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Morning Reading List: Game 7

(Toni L. Sandys -- The Washington Post)

There is no spectacle in sports quite like a Game 7, especially in a Stanley Cup playoff series like this one. After five games that have been decided by one goal -- three that have required overtime, the fate of these two evenly matched teams with the top three playoff scorers all comes down to this one game.

Mike Wise looks at the journey of the hard-working David Steckel, whose willingness to do anything to make it in the NHL helped lead to the goal that extended the Capitals' season Monday night.

More on the Capitals' emphasis on discipline heading into Game 7, the chances of Sergei Gonchar playing and the migration of many Easton Stealths to Arlington in today's notebook.

You thought the Capitals were giving you anxiety attacks? Well imagine what the players' friends and families are going through -- or head over to the D.C. Sports Bog to read about their stress for yourself.

Just when everyone was ready to ask if this series could get any better, we found out: "It's going to be unbelievable." (The Globe and Mail)

ESPN's Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside break down the keys to tonight's winner-take-all game.

The Hockey News' Jay Feaster gives Bruce Boudreau kudos for making the goaltending switch to Simeon Varlamov in Game 2 against the Rangers. takes a look at some of the other "epic" seven-game series that have come before this Capitals/Penguins tussle.

Sports Illustrated lists the five best and five worst NHL owners.

The View from Pittsburgh
The Penguins are well aware that all the history between these two teams means little going into tonight's game. But they are hoping to draw on their collective playoff experiences when facing the Capitals in Game 7.

Will Sergei Gonchar make an appearance and add to the intrigue?

Marc-Andre Fleury has received some criticism lately, but Pittsburgh goaltending coach Gilles Meloche is standing behind the Penguins' netminder.

In the System
For anyone looking for a sign, the Bears defeated the Baby Pens 3-0 in Game 7 last night to win their series. Each time Hershey has won, so have the Caps.

Hershey netminder Michal Neuvirth turned away 24 shots for a shutout in the decisive final game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: "I was just trying to be focused for the whole game. My defense, they played great back-to-back. I think the shutout's a team effort. I got to thank my defense and all my teammates."

By Katie Carrera  |  May 13, 2009; 5:30 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Video: Wise, Koken on Washington Post Live
Next: Poll: Least-Favorite Penguin?



Posted by: ludeman95 | May 13, 2009 5:43 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: kyl1 | May 13, 2009 5:43 AM | Report abuse

such original posts this morning

Posted by: SovietSnipes | May 13, 2009 6:11 AM | Report abuse

Allow me to change it up then. C-A-P-S CAPS CAPS CAPS !!!!!! Please no OT tonight.

Posted by: C-A-P-Scapscapscaps | May 13, 2009 6:18 AM | Report abuse

i think a 3 or 4 OT thriller would be pretty cool actually

Posted by: SovietSnipes | May 13, 2009 6:22 AM | Report abuse

Hi Katie - "emphasis on discipline" links to Wise's Steckel article. Thanks for your work!

Posted by: CapsChick | May 13, 2009 6:30 AM | Report abuse

Neuvirth became the first goalie in league history to post a shutout in games six and seven of the same series last night.

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 13, 2009 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Bears, Bears, Bears!
Caps, Caps, Caps!
So excited, I'm gonna piss my pants!

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | May 13, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Bears, Bears, Bears!
Caps, Caps, Caps!
So excited, I'm gonna piss my pants!

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | May 13, 2009

LoL, this cracked me up!

We're going to win tonight... I can feel it!

Posted by: capsfantess | May 13, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Time cannot move quickly enough...

Posted by: ModestProposal | May 13, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Kornheiser will be kvelling when he reads that Stecks is one of his people.

Posted by: JohnHarrison | May 13, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse


Tonight is the first night of a new era. We are not your old CAPS! LETS ROCK THE RED....less then 12 hours, but who is counting??

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | May 13, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

The Bears win is a good omen.

