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Morning roundup: War room and Caps-Sabres


(Mark Blinch for The Washington Post)

Morning roundup

In today's paper, we take a look behind the scenes at what happens in the NHL's video replay room:

TORONTO -- Midway through the first period of a game last month, Washington Capitals winger Chris Clark raced to the Ottawa Senators' net in search of a scoring chance.

Unable to get his stick on a pass from teammate Brian Pothier, Clark knocked the puck into the net with his left skate for a goal -- maybe. There was uncertainty as to whether Clark redirected the puck or kicked it into the net. If he kicked it, the goal wouldn't count.

Referee Marc Joannette skated over to the officials' box and put on his headset to get a ruling. The person on the line, however, hadn't seen the goal live, and wasn't even in the same city, but rather nearly 300 miles away, watching slow-motion replays from a cramped, windowless office in downtown Toronto.

Click here to read the full story. Here's a video tour of the war room:

Details on tonight's matchup after the jump.

 

Washington Capitals (19-5-6)
Buffalo Sabres (11-9-8)
HSBC Center, 7 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: 820 AM, 1500 AM
Preview: Looking to keep the streak alive in Buffalo

*Varly's first shutout of the season came against the Sabres. (Caps)

*Andrej Sekera could be out against the Caps tonight. (Buffalo's WGR 550)

*ESPN's Pierre Lebrun on the media reaction to Ovechkin's suspension and subsequent refusal to change:

Certainly, some of the media comment around the league was negative, chastising Ovechkin for crossing the line in what they believe was reckless play. But I think one of the most relevant themes in some of the criticism was the concern for Ovechkin's own health; that his style might expose him to constant injury (a la Eric Lindros) and that's something none of us wish on him. We need him on the ice, not in the press box.
But as for the element of dirty play in his arsenal, well, I'd be a hypocrite if I condemned him for it. First of all, it's how I played the game growing up in Northern Ontario. I was a regular visitor to the penalty box in my day and led my high school team in penalty minutes in 1990-91 (when I also sported a mullet). More importantly, Ovechkin's blend of superstar skill and mean streak reminds me of the Montreal Canadiens' all-time greatest superstar, Maurice Richard.
I love the picture of "The Rocket" shaking hands with Bruins goalie Sugar Jim Henry after the 1952 Cup finals, blood dripping down Richard's face. For those young kids who don't know much about Richard, check out the movie on him that came out a few years ago starring Roy Dupuis. There's definitely a little "Rocket" in Ovechkin, minus the cracking of a stick over a referee's head. And it's fine with me.

*Yet another keepin'-it-real post from Ted Leonsis. (Ted's Take)

*A much more intriguing post from Ted Leonsis:

"Jim Kelley from SI.com wrote me a personal and confidential letter. It was very gracious and very honest and direct. I appreciate it and this matter is now behind us and I look forward to seeing him at a Caps game sometime in the future. Thank you Jim."

*Speaking of Sports Illustrated, Caps are at the top there, too. (Rankings complete with bonus Tiger Woods joke. Oh, snap!)

*Mike Green's Olympic stock is up. (CTVOlympics.ca)

*The Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek says the Caps are the real deal -- with or without Alex Ovechkin.

*Junior Seau as a Caps equipment manager. Emmy! Airs tonight at 11:30. Here's a preview:

*As one of our sports designers said last night, hockey players are tough. Like, getting-hit-by-a-car-and-playing-that-same-night tough. (NHL.com)

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  December 9, 2009; 5:42 AM ET
 
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Next: D.C. sports: Best of the decade

Comments

Good story this morning, Tariq.

Let's hope the weather holds out. I am off to West Virginia.

Go Caps!

Posted by: crooks_c | December 9, 2009 5:47 AM | Report abuse

crooks_c: great weather down here in Australia.........bit on the hot & dry side though.

love reading Tarik's caps insider and the fan posts guys, keep it coming.

Very exciting to be a caps fan wherever you are in the world.

Ovie hat-trick tonight in Buff?

Posted by: ozcapfan | December 9, 2009 7:07 AM | Report abuse

I have one burning question?

What is Eric Fehr's nickname?

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 9, 2009 7:18 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I pondered that question the other night as I texted my son after Fehr's goal. What to call him? Certainly not "Fehr-ie!"

