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Morning roundup: Just 'a couple of days' away?

Morning roundup

Alex Ovechkin practiced with his teammates yesterday for the first time since suffering a left shoulder strain on Nov. 1 and says he expects to return to the lineup in "a couple of days."

He raced up and down the ice, swinging his arms comfortably and carrying his stick in his left hand. He effortlessly zipped passes across the ice to teammates in drills. And, most important, Ovechkin fully wound up on slap shots, sending pucks pinging off goal posts and crackling off the glass behind the net.
"Today was the first day that I could really see that he was shooting to score," goaltender José Theodore said. "Before, he was just shooting just to be out there and shoot. It wasn't up to par. I don't think he's there yet, compared to his usual shot. But if he keeps improving like that, hopefully it won't be long."

Click here to read the rest.

Tonight's matchup:

 

Minnesota Wild (7-10-1)
Washington Capitals (11-3-4)
Verizon Center, 7 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: 820 AM, 1500 AM
* Preview from WashingtonCaps.com
* Preview from Star Tribune

Some more links to get the morning started:

* Top spot in East belongs to Ovechkin-less Caps (Examiner)

* Flash strengthens his case for making Czech Republic's Olympic team (Washington Times)

* In The Hockey News, NHL ref Kelly Sutherland talks about an incident with the Caps' own Bruce Boudreau:

Since the NHL circle is so small and referees will see the same coach a few times a season, you'd think it'd be tough to get along after butting heads in an earlier game.
But Sutherland recalled a game he worked last year where a dive was called on a Washington player and coach Bruce Boudreau didn't like the decision. After giving him a few warnings to calm down, Sutherland handed Boudreau a bench minor and then slapped him with an ejection after the coach continued to fume vocally.
A few nights later, Sutherland was working another Washington game and wanted to diffuse any tensions between the two before the puck dropped.
"I went up to him before the game as we were skating around and I said, 'Hey there's nothing personal that night; it's just business. We're starting fresh tonight,' " Sutherland said. "He goes 'Well you missed the contact' and I said 'Ya, I saw it on tape and I tell you what, it should have been a penalty. But also, when I warn you, you have to stop yelling, because I have to follow through with what I say, too.'
"Once you draw your line you have to stick by your guns."

* Ted Leonsis asked Caps fans to leave him alone for a few minutes yesterday and just "chill for the moment." Yeah, right.

* Speaking of Leonsis, Boz compares the current Nats to the old Caps (if they're lucky):

The Nationals hired Jim Riggleman as their permanent manager on Thursday in what they hope will be another step in the construction of a baseball franchise that will someday rival the excitement that the Capitals now create for their NHL fans.
For the Lerner family, especially principal owner Mark Lerner who's on the board of the Caps, a friend of owner Ted Leonsis and a rabid Caps fans, the comparison is seldom off the radar screen.
To the Lerners, the Nats' 102 and 103 losses the last two seasons have simply been their version of the dark days of tearing down and rebuilding a franchise that their friend Leonsis endured from '03 until '08 with the Caps. Joke to genius: it happens.

* From the ESPN Thursday Night Hockey chat, some Caps-related questions:

eric (baltimore) The Caps lead the East even though their complete 60 min efforts can be counted on one hand. How is this possible?
BARRY MELROSE They are just so talented. They are better than just about every team they play. Unless they get better defensively, they won't win the Cup. Defense is why they didn't win last year. They are winning now because they are so much better then all they teams that they are playing.
Nicholas Leive (Pittsburgh) Will Ovechkin ever be a complete player like Crosby? what i mean is a team player, yea he can score, but he's a one man show in DC. I think if we dishes of the biscuit more he would have that thing that the pens have, ah ah, a trophy. It goes my the name of LORD STANLEY...
BARRY MELROSE Ovechkin is a pretty complete player. I think if he sets his mid to it, he could become a good defensive player. It's hard to find a player that can score like he scores and plays with his style of play.
Busby (Connecticut) I heard you punch like a girl. Why would people say that about you? You are starting a franchise. Crosby or Ovechkin?
MATTHEW BARNABY I did hit the gym today and hit the bag. And I really do think I punch like a girl now. I'm old and not very strong. As for Ovechkin or Crosby, I will take Ovechkin. The more and more I see the more I love him as a player. The only player I've ever seen that could finish a game with 13 shots and 13 hits at the end of it. He has such a love and passion for scoring and I think will go down as one of the best scorers of all time.
Turan (WashDC) Caps currently lead the league in goals for, which is excepted with so much firepower. By getting rid of Nylander to the KHL, will the caps bring in a real premiere shutdown defenseman (sorry Tom Poti...) before the deadline?
PIERRE LEBRUN Turan, Nylander still remains with the Caps although I think any day now he might be headed to the KHL...But yes, I think a D-man is what the Caps need. Thing is, GM GM has been pretty conservative at recent trade deadlines...

