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Morning Reading List

PH2009021903555.jpg
Preston Keres--TWP

*Could Alex Ovechkin be the first player to win back-to-back Hart Trophies since Dominik Hasek completed the feat in 1997 and 1998 with the Buffalo Sabres? Tarik asks, and as you might guess the Capitals think so.

*The Denver Post previews tonight's game with a look at Jose Theodore's revival in Washington. If you missed Theodore's comments about playing against another one of his former teams on the blog last night check them out here.

*A few evaluations of Ovechkin's latest highlight-reel goal came in yesterday from Dan Rosen at NHL.com and Greg Wyshynski. The goal was even a hot topic down at Nats spring training.

*NHL.com talked to Nicklas Backstrom about his steady improvement through his first two seasons.

*Yesterday during an online Q&A Post columnist Tom Boswell admitted that the Capitals and Alex Ovechkin are so exciting: "I'm taping the games and replaying them to see this guy."

*Here are the top 10 goals through the season thus far, so says the NHL Network. There are at least two goals you'll recognize on the list.

*Dan Connolly at the Baltimore Sun asks whether the Capitals can transcend the usual Baltimore-D.C. sports rivalry and bring the neighboring cities and fans together to root for the Southeast Division leaders.

Avalanche Cliff notes:
*Colorado may sit in 14th place in the Western Conference, but the Caps are looking to improve their 7-9-0 record against opponents from the West. One thing's for sure though, Washington likely won't want to take tonight's game to overtime or a shootout.

*Despite participating fully in practice, Colorado's Paul Stastny, who has been out since Dec. 30 with a fractured forearm, isn't expected to play tonight against the Capitals.

*After back surgery and an unfortunate accident with a snow blower that has kept him out of the Avalance lineup since Nov. 28, Joe Sakic spoke recently about returning to the ice before the end of the season.

Around the NHL:
*In addition to the very visible on-ice problems, rumors that something bigger is going on have been flying about the Montreal Canadiens. Montreal's La Presse newspaper reported today that three players may be linked to an alleged criminal. Here is the rough translation of La Presse's story and a sidebar in which Andrei Kostitsyn was asked about the relationship.

*Because it is trade-deadline season, here is TSN's Darren Dreger's top-10 list of the players who could be part of the most interesting trades.

*USA Today also breaks down each team in the league as a buyer or seller come March 4.

In the system:
*The hockey world's thoughts are with the Albany River Rats after their team bus crashed late Wednesday night landing five people in the hospital. If you missed the news yesterday you can check out full coverage of the accident from the Albany Times Union, which has all the details of the police investigation and what the team experienced, along with columns and blog posts as well.

*Phil Janak at the Schenectady Gazette has also been providing regular updates of the situation on his blog, including one where he spoke to former River Rat and current Hershey Bear Keith Aucoin about the accident.

*And one more video for the weekend, the Caps 365 crew brings you the fourth installment of their first NHL goal stories.

By Katie Carrera  |  February 20, 2009; 4:35 AM ET
 
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Next: Morning Skate Update

Comments

Wow, Katie, are you updating these from Europe?

Normally I have to wait until after lunch for the "Morning" Reading List but your early starts are resulting in my Caps based internet browsing becoming earlier and earlier.

I'm not sure my boss will be that pleased, but I am, keep up the great work.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | February 20, 2009 4:48 AM | Report abuse

Some amazing goals on that Top 10 So Far video. What's everyone's favourite Non-Ovechkin goal?

It's tough to pick one, Ryan's spin move was good, especially as that was his hattrick goal, Zednik's rush and leap over a Dman was cool but the two I really like (by guys who don't have AO as initials) were Hagman fighting his way out of the corner beating 3 opponents and then the goalie or Wheeler Shorthanded mazey skate. I think I'd go with Hagman's.

Of course they all pale in comparsion to Ovie's goal against the Habs which is rightly top.

Speaking of THAT goal, I read some of the Pensblog last night for a laugh. The blog had singled it out as a highlight from Wednesday night, but in the comments Pens fans were actually saying things like "Crosby has scored loads of goals like that and never gets the credit" and "Mario did that every week".

Laugh? I thought my pants would never dry.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | February 20, 2009 5:42 AM | Report abuse

The first NHL goal videos have been great, I love stuff like that but I wish the Caps365 crew would have gotten the video of each goal and played it either with the players comments as a voice over or play the goal after each player has finished their description. I think Leonhardt is too busy daydreaming of playing.

