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Morning Reading List: Injury Update

(Luis M. Alvarez - The Associated Press)

The weekend off may not have cured all of the Capitals' ailments. Get caught up to date with today's notebook with updates on Donald Brashear, Mike Green, Boyd Gordon and more.

If you haven't already, head over to the D.C. Sports Bog and check out Dan Steinberg's interview with Pummeler about their "Crosby Sucks" anthem.

From The Hockey Show, here's a clip of Mike Green talking about his fondness of skateboarding.

Over the past few weeks, a few people have come out hoping for a Capitals-Penguins matchup in the first round. Here is the National Post's roundup heading into the playoffs.

Sports Illustrated's Darren Eliot believes the Central Division is the NHL's best from top to bottom. Do you agree? More on that topic, The Hockey News' Ken Campbell talks about the division's transformation from "farce to force".

In the System
Everything seems to be on track for the Bears as they head into the playoffs.

Tim Leone examines how a new AHL rule that changed the number of skaters a team can dress for a game has benefited certain Bears.

Braden Holtby and the Saskatoon Blades staved off elimination and forced a Game 7 with a 5-1 win over Lethbridge last night.

Frozen Four
Did all the upsets last weekend provide an argument for more teams in the NCAA hockey field? Ryan Kennedy over at The Hockey News thinks so.

If you didn't realize how much this Frozen Four trip means to the folks at Bemidji State take a gander at how the Beavers were greeted at the airport when they returned victorious -- at 2 a.m. Story here and photo gallery here.

One of the strongest teams during the regular season over the past few years, the Miami RedHawks finally saw that momentum carry over into the NCAA Tournament with this long-awaited Frozen Four berth.

Upsets aside, Boston U. is still the heavy favorite. Part of the Terriers' success has hinged upon the success of freshman goaltender Kieran Millan.

By Katie Carrera  |  March 31, 2009; 5:30 AM ET
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Next: Aucoin Recalled and Green Returns (Updated)



Posted by: ludeman95 | March 31, 2009 6:03 AM | Report abuse

Read the "Crosby Sucks" interview - pretty funny! My favorite lines were, when asked why the song was more family friendly than the Ovi song, they responded "...we wanted Crosby to be allowed to listen to it." HA! Also liked this analogy of Crosby: "He's like the NHL equivalent of a Slanket or Snuggie." (hee-hee) I used to feel sorry for the guy but after his antics this season, no more. Play it again, Sam!

That was some good stuff ... you have another career path option in front of you - creative writing as an author of fiction. But why the disclaimer?!? Your matter-of-fact anecdotes (sans disclaimer) was half the fun!! ;-) I hope you email your stories of adventure to me in the off season - you're a nut!! :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 31, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse

just happend to check out PUMMELER @ 7am this morn at work, bwaaaahhhhhhh, sorry i shouldnt be so shallow but that was some funny stuff!... LETS GO CAPS&PUMMELER....

Posted by: TracyMD1 | March 31, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Before last week, the team I would most like to have avoided was the Devils, but man-o-man are they laying a late season egg.

Maybe the Rangers can kill off the Canes streak and help the Caps twice in a week, they the Caps can repay them by knocking them out of the playoffs (ha!)

Poor Laich stuck on the 3rd line with Nyles and Kozlov. Koz is ok, but Nyles, ick. Laich has earned more top two line time than Fehr or Flash has.

One bit of injury news that Tarik did not report: how is Cap'n Clark doing? With Gordo hurt, it'd be nice to get Clark back for the pk and he is good for crease traffic, too -- vital in the playoffs.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | March 31, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

OK, what is up with this movable type login thing that you have to get past to see the Caps ailments article?!

Posted by: irockthered | March 31, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Let's go Caps! NJ lost last night, so 2nd in the East is up for grabs!

Posted by: AMHV2772 | March 31, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

There's an article up on Japers' Rink this morning that some people on this blog need to read, IMO:

Playoff toughness isn't necessarily about PIM's.

