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Morning Reading List: Fleischmann Searching for Flash

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Gregory Smith--The Associated Press

Tomas Fleischmann entered this season hoping people would take notice, and they did for the right reasons during the first half of the season. Now Fleischmann is attracting attention for the wrong reason, as he's mired in an 11-game pointless slump and has scored just two goals in his past 29 contests.

NHL.com's John McGourty takes a look at why scoring 50 goals is such an important threshold even though the feat has been accomplished many times.

In light of the recent Hart Trophy debate, TSN's James Duthie talks about how Evgeni Malkin has existed in the double-size shadow of Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.

Leafs Cliff Notes
Toronto has won four out of its past six games, including a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.

Here are a pair of articles from the Toronto Sun and the Hamilton Spectator on Alex Ponikarovsky, whom some believed would fade after the team traded Nik Antropov at the trade deadline. It hasn't been the case.

The Leafs seem to have a few young defensemen in their system that you may have heard of, here's a better look at one of them in Phil Oreskovic.

Despite missing his last nine games with a broken hand, Tomas Kaberle said he hopes to play against the Capitals. The National Post, however, reports that Ron Wilson said Kaberle won't return until the weekend.

Of course the Leafs were asked about Alex Ovechkin's celebration. Wilson wasn't a fan, while defenseman Jeff Finger wasn't offended.

By Katie Carrera  |  March 24, 2009; 5:30 AM ET
 
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Next: Pinizzotto and Machesney Recalled, Varlamov Sent Down

Comments

This whole flap over the celebration thing is getting pretty tired. Give it up.
Mash Toronto. Then,Celebrate.

Posted by: ridgely1 | March 24, 2009 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Wow, at this very second, it would be us and Pittsburgh. :0 I would be very scared but that would be some GREAT/intense hockey. :)

Posted by: rachel216 | March 24, 2009 6:27 AM | Report abuse

From the previous ...

oo7:
Current SNL, old original SNL, 80's SNL or ... ?!? ;-)

tmac2yao:
Gotta admit, it would have been kinda funny if McKenna did that after Ovi's celebration (and everyone else follow suit on every big goal/save) ... what a game that would have been! :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 24, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, the goal celebration is tired stuff. Let that one go.

Toronto. Memo to the boys. You are probably going to the playoffs. Start acting like it, please. Let's play with a little enthusiasm, discipline, and punch. You can take Toronto. You've been doing it most of the year. But you won't take anybody if you don't play like you want it.

TSN dissed you guys last night pretty hardcore. What are you going to do about it?

Posted by: kittypawz | March 24, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm a little confused about our clinching a playoff spot. Russ/Tarik said that we could clinch a spot this week. Also stated that we need to get to 101 points to clinch a spot (102 for the division). We stand at 96 points right now. With 2 wins(the only games we have this week) we're at 100 pts. Am I missing something? And I could be- as I'm a bit tired this morning.

Posted by: Fro_ | March 24, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

That flu bug explains some of the Caps lackluster play recently, but they are very up and down right now. One night scorching hot, the next icy cold. I hope the Caps rest up and practice up with so few games in the next 10 days. These guys need to buy into BB's system wholeheartedly for the playoffs.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | March 24, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

thanks god Boo is back on the blog :D

kittypawz

With the 3rd seed almost ours, I believe the only motivation left right now would be to begin mental/technical preparations for the POs. The advantages of higher seeding will be learned (and hopefully not forgotten) only at the end of the season I'm afraid.


Posted by: mauree | March 24, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm still not overly worried about the #2 or #3 seed - it's one game and home ice isn't all it's cracked up to be in the playoffs. Secure the division in the next few games, practice hard, get healthy, and get ready for either the Canes or Pens to open up the playoffs. Either series will be fantastic.

Posted by: saintex | March 24, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

@mauree: The problem there to my mind is the word "almost". We're not quite there yet, and we need to secure the division before we start thinking towards the playoffs. First things first.

Also, NJD has done us an unfathomably huge favor by obligingly losing two in a row. That puts us firmly back into the seed hunt. I care about seeding more because it makes a statement than anything else. Also because I'm competitive by nature, and am one of those people who believes that if you're not the lead dog, the view never changes. :)

So no, I'm not content yet. I want to see some fire, some hunger, and some life. The more I think about it, the more I think an injection of chocolate into the lineup can only be a good thing for the team.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 24, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Fro_: We could clinch a spot with two wins and Carolina dropping one, and Florida dropping one. As of right now, if Carolina wins their last 7 games they can acquire a grand total of 101 points. The point total magic number is 102 for the Caps to clinch without any help from the teams that Carolina or Florida plays. If either of them suffer a loss the total will of course go down to 99 pts for a max for the team that loss, thus 2 wins by the Caps this week and they clinch the division. Did that make sense?

