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Morning Reading List

Preston Keres--TWP

*After a nine-game absence, Viktor Kozlov is expected to return to the Caps lineup tonight against Atlanta. Or as Bruce Boudreau might say, the round peg will be back in the round hole, most likely on the top line.

*The Capitals are set to tie a franchise record with their 10th-consecutive sellout today leading many to believe that there is indeed a hockey renaissance in Washington.

*Don't forget Tarik will take your questions in a Caps chat today at 1 p.m.

*Just a year ago, the Capitals were fighting for their playoff lives and now they're in a fairly comfortable spot among the top teams in the Eastern Conference. So they must find a way to maintain the same level of motivation. (Washington Times)

*In addition to the now infamous cart ride through Verizon Center here are some clips of this week's Day in the Life featuring Mike Green.

*Sports Illustrated's Michael Farber is the latest to chime in on the Ovechkin-Crosby rivalry, and Green is included in this week's pop culture grid.

*The rumors and speculation won't stop until March 4 has come and gone, so here's ESPN's Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burside breaking down some of the potential deals. Also here is Bob McKenzie's latest blog on some of the not as flashy would-be trades.

*From The Hockey News, the top-10 blockbuster trades along with Mike Smith's and Ryan Dixon's takes.

Thrashers Cliff notes:
*The Thrashers have won three of their past five games including their most recent contest a 4-3 victory over Colorado on Tuesday as Ilya Kovalchuk

*Remember all the buzz about Philadelphia's ability to score shorthanded goals? Well Atlanta's Colin Stuart has three shorties on the year and has helped fuel the Thrashers more-aggressive penalty kill that has six shorthanded goals in the past seven games.

*The Thrashers are mulling over some trade deadline decisions of their own as goaltender Kari Lehtonen has been a topic of several rumors.

In the system:
*After running out to a 3-0 lead, the Bears lost 6-5 to Binghamton last night in a shootout.

*While not Caps related, this is still hockey in Washington. NBC did a feature on the NOVA Ice Dogs, which you can view below.

By Katie Carrera  |  February 26, 2009; 4:30 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Boudreau on Kozlov: 'He's that round peg in that round hole'
Next: Neuvirth to start vs. Atlanta


Quoting: I think Pronger has the potential to do what he did in Edmonton, take a new team by the throat and drag it along for a long playoff run. Think he'd look pretty good in a Caps uniform alongside Mike Green?

I'm sorry Boo, but yeah he'd be awesome for the Caps.

If GMGM pulls this off, I'm going to verbally abuse every puckuru/chief/random trolls here every time they run out of their medicine or mom has to clean their basement so they post here.

Posted by: mauree | February 26, 2009 4:47 AM | Report abuse

Oh and Katie thanks again for the MRL.

Posted by: mauree | February 26, 2009 5:38 AM | Report abuse

I second Mauree's thanks.

Re our young goalies. I think Varly plays in Hershey when healthy and gets 10+ games under his belt prior to being called up. Neuvirth will be in DC playing maybe 1 out of 4 games for a little while longer. Varly may get a couple of games for the Caps in the last week of the regular season in readiness for playoff time. Either way, I think Hershey will be in safe hands come the AHL playoffs.

If Varly is the Iron Curtain, Neuvy needs a nickname too. How about, The Baby Faced Assassin? Glove Ninja? Czech Mate?

I still maintain if Ovi's head collides with that garage door, its the door that comes off worse.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | February 26, 2009 6:03 AM | Report abuse


I'd rather emphasize his coolness on the ice. Besides he'll lose the babyness soon enough I suspect.

How about Ice Michal? Or San Michal if he proves to be miraculous :D Or Mount San Michal lol

BTW I only heard pieces of it on the radio, but looks like Manch. played one hell of a game huh?

Posted by: mauree | February 26, 2009 6:12 AM | Report abuse

Has Boston already clinched a playoff spot?

They're pretty close it would seem. With 9th place Carolina having 20 games to go, the most points Carolina can end up with is 106.

Boston already has 90. That would seem to make Boston's magic number just 8. That is any combination of 8 Boston wins vs. 8 Carolina losses means Boston is in the playoffs. Is that right?

I think that means the Caps magic number vs. Pittsburgh is 13, but not sure. Caps have 81 points. Pittsburgh has 66 with a max of 106 possible. Caps are 26 points shy of 107, which I think gives us a magic number of 13 against Pittsburgh to clinch.

Posted by: drewapuck | February 26, 2009 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Not sure he's big enough for Mount Anything and I'm guessing his baby faced looks are here for a good fews years yet.

I was trying to come up with something that captures how quick is glove hand is. Quick Draw? All my ideas are rubbish so far hence me opening it up to the group.

