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Morning Roundup: Back in the Win Column


(Richard A. Lipski - The Post)

Morning Roundup

[Apologies for a two-day absence of the Morning Roundup. It (and I) have been dealing with the flu. But we're back, and today's roundup should keep you occupied and unproductive through mid-morning.]

Alex Ovechkin struck twice in a span of 28 seconds -- the fastest pair of goals in his career -- to help the Caps beat San Jose, 4-1, and end a four-game losing streak.

No. 8 has now scored against every NHL team.

"Finally I scored," said Ovechkin after the win. "We didn't play them a lot, but finally."

Read the game story here and some postgame notes and quotes here. Plus, here's Tarik's video wrap-up from last night:

A few more links:

* "The Caps took only three penalties tonight -- one in each period. In games where the Caps don't take more than one penalty in any period, they are 2-0. In games that they do, they are 1-4." (Washington Times)

* Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov on Ovechkin finally scoring against him: "He was talking about that goal for five years, and now he's got it. I think it was bothering him." (Mercury News)

* Mercury News' David Pollak on the friendly, postgame gathering of the Russians: "At one point they were joined by Alexander Semin and the three -- all members of Russia's Olympic team -- carried on an animated conversation that I, of course, didn't understand a word of..."

* "It was as complete a performance by Washington since its win on opening night at Boston - also a 4-1 victory. And just like that, according to coach Bruce Boudreau, a team in a rut finds itself back in a groove." (D.C. Examiner)

* "Boudreau's move to put Backstrom and Semin together with Laich reunited a line that had success in the 2008 playoffs against Philadelphia. That was a series where Semin played some of the best hockey of his career. As I've said many times before, #28 can be great, if he wants to be, but he has yet to display the passion to play elite hockey on a consistent basis." (Ed Frankovic's Blog)

* From NHL.com's recap:

Mike Knuble joked before Thursday's game that writing too much about the Washington Capitals' re-jiggered top-two lines would be an ill-advised exercise.
"Check with me tomorrow," the Caps' right winger told NHL.com at 5 o'clock. "It changes daily."
Five hours later, coach Bruce Boudreau's changes looked pretty good. Alex Ovechkin, Knuble's new linemate, scored twice in 28 seconds in the second period as the Capitals beat San Jose 4-1 to end a four-game losing streak.

* Mike Vogel's postgame notebook (Washingtoncaps.com)

* Game highlights:

* Surprise! Sharks-Caps was ESPN's NHL game of the week. It's almost too much to handle. First, some Caps-centric highlights from a pregame chat with ESPN's hockey gurus:

Jason (Maryland): Are the Caps in a cold spell, or are they in real trouble?
BARRY MELROSE: They are exactly who we thought they were. They are a talented offensive team with questions in goal and on defense. They will make the playoffs and score a ton of goals, but they did not address any problems this summer.
Matt (Boston): Green or Semin, who would you keep and who would trade. I'm not sure they understand what it takes to really win. So talented but so careless at the same time.
BARRY MELROSE: I would keep Green. You have to have the defenseman who can run the point and power play. You saw how it affected Washington when it did not play well int he playoffs. He's a unique player who does something no one else can do.
Ilya (Russia): All three Hart candidates from a year ago were Russians. How long must we wait before the NHL Premier Weekend is in Moscow and St. Petersburg? And NHL clubs can play KHL ones?
SCOTT BURNSIDE Ilya; When the KHL stops cherry picking NHL players and running roughshod over existing contracts. But I'm with you, I can't wait to make the trip to Moscow to watch the Caps and the Thrashers play a regular season game. Talk about drama.
bob (wasington, d.c.): did you ask bruce boudreau if they planned to just let nylander rot up in the press box this year? or are they going to give him a chance to play?
SCOTT BURNSIDE: bob; Didn't ask but didn't think I needed to. I'm surprised they haven't moved one of this big old vibrating armchairs up there for Mr. Nylander. He should have stuck with the Oilers when he agreed to play there. What goes around comes around.

* ESPN's Pierre Lebrun is a big fan of last night's top line of Brendan Morrison centering Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble:

In his first game with the big guy, Morrison netted two assists on Ovechkin's two goals. Hey Brendan, kind of brings you back to the old days in Vancouver when you were flying in the middle of Todd Bertuzzi and Markus Naslund on one of hockey's most dangerous lines, right?
"Brought back some memories for sure," Morrison told ESPN.com from Washington, D.C., after his team's resounding 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. "It's the first game we've played together, and more than anything, I think as a team we just wanted to find some secondary scoring."
Great move, at least after one game, by Caps coach Bruce Boudreau. Seeing that Ovechkin's line with Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin was producing the bulk of the offense, he spread his stars around Thursday with Semin and Backstrom pairing up with Brooks Laich.