How about "Fear?" Need ideas . . . what do the guys call him? I have not heard.

Posted by: Steakum | December 9, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

@crooks_c and ozcapfan:
not so great weather over here in Germany ... bit on the cold and wet side ...

Ovie hat-trick tonight in Buff? I think with the goalies it will be a low scoring and hard-fought game ...

... and hopefully two points for the Caps ...

Go Caps!

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | December 9, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

@steakum:

JSchon called him E.EFFFFFFIIINNNGGGG ...

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | December 9, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I once saw someone post Fehr-sie. Please don't ever post that again.

Posted by: Fro_ | December 9, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Fehrsie!

Posted by: Bagher | December 9, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

I'd call him "Hutton" since his initials are EF.

Most of the conventional nicknames are unflattering.

What about Brooks Laich? Is he just Brooksie? Brooks Robinson was a family acquaintance when I was about 12-14 and that's what my grandmother called him.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 9, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Eric "State" Fehr

Eric Fehr "and balanced - or Foxy

Posted by: jeets | December 9, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Bagher is right; Fehr's nickname is "Fehrsie".

Quasi-OT:
It's "Tarik" not "Tariq".
If complementing a guy, maybe try to spell his name right?

Posted by: TheOriginalEgon | December 9, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

How about "Fearless"? If "Fleish"man can morph to "Flash", I see no reason for Fehr not to morph to "Fear"less!

Posted by: dccitizen1 | December 9, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

The spelling police are out.....great....where are the grammar police this morning? I'm sure Tarik will really lose sleep over a poster spelling his name wrong.

Posted by: PhilR | December 9, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

tominfl1: Brooks Laich's awesomeness places him far beyond the reach of petty nicknames. You should just call him 'sir.'

Posted by: aybee27 | December 9, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 - Fehrsie and Brooksie appear to be what their teammates call them.

@TheOriginalEgon - Or maybe try reading who actually posted the article, because it was Lindsay, not Tarik! ;-)

Posted by: irockthered | December 9, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Definitely 'Brooksey.' I think Eric has been referred to as 'Fehrs.'

Posted by: kingd9698 | December 9, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Definitely 'Brooksey.' I think Eric has been referred to as 'Fehrs.'

Posted by: kingd9698 | December 9, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

irock: Thanks.

Actually, I think Egon was commenting because the first post at the top had, "Good morning, Tariq."

I believe one should always strive to never missplel anyone's nmae.

tahm

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 9, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Great reading, Lindsay.

Nicknames aside, this is a big game for the Caps tonight. Caps have been mopping up on teams headed decidedly downward, and Miller is not letting in the softies the Caps have enjoyed in each of the last three. I'm hoping for a solid, slightly more boring but workmanlike win tonight.

Posted by: Sonyask | December 9, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Isnt Buffalo getting dumped with snow? may be a light crowd...then again those people have nothing better to do, but go watch hockey in the snow.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 9, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Snow in Buffalo is less the problem for people than it is down here, because they get it all the time this time of year, so they are better-prepared for it.

Posted by: irockthered | December 9, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to have to amend my "boring" observation, having given some thought to the hate Buffalo has for Ovie and his ejection last Sabres game for the boarding of Kaleta (a weak call, the haters should be reminded).

If they can make it through the snow -- and I think they can -- the crowd will be into it (cue the boos).

Posted by: Sonyask | December 9, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

And Buffalo has 12 foot snow plows...

Tahm yur speel cheeker bruke. LOL!

Posted by: rovingbandit | December 9, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I remember once after Ovi got the boarding call on Danny Boy, the Sabres fans took to the habit of booing everytime Ovi touched the puck. Then Ovi scored a goal and the place went quiet and Alex skated around the rink with his hand cupped to his ear, as if to say, "Let's hear it now."

I very much liked LeBrun's comparison of Ovi to the Rocket. I never got to see him play since he retired before we were watching, but he has the utmost respect along with Gordie Howe for 40s and 50s era players.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 9, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Any word on Knuble? Wasn't tonight the night he was aiming to be back in the lineup? Does the lack of Knuble knews (pun alert!) mean he won't be playing tonight or did I just miss something?

