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Morning Reading List: Game 2

(Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)

Maybe despite his first-round success, Simeon Varlamov was still a relative unknown as he entered this Eastern Conference semifinal series. But if he was, the 21-year-old netminder is no longer anonymous after his goal-line save on Sidney Crosby.

Also, our friend Slava Malamud of Sport Express offers a refresher course on the finer points of Russian names.

The Capitals look to get a quicker start in Game 2 of the series and check out an update on Brent Johnson's recovery in the notebook.

Tarik will be online for a good old-fashioned chat today at 3 p.m. Submit your questions here.

For those of you who may have missed it over the weekend (or if you just want to read it again), check out Mike Wise's in-depth story on Donald Brashear.

Back to all things Varlamov, though, with additional stories on the Russian goaltender from the Globe and Mail, USA Today, the Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun.

Jordan Staal believes that he and David Steckel have similar roles on their respective teams.

The Hockey News catches up with former Capital John Druce of 1990 playoff lore, who is now fighting a new battle far away from hockey.

Over at Puck Daddy, you can check out Dmitry Chesnokov's post-Game 1 interviews with Varlamov and Evgeni Malkin.

The View From Pittsburgh
After missing all of Pittsburgh's run to the Stanley Cup final a year ago, Mark Eaton's impact as a solid two-way defenseman has helped bolster the Penguins thus far.

The Penguins are in unfamiliar territory, trailing in a playoff series -- something that has happened just once in their past five playoff series.

In the System
The Bears have already accomplished what the Capitals hope to tonight and now hold a 2-0 lead in their second round series. Hershey beat Wilkes-Barre 5-3 in Game 1, and then 3-1 in Game 2 despite being without Karl Alzner and Tyler Sloan.

Part of the reason for Hershey's postseason success is the effectiveness of their penalty kill.

By Katie Carrera  |  May 4, 2009; 5:30 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Varlamov: No Longer a No-Name
Next: Alzner, Sloan Recalled



Posted by: ludeman95 | May 4, 2009 5:47 AM | Report abuse

(Everybody, Now!)

Posted by: CommanderX-2 | May 4, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

It would sure be nice to be the only team to take a 2 - 0 lead this round.

Posted by: mikebrady1 | May 4, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

This team plays so much better when they feel they are in a groove...Go up 2-0 tonight and that groove will be in full effect.

Lets get it done boys...LETS GO CAPS!!!!

Posted by: SA-Town | May 4, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

@ MB1

My Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator is aimed at you - come on - "LET"S GO CAPS!!!"

Posted by: CommanderX-2 | May 4, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

@SA - I was going to disagree with you, and say that they play better when they're behind the 8-ball :) Then again, we've really only seen this group when they're behind in the playoffs, so going up 2-0 would be nice.

I think the confidence level is high, but they need to come out with some more energy at the beginning of these games.

Posted by: snakegriffin | May 4, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

I think they were a bit nervous/cautious, as they were in Game 7 against the Rags.

Keep it up on the PK! Come out jumping! Some good hits! and I'm fine with secondary scoring!

Let's Go Caps!

Posted by: Sonyask | May 4, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget these guys are a very young group. In postgame interviews even Ovi said he was nervous. If I was giving Pittsburgh a pep talk before the last game I would have said to attack them from all angles because they are in uncharted waters. The Pens did just that, Varly did great to keep it a 1 goal game and then the Caps began to play much better. We can look at Varly's save and think the Caps were lucky to pull that one out. I choose to look at it other ways.

After the Caps got their legs under them our boys controlled the remainder of the 1st and the 1st half of the second. Fleury kept the Pens in the game for the 1st half of the second. Now for Varly's save, heck yeah, that was awesome and will be on the highlight reel forever. The fact is though, as BB said, he owed us one, because he let a softy in. That young man is just so steady back there and kept his composure even after letting in the soft goal though. He comes up with big saves when we need them most.

I'd love to say we are going to run over the Pens but my gut tells me this is going to be a stressful round. I expect to see a couple of OT games in this series before it is said and done. These are two great teams that can beat each other on any given night. A run to the Stanley Cup would not be right if we didn't have to eliminate Pittsburgh along the way, just wouldn't be as sweet. LET'S GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 4, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

My wishes for tonight's game: Caps do not give 5 penalties! (or more). And Caps get more than 2 PP themselves.

