be removed from the AHL trophy, he was part of a championship team again -- the 2007-2008 Chicago Wolves.

By Katie Carrera  |  January 28, 2009; 8:09 AM ET
 
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Comments

Oops ... from the last thread:
RE: the Wings, are NL and PD still going to be out on Sat? I can't recall which game(s) they were told to sit for.

Posted by: --Boo-- | January 28, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Boo, they were out for the Blue Jackets game last night, right?

Posted by: koalatek | January 28, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Boo,

NL didn't play yesterday. So he'll play.

Hey, let's not hope that somebody's out - I'd rather hope the Caps bring it on. If they do (consistently), it doesn't matter who's on the ice for the opponents :D

Posted by: mauree | January 28, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I think they were both out last night - I could not remember if they had to sit one or two. :-/

Posted by: --Boo-- | January 28, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Even if it's two, the second one will be tomorrow against DAL. So they should play against the Caps. But I'm pretty sure it's one game only.

Posted by: mauree | January 28, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Man it would of been nice to get 2 pts last night but.

Theo was solid...Good to see Ovie Ok...Power Play lack was the difference on our end.

5 pts in 3 games vs. Boston. I welcome a 7-game series vs those guys.

Posted by: SA-Town | January 28, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

mauree:
I was too lazy to look at their schedule, but I figured someone here would know! :-) Thanks for gettin' me up to speed.

Posted by: --Boo-- | January 28, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Surprised no mention of this unless I missed it but the Caps now have only scored more than 2 goals in a game twice in 2009, on Jan 1st vs Tampa and the Pens game. That's 2 out of 11 games. Where has our potent offense gone??

Posted by: alagarts | January 28, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm hoping we get Poti back vs. Detroit. We need him, badly. Sadly, it means giving up Alzner for now, but I'm hoping that we can trade for a physical blueliner. I think Boston played a little dirty last night, but the dirty seemed to stop after Brash laid out Bitz (and past time, IMO).

Posted by: kittypawz | January 28, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I do think that despite the loss, we did play well. The penalty on Backstrom was badly timed; it would have been, as Boudreau said, a good one to take in regulation, but in overtime, penalties COST, and we see the results on the scoreboard.

It's true that two of Boston's 3 goals came on the power play, but the first was even strength, and the direct result of an Ovechkin turnover.

Boudreau will likely call him out on that, but he's probably calling *himself* out on it more. Since we've benefitted from turnovers that come straight *to* Ovechkin once in a while (more than once this season), I will forgive him this one... eventually, it balances out. But it did cost us the game. :-(

I'm sure Ovi is kicking himself this morning, but I hope it only serves to make him work on tightening things up and not making risky passes.

Don't get me wrong: I am among the throngs of adoring Ovi fans, but if he messes up, and it costs us the game, I'm gonna call him out on it.

Our power play, it is true, was not what it should be, but had the Bruins not scored that first goal, the overtime would not have been necessary; we'd've beaten them 2-1. We owned the puck for the most part in 5-on-5 hockey.

And I think we missed Ovechkin in the final minutes of the 2nd frame; he would have had at least one more shift, and possibly, given the way he plays, he would have scored. But our team is not one player, and the rest of the guys should have stepped up a bit more than they did, especially on the power play following the hook by Chara.

That near-goal by Backstrom in overtime was beautiful. It's too bad the puck didn't hop our way for it, because that would have been great if it had gone in. As it is, the Bruins got lucky when the puck bounced off Morrisonn and into the goal.

And finally - Theodore was a BEAST out there! Let's hope he keeps it up. :-)

Posted by: irockthered | January 28, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

From previous posts: It WAS a lame win cause it freaking went off of Morrisonn...it was a lucky bounce...both goaltenders played awesome, we were just unlucky, can't say the Bruins deserved it, the only reason they were in it was because of Tim Thomas. That's just the way it goes, sometimes it helps your goalie to stand in front of the net and then sometimes it hurts your goalie to stand in front of the net.

Posted by: rachel216 | January 28, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Alagart, yes I've noticed their scoring is down (they did score four in their lost in Montreal). I think they've only scored two even-strength goals at home since the Tampa game.

Posted by: sessal | January 28, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Couple notes.