And I feared the worst when Pothier's first comment was "I don't remember anything from the day" *Alarm bells ring*............

............. but thankfully he filled in lots of details after that. Phew!

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | February 20, 2009 6:04 AM | Report abuse

What fantastic reading this morning.

I was catching up on my reading and wanted to note that I think you regulars are making a big mistake engaging Windjammersouth. He's so obviously a troll, the definition of which is someone who's a prick on message boards because he can be, and they feed on input. The pleas to stop, to be blocked, etc., are always met by glee by these stupid types. Please ignore.

I'm not inviting input. Indeed, do not respond about this subject, but please stop feeding him.

Posted by: Sonyask | February 20, 2009 6:22 AM | Report abuse

Montreal potentially has more trouble than previously reported, according to TSN.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=267916&lid=headline&lpos=topStory_main

Posted by: ThomasJefferson | February 20, 2009 6:48 AM | Report abuse

ummm, was there a trade for Huet to come back to the Caps that TSN has before everyone else?

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?id=11009

scroll all the way down.


this is of course in jest.

Posted by: caps28fan | February 20, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

@redlineblue

that's interesting I was looking for additional tix for my friends. If IRTR is not interested, and you have 2, let me know.

Posted by: mauree | February 20, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

@caps28fan: I think any trade for Huet very unlikely. For one thing, Chicago likes their overpriced goalie tandem and probably won't want to do anything to disrupt it for the playoff run. We don't need Huet and we don't want his contract; that's why he left in the first place. Besides, what would we trade Chicago that they would want and we'd be willing to give up?

@DaveUK: I love Zednik jumping the Dman. That's a spectacular move, and it's good to see a guy who took such a dangerous injury not only survive, but come back to do something like that.

The USAToday article is interesting. Here's the Caps' entry:

Washington Capitals (buyer): GM George McPhee said he likes his group and he wants to see what they can do, but he said that last season and ended up being very active. The Capitals could probably use a veteran defenseman, but they have eight defensemen on the roster. They would have to move one.

They also mention that Jordan Leopold from Colorado would get some interest as a puck-moving defenseman. This is an interesting idea - his contract is pretty reasonable at 1.5, UFA after this season. He's a left-handed shooter, which makes trading ShaMo for him a plausible move from our perspective. ShaMo's more of a shut-down guy, though.

Mind you, I'm not necessarily advocating this, before you jump down my throat. I'm just exploring possibilities.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 20, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

@kittypawz

I think caps28fan is just reporting a mistake in that article.

Posted by: mauree | February 20, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

The story that has partially come out of Montreal and what is about to come out will cause an earthquake of a magnitude never seen in this Mecca of Hockey.
A mafioso was arrested a few days ago. He turns out to be the posse of the Kostytsin brothers; the guy who provides them with women, vodka, cars and illicit subtances. There is more, a lot more but has not come out yet.... Hundreds of conversations between the mafioso and the K Brothers, and Roma Harmlik are on tape...

I just hope that we provide better supervision to our young stars here....

Posted by: atybat | February 20, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I may have an extra ticket for Sunday's game. Will know for sure by early this afternoon. Email me at jmu.capsgirl at gmail if anyone's interested.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | February 20, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Dave:
PensBlog is pretty amusing, isn't it? I can't believe anyone would have the nerve to say that Sid has had goals like Ovi's AND not gotten attention for them. Give me a break! If Sid had done that they would have declared it Crosby day and had a parade. BTW, Zed's goal is my next favorite - he not only jumps over the guy but has to fight for it before that, too.

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 20, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Wild days in montreal! The wrong crowd is going to ruin you, no bones about it. Poor kid must have the shakes in the AHL.
It doesn't seem like the organization is taking care of their players. If one gets in a car wreck, the team should be trying to help them out, rather than letting them ask 'fans'. WHy couldn't these guys buy their own vodka? And why do they have a drug dealer doing their grocery shopping? Its montreal, land of hotties, and these too couldn't find a willing companion to help them with those details? Too much money, not enough sense. I wonder if they got drug tested, or if the canadiens let it go because of their centennial.


Posted by: oo7 | February 20, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

What the Caps need for the final push is not another defenseman. No, their current defensive corps is not the '78 Canadiens, but it's also workable. What's missing most is a scoring grinder who can stand in front of the net and tap in rebounds. That's what the Caps have been missing all year. Seems like Keith Tkachuk is the most available player who fits this description. Gotta think the Caps are considering him, no?