Posted by: AMHV2772 | May 13, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

On another note, if a big IF Gonchar plays, I am thinking we are doing a lot of dumping and chasing on his side, with alot of contact, clean contact like when Ovie hit him. I can't see him lasting more then a period if he is doing alot of turning and retrieving.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | May 13, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

It seem this series is big worldwide -- could kornheiser & wilbon been wrong about Caps being just a local story?

Posted by: uncatim | May 13, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

"As long as it's our player," Boudreau said, "I don't give a dang [who it is], really."

Well Mr. B, for the record, all three OT goals have gone in off one of our players.

Let's Go Caps!

Posted by: soloman5000 | May 13, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

I predict that Mike Green will score tonight. Regardless of the stick he uses.

Posted by: snakegriffin | May 13, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

I'm already feeling that nervous, sick to my stomach feeling. Bring it on...can't wait for the game. And while this may not be original....let's go Caps!!!!

Posted by: nafspac | May 13, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

For the NHL pageantry, I'm sure a double OT game would put this over the top. And, if the Caps win, fine with me. But, I'd rather absolutely crush the Pens by something lke 6-1 or 6-2 and leave the drama for the writers. It won't happen but I can hope.

Lace them up tight, boys...very tight.

Posted by: saintex | May 13, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse


This work day is going to be...painful. I already have the queazies. I hope my employers don't expect me to accomplish much today. :)

Posted by: CapsKH | May 13, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Thanks soloman5000, your not supposed to talk of those things.....

C-A-P-S, Caps, Caps, Caps

Posted by: hbcapsfan | May 13, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

This postseason will be known as the
Varly and Neuvy spectacular.


Posted by: hersheybearfan | May 13, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: ncg1983 | May 13, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I put a question to Ted last night on his site...not sure if he has read it this morning or not, but it essentially went something like this:

Ted, given the successful and rewarding affiliation the Bears and Caps are enjoying I am not sure what box, tickets or section could possibly be available for tonights game, but how great would it be to see the entire Bears team at VC tonight cheering on the Caps given their success over the baby pens last night?

Personally I think sitting behind the Pens bench would be the best but something would have to be worked out with the season ticket holders....

Posted by: caps28fan | May 13, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse


Thanks is an awesome idea! Doubt there is any space left available, but it would be cool!

Posted by: hbcapsfan | May 13, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I would love to see all of them marching through the hallways pre-game in their jerseys getting everyone amped up and just enjoying the environment. Their next series doesn't start until this weekend, and what better way to spend tonight, their going to be watching the game anyways, right?

Posted by: caps28fan | May 13, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

@uncatim - It would be news if kornheiser & wilbon were ever actually right about something.

Posted by: ds_kelly | May 13, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Caps28fan -- brilliant.

Everyone else: It's game day. If you aren't excited now, aren't vibrating by noon, and aren't completely out of your mind by 7, then there is something wrong with you. The Caps skated all season to get home-ice advantage. Home-ice isn't about knowing the way to the arena, about sleeping in their own beds, about familiarity. Home ice is about us. They skated because they need us. There are only two players on the ice at all times: Varly and Us. But we have a lot more to do tonight than just cheer the Caps. It's our time to show to the rest of the hockey world that Washington *is* a hockey town; there is no place better to be than Washington in May. Tonight, just as the boys will leave nothing on the ice, you must leave your voice in the building. Let it begin during warm-ups, let it roar during the national anthem, and the moment the game starts, leave nothing. No sitting, no standing -- just vibrate and scream. The Caps are us and we are the Caps.

Posted by: Matt23185 | May 13, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Marc-Andre Fleury has received some criticism lately, but Pittsburgh goaltending coach Gilles Meloche is standing behind the Penguins' netminder.


Ha. Hal Gill stood behind Fleury the other night and that didn't work out so well.

Posted by: writered21 | May 13, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Let's hope Wilbon picks the Pens tonight.

Posted by: JohnHarrison | May 13, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Matt23185, too true...too true.

I want to see a puck bouncing at center ice tonight because the building is shaking from everyone jumping up and down and screaming their lungs out

Posted by: caps28fan | May 13, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

just don't spill beer, that's just not right


Posted by: caps28fan | May 13, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

For long-time Caps fans, I've seen this described as the most important game in Capitals history.

