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Morning roundup: Caps' new year's revolution


(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)


Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals are on a blistering streak entering tonight's game in Boston, and if they beat the Bruins for their 11th straight, they'll break a record that dates back to the '83-84 season.

And the key to all this success, of course, is an unearthly offense. Columnist Tracee Hamilton writes:

It'll be hard for the Caps to keep up this pace in February. They scored 70 goals in January, exactly twice as many as their opponents. That's an average of 4.67 goals a game, well above their season average of 3.82, which leads the league. During the 10-game streak, they've outscored their opponents 48 goals to 21. They're on pace to score 313 goals this season, which would be the most an NHL team has racked up since the Detroit Red Wings scored 325 in the 1995-96 season.
What is the source of all this offense? After Sunday's victory, Boudreau credited defensive play and penalty-killing. Center Nicklas Backstrom, who scored first for the Caps against Tampa Bay, said he wasn't sure what has prompted all the scoring, but he knows where it's coming from: everywhere. | Read more »

Tonight's matchup:

 

Washington Capitals (37-12-6)
Boston Bruins (23-21-9)
TD Garden, 7 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet (HD)
Radio: 1500 AM

Morning links:

*Taking aim at No. 11. (Caps)

*Ovechkin is the NHL's first star of the month, and Nicklas Backstrom is the third star of the week. Not too shabby.

*Some shots of Caps in their Olympic sweaters. (Alex Ovetjkin)

*Ted believes in the Bears. (Ted's Take)

*And the Caps. (Ted's Take)

*The Caps do, in fact, play defense. (National Post)

*Going back into the '80s. (On Frozen Blog)

*More from the Caps' first 10-spot. (Caps)

*Vincent Lecavalier says the Caps robbed him. Sorta. (Fanhouse)

*Canadian media biased against the Caps? (Bog)

Stay tuned for news and notes from the morning skate in Boston.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  February 2, 2010; 5:34 AM ET
 | Tags: Morning roundup  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Boudreau: 'The guys like to win'
Next: Alzner rejoins Caps

Comments

Ah ha! Thank you Alan May for confirming what we all suspected.

Posted by: terlin1 | February 2, 2010 6:14 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the early morning roundup Lindsay!

I'm glad to see we're taking every game seriously. We were fortunate to be able to play just 3 of our streak games on the road, starting with the OT comeback in Fla. Our home record is unbelievable. 5 of the next 7 are on the road. Despite the relative streaks -- or perhaps because of it -- we've got to work hard to get this win and every other.

Posted by: Sonyask | February 2, 2010 6:17 AM | Report abuse

Ah ha! Thank you Alan May for confirming what we all suspected.

Posted by: terlin1 | February 2, 2010 6:14 AM | Report abuse

Wow! If Alan May was a coach he'd be suspended for sure. That "Bog" post above should be required reading.

Truisms, for sure. I don't want to open up the whole Greenie hit thing again, but even though I thought Mike should be suspended (but not 3 games, as with most here), I was bugged as all get out by the TSN announcers. And his comparison with the Canucks is priceless.

Heck of an interview.

Posted by: Sonyask | February 2, 2010 6:28 AM | Report abuse

Blame Canada!

Posted by: terlin1 | February 2, 2010 6:30 AM | Report abuse

Let's get it done Caps! The Bruins are now the lowest scoring team in the league with 130 total goals. Carolina passed them. If we play our game, we should be fine.

Wow, sucks that Crosby got a hat trick last night. He's one heck of a player. All of a sudden, Ryan Miller isn't looking so invincible like before.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 2, 2010 6:45 AM | Report abuse

If Ryan Miller performs in the Olympics as he did against the Pens, it looks like Caps fans will be rooting for the Russians this year.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 2, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Nice column by Tracee Hamilton, I wonder if she notices that Tomas Fleischmann has been suiting up at center for the past month, or did she just grab a roster and start punching out a column? I suspect that she does not fill her DVR up with Caps games.

Posted by: crooks_c | February 2, 2010 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Oh, one more thing: Cindy still sucks.

Posted by: crooks_c | February 2, 2010 7:04 AM | Report abuse

good post as always, but if I may offer just a little constructive criticism, about half the links posted this morning are old news. "Japers" had many of these linked stories posted yesterday. Caps Insider is a great blog and I check it a few times a day, but I and others go to many different sources for information and notice yesterdays news.

Posted by: seetrice | February 2, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

NYR just got their second real threat in Ollie J. I wonder if he'll make a differnce in MSN and the playoffs, as the Caps may well see these guys again this spring?

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | February 2, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the post-season for the Caps, I would really appreciate a sweep in the 1st and 2nd rounds (and 3rd and 4th for that matter). My wallet will be grateful.

Posted by: Fro_ | February 2, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I think the bottom line with Alan May's comments is, yes there is bias. Conspiracy? no. But bias, yes.

Posted by: Sonyask | February 2, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

whether the Canadian media is biased or not, does it really matter?

when's the last time a Canadian team won the Cup?