Posted by: katzistan | February 20, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

no one is considering Tkatchuk. He's a jerk and would only rub the locker room the wrong way. Yeah, they could use a net presence, but they NEED a top flight stay at home defenseman. Look at San Jose and Boston. If you dont think so, you're kidding yourself.


Posted by: oo7 | February 20, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Rumor now comes out that Kovalev stayed in Montreal for his own protection as he was about to spill the beans on a few teammates and received some threats.... more to come...

Posted by: atybat | February 20, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Crosby did score a goal where he was sliding stomach first towards the net, scored it i think two seasons ago. It was then used in almost every single NHL promo I saw for about a year haha

Posted by: SombreroGuy | February 20, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Mark the calendar. Feb 20, 2009. The day the Habs dreams of a decent playoff run ended.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | February 20, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I think it's obvious Kovalev is part of the Russian Mob. This whole hockey player thing is just a cover up.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 20, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Boo,
Exactly my thoughts. Poor Sid just doesn't get the press he deserves....yeah right!

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | February 20, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

@007 - The Caps could certainly use a "top-flight stay-at-home defenseman" - what team couldn't? But is there anyone available like that? There's maybe 5-10 in the whole league who are of the caliber that would actually help the Caps, and I don't see the Caps being able to get one and not lose something big in return. At the same time, the fact that they don't have anyone who can cause havoc in front of the net has been a problem all year. In the playoffs, where power plays are sometimes the only chances you get, this hole can't be underestimated. (Of course, if they're giving up PPGs like on Wednesday, that's an equally big problem.)

In any case, you get the feeling this team is just one piece away from being a serious contender, if not favorite.

Posted by: katzistan | February 20, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Jay McKee, Eric Brewer, and Barret Jackman are all on the Blues (who might be sellers), are all pretty solid defensemen, and could all probably help the Caps.

Posted by: _jordan | February 20, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 (or anyone that knows Cocoa Beach)

I'm a Marylander temporarily in Cocoa Beach and missing watching the Caps. Know of any sports bars around these parts with Center Ice? Watching online was a joke, the hotel internet couldn't keep up.

Posted by: sldyer1 | February 20, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

@Greg, from previous post

what, something like: F³ ? *pushes up his geeky glasses*

Posted by: mauree | February 19, 2009 6:06 PM

LOL! How the heck you DO that??? I used SUP and it didn't go. Is that not what you used??

Posted by: Greg S. | February 20, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

@atybat

Stranger things have happened, no? It's been widely reported that many of the younger players on Montreal have a problem with being out late and partying, so it's not a stretch to think they could have gotten involved with some shady characters.

Posted by: cainoo7x | February 20, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Katistan- You have to give something to get something. A top flight s@h will cost something. If they want the cup,they're going to have to pay. THey have a lot in the pipeplines, and some picks. I'm not suggesting they do what Pitt did to get Hossa. I'm suggesting they give up something to get something they need. THey dont need more goals in the playoffs, they need fewer goals against.


Posted by: oo7 | February 20, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I thought that all those goals were fantastic. Hockey is such a graceful, fluid sport. Almost artistic and ballet like. It takes a heck of a lot of athleticism to pull off these moves.

Posted by: Greg S. | February 20, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Ted has said (in the press and to me in person) that his GM is not looking to make any big trades. Marginal, edge work, can't pass it up, good for the future type stuff, but no big trades.

Might make one slightly bold move, but no big moves.

I don't know if that would square with what some/most of the big posters think we need, but it might be compatible.

What say you?

Posted by: WhyGo | February 20, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I love Zed's leaping goal, but am I the only one who thinks it was a bit of a dangerous move (having your skates airborn above another player).... esp coming from a guy who nearly died on the ice from having his neck nicked by a skate blade?

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the move, and the goal was fabulous.... just haven't seen anyone else point out the inherent irony/potential danger involved.

Posted by: chombie13 | February 20, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

There is a long history of boozing and frollicking in Montreal going many decades back. Many players have departed from Montreal semi-quietly or not, due to incidents. The Montreal police and the Canadien Organization are notorious for striking agreements to let things slide or quiet down...
Lafleur's car accident, Chelios' knee rehab with the Club President's wife, Theo's family pictures with Hells Angels, Corson-Chelios-Courtnall's infamous night with 15 year old minors are but a few of the more recent events... You can not get away with anything in Montreal; everyone knows your face....
There is a different culture in Quebec and not everyone can adapt to the myriads of opportunities outside the ice... Alexandre Daigle is perhaps the most famous example of an enormous talent gone bad due to off the ice excesses.