Best non-Caps related question and answer:

Russell (Tuscaloosa) what do we have to do to get an NHL team in alabama? i say we move the thrashers to huntsville.
MATTHEW BARNABY Hold your breath. Pray. And that's about it. You have no chance. Buy Center Ice Package.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  November 13, 2009; 5:33 AM ET
 
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Next: Varlamov to start

Comments

Ovechkin needs to be a more complete player?

Do they give out awards like the Hart, Pearson and Calder to one-dimensional players?

Since he's been in the league, no one comes close to him in goals scored and hits and sog.

I want to say as a LW, he has over 200 assists and would be in the top 10 in assists since the 2005/06 season.

Posted by: JSchon | November 13, 2009 6:56 AM | Report abuse

That Pittsburgh guy obviously doesn't watch Ovechkin much he is one of the most complete players in the NHL and the only things hes is still somewhat lacking, his defensive skill, you can see when you watch him in games that hes working on it

GO CAPS ROCK THE RED

Posted by: nickiefan83 | November 13, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Pitts folk aren't known for their intelligence. :) That has got to be one of the most ig'nant things I've heard in a while.

Posted by: CapsKH | November 13, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

The most ignorant thing about that question is the way they asked a question then defined what they asked. It shows a lack of complex thinking.

I should know, I'm a teacher.

Posted by: mattbuckley80 | November 13, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Pittsburgh fans love to worry about Ovie.

They should be concerned about the ghost of Sidney Crosby thats been running around the ice lately...

Posted by: SA-Town | November 13, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

That Pitt fan is an idiot.

As for Ted, he opened Pandora's Box when he gave everyone his email. And one person there complained that CI is "too negative."

Ignoring the trolls for a minute, most of the posts here are rational and objective. Myabe 10% are just plain negative. Very few cheerleaders. As Ted should understand very well, the people in a democratic state who speak loudest are those wishing to complain about something (just look at Congress).

I will be rocking the red tonight with a juicy ribeye and a bottle of red wine.

pokerface: Things are fine if chilly here in FL. High of only 70 today. It's almost sub-human to live here.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 13, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

HA, the Pitt Fan also put his full name out there. Google his name and try to get an e-mail address and send him Ovie highlight videos on youtube!

He shouldn't have even asked that question, as it was quite clear he just wanted Melrose to heap praise on Crosby. He should have just said "Barry, in 20 words or less, tell me why you think Sidney Crosby is the best thing in Hockey."

Posted by: eorr53 | November 13, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Well, the Penguin Scum fan is correct in his assessment of the Canadian Diving Team Captain, Lowblow Secondary Assist Cindy Crosby vs. A.O.

Lowblow Cindy is much better and more accomplished diver than A.O. will ever be.

Posted by: CapsNut | November 13, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

To even begin with the premise of Crosby being a "complete" player and Ovie not being one is ludicrous. I would have challenged that premise immediately. Oh, wait, Ovie doesn't do one thing that Crosby does,though. He doesn't go crying to the refs every other minute like Syndey does.

Poor Pittsburgh fans, you've got to feel sorry for them. Pathetic.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | November 13, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

@Tominfl1

Found this link today at Japers

http://www.puckprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=351

If I recall (and I very well could be wrong) you're the resident statistician here??

Towards the end of the article: "I would love to have somebody else validate my analysis, if possible using data from other seasons."

Figured I'd throw it out there.

Posted by: Fro_ | November 13, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

"I think if we dishes of the biscuit more he would have that thing that the pens have, ah ah, a trophy. It goes my the name of LORD STANLEY..."

I wonder what that means in English?