Posted by: TotallyTacos | December 9, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

@TotallyTacos

They seem to be looking for Knubie on Friday. Of course, that could change. Not sure if Brads is back from the baby either.

Posted by: Steakum | December 9, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Leave Ted alone.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 9, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Eric Fehr's nickname in my circle of friends is Er Fehr (pronounced Air Fehr). It works for us.

Posted by: SuperZ3383 | December 9, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Tom-I think I remember that game. We lost 6-2. I think that was also the one where Ovy got speared. :^\

Quite a tory there on former Cap Brendan Witt. How many people would go to work anywhere after being hit by a car while on foot?

Posted by: EricS2 | December 9, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm hoping E.Fehr sticks with the team. He has always been E.Fehr when not scoring... But E.EFFFFFIINNGG.FEHR when scoring.

I will, to celebrate his new contract with the Caps, get a #16 jersey(sweater, whatever) and put E.F.N.FEHR on the back.

Posted by: JSchon | December 9, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

@tinemfl1

tank yoo!!

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 9, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Quite a tory there on former Cap Brendan Witt. How many people would go to work anywhere after being hit by a car while on foot?

Posted by: EricS2 | December 9, 2009 9:11 AM

I can smell a new movie, "Die Harder in Filthydelphia," with Bruce Willis starring as Brendan Witt.

Also, I hope Witter was "where he was supposed to be" else Witt-gate could be the next thing to follow Woods-gate.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 9, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 - Totally agreed on the Ovechkin - Richard comparison. And I find it interesting that the President of the NHL at the time was named Campbell.

“What did Campbell do, when Jean Beliveau was deliberately injured twice by Billy Mosienko of Chicago and Jack Evans of Rangers? No penalty, no fine, no suspension. Did he suspend Gordie Howe of Detroit when he almost knocked out Dollard St. Laurent's eye? No! It is strange that only Dick Irvin and I have the courage to risk our livelihood by defending our rights against such a dictator.”

(On the topic of 'paper assists' given out in Detroit:) “It is not surprising that Howe, Lindsay and Reibel are among the top point-scorers in the league, although I admit Howe and Lindsay are good players.

Let Campbell get busy with the other little goings-on known about players of the National Hockey League and not try to create publicity for himself at the expense of a good fellow like 'Boom Boom' Geoffrion just because he is a French Canadian.

That is my frank opinion and if I am to be punished for it, well that's that. I will leave hockey and I have an idea that several other Canadien players who share my opinion will do the same.”

Posted by: irockthered | December 9, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

My friend sent me a link (http://blog.pennlive.com/patriotnewssports/2009/12/holtby_recalled_to_hershey_bea.html) this morning about Holtby coming up to Hershey and asked if this meant anything for the Caps.

I said it was probably just because they wanted to get him some ice time against better competition but what are the thoughts here?

Posted by: pkendrick | December 9, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I would encourage everyone to see the movie about the life of the Rocket Maurice Richard. I still believe that he was probably the best hockey player of all time because he had to surmount so many obstacles; being french canadians in a culture of Anglos being one of them. Ovie does have a style that is very close to the Rocket's. 50 goals in a season of 50 games... taking the train at midnight for Chicago to play the next day...ouch...

Posted by: atybat | December 9, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I would also discourage everyone to see any movie by Nicolas Cage or Brendan Fraser, and if the two of them are in the same movie be afraid, be very, very afraid.

Posted by: JSchon | December 9, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

JSchon: I totally agree with you. Any movie involving one of those two is a steamy pile!

Posted by: eorr53 | December 9, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

From today's article on the War Room: "Campbell said he makes most decisions regarding supplementary discipline, but not all. His son, Gregory, is a forward for Florida, so Campbell will recuse himself from decisions regarding instances that occur during Panthers games.
"I feel there would be a conflict," he said."

Wow. I didn't know that Campbell had a son in the NHL (newbie alert here!) So, maybe he should recuse himself from ANY decisions regarding NHL hockey players. Ultimately, there might be some kind of impact to the Panthers. Suppose the Caps are scheduled to play against the Panthers, but in a game prior to that, Campbell can make the decision to suspend Ovechkin for a few games. Hmmmm... maybe that would impact a game against Florida?

Posted by: dccitizen1 | December 9, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

irock:

That comment that you copied in italics, above - was that a comment from Rocket Richard or one from Ovechkin's mother?