Posted by: atybat | February 20, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

chombie13:

just about every time I see a guy on his butt, I find myself looking for skates to come along and slash 'em.

anybody else.

bad juju watching those YouTube videos of spurting .....

Posted by: WhyGo | February 20, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

JMU_CapsGirl how much do you want for your ticket?

Posted by: capsfan5252 | February 20, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Fehr seems to be a point-a-game guy when he crashes the net like he did the last few games. He stopped against Montreal, and it showed. Hopefully he'll get back to that.

I can't really say I have a strong opinion about whether we should or will make a move at the deadline. I'm content to sit back and watch things unfold.

I'm also tempted to take March 4th off.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 20, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I like the Tkatchuk idea and think he would be a good fit, giving us some grit. He is a winner. As for the defense, I too feel we need a strong, no nonsense dman to keep teams honest around the net (Philly). But unless it is a clear cut improvement, I don't see it happening.

There won't be any Bowmeester types coming this way. I would expect a Pronger before that and I don;t know if GMGM is willing to part with what it would take (and with good reason).

We can't make the same mistake Pittsburg made and get greedy too soon.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | February 20, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

@whygo

Saying you wont make a deal is always the safe bet. Keeps the locker room confident, and not worried about getting moved.

The fact is, that McPhee will access all possible moves, and if someone is high on a prospect, or we can upgrade at a position we will. I think you have found in the past, teams in the top 5 of the NHL will look to add a veteran to help on the experience end. We also may need a vet back-up goalie down the stretch as a rental. We dont want to hang a rookie in the playoffs if Theo were to go down for a game or two.

I would say that we wont want to break up the current lineup much, but thinking we are 100% staying put could be looked at unlikely. If we do stay put, it's nice to think we are still OK for the playoffs.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 20, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I also think that Tkatchuk would be a good mentor (on the ice) for someone like Eric Fehr. To me, we really need Fehr to develop in to that type of player.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | February 20, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Lets not forget that our team has very little experience past the first round of the playoffs. Experience matters in my opinion.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 20, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

after the 'Caines game? too many of one thing or too little of another?

Posted by: WhyGo | February 20, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

sleep/booze

Posted by: WhyGo | February 20, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

SA

right you are. Still, that fits with the promise not to go overboard, thinking we are one player away from the cup and diving in to the deep end.

they have learned that lesson, I think.

make a good trade, if it fits, otherwise don't look to gamble anything.

Posted by: WhyGo | February 20, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

3 teams now have rookie goalies in net. bunch of rookie backups, too I think.

on the one hand, you are right, but I'm betting that they will look to BJ for a 2nd round return and/or go with the kids in the 1st round.

Posted by: WhyGo | February 20, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Tkachuck is not a proven winner. He is the epitome of potential unfulfilled.

Chris Pronger would make this team an almost lock to win the Stanley Cup (OK - maybe a little exaggeration). Look at what he did for both Edmonton and Anaheim. He took them both to the finals with a lot less support around him. Having a no-kidding stud like Pronger to clear the net and give the guys more confidence would be the single best possible move. However, I suspect that the price would be too steep for GMGM, and wisely so, since Boston, San Jose, and Chicago may drive his price too high.

Posted by: crooks_c | February 20, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

@Whygo

Yes...I wouldnt see up giving up much. Im thinking more of a role player, 2nd and 3rd line gritty winger, or a rental Vet D-Man with some toughness.

I hear Scott Stevens is in good shape, and looking to finish what he started in D.C

Posted by: SA-Town | February 20, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Jay McKee, guys. Seriously.

Posted by: _jordan | February 20, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

capsfan5252, I paid $65 for it from a STH, so that's what I'd ask for. I've already got two more people who have asked about it, so I have to give whoever asked first right of refusal.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | February 20, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

A rookie that has played some NHL games, and OUR rookies who have 3 NHL games between them is a big difference.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 20, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

JMU_CapsGirl....i understand thank you...by the way your my dream girl haha a girl that loves hockey man i gotta find me a girl like that

Posted by: capsfan5252 | February 20, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I'm just saying, I bet that GMGM will not get a netminder and hope that BJ is ready to return in 2nd round and hope that we make it thru the 1st round without an injury to JT. THAT would be a gamble worth taking, more like going for it on 4th down than trading away the store for a savior in net. The kids would be able to step in for a game or two in the playoffs IMHO. All bets are off, though if a serious injury happens to JT.

