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Morning Reading List: Laich and Lightning

Steve Babineau--Getty

Tarik spends some time examining the development of Brooks Laich from prospect to a reliable veteran, and examining his devotion to his team.

The Hockey News brings you their top 10 line combinations, and the pairing of Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Viktor Kozlov made the list.

Colleague Corey Masisak discusses how Alexander Semin could be a catalyst for the Capitals' greater success.

Among the hot topics TSN's panelists debated this week:
"Penguins fans are saying that Geno Malkin is the league MVP. Good evidence in the last game - he got five points, he hit the 100-point mark, he leads it by 10. Who's your choice? It's basically coming down to Alex Ovechkin or Malkin."

Lightning Cliff Notes
Four of Tampa's past six games have gone to overtime (two to a shootout), including the Lightning's most recent contest, a 4-3 shootout loss to Toronto.

Defenseman Cory Murphy is likely out for the rest of the season after a slap shot by Vinny Lecavalier broke his foot. With Murphy sidelined, the spotlight in Tampa turns to 22-year-old Matt Lashoff, whom the Lightning acquired from Boston for Mark Recchi.

If you've wondered about Tampa's struggles this season, consider that Lashoff is the 20th defenseman who has suited up for the club this season.

In the System
In case you missed it, Dmitri Kugryshev made this week's hot list.

There are a tad fewer Caps-related stories today, but to help keep you tided over until today's practice updates, here are the goals and saves of the week.

By Katie Carrera  |  March 19, 2009; 7:24 AM ET
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Next: Laing Recalled, Varlamov to Start


Ovie will get goal 52 tonight.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 19, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

The whole MVP thing is based on a body of work....not just a 5 point game against Atlanta's back up goalie on a back to back set of games where they had to travel up the coast...Malkin is the second best player in the league but when was the last time you saw him diving to break up a breakaway to save a goal.....I haven't seen that yet from #71....points do not make up a MVP last time I helps but its not the whole body of work....

Posted by: rdiehljr | March 19, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

3 out of 4 commentators on TSN during Wednesday Night hockey on NHL Network last night said at this point it is Ovie. The odd man out was Jones which is odd since he is a former Cap.

Mackenzie did say he thinks the last 10 games will decide a lot and if Ovie falters, it is his to lose.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | March 19, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

It would be nice to see ovechkin get mvp again, but it is so not one of the top things on my mind. And I bet it isn't very high on his list at the moment either. Time for some team accomplishments.

Posted by: mikebrady1 | March 19, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

wow, in the pens goal i saw a couple of good canadian boys in a pig pile after a goal? just a game tying mid third period goal. wonder what the old man has to say about that. probably blame it on the russian.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | March 19, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Is Geno MVP? Well, He's got a hundred points and his team looks like its going to make the playoffs. Without him, the team would likely be out of the race, with only Crosby and some strugglers. Hard to argue against Geno. Yes, Ovechkin is a physical force, yes he plays well defensively. But Geno has over 30 goals, 70 assists and a 100 points. Its hard to argue against that. In all fairness, its a tough call, but over a 100 points and a playoff berth is hard to deny, no?

Posted by: oo7 | March 19, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

When you gonna tell us about Laing?

Posted by: grego2 | March 19, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

@007 - Can't disagree with you, you've gotta be fair, Geno is in the same position Ovie was in last year and with the Pens in the playoff picture it's hard to argue against Geno. Plus, you have to wonder how many of the voters will go for him because Ovie won it last year.

Posted by: ds_kelly | March 19, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I think the points stat is misleading. It should be divided into Goals, Primary Assists, and Secondary Assists. Sure sometimes that secondary assist is part of a play, but I see so many games where a player makes a normal pass, then the next guy makes an incredible pass through several D to an open guy for the goal. Secondary assist seems like a reward for playing good hockey.