Posted by: joek443 | February 2, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Who cares about rankings, conspiracy theories, Don Cherry, Sidney Crosby, TSN, Matt Cullen, hanging curve balls, Toronto, Ray Ferraro and Poutine.

The Caps have control over none of it, whether its true, partly true or completely fabricated.

Win games. Hoist Cup. That's it.

Posted by: JSchon | February 2, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

Feel free to throw in a cheer for my Swedes as well. We're going to need it.

Posted by: jakopz | February 2, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Promote Alan May immediately! He needs a full-time gig in the hockey media, just to counter punch Don Cherry, Mike Milbury and all those other anti-Russian morons.

Posted by: CAP-lanta | February 2, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I couldn't agree more Alan!
But, nothing is ever going to change
in that department. My fingers are crossed for #11, but all I care about is the Cup! Let's Go Caps!

Posted by: NatyBG | February 2, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I would personally like to Thank Lindsay, and Tarik for their great work. You guys are always going the extra mile and it's not going unnoticed. Thank You!! Keep up the good work.

Posted by: j3rockstar | February 2, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

"It'll be hard for the Caps to keep up this pace in February." -Tracee Hamilton

Thank you Captain Obvious! Of course they won't. They have teh Olympic break and don't play as many games. How long did it take you to figure that out?

Sorry, not bitter, just had to point this out. GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: jwash4472 | February 2, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I have no problem with Us Against The World.

If Canadia wants to remain in denial and poopoo the Caps, then great. The Caps have something to prove.

And all those NHL and media hosers up there in TO, eh, can take a look at season ticket demand and ratings following a barnstorming, hard hitting, slick-passing 7-game finals in which OV hoists the cup with Kane/Toews heading into the locker room.

Go prove it to 'em, boys.

Posted by: justbrewit | February 2, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Whether Alan May is right or wrong, and I think he is right more often than he is wrong, he's not afraid to speak his mind on some issues I think many in the media would avoid. I like the guy. Its nice to get some good analysis from an old Cap, who is also a good hockey guy.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | February 2, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Canada needs to let go of the Cold War hostility they feel towards Russians! There is clearly at least an unconcious (probably concious though) bias against the Caps...they play in a weak division, OV is dirty, they have no goalie, they have no D...I mean what the H-E double hockey sticks is that about! We are second in the League.

I would be curious to know statistically where we stand with other teams players getting suspended for plays against us versus us getting suspended for plays against others...It really feels like we never get justice.

All that whining said...we really can't complain, as our numbers really do all the talking, and it's not like we are hurting because of the bias...GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: capscoach | February 2, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Whats the point of weekly power rankings if they dont capture week-to-week fluctuations in form?

Posted by: justbrewit | February 2, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Olli Joke-inen has a steller playoff record of 6 games, 2 goals and 3 assists in 12 years of NHL play

He is the ultimate loser when it comes to post-season...

Posted by: SA-Town | February 2, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

loved Alan May's analysis. Right or wrong it makes things O so interesting. It's the us against the world mentality...love it! It's going to stir up some emotion from tons of people and hopefully get more people involved in the caps! Thank you Alan!!!

Posted by: kyle_woodruff | February 2, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Ollie's terrible playoff record has a lot to do with what team he was on forever -- the Panthers. I mean a team of middle age women searching for younger men -- how can they win?

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | February 2, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Ollie's terrible playoff record has a lot to do with what team he was on forever -- the Panthers. I mean a team of middle age women searching for younger men -- how can they win?

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | February 2, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I've lost to them several times.

Posted by: JSchon | February 2, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon - Who cares about poutine? Me! I like poutine!

Posted by: irockthered | February 2, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon - Who cares about poutine? Me! I like poutine!

Posted by: irockthered | February 2, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I like the idea of Poutine. Just never had it.

Posted by: JSchon | February 2, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

JIMALLCAPS1, you do know that those are called cougars right? The Florida Panthers are an African-American revolutionary organization established to promote Black Power, and by extension self-defense for blacks.

Posted by: j3rockstar | February 2, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Zounds! I've mixed up my pop culture -- I thought I saw Huey Newton in a Panther's jersey, that must explain it. Besides, who names a randy middle-aged hotty after a Lincon-Mercury, honestly?

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | February 2, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

JIMALLCAPS1, you do know that those are called cougars right? The Florida Panthers are an African-American revolutionary organization established to promote Black Power, and by extension self-defense for blacks.

Posted by: j3rockstar | February 2, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Huh? Are we having a Jimmy the Greek moment?

Posted by: JSchon | February 2, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Better than a Howard Cosell moment on MNF

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | February 2, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Better than a Howard Cosell moment on MNF

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | February 2, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Alvin Garrett should've punched him in the face.

Posted by: JSchon | February 2, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Anytime poutine is mentioned I begin to salivate.

If I were trapped a deserted island, and had only 1 food to choose from...

Posted by: Fro_ | February 2, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Thoughts on recent developments:


--On May: Way to call it like it is, Alan! That a Canadian can make these kinds of statements certainly says something about Caps' fans not being delusional or paranoid after all.