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

dccitizen, i was thinking that campbell should recuse himself from deciding on any SE team suspensions at least. its a tough one. i dont agree with the consistency of his decisions, but i'm going to assume he's an ethical guy and probably had a team of folks who help him out. but it would be a little odd if, say the panthers were in a playoff hunt and someone like ovie were to be suspended prior to playing them. then again, he may err on the side of caution and be less likely to appear partial and it could work against fla.

sounds like his son has certain intangible qualities that a team might want to consider if/when he becomes a free agent. might be worth some extra $ to avoid having his dad rule on your players...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 9, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Dcsportsfan1, I think your comments are good about Campbell. I, too, would assume he's an ethical guy and has lots of help in making decisions. However, there is such a thing as "APPEARANCE of a conflict of interest". Even if he's the most scrupulous guy in making decisions, erring on the side of caution or erring on the side of overzealousness are real possibilities or perceived possibilities and, in my opinion, should preclude him from making any decisions regarding NHL suspensions. And I wonder if his son sort of feels like the son of a prinicpal in the school he attends!

Posted by: dccitizen1 | December 9, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Oh, come on, guys. What are the odds that Campbell would be in the position to dish out a suspension for the best goal-scorer in the league right before he is schedled play the Panthers?!

Oh, wait.

Posted by: TotallyTacos | December 9, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Ovi is the Red Rocket. I like the LeBrun article and the Rocket Richard comparison(from what I've read of him) except that I really don't see a mean streak in Ovi or his play as much as a "come hell or high water" determination and an emotionally driven stubborness. Does he get angry sometimes? Sure. Who wouldn't and doesn't with some of the things that occur in any given game? As he himself always says afterwards: 'It's just a game moment.'

At practices, I've heard many players and BB call Eric Fehr, "Fehrs" - for what it's worth.

Also, having been born and intermittently raised in Buffalo, people will come out - if they have the money and the means to get there, they'll be there.

One other thing to throw out there, I know that Matty P will have to go eventually but I really wish it didn't have to be so. He may not be as big as some others in size but his style of play is (sans a lot of hitting). He loves playing at this level (just look at his face when he's on the bench: all focus, all the time) and has shown that he can. He fast (he keeps his body low and his head up, like someone else we know), dodgy, brave, scrappy (with a bit of finesse), loves to create scoring chances - and frequently does, is an exceptional passer and has that little something intangible that you can't learn and no one can give you. As Joe B. said last game: you notice him when he's out there. Well, I could go on. He's my second fav and I'll hate to see him go.

Here's to a good game tonight!

GO CAPS!!

Posted by: nena1 | December 9, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Nena1

I to will be sad to see Perrault go. He plays hard all the time, and you do always notice when he is on the ice. I also think he is good for the team, because he has that young give it all you got attitude. I have never seen a lazy shift for him.

Posted by: capscoach | December 9, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

@nena1 - I am 100% with you on this one. I am a big Matty Po fan and hope he stays as long as possible. Of course there are a few ways this could happen that involve either Gordo's back not getting better or (surprise, surprise) the Circles situation.

Posted by: pkendrick | December 9, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Also, I would really love to see an Mini Me thing (at least a picture or something) with Ovi and Matty.

Posted by: pkendrick | December 9, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Yep, that would be too funny -- and kind of cool, pkendrick! At the very least, it would be neat to see them play together.

The best Mathieu Perreault nickname I've seen so far (and maybe it was here somewhere along the way): MicrOvechkin. My husband and I laughed. By the same token, when he's doing something sweet on the ice, I just find myself shouting: Matty P!!

But, I swear, especially before Ovi got a haricut, sometimes I'd have to do a double take during the games. Their skating style, speed and bearing on the ice are quite similar. Height, weight and shot are some main physical differences -- as well as the fact that they are two very distinct and different individuals, who happen to both obviously love playing hockey. And, of course, Ovi's just Ovi. But, they do also share the ability to let those watching them know that through how they play the game, I think. Not many players can do that, game in, game out.

I don't know. Just some meandering thoughts.

Anyway, GO MATTY P (- but stay)!! GO OVI!!GO EVERYONE ON THE TEAM!! GO CAPS!!! :)


Posted by: nena1 | December 9, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

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