Malkin is a contender though. It is a similar situation to last year about this time when Ovie had all the stats and didn't know if he would make the playoffs. Malkin deserves consideration and is a great player, but I think the real winner is Parise.

Posted by: trunkenmath | March 19, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Hate to say it, but if they stay on the same trajectory it's Malkin. The good news is, Ovi turns it on BIG for the final 10! Starts tonight. Go Caps!

Posted by: Sonyask | March 19, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I think the MVP will come down to the gap in the scoring race - if Ovi is within about 6 by the end of the season, he wins it. I don't think it would hurt to get to 60 again but if he's at 56-58, somewhere around 110 points, and within 6, he'll cover. I also think Malkin would be a worthy winner.

Posted by: saintex | March 19, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

If he hits 60, Ovi's in. That'd be 11 goals in 10 games (plus whatever assist points to boot).

Posted by: Sonyask | March 19, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Just a note though(since many hardcores visit here), I am heading down to NC to visit my brother and have seats for the game on Sat. If anybody knows about the epic bus trip or any party stuff I could get in on drop me a line : tmsoftworks at

I have been in germany 9 months and would love to not be stuck with all canes fans

Posted by: trunkenmath | March 19, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Evgeni Malkin *is* a good player... he's considerably better than Crosby is. Is he better than Ovechkin? I do not believe so. As rdiehljr said, it's the body of work, not just points...

Posted by: irockthered | March 19, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I posted this yesterday, but will add something

Reasons why Ovie gets MVP over Malkin

- Ovie has kept his team in the top 3 all year.
- Ovie has kept his team in the top 3 with a major amount of injuries in the middle part of the year.
- Ovie has lead his team to a top record vs. top east teams.
- Ovie takes the body better
- Ovie leads in goals
- Ovie is a more vocal leader
- Ovie is better on the Power Play
- Ovie is more dynamic shooter and creates shots on goal at a rapid pace. (Ask any NHL goalie if this a good thing as opposed to a puck hog)
- Ovie is 3-0-1 head to head vs Malkin this year

Reasons for Malkin -
- More points
- Better (+-)

I really feel the argument can be made that Ovie deserves this award more this year then last. If leading a team that plays at a high level all year means anything..(last year we were awful for a good chunk of the season) Then this year is more MVP worthy then last.

Take away Ovie's bad start, and he is above Malkin in points anyway. Goals are much harder to come by then assists. 2nd assist come often, but there in no denying who is the man when a goal is scored.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 19, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse


Check your email, sent you details.

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | March 19, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse


I'll be on the roadtrip and I know we are sitting behind the net where the Caps shoot twice. So come on over!! I hear there are 3 buses full that are going to Carolina on Sat!

Posted by: darrylrbaker | March 19, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Heck with the Hart, Ovi could use a Conn Smythe (Playoff MVP) though.

Posted by: koalatek | March 19, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Besides points and all, Ovi carried this team throughout the year with the Caps missing like 300 man-games due to injuries. And also besides points, Ovi has 222 hits and Malkin has 69. and has 10 Game-winners to Malkin's 3.

Also, Ovi has something like 23 3rd-period-or-overtime goals. that's almost as many as Malkin has overall. This is all a case of "what has he done lately". Ovi has the better overall body of work...

Posted by: sargeantmofo | March 19, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I'm on that bus trip as well, and will have camera in pocket. Considering also bringing laptop to blog it but am unsure if I will be able to secure it somewhere.

This should be pretty wild - and pretty funny.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 19, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Here's my problem with Malkin for MVP. He has scored all season and the Penguins have sucked for most of it. Only since Kunitz has arrived have they really made a move. Ovie is on a team that has been at the top of the standings for most of the year even with all the injuries to the team and he has still kept up his scoring numbers.