I find it hard to believe last game that the Pens only obstructed us once in the entire game :)

(the other penalty was a delay of game).

We were 50% so I will take it, however!

Come out strong Caps, we know you can!

and Fans in attendance, be loud tonight! I watched the NBC broadcast the other day, and I left it at a relatively low volume (for my own sanity), yet, even then I could tell the fans were sooo loud...even at the times I turned the volume higher, it felt kind of hard to concentrate/hear what broadcasters were saying with all that noise! Good work and keep it coming! (wish I could be there to help!)


Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | May 4, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

First chance to chime in after Sat's game:

While we should have won 6-2 because of those darn posts, like most ppl felt the Penz had the edge in play.
Were quicker to the puck.
& won the possession game.
& save for the first 10 minutes of the 2nd pd where THEY gave up the puck like we were doing in the first, the Penz could have easily won that game.

The giveaways were atrocious for both teams & if it wasn't for Varly & the posts it could have been a 7-5 shootout.

Anyhow, we look forward & hope that the first line shows up tonite.
And we show OUR skillz.


Posted by: Rocc00 | May 4, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree with The_Stanley_Caps regarding the penalties. Two missed calls that stick out the most were Laich getting hammered by Orpik when he didn't even have the puck, and the other was when Bradley was hauled down by Malkin and the Pens drew a penalty less than a minute later. I always record the games and watched it when I got home from Verizon. Even the NBC broadcast color guy, Eddie O I think, felt Bradly was pulled down. Nevertheless, the Caps need to stay out of the box, besides the Caps and Detroit, the Pens are the other team I would fear on the PP.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 4, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

2-0 would be sweet. One atta time.

Posted by: bhound69 | May 4, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Lets take care of Home Ice and win tonight!!
A win tonight puts ALOT more pressure on the pens going back home 0-2.

I think it's time for Fehr or Clarkie to net one, or two.

Come on CAPS put the squeeze on the Pens!

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | May 4, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

@Stanley Caps

NBC, at times, had to pot down the mic's because it was so loud. In fact, during a stoppage in play the chicken dance was playing over the sound system, while the announcers were dribbling on about whatever, and NBC had to drown out the "PENGUINS SUCK" part of that song, very funny. I backed it up on my tivo and taped it. I could picture the guys in the sound truck shaking their heads.

Posted by: bhound69 | May 4, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse


Awww, too bad I missed out on that part. I just cannot stomach NBC broadcast sometimes...though, from the parts I did listen too, they did not seem as bad as they did during the second NBC game against the Rangers. But, good job Caps fans!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | May 4, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Many people have given Varly his credit for how he's played in the playoffs but I have heard some announcers say he's been great but the NYR made it easy on him at times and didn't test him enough. I think with out a shadow of a doubt no one can possibly say that now. Pittsburg challenged Varly the whole game and he responded. He played an incredible game for us, he may have let in one "softie" but he made some spectacular saves that more than made up for that 1 goal. If anyone else was in goal, you could have easily seen 4-5 goals from Pitt in that game.

On another note, one thing that made me really happy about that game was I felt like that was the first playoff game we got outplayed and still won. To clarify that, I think we dominated Pittsburg at certain points in the game, but to their credit they were putting more pressure on us consistently than we were on them. I think we are capable of playing so much better than we did Saturday and we still won on Saturday. That's scary to think how good this team can be, I truly feel like we can beat anyone

Posted by: DCSportsFan28 | May 4, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

One thing for fans to fix is the mispronunciation in the chant.

I could clearly hear late in the game, "VAR-ly! VAR-ly!"

Should be "Var-LY! Var-LY!"

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 4, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

@irockthered from another post:

The problem, as I see it, is found when looking at the Russian spelling I've seen on T-shirts and jerseys... ("СEМИН")... If "Syomin" is the proununciation, then the E should be Ё, but that's not what we have on the shirts, and that makes a difference, too.