Posted by: WhyGo | February 20, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

instead of netminder insurance, go with Dman or grinder for the right price.

Posted by: WhyGo | February 20, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

@WhyGo: That's always a risk for any team. I don't think it's smart to sell the farm for anything (see: Penguins, Pittsburgh; Waddell, Don). I think we'll be okay in net for now with Varlamov/Neuvirth (how's Varly doing, by the way?) and Theodore up front, looking for a second-round return for Johnson. (Hell of a time to come back.)

@SA-Town: Concur. I read an article the other day about how it's not the big-name blockbuster trades that win Cups, though I can't remember where. A little bit of sandpaper and/or a rental vet D-man. That's it. We stand pat otherwise.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 20, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

@ waitingsince75,
What Fehr lacks is "Heart." No mentor can help him in that regard. I keep going back to the Calder Cup run at Hershey two years ago. And, I still see Fehr, lying face down on the ice, ALLOWING AN OPPONENT TO REPEATEDLY BASH HIS FACE INTO THE ICE. That's unforgettable. Unforgivable. And, cowardly to say the least.
Eric's fine as long as no one challenges him physically. Then, that's when the yellow streak raises it's ugly head. It happened in the Montreal game, if you'll recall. There was a scrum in Theodore's crease after the whistle. A guy got in Fehr's face, pushing and shoving, and giving him an old fashioned "Face wash." And, what did Eric do? NOTHING! He backed off ------ like always. From that point on, he was a non - factor.
It's really a shame. The guy has a world of ability. Kind of like Victor Kozlov, the NHL's biggest chump. And, while I'm think about it, you DO REALIZE that come playoff time, we'll be playing a man short each and every time Victor is on the ice. The bum has yet to score his FIRST playoff goal. ------ That's all one needs to know in order to asses Kozlov's "Heart" component. Fehr - Kozlov. Sadly, they're eerily similar where it counts the most.

Posted by: Puckguru | February 20, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

capsfan5252, keep looking, we're out there! Just don't mistake us for the girls in the pink jerseys.

Alzner story: http://www.theahl.com/headlines/index.html?article_id=9542

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | February 20, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

easy to say sitting in the stands.

let's just agree that ALL of our players have "heart". Some just have way more than others.

Now, tell Fehr his mommy is calling.

Posted by: WhyGo | February 20, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

AHHH - Always nice to hear from Puckguru.

I stand by my assessment of Tkatchuk. There is a reason he is a hot commodity right now. I have heard/seen rumors about him going to 5 or 6 different teams for the same reason. Boston in particular.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | February 20, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Seriously though, these men are all great players in some resect or another. Calling them bums or other names, without a huge amount of data to back it up (I mean, there ARE a few bums in the NHL) is in my opinion disrespectful.

Again, easy to call them names from the stands.

When I lived in Tampa, I once saw a guy call Vinnie Testaverde a p**s from way off. Vinnie went and stood his 6'5" over this knuklehead that was about 5' nothing and he shut his mouth right quick.

They must look smaller on TV, eh?

Posted by: WhyGo | February 20, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

PG, your doorbell is ringing. It's Vinnie from down the block....

Posted by: WhyGo | February 20, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

My favorite Zednik goal was vs. PIT when he still wore a Caps sweater:

Zednik got the breakout pass and began storming up the the right-hand boards.

The Evil Kasparaitis raced back and tried to staple Zed to the boards, but Zed took an extra step so that TEK only got a tiny bit of Zed, and instead mostly ate the glass himself.

Zed continued to drive towards the net, reeling, staggering, barely maintaining his balance. Just before the hashmark he made a sharp lateral cut to center and buried it top-shelf against the hapless PIT netminder.

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 20, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

courtesy of STH's

hope it's not illegal to share this.

http://capitals.nhl.com/ext/Game_notes/0809/022009_vsCOL_GameNotes.pdf

Posted by: WhyGo | February 20, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

nothing in there about any bums. they must not have the same sources as PG.

Posted by: WhyGo | February 20, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

@ Whygo,
You'd better do your buddie, Vinnie a favor. Advise him that I too am 6'4.5 265lbs AND HIT REALLY, REALLY HARD. Will give references if desired. That's the way we native Pittsburgers roll.

Posted by: Puckguru | February 20, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

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