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Morning Reading List: Bring on the Rangers


Jubilation after Shaone Morrisonn's overtime goal sealed the Capitals' 5-4 come-from-behind win against the Rangers on Dec. 23. (Frank Franklin II - The Associated Press)


The Rangers look vastly different now than they did when the Capitals took seven of a possible eight points from them during the regular season. With a new coach in John Tortorella and new faces Nik Antropov, Derek Morris and everyone's favorite player to hate, Sean Avery, it's like "preparing for a whole new team." Check out the full playoff schedule here.

As the Caps get ready to face the Rangers, take a look at the regular season that was through several key turning points with a new interactive feature.

If you missed it yesterday, check out a first-person interview with Sergei Fedorov, who talks about his earliest professional experiences.

The latest installment of Gemma Hooley's and Chris Nelson's year-long NPR project chronicling the Capitals can be found here, both a story and a link to the audio clip.

Comcast SportsNet reportedly claimed the biggest ratings increase during the NHL regular season.

You may be familiar with the Post's annual Peeps Show. Well, an entry that didn't make it in the gallery made its way to Greg Wyshynski and the Puck Daddy blog with your hometown "Washington Peepitals" taking center stage.

Through the Rangers' Looking Glass
New York won its regular-season finale yesterday in a 4-3 victory over the Flyers in a game that cost Philadelphia home ice in the first round against Pittsburgh.

Newsday has a preview of what the Blueshirts were thinking yesterday as they switch gears for the postseason and a series with the Caps. Coach John Tortorella believes starting the playoffs on the road is a good thing.

In the System
The Bears had to settle for the No. 3 seed in the playoffs after a 5-4 loss to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton yesterday.

On the eve of their first-round playoff series with the Phantoms, the Bears split the weekend series against Philadelphia falling 5-2 on Friday night before rebounding with a 3-2 win Saturday.

Alex Giroux earned the AHL's MVP award.

By Katie Carrera  |  April 13, 2009; 5:30 AM ET
 
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Next: Aucoin Sent Down

Comments

Let's go Caps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: MyJobsMyCredit | April 13, 2009 5:37 AM | Report abuse

That season in review thing is straight epic but a bit short.


Posted by: trunkenmath | April 13, 2009 5:39 AM | Report abuse

Wednesday needs to get here quick!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 13, 2009 6:21 AM | Report abuse

I hate the Madison Square Garden. It's so dark and depressing. But I'd rather play there than at the Bell Centre. :)

Posted by: rachel216 | April 13, 2009 6:29 AM | Report abuse

All of that national TV bodes well for the Caps bid for the WC! :-) A few other teams have that much coverage but not all do.

richmondphil:
Typically they don't sell tickets for game 5 until they know there will be a game 5, so you'll probably have to sit tight. At that point you could ask if there is a STH here who can hook you up, try to get tix from TicketMaster when they are released to the public or go to TicketExchange. There are always places like StubHub or eBay, but I personally prefer TicketExchange (you don't have to worry about if those are legit). One last option - the Caps sometimes do packages - I got an email about one package that included food, etc.. I don't know if I got that because I am a STH or just because I am on their mailing list. Either way if you are interested in something like that and did not receive anything about it, then if you want to post your email address I would be happy to forward them to you. Good luck!!

Posted by: --Boo-- | April 13, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

(All of the national TV coverage.)

Posted by: --Boo-- | April 13, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

I am SO excited...2 more days! I am not sure if anyone caught the Rangers @ Flyers game yesterday, but Avery was being his usual self again. He has been playing nice for Torts, but he looks like he is about break. Wow...just thinking about Avery brings up dozens of witty signs people could make. I will be curious to see what Caps fans will be able to cook up in the sign department for this match-up! If the Caps can take the first 2 at home, than I feel like we could do it...DON'T LET THOSE RAGS WIN ON OUR ICE! Let's Go Caps!

Posted by: NatyBG | April 13, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

NatyBG:
Where's 828?!? He makes great signs!! :-D

Posted by: --Boo-- | April 13, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

I have tickets to round one and cannot attend. 415 row J. At blue line, caps shoot twice. email ralph.macchio@gmail.com.