1. DET inks Zett to a 12 year, 72M contract. Damn I hate that city and their ability to sign guys for super-cheap. Nice pay raise for him though.

2. IRTR. I wouldn't call the GWG "luck" that it bounced off Mo. He absolutely could have played that better and he knew it. You can see how upset he was in his reaction. He's got to have his "down-leg" perpendicular to the goal line. You can't give guys surfaces to bank pucks off of into your own net, and Mo did just that.

Gonna be a slow day, so I probably won't be on much.

Posted by: FFSEnough | January 28, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

There is no doubt how badly we need Poti back.

Our defense played decent last night, but it still fails to consistently play physical against teams like this, which will haunt us in the playoffs.

Boston's dmen were ALL OVER US whenever we brought the puck into the zone... and although we created more shots, I felt the Bruins scoring chances were better and they made smoother passes and plays as a result of our shaky D.

Pleasantly surprised with Erskine's performance, but Schultz/Mo pairing was woeful imo. Schultz fell asleep on the first goal and looks like he is skating through quicksand half the time(that play at the end of the 3rd that led to a 2-on-1, luckily Theo saved his behind).

I know Schultz is still young, but I think it's time we start seeing better production out of him. For a guy that big, at least throw your body around more.

Posted by: zloss126 | January 28, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

@FFSEnough - Morrisonn is upset *any* time the puck bounces off him and into the goal, not just if he's technically "at fault". Especially if it's the GWG.

But to clarify: had Morrisonn been in position (which he wasn't), the puck wouldn't have gone in (which it did), I'd still call it "lucky" *for Boston* that he wasn't where he belonged, and the puck bounced off him.

Semantics.

Posted by: irockthered | January 28, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Caps played decently. The PK is what it is, I'm not sure what else Bruce can do. The Caps need to figure out how to clear pucks, but they haven't for the past couple of years.

Posted by: koalatek | January 28, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

zetterberg just signed a 12 year deal with the wings

Posted by: _stevo | January 28, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Off Topic - can someone help?

I'm thinking of switching from local cable to Directv. The premier package has maybe 20 sports channels incl Comcast Mid-Atlantic. The advantage is cheaper plus way more HD games, plus HD Versus and NHL Network plus NFL Network. Now, for Directv users, do you also need to get Center Ice, or do all those channels basically give you all the games? One problem I can see is Comcast sometimes shwos Wizards and you all use Comcast Ch 2 or whatever and the Directv probably only gives the primary Comcast feed.

Any advice is appreciated.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 28, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Re: DTV,

Center Ice is a requisite (unless you don't mind DVRing the reruns of out of town stuff).

Posted by: Section117 | January 28, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

@sessal - Ah yeah missed the Habs game, still not great. Perhaps putting some more in on the PP would help.

Posted by: alagarts | January 28, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Does Mo have unnaturally big feet or something? Seems like pucks find a way to bounce off of him and into goals a lot. However, if the puck had not hit Mo the pass would have been right to Savard (I think) who was poised to just tap it in. As soon as Nick missed his opportunity and then was called for a penalty, you could just sense that things were not going to end as well as we hoped.

However, given what happened in that game, I will take a point and a healthy Ovi. That's kinda like getting three points.

Posted by: Kim-3 | January 28, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

tominfl1,

You will need Center Ice to watch live out of market NHL games except for VSHD and the occasional game on the NHL Network. You can watch lots of college and the occasional AHL game on the local sports networks w/o Center Ice. Most of Caps games are on CSNHD but when the Wizards are on HD they move to CSNA which is not HD. To me DTV is the best provider for watching hockey...NHL, AHL, college, even some high school in MN and most of the time in HD.

