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Morning roundup: You could say 'they're in a groove'

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Morning roundup

Seven goals -- six at even strength and none from Alex Ovechkin -- in a seventh straight victory? Yep, the Caps are flying high after last night's 7-2 win on Long Island.

"I wouldn't say unstoppable, but they're in a groove," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Teams, whether you're in first place or 30th, at some point in a season things just seemed to be working, clicking. Right now things are clicking for us. We got seven goals and [Alex Ovechkin] and [Mike Green] didn't get a point. It says you have good balance in your team." | Full story »

Maybe the Caps are just "in a groove," but as Tarik put it in his postgame notes: "How do you know when a team's offense is clicking? When John Erskine records his first goal in 109 games and sets up another with a slick-looking assist. That's how."

The biggest news of the night, of course, was goalie Jose Theodore's early exit after the second period. We'll have an update this morning on what the team is calling a "lower-body injury."

Until then, rounding up the morning's best Caps-related offerings:

*Game highlights:

*The Caps never really let up in this one. (DC Examiner)

*Isles get a reality check against the first-place Caps. (NY Times)

*"Difficult to watch" is the best way to describe Alex Ovechkin's slapshot-to-the-face of Jack Hillen, who was taken to the hospital after the puck bloodied his face and knocked him to the ice. There is no update on his status yet. (Fanhouse)

*The other Alex steals the show. (

*Comedy hour at Kettler, in the theme of smelling salts. (Bog)

*If there were an All-Star Game, it could have been a nice showcase for the Caps. (ESPN)

*EJ Hradek picks the Caps to contend for the Cup. (ESPN)

*Caps top the power poll. (The Sporting News)

*Could Ilya Kovalchuk spend some time in D.C.? (Puck Daddy)

*Is this Ovechkin's best season yet? (Fanhouse)

Tonight's matchup:


Anaheim Ducks (24-22-7)
Washington Capitals (34-12-6)
Verizon Center, 7 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet, NHL Network
Radio: 1500 AM

More to come from the morning skate at 11 a.m., so don't go anywhere.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  January 27, 2010; 5:38 AM ET
 | Tags: Morning roundup, New York Islanders  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Caps 7, Islanders 2
Next: Goalie update: Braden Holtby arrives at Kettler


They posted the morning roundup EARLY today!

Posted by: capscoach | January 27, 2010 6:32 AM | Report abuse

They posted the morning roundup EARLY today!

Posted by: capscoach | January 27, 2010 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Renting Kovalchuk for the rest of the season--that would be funny. I would probably laugh for days if that actually happened.

Caps already are leading the league in goals per game. Caps have 3.81. Next closest is San Jose with only 3.28.

Kovalchuk's always been a left wing as far as I know, at least in the NHL, so he'd have to be on the second line. I suspect Atlanta would want prospects and/or picks. So, your lineups would look like:

Ovechkin - Backstrom - Knuble
Kovalchuk - Fleischmann - Semin
Laich - Morrison - Fehr
Chimera/Gordon/Laing - Steckel - Bradley

It seems obvious that Caps need an improvement at D much more than they need Kovalchuk.

Then again, if you're already outscoring the league by a ton, and then you add a guy with a career 0.55 goals-per-game average, how much defense do you really need? And how fun would that be to watch?

I don't think it's going to happen. But it would be really cool if it did, just to see what happens.

Posted by: youaresquishy | January 27, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

The Capitals now have FIVE of the top 13 players in points-per-minute (minimum 30 games played). Fehr has overtaken a bunch of future hall-of-famers and has moved into the TOP 10! And #5 Semin is looking like he'll soon overtake Thornton for 4th. Meanwhile, Ovechkin just slipped from 1st to 3rd.

The only other team with more than one player in the top 13 is Vancouver, with only two, the Sedin brothers, who are both now at the top. (San Jose and Pittsburgh each have two in the top 15.)

ESPN has a stat called PROD, which is the same thing as points-per-minute except that it's backwards, i.e. it's minutes-per-point (so lower is better). Your top 15 so far, as of now, according to ESPN (minimum 30 games played):

1. D. Sedin 13:11
2. H. Sedin 13:11 (not an error--his is the same as his brother's at the moment)
3. OVECHKIN 13:30
4. J. Thornton 15:53
5. SEMIN 16:04
6. P. Kane 16:59
7. S. Crosby 17:18
8. B. Richards 17:26
9. FEHR 17:47
10. I. Kovalchuk 18:13
11. M. Gaborik 18:17
13. BACKSTROM 18:32
14. E. Malkin 18:54
15. D. Heatley 18:58

Posted by: youaresquishy | January 27, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

I really hope all this Kovalchuk talk is unfounded rumors or GMGM trying to drive the price up of a guy he really has no interest in trading for.