* And even more from ESPN:

* Nicklas Backstrom has a Web site. (Backstrom19.com)

* Bruce Boudreau's whismical TV spots. (D.C. Sports Bog)

* Washington Post photos from last night's win:


(Richard A. Lipski - The Post)


Ovechkin goal No. 1. (Richard A. Lipski - The Post)


Ovechkin goal No. 2. (Richard A. Lipski - The Post)

Updates to come from practice.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  October 16, 2009; 8:32 AM ET
 
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Next: Theodore, Gordon Missing at KCI

Comments

@Lindsay - Jeez, what're you thinkin', gettin' the flu and slackin' off for two days? ;-) In all seriousness - take care of yourself! Glad to hear you're feeling better. :-D

Is that a real coffee mug, or did someone do a great job with Photoshop?

Posted by: irockthered | October 16, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Congrats on beating the flu (be it of the swine or regular variety) Lindsay. I got worried I was going to read something related to the Redskins when I saw the headline...

Posted by: superpaqman | October 16, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Ha, thanks @irockthered and @superpaqman. (Flu was, thank goodness, the regular variety and not swine.)

And @irockthered, I'm proud to say that I wasted several hours on the company dime Photoshopping that Ovechkin mug. Don't tell my boss.

Posted by: Lindsay Applebaum | October 16, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

no need for flu vaccines, just need a caps win...

hope everyone wondering why tarik hasn't asked GMGM about nyls reads the exchange w/ burnside...

so the true question is, what would have happened if varly had gotten hurt last night. i found a variety of answers on the web, including:

-play 6 on 5
-give a guy off the bench time to strap on the pads w/ 2 minute warm up period
-take one of the healthy scratches and have him suit up...
- sign stretch

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 16, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Great win--great job by our boys--lots of discipline. This is the kind of hockey I knew the Caps could play. But where are all the negative posters who have been complaining since the Flyers game. I get so tired of reading from posters what the Caps did wrong. So why are posting now discussing what they did RIGHT!!! The best parts of last night for me was that they HELD their lead and played hard for 60 minutes to close out the game. They finally scored on a PP letting the Sharks know that the penalties would cost them. The Caps didn't take stupid penalties. Some penalties are part of the game but they kept their sticks down and stayed focused. Kudos to the coach for playing with the lines. Last night the lines worked really well. So come you critical posters--comment on last night's game.

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | October 16, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I've maintained all along that playing strong team defense for 60 minutes really negates any of this "bruiser mentality" that folks say we're lacking. Now that they've seen how well this team can do playing hard for 60 minutes, they'll realize they can do it every night.

Posted by: snakegriffin | October 16, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Those are fantastic photos of Ovie's goals...but what, no Brads love? Where's the photo of his goal? Doesn't the Post know he is a fan favorite?! :)

Posted by: CapsChick | October 16, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Last night was awesome. 60 minutes of solid effort, forward lines clicking, defense getting the job done, two excellent goaltending performances... and I have to say, everyone's talking about the top two lines (and rightly so), but I was also very impressed with the fourth line. They were busting their butts out there and it paid off. Way to go, Caps!

Posted by: hillg | October 16, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I know it's real early, but that game last night had kind of a "must win" feeling to it, at least for me. Good to get back on track.

Posted by: LouLewis | October 16, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I couldn't watch the game last night but did hear the last 1 1/2 periods on XM. From the number of penalties the Caps took it would appear they were very focused. Did the Caps play that well or were the Sharks a little off after their travels? Time will tell. Anyway, good win and, breaking the 4 game slide is more important than the 11 game winless streak IMHO.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | October 16, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Linds - can you make the photos additions a regular thing? I don't like how the main article slide show consists of a whopping 2 pictures.

Posted by: Bagher | October 16, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Thinking about it, have the Sharks been to the phone booth since Caps fans went medieval? If not, that might have factored in. If so, well done fans.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | October 16, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Why can't the guys show up like this to every game? If we could play like that on a consistant basis, there would be no question about the cup coming to DC. It shouldn't take 4 loses, BB up their butt, and a couple of rough practices to light a fire under them.

But either way last night's game was a treat to watch...the defense and offense were good. Any rebound Varly left was quickly cleared and I was quite impressed with the new line combos. Ovie getting 13 shots...he is a machine! The Sharks barely ever got the puck out of their own zone and Nabby was the only reason it wasn't 8-1. Solid game...keep it up Caps! I am curious to see if they will need to call Neuvy up, they might be sending Holtby right back to Hershey.

Had to sell our tickets to Saturday's game (to Caps fans of course, I am not a STH who sales my tickets to annoying drunk guys from Pittsburg who stand up and point at the penguin on their jersey the whole game.), however I will be cheering for them from Philly. Let's Go Caps!

Anyone know where to find the clip of the sandwich hit from the first period?

Posted by: NatyBG | October 16, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

@FloridaCapsFan - it was a combination of both. The Caps were very disciplined, and the Sharks seemed pretty disorganized for much of the game. They took a bunch of blatant penalties in the first period, and never seemed to get it together after that.