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 24, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Boo- the irrelevant SNL. Those skits you see and immediately know that some writer lost his job.

Mauree- those lessons will be learned at the end of the season, correct. 1st was in their grasp and they didn't jump on the teams behind them. It might haunt them.


Posted by: oo7 | March 24, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

We got 11 out of 16 points after playing 8 games in 2 weeks.

Im very happy with that considering the circumstances...

Playing at that level all year would give us 112 points for the season.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 24, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town: Yeah, I'm one of those people who's never satisfied. :) I guess I just want to see them play hot and firing on all cylinders, because when they do, they're an absolute joy to watch.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 24, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

If the Caps don't win 6 of 8 to end the season then there is something wrong (I was going to say 7 of 8 but I'll give them a couple bad games). The schedule is like a who's who of teams that suck. Carolina has a much tougher schedule with NJ twice, the Rangers and the Pens lurking. I'm still holding out hope that Carolina drops to 6 or below and Pitt and Philly play in the first round. I will not accept a single defeat on the 4 game home stand and I think that's reasonable for this team. Time to man up (and I don't want to hear the flu excuse).

Posted by: Moose33 | March 24, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

Thanks dude. I hadn't considered getting help from other teams, by way of loss. Makes sense now.

Posted by: Fro_ | March 24, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

@moose33: Agreed that we should be able to take out most of the teams remaining on our schedule if we buckle down, but I don't think it's fair to say that the flu is not an excuse. You try playing anything except a sleep marathon with a case of the flu.

That said, handle it with a little bit of chocolate. I don't think that'll hurt us any, and having these guys come up and play their hearts out should put these guys on notice. Ever noticed that every single member of the D has stepped up their game since Pothier came back into the picture? They're all more physical, more disciplined, and in better position than they have been all season. Time to do the same for the forwards.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 24, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I don't want to beat a dead horse but here is some more proof noone cares about the Ovie celebration other than Malone, Rick "put me down for 10 large" Tocchet and whoever the Tampa goalie is...and this is coming from Canadians.

http://www.thestar.com/Sports/article/607178

I'm done with this topic.

Posted by: Moose33 | March 24, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Kitty,
Whilst I agree that 2nd is within our grasp and we should be going out to get it, I can't agree with you that our D have all recently been "more physical, more disciplined, and in better position than they have been all season".

That was not what I witnessed against Carolina on Saturday night.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | March 24, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

@kp

The flu would be an excuse if 3 or 4 people were out because of it. If we're going to miss say just Semin (hell, even Semin and Green) this team still has enough talent to beat a team like the Leafs. Just have to work hard. I remember Michael Jordan running around the court and putting up jump shots and he looked like he was going to die of the flu any second.

Posted by: Moose33 | March 24, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Hockey Pool
With 213 goals that OV scored what place he is holdind write now on all-time list?
a)811
b)670
c)475
d)340
ANSWER WILL BE IN NEXT POST.

Posted by: gumbustersns99 | March 24, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Is Semin Sittingout playing tonight?

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | March 24, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Why do you care if he does play or doesnt?

Posted by: Bobby894 | March 24, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Is Semin Sittingout playing tonight?

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | March 24, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

i heard he was browsing this board yesterday and realized what a sissy he has been by sitting out w/ sprained ankles and bad backs and groin injuries. he realized that nothing is more important than playing a meaningless game in a weakend state. not even if it means risky further injury and impacting the teams playoff changes. he realized he'd be cheating the TO fans who put down good loonies just to see him play against their beloved leafs.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | March 24, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

FYI, did some pain-staking analysis of the Caps season in 7 game chunks last night since a playoff series is 7 games. If you take every 7 game stretch as a series, for example game 1-7, 2-8, 3-9, etc. The Caps look pretty darn good, even with some 3 game losing streaks. Remember any of the OTLs, which for the Caps typically end in a shoot-out loss, we would play real hockey until someone wins.

There has been a total of 68 7-game stretches thus far this season. 42 of the 68 the Caps have won at least 4 of 7 which of course would clinch a series. Now any OTL you see below the schedule did not specify whether the Caps lost in a shoot-out or in the 5 minute OT. If I remember correctly we lost all but one OT in the Shootout. So the OTLs would, like I said earlier, be decided playing real hockey.

8- 7-game stretches: 3-3-1
5- 7-game stretches: 3-4
1- 7-game stretch: 2-3-2 (18 Oct-4 Nov)
1- 7-game stretch: 2-4-1 (24 Feb-8 Mar)
1- 7-game stretch: 2-5 (20 Nov-2 Dec)

So, like I said the Caps look pretty good. Even in this ugly month of March, which has been a .500 hockey month (5-5-1), the Caps would have only had 1 7 game stretch in which they lost 4 games out of 7.