Posted by: ralph4100 | April 13, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

I hope the Caps are done with pond hockey for the playoffs. That lousy-goosey play, as Locker calls it, will bring on early tee times. Torts will have the Rags playing a disciplined game that will exploit stupid turn-overs, poor clearing attempts, and they will park players in the crease. If the Caps play BB's system to a T, they win big time; they play will they did in March and April (for the most part), they go home early. They gotta force the Rags to commit pens so the PP can establish the tempo and score.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | April 13, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

@NatyBG: I missed yesterday's Rags game - what was Avery doing? I despise that guy, much more than any other NHL player, because I find his antics dirty and just not what we should expect from a professional. He's a creep, exploiting others...grrrr, don't get me started!

I hope Bruce and the coaching staff have cooked up a way for the Caps to minimize his impact on the ice. Will he be after Jose for his personal 'issues' like he was Brodeur last year? Will we find out how much English Semin actually understands if Avery goes after him????

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | April 13, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

It sucks for Theo...but he is getting run through the mud on most of the sports networks! They are saying he alone will be the reason the Caps will not make it out of the first round! They say that old Lundy will be the death of the Caps post season. I disagree, if we lose in the post season it will be due to their ever present defense, not Henrik. We have been pretty good against him and his play hasn't changed since Torts took over. Plus if the Flyers had won yesterday, they wouldn't even be talking about the Rags. Let's be honest. On TSN they stated that the Red Wings are having "goalie issues" as well, but then went on to say that every time they win a cup they started with these "goalie issues". I sure hope this negativity helps Jose in the post season, he usually plays better when he has been thrown under the bus by the media. But, I hope that BB would give Varly a chance if Jose isn't looking like he can cut it!

Posted by: NatyBG | April 13, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

@NatyBG

Jose is more experienced and capable of winning in the playoffs then many goalies.

They are only exposing him, because it is our top weakness going in..Thats a good thing in my eyes.

I would rather have him then Huet right now.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 13, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

@DevilsCapsGal: You could see his pre-therapy ways coming back out. He was talking crap the whole game to various Flyers and at the end of the game he was trying to start something with Hartnell. As he was exchanging words with Hartnell he had this smug smile on his face (we all know that face), against Torts wishes, Avery is about to break.

To end...a quote from Seinfeld,
"The jerk store called, they are all out of you (Avery)".

Posted by: NatyBG | April 13, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I agree SA-Town, I was just pointing out the large amount of negative media coverage Jose is getting. I am hoping he has it in him to prove them wrong! And I am totally with you about Huet, him going to Chicago was a God send!

Posted by: NatyBG | April 13, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I can't wait to see Ovie punish Avery. You know Avery will try to start some S### with him to get under his skin.

This is a good match up. The Rags can't score so there will be less pressure on our D. The only worry is if Lundqvist gets in the zone, though he hasn't looked as unbeatable this year as he has in previous years.

Caps in 5!!!

Posted by: ds_kelly | April 13, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for finally making the Washington Post the newspaper for the Capitals and playing a large part in finally making D.C. a hockey town. I came down yesterday from New York (yes, I sadly have to live among Rangers' fans) after living in Northern Virginia for 26 years and being a Caps fan since the start of the franchise. I am excited for the start of the playoffs and couldn't wait to get the Washington Post this morning. What I wasn't prepared for was to see an article about the "improved" Rangers. This is playoff week! I want to read about the Caps. I could care less about the Rangers' new coach, their record the past 20 games, Sean (classless, trailer park trash) Avery, or stats on Lundqvist. I could have purchased a newspaper in New York for that. We need to get this town excited about the Capitals and the playoffs. This is OUR town, OUR team, and OUR newspaper. Write about one of the NHL's hottest teams. Write about our superstars. And let's ROCK THE RED!