Posted by: hillg | October 16, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I think the entire team played very well with great confidence and chemistry. Sure the Sharks had a long trip and we were the first in a six game schedule for them, but they are a great team that could have won. It was up to the Caps to take advantage of that opportunity, their long trip. And to tire them out during the PPs. We may have only scored once but we kept the puck in the offensive end, we tired them out. (It reminded me of how tired and dispirited the Caps get when they get too many back to back PKs). So when the Sharks didn't play as well in the 2nd and 3rd period it was BECAUSE the Caps played better and kept pushing them. We didn't get deflated at the end of the 1st period after that goal and with the change in the net. We took the momentum back immediately. I agree with hillg: WAY TO GO CAPS!!!!

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | October 16, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone think that maybe the Theo injury was not really an injury at all? Perhaps George wanted to evaluate Semyon now that Neuvirth is ready down in Hershey. Start Theo, get the game off on the right foot, and then thrown Varly in there to see how he plays and how the guys respond to playing in front of him. Let's face it, he hadn't turned many heads in his action to date, especially the glove hand. Seems to me it was a good test to see where he was mentally, if he didn't play well maybe is was time to give Neuvy a shot. Just a thought....

Posted by: crosbyisajoke | October 16, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

No, I think Theo was really hurt. He looked hurt when he left the ice. I'm hoping that it's just spasms nothing worse because he brings experience. I believe both Varly and Neuvy are our future but this year we need Theo. The young ones need time to develop and get seasoned. Having said that this game must a be a confidence booster to Varly--he really stepped it up when he needed too in that game.

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | October 16, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

aucoin & sarge had good games, need to keep the new lines together for a bit. they make us much more balanced team that opponents can't defend as well. the energy that aucoin brought to the 4th line really seemed to be infectious. if sarge can stay in position he will lock up a starting spot for the season. his big body really clogs things up, he's definitely not quick but he does get in the way pretty well.

Posted by: donkey1 | October 16, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

@crosbyisajoke

Come on, really? We need to stop with the conspiracy theories.

Great win last night! Glad to see Bradley rack up another goal and create some confidence for the 3rd and 4th lines. I was skeptical with separating ovie and backs, but if it works it works! Just another reason I'm not the coach.

Posted by: JD09 | October 16, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

@donkey

you watching a different game? Aucoin was on the 3rd line. Got knocked off the puck way too easily and the center of the ice wasn't covered for the Sharks goal. Steckel centered the 4th line and made that line have its best game of the season.

Schultz did have a good game, his outlet to BMO for the 3rd goal was a great pass.

Posted by: ThePat | October 16, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

hands down, best team game of the year so far this season. 8-9-22 needs to stay together for a while.

Posted by: doughless | October 16, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

FYI it looks like Holtby is going to be called up for the game tomorrow. Gordon isn't practicing. So not to bring it up again but now Nylander might get in because if Aucoin and Holtby are both up we might be over the salary cap. Nylander went to practicing with the 3rd line today.

Posted by: ThePat | October 16, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

i have 2 beefs today, none related to the team:

1) Tarik, thanks for the coverage, but reading your article today you would think we have 2 players on the team; Ovie and Semin. Matt Bradley has arguably been one of the most consistent players so far this year and no mention of his second goal of the year (against his old team no less). I love our team and our stars are great, but can't you do a little more balanced coverage of the "team?"

2) i know this is going to come off as a generalization that folks will quibble with, but I sat in section 121 last night, third row from the glass. This is the row directly behind the 2 VIP rows. I usually sit in section 421. the game experience there was UNBELIEVEABLE; it really gives you perspective on just how fast the game is. however, with the exception of a few people in 121, the "so-called fans" were the lamest I have ever had to sit with. this includes whiny Pens and Rags fans. They talked the whole game and only seemed to notice the game when Ovie touched the puck. other than that, no apparent interest. all some could yell was "shoot" or "hit him." i am not generalizing about all lower level ticket holders, but my experience last night definitely lends some credance to a sterotype fan. my upper level peeps (including me) at least know the game basics.

Posted by: doughless | October 16, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

No, the issue rides on Fleischmann now. Looks as if he's ready to go, so the cap space is down to .645. No way can the call up both Aucoin & Holtby. Aucoin alone is at .5.

Posted by: JD09 | October 16, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

never mind, bad source. don't listen to me

Posted by: JD09 | October 16, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

@doughless:

I am a STH in 121, but I am located on the other side of the Caps tunnel. In the lower levels you definately can find alot of people like you described. Many of them are people sitting in seats they get through their various companies/jobs. These are the people that I find talk thoughout the game...about work, what they are doing this weekend, and where they are going to vacation. This is VERY annoying! But, I will have to say on our side of the Caps tunnel there are true Caps fans. There are a few of us down in the lower levels that are there to watch hockey. But I am with you on alot of your points, especially the one's who yell "shoot" anytime the puck touches a Cap's stick or "Ovie" anytime he hits the ice! My favorites are the guys that bring their dates to the game and act like they are diehard fans, but for some reason (wonder why?) they call each player only by their number and look puzzled when the refs blow the whistle for an offsides. Either way I hope you enjoyed the game and next time pick the better side of section 121!

Posted by: NatyBG | October 16, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

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