I realize this may be over-analyzing the season but if the Caps are not accustomed to losing, they are not going to just accept it come playoff time.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 24, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Oh meaningless? Next time i buy my season tickets I going to ask How many meaningless games am I paying for!
So you think its wise for a team to coast into the playoffs and than turn it up when the playoffs start??? That's why you guys will always be the "NO CUP CAPITALS"

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | March 24, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

IF you dont like the team then why are you buying tickets?

Posted by: Bobby894 | March 24, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Kenora: What season tickets are you referring to? Since you refer to as as "you guys will always be the "NO CUP CAPITALS" you are obviously not a Caps season ticket holder. If your referring to season tickets you possess for say, the Penguins, the answer is you are paying for 41 meaningless games, because no one here cares about the Penguins.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 24, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Oh meaningless? Next time i buy my season tickets I going to ask How many meaningless games am I paying for!
So you think its wise for a team to coast into the playoffs and than turn it up when the playoffs start??? That's why you guys will always be the "NO CUP CAPITALS"

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | March 24, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

if you are indeed a season ticket holder, then you should be asking, "why did semin play against with the flu toronto instead of resting for the playoffs." as a season ticket holder, thats my concern. whats best for the playoffs. you would rather him play and risk further injury so he doesnt dissapoint the crowd. thats why you will always be "no clue stanleycup1907".

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | March 24, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

@SC1907: Then I recommend not paying for them. :) You have a television, yes? Honestly, while you're being a jerk in how you're making your point, the point is one fair enough. We need to play better than 500 hockey if we want to go far in the playoffs, and we need to get ourselves into that mode.

I don't think they're going to be without a cup much longer, though. Call it a hunch.

@Dave: Carolina was ridiculous (and I was in the building for that one). :) I don't think anybody on that team was more than half-@$$ed. I'm talking about what I saw against the Panthers and in a couple of other cases. I think what it comes down to is that this team has to have a reason to want it, which is totally aggravating.

@moose33: McKenna is mad because the Capitals have humiliated him this season. The first time he started against Washington he got the hook after 20. The second time he got lit up for five goals.

I was done with the celebration topic the day after it happened, honestly.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 24, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

@dcsportsfan1: LOVED your comment. Thanks for backing up my boy, Alexander Semin.

For SC1907: C'mon, SC1907, you didn't say it - I heart Alexander Semin. =) If he and his coaches agree to recover from the flu, then I'm cool with him resting up. If you like, you can help nurse him back to health. I hear you have an outfit you've been saving up for a special occasion. What perfect timing!

GOOO, Caps! Whomp the Leafs, please!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 24, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

If it was OV who had the flu and was laid up in bed I would understand ..But its Alex Sittingout Semin who for all i know is thinking is might catch the flu.
Semin get off your butt and help your team get out of their 2 week skid!

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | March 24, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Skid? 5-2 in the last 2 weeks, man your a tuff one to please eh?

Posted by: ludeman95 | March 24, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

@SC1907 aka IheartSemin:

Semin contributed in a number of the games in the past 2 weeks. Not quite sure what your beef is with the guy. Your approach at winning his affection would work better if you spoke nice of the guy. For you to reference occasions where he was legitimately injured speaks highly of your ignorance and low-level intellect. Rocks have a higher IQ than you.

Have some prune juice, dear. Good for your bowels.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 24, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

You guys love stats here is one for you! if you think your team is not in a season ending skid
Last 5 losses
LOSS 4-1 CAR. (possible 1st round matchup)
LOSS 5-1 ATL. (out of playoffs)
LOSS 2-1 TOR (out of playoffs)
LOSS 5-2 CAR possible 1st round matchup)
LOSS 6-2 FLO. (out of playoffs)
Yup rest those stars!

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | March 24, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

@ SC1907:

The Caps will rest and heal and things will unfold as they should. If that means we hoist Lord Stanley's Cup, then great. That said, I'll still be pleased of they go deeper into the playoffs than last season: step by step, inch by inch.

To even suggest that the Caps will "never" win the Cup is just as delusional as saying that any team is "guaranteed" to win it.

BTW: What the H do you mean "stop using my lines"?

Please. What was I supposed to do: dig through every post you've ever made, just to make sure I wouldn't be guilty of plagiarism?

FYI, I admit the phrase was not original, but you weren't the first to say/type it either; you don't "own" it.

What part of "Go Away" do you not understand? Please go crawl back under your bridge...

...in Pittsburgh.

You'll get no further fodder from me, troll.

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 24, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

*hits SC1907 over the head with a foam bat*

Those are your projections based on the delusions of an old man who has nothing better to do with his life. I'd hardly call them statistics, as little to no analyses was done, to create those numbers. Like your "statistics", those are as likely to come true as you disappearing in a cloud of smoke never to troll this blog ever again.

A person can dream though....

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 24, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

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