No matter how great a player he is, I doubt he'd make this team any better offensively and could possibly make things worse. And then there's the fact we'd have to give up too much to get a rental we couldn't afford to keep.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | January 27, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

great game boys, had a feeling they were gonna play a statement game! Semin was a monster last nite, along with the whole team! hope Jack Hillen is gonna be ok. man that looked bad. lets keep the MOJO and lay a beat down on the Quackers! LETS GO CAPS!!!!!! see you all @ VC 2nite, man i cant wait to feel the energy, starting to feel more and more like RFK during the Joe Gibbs era!

Posted by: bigBinMd | January 27, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

"Six Capitals - Alexander Semin, Erskine, Brendan Morrison, Tomas Fleischmann, Eric Fehr, Jason Chimera - had two points tonight."


This is impossible, didn't they get the memo? We are only Ovechkin and no one else.

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 27, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Ovie didnt score last night? Trade him...

Posted by: SA-Town | January 27, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I like the idea of Kovalchuk as a rental. That’ll make the SC almost a sure thing.
Although I’d reunite Oveshkin-Backs-Semin instead of keeping Knuble in the first line. Knuble is awesome in front of the net, but he oftentimes misses or fails to deliver on many good passes on the rush from Backs and/or Ovi.
Ovechkin - Backstrom - Semin
Kovalchuk - Fleischmann - Knuble
Wouldn’t that be awesome to watch…

Posted by: guer_j | January 27, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Holtby tonight?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 27, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I've never understood the Kovalchuk to the Caps talk.

Is his production going to be so much better than Semin's that it makes the cost, both in terms of the cap hit and what it would take to get him, worth it?

I just don't see it.

If there were no cap, then you could afford the luxury of a second liner making Kovalchuk money. But in a cap era, he's just a luxury the Capitals don't need and can't afford.

If they make a trade at the deadline it should be for a top four defender. That's worth the cap hit and burning some prospects for.

Personally I think a healthy Varlamov precludes the need for a veteran goaltender and I'm not convinced they need an upgrade at center on the No. 2 line though if one could be had at a reasonable price, it might be worth it, though at this point chemistry is so good I'd hate to disrupt it.

But any of those moves would make far more sense than Kovalchuk for the Capitals.

Posted by: mercedeskk | January 27, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

We don't need any forwards.

We need someone to step up and be LIGHTS OUT in net. (or better yet, stay healthy)

Souray, Kovy these guys are expensive and not necessarily an upgrade for us...

Team is playing really well...and if we win the cup, I don't care if Ovie scores another goal...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 27, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

How often can we say that Johnny "Orr" Erskine had two points in a game?

Posted by: MReilly9 | January 27, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@SoaringCaps & mercedeskk

Agreed. The move would be a Dan Snyder move and those NEVER work. The lines are very balanced and are playing some of, if not the, best hockey in the league right now top to bottom. Why mess with it?

If GMGM does anything, it'll probably be a role playing forward or a 3/4 paring Dman. He's not going to sell the farm to get the player either. If the injury riddled goalie situation doesn't fix itself over the next month, then you may see him try and pull in a veteran netminder out of desperation, which could be expensive, but probably worth it given the situation.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | January 27, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

1 solid stay at home D man! Baring any horrible injuries to our offense, we just don't need another forward or center! Maybe give up ShaoMo. How many goals can u really expect to score in a game. Kovaluchuck will add nothing but drama to our team. The only reason we might want him, is to prevent a team like Chicago or San Jose from getting him.

Posted by: capscoach | January 27, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

screw kovy...we have semin who is better. go get staios

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 27, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I like the sound of that three way trade..Kovi to Calgary, Dion Phaneuf to Caps, and well something to Calgary..not sure what yet.

Posted by: ttn703 | January 27, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

ooops i meant something to ATL

Posted by: ttn703 | January 27, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Kovi for Semin -- I was for it, BEFORE Semin turned on his A game lately. Semin and Kovi are both very, very good wings. So now I don't see any need for a change.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | January 27, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Obviously, Kovalchuk is a great player and would, by himself, make the Caps even better. But the cost, in terms of money and in the prospects going back, make extremely unlikely. Puck Daddy is just flapping his gums.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | January 27, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

So after Goal 7 I'm sitting there and my wife is working on her laptop when Locker throws out a "This is just SH**TTY hockey" my wife looked up and said "Did he just say what I thought he said"? I did a quick rewind on the DVR and it sure sounds like it. LOL!
Anyway, hope Hiller is ok, that was a lot of lost blood. And cudos for OV & a few other Caps for staying there the whole time to make sure he was okay.

Posted by: Iceman10 | January 27, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Iceman...same thing happened to me. I am watching it downstairs and I call up to my dad and say..."did he just say that?"

Posted by: capscoach | January 27, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Shinny hockey = Canuck for sloppy hockey, pond hockey. Joe B explained that earlier

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | January 27, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I really dont see GMGM trading for Kovalchuk. A D-Man and maybe a goalie, yes - Kovalchuk - No. I hope anyways.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | January 27, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

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