Utd were pretty awesome, particularly first half, although I hope that fact we didn't turn that into goals doesn't come back to haunt us.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | February 26, 2009 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Question of the day:
In which game do you think Ovie will get his 50th goal?

I'm hoping he can get 6 in 5 games to leave him on 49 in time for the Pens at the VC on March 8th. That would be a nice game to get to 50.

Mauree, you're at that Pens game right?

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | February 26, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse


I hope OVI will get the 50th tonight! And the the 60th at the Pen's game :D
But yeah, 50th @Pens would be awesome too.

Yes, I'll be at the Pens game, courtesy of Boo that found me tickets. I'm so darn excited :D

"Mount" as in "Wall", not referred to his size but his ability to stop everything :D

Posted by: mauree | February 26, 2009 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Ugh, Philthy rolls over the Kings with a shut-out. Dang Flyers are getting hot for the playoffs. For a long playoff run, I really think the Caps need to see if they can trade for a tough-nosed winger given Clark is on LTIR and Fehr is as yet still unproven in that role. They also need to see if the price is right for a tough veteran blueliner to add some grit, experience, and stability to the Caps blueline. The goaltending is adequate, while the scoring, speed, passion, coaching, lockerroom mentality, and passing are all excellent.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | February 26, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. Once again, a tasty MRL and thank you Katie.

Re: Neuvirth and nicknames: I tend to like "Czech Mate" myself, but we haven't seen enough yet to really get a good feel. Let's see what he does in the next few days. I want to see him get two starts in this stretch, Atlanta and either Florida or Boston.

I can see us exchanging for Varlamov in the last week or two, more as a "who's our playoff backup and who anchors Hershey" type thing. A pretty nice dilemma to have, yes?

Must toss a question at Tarik for the chat today - what's Pothier's status?

@mauree: Yes, he would. He's indicated that he doesn't really want to move, but I think Washington can give up enough to get him without selling the farm - if we can afford the cap hit next year.

So, just speculating here but my understanding is that the going price for Pronger would be a roster man, a top prospect, and a high draft pick. How does Morrisonn, Bourque, and an available draft pick sound? (I don't know what we've got available.)

Posted by: kittypawz | February 26, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse


that would be awesome. My feeling is that they'd want either Flash or Semin though.

I wouldn't give up Semin. Flash, I came to love him, but for Pronger I'd give him up as things stand now. However, it could also be that this current D will do well in the playoffs - very unlikely in my opinion, but if that's the case we might look at other options.

Posted by: mauree | February 26, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

The Ducks have to dump salary, so they can't afford Semin. They can't take Nylander for the same reason (even with his NTC yada, yada, yada). Flash is too expensive for the Caps because he is proving to be a 20+ goal scorer. Schultz, Morrison, Bourque, and maybe even Osala are all possibilities along with picks -- the Caps have all 7 for next year.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | February 26, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse


Czech Mate - HA!

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 26, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Caps need better goaltending. "Adequate" goatending is not going to get you a stanley Cup. "Adequate" when applied to goaltending is just another word for "soft". The deffense is also a bit soft.

This is just another "pretty good" Caps team that makes some noise in the regular season but crashes out of the playoffs against a hungrier team with better defending and goaltending.

Dust off the gold clubs...

Posted by: Ron16 | February 26, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

The Ovi/Crosby article above is a must read. Excerpt RE: Ovi's colorful ASG skills comp performance (reminder - he put a Canadian flag in his hat):

"Maybe this comes from having misspent some of my youth listening to Beatles records backwards to glean the hidden messages ("I buried Paul"), but the elaborate pantomime can also be viewed as an inside joke among the Russians aimed squarely at Crosby ... Of course, if this act really was a jibe at Crosby, the NHL milch cow whom Alexander Semin, Ovechkin's road roommate in Washington, has said is over-promoted, we won't know unless Ovechkin cops to it. But we do know this: there is a genuine rivalry between these fabulous players who entered the league simultaneously after the owner's lockout."

It goes on to say:

"Consider Crosby. No player since Wayne Gretzky has been better prepared for greatness. He is skilled, tough and dependable. If Ovechkin thinks Crosby whines too much, he is tarring the Penguins captain with a mostly outdated reputation that was established his rookie year and is way overblown."

Please. And then says:

"Now consider Ovechkin. He's a force of nature, as improvisational as Crosby is programmed. The Capitals left winger is the most exciting player in the game since Gilbert Perreault, maybe even Bobby Orr, and if at times there appears there is not enough mustard in the world to smear on this guy, well, make ours with sauerkraut."

Now go read the rest of it! :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 26, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

From the pop culture grid - per Mike Green, a song no one knows that he listen to is Fantasy by Mariah Carey. Really, Mike?!?

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 26, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

I still maintain if Ovi's head collides with that garage door, its the door that comes off worse.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | February 26, 2009 6:03 AM

HAHA! That's great Dave!