I can't say I disagree. I know they've played in the Eastern/Wales final before, and there were those four games in the '98 final.

But this is Game 7, with a berth in the conference final on the line - where we've only gotten twice. This is Pittsburgh - a team we will probably be tangling with for the next 10 years, but for one night, it's a chance to bury forever (until next time) all the history and all the crap and all the garbage of playoff series past. This is also the last two Patrick Division teams in the playoffs. The division is long gone, but it still means something to me to be the last team standing out of that group come playoff time. The Flyers, Rangers and Devils are home. The Islanders are horrible. Win one more, and the Caps are the best of the group.

And then, there's the simple fact that there's no team out there that is that much better than the Caps (or the Penguins). The winner of this series has every realistic chance to win two more series.

But none of that matters without 60 minutes of hell on ice tonight. It's a must win - for way more reasons than just continuing the season.

Posted by: writered21 | May 13, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Coach BB and staff: I am a mere fan, you are the experts. But PLEASE - PLEASE have a plan in place tonight to clear the puck out of our zone and through neutral ice. As you know, so many Penquins goals are resulting from the zone not being cleared effectively. I am no expert, but if this is limited, it would seem that their scoring chances would also be limited.... GO CAPS!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | May 13, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

i think a 3 or 4 OT thriller would be pretty cool actually

Posted by: SovietSnipes | May 13, 2009 6:22 AM

Good Lord, my heart and my nerves couldn't take that! I just want the Caps to pepper Fleury with shots for 60 minutes and get a few in the net. Hopefully at least one more than the Penguins do ;)


Posted by: AmyS1 | May 13, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Not that I find SI's opinion relevant, but how is Ted not top 5? Just look at the franchise pre-Ted versus now. Not the Caps didn't have good teams before his arrival, but what he's accomplished for hockey in this area is worthy of a nod.

Posted by: JS26121820 | May 13, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

not to be a homer, but lemiuex is in the top 5 and leonsis isn't? I call bs. Marios team got where they are by sucking so bad they got high draft pick after draft pick. No Crosby, and that team is on Kansas. Leonsis took a non hockey town, ever, and turned it into a viable competitor, sort of. Either way, no diss on lemiuex but if he's there leonsis should be too. teddy wasn't threatening to move the team a few years ago, right?

Posted by: oo7 | May 13, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

@ kcbrichmond

We're on the same page. I'm thinking part of the disparity in PPs, aside from some poor officiating, is that we've chased the puck to much trying to clear it. Better puck possession will force the Pens to chase us and make it easier to draw penalties. Ideally, we get the first couple PPs and get them tired.

Posted by: JS26121820 | May 13, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse


I will give it to 66 that he should be there, to be honest. Yes, it was lottery luck that they got Cindy and not ownership, but without 66 the team is not in Pittsburgh. As much as I hate the team, it wouldn't be as much fun to have the Kansas Penguins to kick around. He also seems to have improved a bad coaching situation by hiring Bylsma.

You can't kick Ilitch off the list. I guess I'd move off either SJ or CAR

Posted by: JS26121820 | May 13, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: mjwies11 | May 13, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I read the MLB lists, and Angelos was #1 as "worst owner" with the Nats owner I think #3 worst. Didn't read football, but Snyder must be near top for worst. At least take solace in that Leonsis and Steve Biscotti (Ravens) can fight it out as best owner in the territory. Abe Pollin - nowhere to be found.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 13, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: malujoker | May 13, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

How much fun is this?

Posted by: RichC3 | May 13, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

@Caps28Fan WHAT A GREAT IDEA, not just for the Bears, but for us to be able to thank and pay hommage to them for the terrific job they did for us this season when they were called up at various times throughout the season. The folks behind the Penguins bench are invited over to Section 108 for the game -- there will be plenty of space if we all stand up.

Posted by: Caps16Fan | May 13, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: WhyGo | May 13, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

@Matt23185: Every time I read your inspirational messages, it makes me tear up like a little Crosby. I hope the Capitals know how much we love them and want them to move on to the Eastern Conference finals.