@JIMALLCAPS: I think there was an update on Clark a week or so ago, that he had the cast off and was skating. Don't know when he'll be back, but possibly for the second round.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 31, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

That National Post article ... all I have to say on that is "PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE ... NO." I don't want to see the Pens in the first round for the same reason anyone not involved in either fanbase or organization DOES. The media circus will be hideous, and our boys don't need that.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 31, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

JIMALLCAPS, I am with you about Laich. I think they should give him a shot on the top line. I like the three f's line as they seemed to click well together earlier in the year. Believe it or not, I would like to see Semin with Nyls and Koz....Don't know if that is possible as Koz and Semin play the same side but maybe, just maybe, Semin would be able to get Nyles going?

Posted by: PhilR | March 31, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

@kittypawz - Good article; thanks for pointing it out! :)

Posted by: irockthered | March 31, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

just because semin and kozzy play play leftwing doesn't mean a whole lot in terms of lines- boudreau's been switching around players' positions all year. he had semin as a rightwing for a while so he could play on ovi's line, he's had laich playing a wing every now and then recently (he's usually a center) so he could have more scoring chances, and he even had feds as a defenseman before he was injured
while semin would probably sparkle on a third line, i don't think semin would have a positive influence on nyls- i think nyls would end up having a bad influence on semin

Posted by: jess4caps | March 31, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I agree with jess4caps. Laich-Nyls-Semin has been used at times this year, and the result was not pretty. I really, really like the OFF line, then 21-19-28 as a combo. Granted, it leaves you with 14-92-25, but they weren't so bad in Tampa at all, and Nyls-Koz has had some success this season.

Question of course remains, if we don't resign Fedorov, then who's our #2 center? Resigning Fedorov is by no means a done deal, but I don't think it's out of the question, either. There's no question that he's a stabilizing influence on Semin, and while his productivity hasn't been marvelous, I'm waiting to see what he does in the playoffs before making a judgment. Also, I have the impression that he'd really like to win one more Cup - this one with the organization he loves.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 31, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Semin moved from LW to RW early last year and now mostly plays RW. Laich also typically plays LW, but can play center. Feds was an emergency move and experiment for 4x4 OT (see that OT winner). Koz can play RW or center. I saw Laich more on the 2nd line cuz he plays LW (no one can take OV's place), replacing Flash who can play with Nyles, although the trip-f's did click for a while earlier in the season. The Caps need to get a 2nd line gelling for the p-o's NOW.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | March 31, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

@ Kittypawz -- you got the huge offseason question, who will be the 2nd center? Nyles, no way. Feds, less money, maybe. A call-up from Hershey, maybe. A trade for a veteran, maybe. The Caps will be busy at the draft, methinks.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | March 31, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS: I still have to go with this set of lines and pairings for the playoffs based on the Tampa game and on last year's playoffs:




I'm not so convinced our busy will be at the draft, though certainly we'll make some noise. I think we'll make more noise in free agency if Feds does not resign.

Also, am I the only one who would like to have Kronwall get a long look on defense?

Posted by: kittypawz | March 31, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

@ Kittypawz -- I like those lines, too -- except for Fehr on the top line. I wish Laich could play RW up there setting up traffic for OV in the crease or working the boards. I would rather see Koz up there, -if- he'll jump into the crease.

As for the offseason, the Caps have to find a way to unload Nyles and find a tough blueliner -- Erskine is just not enough back there. Too many teams set up camp in the Caps crease (Carolina, NYR, & Philly all come to mind). I don't think Cronwall is the answer there. I also wonder what will happen with Morrison. I think unless Fehr really turns it on in the playoffs, he is very replaceable by Bourque and/or Osala -- I think the Fehr experiment is almost over.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | March 31, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Enjoy your fifteen minutes of fame while you can, Pummeler. Your song was about as funny and original as people in the Verizon Center yelling "Circles!" every time Nylander touches the puck. Yawn, nice try but no one is going to buy your album. Back to obscurity.