And if I had to vote for a nickname for Neuvirth, I'd say Czech Mate.

Posted by: BlondeCapsFan | February 26, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS: I think we'd be looking to get rid of Mo first. Schultz is very effective for his salary, plus he is a young and developing player who hasn't reached his full potential yet. Mo is a reasonable top- or second-pairing defenseman, but we won't be able to afford Pronger unless we move him, and he's been through arbitration twice already. I'm not sure the Caps would be willing to move Osala, but Bourque has the potential to be a top-six forward with good hands and plenty of hustle, and he's got the skill to play in the NHL. We just don't have room for him in that top-six bracket and won't for a while, so he actually brings more to the table as a good trade piece right now.

Goal is why I think we need to start Neuvirth twice before the deadline. I want to see what he's got and whether he can handle a playoff atmosphere. If he can, we're good in goal and can look for an experienced, gritty Dman. If not, goal has to be our first priority.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 26, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

@Ron16: That's nice. Got any suggestions or are you just going to sit there and bleat?

Posted by: kittypawz | February 26, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for sharing the video on the Ice Dogs program for kids with autism, and the fantastic job they're doing! Just a point of clarity though - the program is actually the WASHINGTON Ice Dogs, rather than the NOVA Ice Dogs. The NOVA Ice Dog program fields teams in both the CBHL (Travel) and the CCHL (Rec), and skates out of Mount Vernon, Fort Dupont and Tucker Road.

Posted by: driveblue | February 26, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse


can you thank GMGM for spending 4.5 mil on Nylander for 4 years and locking up Erskine for our D for the next 2 yrs

thank goodness Hershey has always been able to develop players for us and we have people who know how to draft for us

Posted by: capsgary | February 26, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Dust off the gold clubs...

Posted by: Ron16 | February 26, 2009 8:29 AM

Wow, I realise the Caps are bringing in some decent money..... but gold clubs?? I'll have to carry on with my plain, old, regular golf clubs.

Boo, in the Mike Green "Day in the Life" video he has Mariah on his car stereo. He should look out for the Music Police, they must have warrants out for his arrest.

Not sure I like "Czech Mate" for Neuvy, even though it was me who said it first! Surely someone can do better.

So really? No thoughts on Ovie maybe getting goal #50 against the Pens??

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | February 26, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Anybody catch Sykora's celebration of the Penguins goal last night? Dancing, arms waving, body jumping and slamming into the glass...I thought his royal funless had banned such activities?

Posted by: soloman5000 | February 26, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

thank goodness Hershey has always been able to develop players for us and we have people who know how to draft for us

Posted by: capsgary | February 26, 2009 9:04 AM

Yeah, because a GM does nothing at the draft...

Posted by: Section117 | February 26, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse


I noticed that, too! Maybe even more of the Pens players are getting sick of his royal funless.

Posted by: CapsKH | February 26, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

@DaveUKCapsFan: I'm for that. I wouldn't mind seeing him get #51, #52, #53, and #54 then either.

Will it happen? I'd hope he'd be past the 50 mark by then.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 26, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse


well Nyl isn't playing the money is earning that's for sure.

What I was saying is if he can pull that off, it would be one hell of a move on top of other good moves he did to create the current good roster. Ferh, Green, OVI, Feds, Semin, Backstrom, so many... not to mention he kept Flash when he wasn't playing that well - and what about the prospects? Alzner, Varly, Neuvirth, Osala, etc... come on, he's doing a good job. If he can get a Pronger-caliber D-man, it will be an excellent job.

Posted by: mauree | February 26, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I guess when royal funless isn't playing, his teammates have tea party. Glad to see Ovie's enthusiasm is rubbing off.

Posted by: tomdchancar | February 26, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

@soloman - Pens got to dance last night 'cause Crosby wasn't in the game.

Hope BB sits Schultz tonight, he may be developing but for this season he is the weakest link in the D. Just can't afford for him to play as horribly as he did against Philly in big games. A bad night here and there is one thing but that was a disaster.

Posted by: ds_kelly | February 26, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

@Boo: he gets a pass, because despite being by Mariah Carey, Fantasy is a great song ;)
Can anyone recommend a good place to eat before the game? is Matchbox a yea or nay? I am taking friends to the game tonight and they've never seen hockey before, here's hoping the Caps put on a show !

Posted by: honed | February 26, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Ouch, I got a Boo hiss... hurts!

Posted by: mauree | February 26, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

If Ovie scores in the next 5 games at the rate he has scored all season (44 in 59 = 0.75 goals per game) he'll get 4 in the next 5 games (actually 3.75 but I'm rounding up) so he would be on 48 going into the Pens game.

However, if he scores in the next 5 games at the rate he has in his last 5 games (6 in 5 = 1.2 goals per game) he'll hit 50 in the Leafs game on the 5th March.