Posted by: meagle | January 28, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

1 Ovechkin, Alexander 9.538
2 Crosby, Sidney 8.7
3 Sundin, Mats 8.6
4 Richards, Brad 7.8
5 Heatley, Dany 7.5
6 Chara, Zdeno 7.5
7 Hossa, Marian 7.45
8 Lidstrom, Nicklas 7.45
9 Gomez, Scott 7.357
10 Thornton, Joe 7.2
11 Vanek, Thomas 7.143
12 Campbell, Brian 7.14
13 Drury, Chris 7.05
14 Spezza, Jason 7
15 Iginla, Jarome 7
16 Lundqvist, Henrik 6.875
17 Lecavalier, Vincent 6.875
18 Luongo, Roberto 6.75
19 Khabibulin, Nikolai 6.75
20 Niedermayer, Scott 6.75
21 Datsyuk, Pavel 6.7
22 Boyle, Dan 6.667
23 Briere, Daniel 6.5
24 Redden, Wade 6.5
25 Phaneuf, Dion 6.5
26 Jovanovski, Ed 6.5
27 Kovalchuk, Ilya 6.4
28 Timonen, Kimmo 6.333
29 Gaborik, Marian 6.333
30 Marleau, Patrick 6.3
31 Smyth, Ryan 6.25
32 Pronger, Chris 6.25
33 Elias, Patrik 6
34 Havlat, Martin 6
35 Kariya, Paul 6
36 Rafalski, Brian 6
37 Sakic, Joe 6
38 Giguere, JeanSebastien 6


Zetterberg making $6M a year is a STEAL, that said they wont be able to keep Hossa and resign Franzen, Hudler.

Some of these contracts are utterly ridiculous. 3 of them belong to the Rangers Drury, Gomez and Redden.

Posted by: JSchon | January 28, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon - Where'd you get those figures?

Posted by: irockthered | January 28, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

irockthered, you can get a list over at nhlnumbers.com and clicking on player comparison. Rangers already have 40+ million committed next year and only 9 players under contract (Caps are 45 for 14).

Posted by: koalatek | January 28, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

One problem I can see is Comcast sometimes shwos Wizards and you all use Comcast Ch 2 or whatever and the Directv probably only gives the primary Comcast feed.

Any advice is appreciated.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 28, 2009 9:39 AM

My Dad has Direct TV and gets both the Comcast primary feed and any secondary feed. In other words, when the Wizards are on the regular Comcast channel, the Caps game will be on another channel.

Posted by: rbpalmer | January 28, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

@koalatek - Thanks! :-)

Posted by: irockthered | January 28, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

A well-played game by both squads last night and a very tough way to lose. That is the kind of hockey the Caps will have to play through the spring and into the playoffs. I'm happy with the play vs. the Rangers, Philly, and Boston this month. The team is 6-4-1 in January with three of those losses to the Oilers, BJackets, and Sens. If they play up to the competition then it would be a stunning month.

We need two vs. the Wings on Sat and two on Sunday. The Devils are right on the Caps and we're at NJ next week. How about a nice three-game streak.

Posted by: saintex | January 28, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

My thoughts: Very entertaining, close game and like the last one against the B's, a definite playoff sort of feel to it.

IF we do end up facing these guys in the playoffs, I really hope that the players watch this tape and understand that those cute cross-ice passes DO NOT WORK against Boston. Countless times I watched Caps players try to thread long board-to-board passes last night, the kind that may work against Atlanta or the Islanders but NOT against Boston. In the offensive zone on a PP, those failed passes are merely frustrating; in the defensive zone (i.e. Ovie's bad pass that lead to Thornton's goal), they are fatal. Boston plays a smart game with a strong fore-check and they seem to be built for playoff contention. If you notice, while the B's do on occasion try line-to-line passes, they're almost always of the low-risk variety, up the boards. The Caps were throwing prayer passes across the middle all night.

I thought Ovie was having one of his worst games of the season last night—which, admittedly, would probably count as a good game for an average player—UNTIL that brief injury seemed to wake him up. Still, I think both regulation goals were the fault of the Alexes: Ovie obviously on the first one, and Semin gambling for an off-the-boards indirect pass breakaway on the B's PP goal. If Semin stays home there, I doubt the Bruins score.

All in all, a great game...like I said, playoff feel. And if last night's OT is a precursor to what us fans will be seeing come spring time...break out the freakin' Pepto. I could hardly watch!

Posted by: donknutts | January 28, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I recently changed to RCN. TV,internet and cable. They have alot of HD channels. Vs. is HD. Center Ice package. Pretty happy with it.

Posted by: ridgely1 | January 28, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for responses.

