Morning Roundup: Back in the Win Column
[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."
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:
Updates to come from practice.
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