Posted by: CapsEqualCup | April 13, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully Theo can finally shake the playoff rep he has earned. McGuire and Milbury called the Caps/Rangers series a 5 game series in favor of the Caps. Not sure why anyone thinks the Rangers have a chance.

As far as the East as a whole, there are no goaltenders stealing games in the East, including Brodeur. The hottest goaltender is Cam Ward but we wouldn't see him until the 3rd round at the earliest. As the number two seed the only scenarios for round 2 are the Habs (if they upset the Bs), the winner of the Flyers/Pens if NJ is upset by Carolina which would mean the Bs are alive and playing Carolina, or we would play NJ, make sense?

If we were in the West and playing Vancouver or Columbus I would be concerned because Luongo and Chris Mason can steal games, but we have competed well, and will continue to compete well with the elite teams in the East.

Some bonehead a couple of threads ago stated the Caps wouldn't even be in the playoffs if March and April was the season. I took the last 21 games, tallied everyone's points (except for Carolina because their schedule isn't available and the wiki for the season is being built but they had a nice run). I just assumed Carolina did well enough to accumulate more than 27pts (which is what the Caps earned).

In the last 21 games seedings would have been:
1. Pitts 16-2-3 35 pts
2. Carolina (can't find stats)
3. Ottawa 13-7-1 27 pts (division winner), 4. Washington 12-6-3 27 pts
5. Atlanta 13-8-0 26 pts
6. Boston 12-7-2 26 pts
7. NY Rangers 12-7-2 26 pts
8. New Jersey 12-8-1 25 pts

Of note, in the remarkable run of the Pens in which they only lost 2 and had 3 OTLs the Caps were 1-0-1 against them.

This is a good team folks. They are not where they are by accident. This is a talented team that usually has opponents change their style of play to try to slow down the Caps scoring ability. Like some others have said, secondary scoring has started to surface. If the Caps can continue this trend we will have a long stressful playoff run. I agree that the Caps need to tighten up in the defensive zone, that'll have to be done by the forwards as well as D-men. I have not made any solid plans until after the NHL awards show because I am feeling very optomistic about the Caps for the next few seasons. LETS GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 13, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

In a weird way, I'm glad the Caps got b-smacked against the Panthers. They should listen to their coaches about their responsibilities better now. No more pond hockey -- this is the playoffs when opposing teams do not have off nights, when defensive systems tighten up, and everybody plays up to their capabilities. If the Caps leave Theo/Varly hanging in the breeze, the Rags can steal this series. They play a disciplined team game, the Rags are toast.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | April 13, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

tickets for game 3 & 4 go on sale today at 12. I'm going to get tickets for game 4. Is anyone else going to that game from here?

Posted by: Moose33 | April 13, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Boo, I will have a sign out there somewhere.

All the Caps have to do is bust their butt for a week and they can take an early break - Wed to Wed... that's all they need to do. Which Caps team will show up - the one that wants to win, or the one that thinks they are the dope show and doesn't have to try? That is my only concern.

I am glad they scheduled Game 2 for 1pm - the Caps are pretty dominant at that time of the day this year... good move Ted.

Posted by: _828 | April 13, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

When do playoff tickets for games 1 and 2 go onsale to the general public? I haven't found the info anywhere.

Posted by: honker | April 13, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Per NHL.com:
"The Rangers are the worst five-on-five team in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, by a lot, and their power play ranks No. 29 at 13.9 percent, including a League-worst 12.2 mark at home. That poor showing is somewhat negated by the fact that the Rangers are the best penalty-killing team in the NHL at 87.8 percent. Their League-leading 10 shootout wins are a big reason they're in the playoffs."

Sorry Rags...but there are NO shootouts in the Playoffs!

Posted by: NatyBG | April 13, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Also, I think Avery is an abrasive Jack A, but he was run from behind at the horn yesterday. It wasn't Hartnell, Hartnell just happened to be standing around when Avery got up. It was a very cheap shot but I can't remembered who delivered it. I did like seeing two of the biggest Jack A's in the Conference going at it. Kind of showed how much of a wimp Hartnell is because Avery roughed him up more than I would expect.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 13, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

honker - go to ticket exchange at ticketmaster... they have tix available there. I don't believe there are any tickets for the general public for Caps home Playoff games.