Meagle: Since I am in Florida, all Caps games except Lightning are out of market. Wouldn't I as for instance get to watch Caps vs Colorado live on either Fox Sports Rocky Mountain or Comcast? I am thinking if I don't separately pay for Center Ice, the only games I lose are the ones on Canadian Sports Channel like Rogers. (However, if it's on NHL Net, then it shows).

Please clear up misconception - if I have Directv but not Center Ice, living in Central Florida, don't I get all Caps games except vs Lightning?

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 28, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Please clear up misconception - if I have Directv but not Center Ice, living in Central Florida, don't I get all Caps games except vs Lightning?


Negative.

Posted by: Section117 | January 28, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

JSchon: I think Detroit is exploiting a loophole in the salary cap, same as Lightning did with Vinnie Lecavalier. Vinnie has 11 yr/$85M contract for cap hit of $7.727 (starting next year). The actuals salaries are $10M yr for 7 years then lower.

http://www.nhlnumbers.com/overview.php?team=TBL&season=0809&expand=y

I read somewhere this was circumventing the cap because if he is traded in the last few years, the new team only pays cap based on years remaining at time of trade (let's say he is traded after 7 years, new team cap hit $15M/4 years left = 3.75). All the other money never charged to cap from the first 7 years would essentially disappear, which is why the article I read said it was a circumventing and would have to fixed in future CBA. I can't find payment per year for Zetterberg but my guess is they are playing the same game to save on cap space.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 28, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Tom,
It's been a couple seasons since I had directv (in the DC Market), but it was hit and miss on the other games. If I recall correctly, most of the games on the other sport channels were blacked out. I would occasionally be able to catch other games, but not always. Good Luck.

Posted by: _Mark | January 28, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

117: Do they just black them out if you don't have Center Ice? The guy on the phone didn't give me that impression (he gave me opposite, that I'd get them). Like, also, if I get Directv but not the MLB package, do I get to watch Orioles on MASN? Based on what you are saying, likely not?

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 28, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Right on both counts. You won't get them on the live feed, you'll likely get the replays (it's a revenue thing). You'll pick up NHLN on HD and any game they show (provided it's not a Caps game).

Posted by: Section117 | January 28, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

tominfl1, I'm not sure that's really a loophole the owners care about. The thing the owners really wanted was the tying of actual paid salaries to league revenues. Really, most of the big contracts do something similar, Ovi's is the only one OTOH without a slide at the end.

Posted by: koalatek | January 28, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

117: OK. Thanks. A revenue thing. Like everything else in life.

koalatek: A revenue thing. Like everything else in life.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 28, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know the practice schedule for Friday-Sunday or if the team is even at KCI? I'm preparing for my four hour trip into the city and was hoping to see something before the games.

Posted by: abuddy2004 | January 28, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: yosemite_sam | January 28, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I agree with you about the Wings circumventing the cap. I'm by no means a cap expert, or an expert on NHL contracts for that matter, but I think this is how it works.

Holland and Zetterberg talk and agree that a player of his caliber should sign for something like 8 or 9 mil a season, and agree to a contract length of 8 or 9 years. An 8 year contract seems pretty reasonable, as that would keep him through age 36, and barring injury, I think it's reasonable to expect him to still be a very productive player at that age. The cap hit each season is the total dollars divided by the number of seasons, so, instead of giving Henrik $72 over 8 seasons ($9 mil per season), they say it's a 12 year contract for the same amount. Now, instead of a cap hit of $9 mil a season, the cap hit is only $6 mil. Now, keep in mind that the actual dollars paid each season can vary, for example, they could pay him $10 mil a year for the first 4 seasons, and then pay him $4 mil a season for the remaining 8 years. I'd imagine it's even more something like $10 for the first 4, $6 for the second 4 years, and $2 for each of the last four seasons. If Zetterberg decides to walk away from the game in the last few seasons, he'll lose the money he would have earned over that time, but, it's definitely worth it for him to do this because the actual value of the contract is a lot higher since he's getting the bulk of the cash early on.

If he's traded or when he retires, the Wings would get the cap space back.