Posted by: digital_will | March 19, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

cheers to Ovie having a 5 pointer tonight and saying "booyah" to malkin

Posted by: _stevo | March 19, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I'll say one more thing on the MVP: if you were at the last Leafs game at Verizon (when Ovi was out for Heelgate) the team looked totally different - it was amazing. I know he missed the two earlier this season but Semin was on a roll and covered the scoring, but without AO, this team is so different. We don't know about the Pens without Malkin but Kunitz and Guerin have made the difference on that team since the deadline.

Posted by: saintex | March 19, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: no_private_info | March 19, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse


Those reasons alone are a deal-breaker.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 19, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I'll be on the roadtrip and I know we are sitting behind the net where the Caps shoot twice.

Posted by: darrylrbaker | March 19, 2009 9:40 AM

Is that for sure?

Posted by: Section117 | March 19, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I'm on the road this weekend as well, in the three-bus tour; should be great fun! I'm looking forward to it, and will have camera in hand. :-)

Posted by: irockthered | March 19, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

@Section117 - That's where I understood our seats to be, too. Lower bowl, behind the net.

Posted by: irockthered | March 19, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

...three-bus tour.

I feel a Gilligan's Island parody coming on.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 19, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Obligatory comment: Anyone else feel a sleepwalk loss coming on? Meh team. Backup goalie. Yup, it's all there.

Tell me we're starting the Iron Curtain tonight? After all, we're getting a tour of their goaltenders, why shouldn't they get a tour of ours?

Do the Caps know about the bus trip?

Posted by: kittypawz | March 19, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Like most, I'm okay with Malkin being considered up there with Ovi. As long as the only thing Crosby wins is the swimsuit portion of the competition, I'm good with either Ovi or Malkin winning the league MVP. =P Moreso Ovi. Just being nice putting Malkin up there too, for consideration. Go, Ovi! Go Caps!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 19, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

@Section117 - That's where I understood our seats to be, too. Lower bowl, behind the net.

Posted by: irockthered | March 19, 2009 10:29 AM

For whatever reason I knew lower bowl, but spaced on where.

Anyway, I'll be the one with a cigar, drinking John Dalys with some friends.

Posted by: Section117 | March 19, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Enjoyed the article on Brooksie. Interesting that his father is an educator. That would explain why Brooks is such an articulate, thoughtful guy with solid character. The press is drawn to him because he doesn't just serve up the usual hockey cliches. But at the same time he is not a guy with a huge ego trying to promote himself. Loved the comment about the team being like his family.

Posted by: KlayKey | March 19, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

man, it's hard to get psyched up for these crappy division games...the realignment sucks.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 19, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Brooksie is a gamer and I'm glad we have him for a while..his end quote makes him a MVP for the team

the caps usually play better with a rookie in net because they realize Jose isn't there to stop the breakaways..just think of the end of the season last year how defensive we played..and against Florida proved Bruce's system works -- even with a weak D core

Posted by: capsgary | March 19, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Hey all, random question that I hope somebody can answer. During stoppages in play at home, sometimes the VC people play a song that says "danger, danger" or something like that. I can't tell if it's old or new, but I want it. Can anybody tell me what song it is? Thanks!

Posted by: covesdog | March 19, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Is Brian Pothier going to get another shot in there? He made a few mistakes on Monday, but overall I was impressed as heck with how he looked after so much time away. Check the Caps website and it has the standard pre-game summary but has the D-men kind of hammered in the predicted pairings. I haven't seen any call-ups yet the pairings are predicted as:

26-Morrisonn, 52-Green
44-Kronwall, 3-Poti
27-Alzner, 23-Jurcina

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 19, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

We now know Varly is starting. I think they play well in front of him, get two more points, and essentially end this division thing.

Posted by: saintex | March 19, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I don't think they'll take this one lightly. Any glance at the overall schedule reveals that the Caps have been waaay too inconsistent to date.

10 games left. This is a time to take all that is good on offense, defense, and special teams, and put it all together for the playoffs. Cut the crap penalties. Tighten up. Now. Bruce knows that, and he's telling the players that. Make this 10 look like last season's last 10.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 19, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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