I think that there definitely is something to the theory of Canadian Media Bias against our Caps, and more importantly, its influence on the decisions of the NHL brass.

That said, I don't think that it's so much a matter of Caps-Hate or even Penguin-Love as it is this one thing: "Like it or lump it", much of Canada's National Identity is invested in the sport of hockey. Let's be honest: it's "their" game, and they love it. So, for a "Russkie, fer gawd's sakes, eh?" to excel above all others in "their" game is understandably anathema. Consider how we Americans might feel if a North Korean or Iranian broke Hank Aaron's home run record.

It pains me deeply to say this because--FTR--I have always though of Canada as being a progressive culture, and have always had the most profound respect for her people. But what the Canadian media doesn't get, however, is that the Cold War is OVER, and the West WON!. Russia--though not exactly the best of friends--is no longer our sworn enemy nor a Threat To Our Way Of Life. Hence, it makes no sense at all to villify OV, nor other members of the team for which he plays.


--On the MG52 suspension: I think I don't know enough to be certain as to whether or not Green should have been suspended. FWIW, both Green's hand and his arm were extended, and it is difficult--even at speed--to deliver a so-called "vicious" elbow that way. So, suspension? Maybe...not sure it should have been 3 games, though.


--More on May: I think that we in Washington are complaining not so much about the application of supplementary discipline to Caps players as we are about the apparent double standard: i.e., that players from other teams commiting equal (or worse) acts within the same time frame appear to get off scot-free.

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 2, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Yep, still one of the most awkward moments in Sports announcing -- "look at that little monkey climb! Like he's in a tree" -- stupid, stupid, stupid

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | February 2, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Climb? I thought it was "run".

Posted by: JSchon | February 2, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Basically the Canadian press and hockey insiders will always disparage the Caps until they win a Cup. The years of fuitlity in the 70's and the playoff letdowns of the 80's made it easy for them to call our team the "Crapitals", etc. Now they are angry because our "Russians" are showing up their "home" boys. Even if the Cup is brought to DC, they still will not be 100% convinced. But who cares...Go Caps!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 2, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Yep, still one of the most awkward moments in Sports announcing -- "look at that little monkey climb! Like he's in a tree" -- stupid, stupid, stupid

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1
_________________________________________

Awesome. That was back in the day, before the NFL removed trees from the playing field.

Posted by: Jumpy66 | February 2, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I thought it was "run" too.

Posted by: CAP-lanta | February 2, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Did it ever occur to the Canadian media that the majority of the Caps (and most NHL teams for that matter) are Canadian - Mike Green included. Crosby flew the coop too and plays "south of the border." Had it been Crosby who threw the elbow they would have been lauding his aggressiveness. Canadian sports media are not biased against the Caps. They are biased against anything that is not Sydney Crosby. Somebody not familiar with the game might think he was the only Canadian in the league.

Posted by: Rainier1 | February 2, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm still trying to figure why punk-a** Mike Richards got NOTHING (not even a penalty, let alone a suspension) for his head hunting cheap shot on Booth (who's still out of commission) but Green gets 3 games. Can some in the league office explain that?

Posted by: CAP-lanta | February 2, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

@crooks_c

Yeah, I too noticed that Tracee Hamilton referred to Tomas Fleischmann as a left winger. I suspect she looked it up (to her credit). You have to start some where and she did write an article and is becoming aware. Who knows in the future she might become a Caps fan and would know which position a player is playing. :)

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | February 2, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

@sonyask, others

About bias: this topic so much larger than hockey! We're talking about human nature and this same pattern has played out in all sports in many complex ways. Generally those people who have cultivated their better natures and sense will be happy when people unlike them succeed in their game - it makes their game richer. Others, in all sports, in all colors and nationalities, tend towards the xenophobia that's in our dna, it would seem.

We can focus on the good, rather than the bad: the NHL, after the lockout, made the game much, much better by getting rid of the hooking, holding, and obstruction. Fast skating, quick-witted, and highly skilled players have thrived and it's been very good for Ovie, Backs, Semin, Green, etc.

What we might be concerned about - and it is the cost of having the Olympics to the best teams, just as the World Cup in football also hurts the best European club teams - is that these Olympics will be very physical. Semin, Malkin, Datsyuk figure to have big targets on their backs, esp when they play Canada. But Ovie and some of the other Russians can play physical as well. If no very important player for one of the top four teams suffers a significant injury, that would be a big surprise.

I don't doubt there is bias: it was much worse before.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | February 2, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

don't forget that Olympic size hockey rinks are larger (98 x 200 ft compared to NHL 85 x 200 ft) and thus opening up more room for the high skill players like Ovie and Semin and Backstrom. The physicality will still occur in the corners and along the boards, but I don't think you'll see a lot of open ice hitting because the game is a lot faster and there's more ice to cover as a D-man. You miss your check and the play is already past you and rushing up ice....I wouldn't worry about Ovie and Semin, etc, getting targetted or worn down by physical play in the Olympics.

Posted by: mgoride | February 2, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

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