Thanks for home ice, Capitals! Give the home fans and your out-of-town fans a game to remember. I echo Matt's sentiments and that's erase all the nightmares of years' past. Give the fans a rebuttal for every Pens fan that wanders in and tries to bring in history as a reason to think the Capitals are done for.

Crush the Penguins! Let's Goo Caps!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | May 13, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

It's on like Donkey Kong--go CAPS!!!!

Posted by: thebone | May 13, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Any word on Brashear? Is he going to play.
GO CAPS!!!!!!

Posted by: hamneed | May 13, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I have 1 request from Caps fans. 1 little inky dinky request that I'm hoping you can help with. For those of you going to the game, congrats you will be witness to one of the most prolific games in history I'm sure. For those of you that aren't going to the game BUT are going to be in the chat room tonight, can we please not get suicidal IF we go down a goal or God forbid 2? It's really hard to take. SOME of you (and you know who you are) are just over the top! While I believe you probably have some underlying personal issues can you please keep the we suck, we're done, caps can't do crap right, green sucks, where's ov, varly sucks, what the hell Mo, what is BB thinking, put Theo in, nice clear Poti, why isn't Brash in, where's Alzner, has Semin played yet, I think Greens hurt, Fedorov looks slow, Beagle is overmatched, Brads looks drunk, Backy's gotta bury that, why is Kozzie skating in mud, Varly's glove has a hole it in, Pothier looks blind in 1 eye and I don't think he can see out of the other, the trainer looks like he's spreading swine flu to Stecks, Juice looks like he's using one of Mike Greens bad sticks, I can't stand that Pens fan in row 1 behind BB, I think Slapshot should be on the PP, Theo's hat is dirty, BB should throw a water bottle at the refs, the blue line should be in the box for tripping Flash, what was that Laich, GMGM is horrible, same ole Caps and most of all, I KNEW IT comments to yourself? If you're watching the game with somebody, say it to them but not on the board. If you're watching the game alone yell at your pet (they're always understanding and will love you no matter what, even if the Caps lose). If you don't have any of the above then just yell it at the Tv (it will still work even if the Caps lose and it won't turn off by itself if you yell at it too much). Plus nobody will know you're yelling at nothing. It's kinda like the tree falling in the forest with nobody around, did it make a sound? Thank you all for your cooperation. I truly appreciate it. All of you who are hyper negative have caused at least 40% of my drunkenness during games! Oh and last but not least, if anybody comes on to the chat and asks what the score it, I think my head's gonna explode so it won't matter if the Caps win or not. Remember folks this is Game 7. Both teams are fighting for their lives so it's probably not going to be an easy 3-0 or 4-0 coast through game 7. It will be a hard fought 1 goal game that comes down to the last 5 minutes or OT. POSITIVE THOUGHTS BREED POSITIVE RESULTS!!!!!!!!1

Posted by: pokerface1208 | May 13, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Thankfully, I'll be busy praying the rosary in front of my tv during the 2nd and 3rd period so I won't have an opportunity to yell obscenities at the tv or on the message boards. Hoping for divine intervention during the Playoffs isn't a bad thing. So far, I've traded in winning the lottery and finding a hot partner for a Capitals win tonight.

Capitals, make being middle class and lonely worth it after tonight! =P

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | May 13, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

My daughter begged me, but we are commited to a school-related banquet tonight and I had to let my neighbor have my seats tonight. PAINFUL, but this guy will make as much noise as we would. For the lucky fans in attendance - enjoy it! This is going to be one of the most spirited games in years, with all that's riding on it and the personal/team rivalry as well. We will have to resort to sneaking a peak at under the table for updates. Anyway, Rock the Red big time tonight. 100% support for our boys... we'll be there for the conference finals!!!!

Posted by: gonchpup | May 13, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Philly Fans are pulling for the Caps and so are Rangers fans. We need to come out and play simple, not be nervous. This will be a defining moment for the recent history and future of this francise. For those who are about to die, we salute you!

Posted by: diner99 | May 13, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

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