Posted by: cainoo7x | January 28, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

First of all, let me just state that I think Ovie is one of the best and most exciting players in the NHL. Having said that, I have been noticing more and more the number of turnovers he's had. So, last night I was particularly watching for them; nine by the end of the second period. Either bad passes, or he lost the puck to the opposing player. So, now it's a concern.
The other BIG concern, and I know that everybody is aware of it, is the lack of us clearing the crease, particularly during the PK, and the lack of us having a guy in the crease on our PP. I just don't want to believe that the Caps don't have a single defenseman able to get the job done!! And, in the whole organization, we don't have ONE guy with enough guts (read that "cojones") to be able to stand in the crease during power-plays??
If that's the case, Then GMGM simply HAS to, somehow, go out and get the right guys, otherwise, we're not going anywhere during the play-offs.

Posted by: al852 | January 28, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

cainoo7X: Lecavalier gets $10M a year for 7 yrs; 1 yr at 8.5; 1 yr at 4; a 1.5 and the final year at 1.0.

If they retire before the end of the contract...I don't know how that works. I seem to recall in some CBA discussion that the team can't avoid cap hit due to retirement. That was due to this exact circumstance and because the NFL does that as a loophole. I seem to remember no renegotiation of NHF contracts and no cap avoidance due to retirement (unless injury). Then Tampa I think found this loophole about being traded near the end of the contract. The "announced" reason at time of signing was that he'd be worth less in the out years, but then I immediately read commentary that it could be used as cap avoidance.

One thing you have to admit is guys are sure willing to bend over backwards to play for the Wings. Hopefully one day it's the same in DC.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 28, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I agree with some of the bloggers about OV trying to do too much lately instead of just waiting for the right moments. I also notice Backstrom's numbers have slowed down lately and was wondering if that is the reason for OV to try to take everything across the lines instead of trusting his Center to create easier plays for him.

Posted by: JohnWWW | January 28, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

5 pts in 3 games vs. Boston. I welcome a 7-game series vs those guys.

Posted by: SA-Town | January 28, 2009 9:01 AM

@SA-Town:

If the season trend for both teams continues status quo, WAS is unlikely to see BOS in the first round of the playoffs. Could be a good Conference Final, though.

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 28, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Off Topic - can someone help?

I'm thinking of switching from local cable to Directv. The premier package has maybe 20 sports channels incl Comcast Mid-Atlantic. The advantage is cheaper plus way more HD games, plus HD Versus and NHL Network plus NFL Network. Now, for Directv users, do you also need to get Center Ice, or do all those channels basically give you all the games? One problem I can see is Comcast sometimes shwos Wizards and you all use Comcast Ch 2 or whatever and the Directv probably only gives the primary Comcast feed.

Any advice is appreciated.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 28, 2009 9:39 AM

@tominfl1:

Cable, Satellite or FiOS--it makes no difference: Although you may get the NHL Network, Versus, and Comcast SportsNet as part of your regular monthly package, (either in SD, in HD, or both), the NHL Center Ice package WILL cost you EXTRA---GUARANTEED!

The cost of NHL Center Ice usually varies from $160.00 to $200.00 per year, ABOVE AND BEYOND your monthly service subscription, and (depending on the provider) may either be purchased lump-sum or in monthly installments.

I'm not saying you shouldn't order Center Ice--before there was NHL Network, it was the only way to see Hockey Night In Canada without moving up north--I'm just saying that it'll cost you a chunk of change.

And if you think that's bad, NFL Sunday Ticket costs >$200.00 EXTRA, NBA Costs $180.00 to $200.00 per season EXTRA, and MLB Extra Innings costs well over $150.00 per season EXTRA.

Repeating: That's ABOVE & BEYOND the cost of your monthly Programming & Equipment.

This is because these "see every game" channels are not all-the-time broadcast channels like NHL Network--rather, they are PAY-PER-VIEW packages.

Don't be fooled.

Bottom line: don't quit cable (or keep cable, for that matter) without factoring the substantial additional cost you'll have to pay if you really want to see "every" NHL game...do ALL the math.

Also, if the Satellite provider is less than forthcoming about what your REAL costs will be while they are trying to GET your business, you may want to think about how they'll treat you once they have you locked into a contract.

Lastly, remember that with cable, your basic channels will still come in just fine even without a box,which equals $0.00 additional monthly cost for TV's so connected. With satellite, you'll need a box for EVERY TV on which you want to view ANY of your channels AT ALL.

Just my € 0.015082
₤ 0.013985
$CDN 0.024375

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 28, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

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