I hope he's sitting on 49 before the Pens game and hits the game winner to get to 50!

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | February 26, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Please ... since when are you afraid of lil ol' Boo?

I am not familiar with Matchbox but there are a ton of good options - depends on what kind of food you like and how much you want to spend. My primary recommendation? Reservations ... especially since the Caps have been selling out (it is getting harder and harder to find a table). If you go to you can search Penn Quarter to see which restaurants have tables available.

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 26, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Again, for those coming in late, Joe Say is a 2 year stop-gap until Varly and Newvie are ready. Anything the Caps win in the next 2 years is a bonus. The goal is the Cup within 3 years, and then a 10-12 year run of multiple Cups (won't that shut Pens fans up?) So we aren't trading for goaltending, but there may be a defenseman in our future

Posted by: Leeguru | February 26, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Just read my last post back - what a geek! Must remember to get out more.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | February 26, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I was not going to say anything but ... ;-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 26, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Leeguru is exactly right. I know everyone wants to win NOW, but this is a long-term plan to build a winning dynasty. We already tried the short-term plan (c.f Jagr, Jaromir).

I think Pronger would be a terrific addition to our blue line, and would think Mo, Bourque (he has not slot on this team, and could be playing in the NHL on another team) and a high draft pick was fine to pay for him IF AND ONLY IF his salary would in no way restrict our abillity to resign Backis, Semin, and our other key components in the future.

Posted by: Baildog | February 26, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

sweet, thanks Boo!

Posted by: honed | February 26, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

See what you did? Now I have actual hopes for Pronger here, waiting to be crushed. So, I went to the Ducks TMZ boards and apparently Pronger put his house for sale. But he's building another one there. But his wife told a friend of a friend that they're heading to Detroit... arg!

Posted by: mauree | February 26, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

new thread - Neuvirth might start tonight. Cool!

Posted by: mauree | February 26, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Don't sign Pronger, he'll just hurt Green in practice

Posted by: gtydings | February 26, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: capshoss | February 26, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I feel Pronger would be more of a liabilty for us, such as more penalty kills and can his body actually the hitting of the East's style

I would easily take Morris .. also would not have to give up as much

and Section117
a GM is like a president or boss -- takes all the credit but has no clue of what is actually happening -- just ask Olie--sorry I lost all the respect after the way he did or actually did not treat a classy individual -- and before anyone blows a gasket and says how bad it would be if we still had Olie -- it is just the point of how you treat people who bled everything to put us where we are

Posted by: capsgary | February 26, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Matchbox is great--Food's excellent, bar's nice, service is great. 10/10, would buy from aga--wait this isn't eBay feedback.

Seriously though--great all around.

Like the Caps--now to get a goalie.

Posted by: WillBBC | February 26, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

i'm still bitter from the philly game. trade schultz right now. he's awful.

Posted by: nwilson2 | February 26, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

@DaveUK: Fair enough. Could go either way, then. Although, against the Leafs would be mighty too, as I have a friend coming in from Toronto for that game.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 26, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

@ mauree,
Wow. Why all the "Love?" Let me just say that if all males became men, maybe you'd have become one. But, that's obviously NOT the case. So, just go back into your cave, Neanderthal. Hopefully, that sorry excuse for a life youre mired in, hasn't completely disintergrated during your painfully futile effort to diss The Much Envied Puckguru.

Posted by: Puckguru | February 26, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

and Section117
a GM is like a president or boss -- takes all the credit but has no clue of what is actually happening -- just ask Olie--sorry I lost all the respect after the way he did or actually did not treat a classy individual -- and before anyone blows a gasket and says how bad it would be if we still had Olie -- it is just the point of how you treat people who bled everything to put us where we are

Posted by: capsgary | February 26, 2009 11:14 AM

Agreed on him having some faulty personnel moves, but let's be clear:

The "president" helps put together the staff, not the least of which is the current stable of scouts out there.

The "president", as you call him, went to Russia and picked up the franchise player, despite offers from other teams for the pick, or to pick elsewhere.

The "president" has picked up prospects and picks in addition to this - some have worked out, some haven't, some have yet to.

The "president" got a good deal on a younger, faster goalie, while the other goalie had little left in the tank. Said goalie also pouted because the "president" didn't kiss his ring enough and reward him with playing time during a key part of the season.

Having some grudge against him because he made a decision for the betterment of the club? In sports? Please.

Posted by: Section117 | February 26, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

The only thing with Pronger is that he has a bad disciplinary record. He's been suspended 8 times, notably for stomping on a Vancouver player last year.

With that being said...he's a nasty piece of work who will hit anything that moves.

If he can be tough and nasty without taking silly penalties...worth taking a look at.

Posted by: jcurrin | February 26, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

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