Lord Jupiter and Philosoraptor, seriously?

Posted by: CapitalIdea | March 31, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS: Did you watch the same Tampa game I did? Fehr was AWESOME on that line! No scoring, but I lost count of his outright steals at about five by the end of the second. He put a pass through traffic clean onto Ovi's tape, which jumped the stick but had it not been rolling it would have more than likely hit the twine. He was making great chances all night, parking himself in the crease, winning battles along the boards, and generally being a pain in Tampa's butt. He did the same thing in the playoffs last year. If he can just finish, he'll be frightening. (We said the same thing of Flash last year.)

Note that each of those lines has a playmaker, a finisher, and a physical presence, which is really what you need in the playoffs. They're balanced.

I note I also forgot Schultz in my lines - I think that'll be a bit of a shuffle.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 31, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

looks like we recalled aucoin

Posted by: _stevo | March 31, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

How can you say the Fehr experiment is almost over when it's barely begun. He has not gotten the minutes to prove any consistency despite being much better at protecting the puck and creating traffic than, say, Flash. Heck, last playoffs Flash got benched in favor of Fehr.

Posted by: honed | March 31, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

@stevo: Aucoin? Cool. Fair enough. Guess he replaces Brash, sort of, meaning that I'd hope for these lines:



Posted by: kittypawz | March 31, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

@ kittypawz -- Fehr did look good in the Tampa game, but then again, Tampa has squat on dee. I take Fehr's play there with grain of salt. He has the potential to be a good player, yes, but when Oh Lord, when? It really depends on how contract talks go -- if Fehr asks for Laich money, see ya, cuz the Caps have 2-3 potential replacements waiting. Fehr does not really contribute much on the PP and not at all on the PK. I think that Bourque may work better with his intense hustle and high hockey IQ and shiftiness and nose for the net -- the Caps own St. Louis (well not that good). Both are RFA's that gmgm can play off one another. The Caps are right against the limit, so unloading Nylander is a key.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | March 31, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse


if brash is out, those would be the lines i wanted to see

Posted by: _stevo | March 31, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I would love to see the Pens in the first round - what a fun series that would be!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 31, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

@ honed -- the point is that the Caps are maxxed for the Cap and Fehr is up for a raise given he is a RFA. The Caps may have to cut a potential player and move up another due to salary cap considerations. Now if the Caps can trade away Nyles and they do not resign Koz and resign Feds for less than 5mil/year, they may be able to resign Fehr. But then again, Bourque is an RFA who wants to play and may have a bigger upside. Osala will be pushing for a spot, too. The Caps need money to attract a blueliner, esp. if Morrison goes to arbitration AGAIN.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | March 31, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS: So Ovi only got 4 points because it was Tampa? I don't buy that. This isn't the first game where Fehr's made the most of limited minutes, and we're not exactly heavy on guys who can net-crash.

Bourque has great hustle, but his main challenge is his size, which means he won't fill the same role as Fehr - that of crease-crasher. It's true that we have salary cap problems, but my guess is that with Pothier back, Mo is let go. He's rumored to want $3M, and the team cannot afford that and doesn't need him with the depth we've discovered that we have on the blueline in Hershey. I don't think we see Carlson with the big club next year - maybe the year after. One of Kozlov and Fedorov goes as well, likely, and which it is will depend on a lot of factors.

I still think that until the playoffs, there's too many question marks, because now for us it's going to come down to who can help this team to a Cup.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 31, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: KireDCU | March 31, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

fehr is one of the hardest workers on that team. just look at the awesomeness that fellow hard worker brooks laich has become this season: if we give fehr some more time, i have no doubt he'll be as good as laich if not better. the fehr "experiment" is most definitely not over, and i can't wait to see how the rest of it plays out

Posted by: jess4caps | March 31, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

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