Posted by: _828 | April 13, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

fanohock1,
I think it was Couburn that hit Avery in the back at the end of the game.

Posted by: _828 | April 13, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Per NHL.com:

For the Rags to win:
Facing the high-flying Capitals, Lundqvist will have to flat out steal a couple games to keep the Rangers' hopes alive.
On Henrik's season:
The Rangers' best player, Henrik Lundqvist, does not have sexy numbers (what is that comment all about?) this year, posting a 2.43 goals-against average -- good for only No. 11 on the League list -- and a .916 save percentage; but he has performed a good deal of the heavy lifting for the Rangers.
My opinion:
Like stated above, Henrik's numbers aren't as "sexy" as previous years, so what is all the hype about? The media is just trying to fuel a fire that wasn't even lit!


For the Caps to win:
Jose Theodore is good enough to win a series and not bad enough to lose one.
On Jose's numbers:
Lost in the hype of Green and Ovechkin's offensive achievements is goalie Jose Theodore (32-17-5, 2.87 GAA, .900 save percentage), who reached the 30-win plateau for the third time in his career. Since Dec. 23, Theodore has quietly fashioned a 24-11-4 record with a 2.58 goals-against average and .910 save
percentage.
My opinion:
Their numbers aren't that different, be honest! And also, have you met our back-up goalie Varlamov, a bit more hope in his future than Valiquette.

Posted by: NatyBG | April 13, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

^Too bad he didn't do permanent damage to Avery....I wonder if his 'storyline' is one of the reasons NBC wanted the Caps/Rags game on Saturday afternoon. I would hope it was for Ovechkin/Semin/Green/Lundqvist - but I think the 'entertainment' value of Avery the a**hole can't be overlooked.

LET'S GO CAPS!

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | April 13, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

_828: you are probably right because Avery had been irritating him the entire game. It was a pretty bad hit IMO. He went head first.

Like I said, I think Avery is an abbrasive Jack A, but I wouldn't want to see anyone's, I mean anyone's career, not even Briere, Richards, Crosby, or even Avery's career ended on a wimpy hit from behind play. It looked bad to me and I seriously doubt Avery embelished it at the horn.

I believe it hard hitting smash mouth hockey, but hitting from behind, knee on knee, and spearing infractions tick me off the most because it's luck sucker punching someone.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 13, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

new post - fanohock1, agreed, it was a dirty hit and he should be suspended. But, the NHL doesn't have the brass to suspend a player right before the playoffs. Pretty weak!

Posted by: _828 | April 13, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Per Marc Staal:

“If we get on top of them quickly and keep the puck away from their top guys, Ovechkin and (Alex) Semin ,and we can cycle a bit, it’ll be good. We’re confident right now.”

They do know there are others on this team that can score, right?

Here is what Tort's had to say: “I started immediately and worked right through into the morning until this game. I’m not gonna lie to you, you want the guys to play hard but in my mind, I was looking at Washington too. In fact we had some of the stuff we want to use there in this game. It’s human nature.”

It seems as though they have a plan for the Caps. I know BB is going to have the team ready for the Rags.

Posted by: bajgirl | April 13, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Being a newbie and having a seat behind the Rangers bench on Saturday's Game 2, I need help with two signs to hold right up against the glass for the Rangers to look at every time they come back to the bench. I welcome any and all suggestions so I can get to work on them in time for the game. If it works out for all of us, your signs will get some air time whenever the tv cameras pan over to the Rangers.

Let's GOOO Caps!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | April 13, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

You could make a ton of signs geared towards Avery. Especially if you find the picture of him in the gigantic sunglasses, then blow it up and write something about him being a bit "light in the loafers"

Posted by: NatyBG | April 13, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

So, those of us who live out of the area won't be able to see Game one on TV?

Posted by: FancyDan | April 13, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, NatyBG. I'll start googling for pictures of Avery.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | April 13, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

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