Khabibulin has a silent K... and that's just off the top of my head. I'm sure there are tons of others.

When a letter is capitalized in Russian, it doesn't get the accents, so that spelling of "Semin" in Russian capitals would be correct without the "umlaut".

Khabibulin doesn't have a silent "K". "KH" refers to a different sound, sort of like the Scottish pronunciation of "loch". We pronounce it as a regular "H", but that's because we're stupid Americans.

Also, to any Russian-speakers here, is Varlamov's first name spelled with the "yo" (the e with the umlaut) or with the "ya" (the backwards R)?

Posted by: TheDoubleAlex | May 4, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

On another note, one thing that made me really happy about that game was I felt like that was the first playoff game we got outplayed and still won. To clarify that, I think we dominated Pittsburg at certain points in the game, but to their credit they were putting more pressure on us consistently than we were on them. I think we are capable of playing so much better than we did Saturday and we still won on Saturday. That's scary to think how good this team can be, I truly feel like we can beat anyone

Posted by: DCSportsFan28 | May 4, 2009 9:42 AM |

Totally agree with your statement.
With the long layoff - their legs were fresher & made us look slow out there.
But tonite - it evens up energy wise.
They've been hammered Sat. & had no day off from practice Sun. Their goes the 1 game energy advantage.

Also - it just seem that their D-Corp looks suspect...something about them I can't put my fingers on. Orpik & Gill are big but they look slow & it seems they don't work well below the goal line.
Which may make them susceptible to the cycle.

Posted by: Rocc00 | May 4, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Here's hoping for the best for Courtney Druce. I remember seeing her back when she was a toddler at an event way back when (maybe a "Fan appreciation thing...") And good wishes to John and the rest of his family as well.

Someone needs to remind the Pens that if they want to see what's missing from their playoff run last year, they need to watch how the Red Wings are doing...

Oh, and congrats to the Bears.... 6-0 in the playoffs this year already. Wow!

Posted by: MikeL-Caps91 | May 4, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON (AP)—As per his usual routine, Sidney Crosby took to the practice rink Sunday and replayed the top scoring chances he missed from his previous game.

In this case, it meant shooting through a vacant crease from only a few feet away.

“Usually you’re not working on an open net,” Crosby said. “But I had to.”

I can't beleive this moron is really practicing on a empty net. It's not like he missed it wide by 10 feet.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | May 4, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

That's a statement. Not sure if he's trying to send the message that "next time I won't miss" or if he's trying to regain some confidence...

Posted by: snakegriffin | May 4, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Is the chat at 3pm or 12 noon? Above it says 3pm...on the linked chat page it says 12 noon.

Posted by: CapsChick | May 4, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

What Cindy is probalby trying to do is to not vary his routine. If he always practices every miss, then he has to practice that one. Of course, without the lightning stick of Varly there, it's pretty pointless. So, probably just superstition at work.

Posted by: Baildog | May 4, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

for those who think he's only a goon - get some intelligence & some skillz while you're @ it.

Posted by: Rocc00 | May 4, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

If Donald didn't stop crying, his dad would grab him by the arm and throw him across the room. He was 6 months old when that happened."

Damn -tough life.

Posted by: Rocc00 | May 4, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

He whipped Donald with belts and electrical cords and whatever else he could find during drunken rages that left welts and bruises all over the little boy's body.

The hit on Betts & Hudler in these playoffs pales in comp.

Posted by: Rocc00 | May 4, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: fanohock1: "Nevertheless, the Caps need to stay out of the box, besides the Caps and Detroit, the Pens are the other team I would fear on the PP."

With a, what, 10% PP %? Nothing to fear there.

Posted by: Dalliquippa | May 4, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Whatever Crosby's practice routine is he has probably been doing it for years and it has worked pretty well, so I wouldn't knock it.

@Dalliquippa - just because it is struggling in the playoffs doesn't mean the Caps shouldn't fear it. They were 6th in the regular season and it could take off at any time.

That said: Can't wait for The Iron Curtain vs. The Flowery Drapes - Rd. 2.

Is it 7 yet?

Posted by: ds_kelly | May 4, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

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