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 13, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Let's hope that Varly follows up his solid effort in relief of Theo with a stellar starting performance tonight. It was great to see what appeared to be an improved glove hand and his enthusiasm at the end of the SO on Wednesday - hopefully he's starting to turn the corner.

Posted by: SCCapsFan | November 13, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

More ovie-envy from the burgh. You'd think they'd be happy with the cup but they can't get over the fact that they don't have the best player in the world on their team. Love the one man show comment. Caps have 7 players with double digit points , pens have 5. Caps have three guys with seven or more goals . Pens have one. But someone on pensblog said the caps are a one man show and Obie doesn't play d and so therefore that must be true.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 13, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

If memory serves, Ovi has the most assists (or at least top 5) for a non-center forward since the lockout.

Posted by: dc_homer | November 13, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

"And, most important, Ovechkin fully wound up on slap shots, sending pucks pinging off goal posts and crackling off the glass behind the net."

So he wasn't actually sending any pucks into the net? Maybe he needs to practice a little more before coming back!!!

Posted by: cmecyclist | November 13, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Poor Pittsburgh fans, you've got to feel sorry for them. Pathetic.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | November 13, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Dislike them? O.K. Feel sorry for them? Their Pens have multiple Cups. Ours has potential. I'd rather have the Cups.

Posted by: rbpalmer | November 13, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Only way Crosby got a point last night is because Bylsma finally put Chris Bourque on his line and it was Bourque and Fedotenko pushing that puck through Brodeur. :)

New Jersey looks like the team in the East to worry about with healthy Brodeur and returning Elias with the sound game Lemaire has them playing.

Posted by: BBDwrestling | November 13, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

That Pit fan epitomizes why the fact that Pittsburgh has done so well in the NHL and NFL sticks in my craw.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | November 13, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

"Nicholas Leive (Pittsburgh) Will Ovechkin ever be a complete player like Crosby? what i mean is a team player, yea he can score, but he's a one man show in DC. I think if we dishes of the biscuit more he would have that thing that the pens have, ah ah, a trophy. It goes my the name of LORD STANLEY..."

First off, I'd be careful about lecturing from my soap box when Brooks Laich has more points than Crosby on the season. Or at least not rant when Crosby hadn't recorded a point in 5 straight.

Second, Ovechkin is not a center. He is a wing, and a wing's job is to...

wait for it...

SCORE GOALS! And #8 does this better than anyone else in the game right now. On top of that, last season #8 finished with 54 assists, tied with Iginla for tops among wings in the league, which was only 7 less assists than Joe Thornton, and only 11 fewer than Pavel Datsyuk. The whole premise of the argument that Ovi needs to pass more is asinine.

Posted by: cainoo7x | November 13, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

And, most important, Ovechkin fully wound up on slap shots, sending pucks pinging off goal posts and crackling off the glass behind the net."

So he wasn't actually sending any pucks into the net? Maybe he needs to practice a little more before coming back!!!

Posted by: cmecyclist | November 13, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

------------------------------------
Sounds more like they were describing Jurcina's practice LOL

Posted by: Chad8 | November 13, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Wait a minute. I don't get it. Our record is 11-3-4, I see the three losses and yet I see 3 SO's but 4 OT's and we're 1-3 of the overtimes and 2-1 in the SO's.

A little help?

Posted by: cmecyclist | November 13, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

ok, 3 SO and 4 OT games. Caps have won 3 of those 7 games (2 in the SO and 1 in OT). Those are classed as 2 point wins and sit in the 11 under the W column. That leaves 4 games where we only picked up a losers point. Hence 11-3-4.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 13, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

If Ovi were Canadien...these mulleted wackos would choose him everytime...of course, Cindy does have a Cup and went through us to get it.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 13, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

@cmecyclist
It's easier to think of the Caps' record this way: 11 wins, 3 regulation losses, four non-regulation losses.

Posted by: koalatek | November 13, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Thanks.

A Brit telling me how hockey works??? If you ever have a cricket question, just ask me!!! ;-) Ha, ha ha!

Posted by: cmecyclist | November 13, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

"I think if we dishes of the biscuit more"

wait, I think I got it....Let me read it again.

"I think if we dishes of the biscuit more"

Dang. Nope.

Every other fan of every other team in the league wishes Ovechkin would pass the puck more. "Uh, yeah, the scoring leader? Don't shoot. Pass it to Poti, it'll make you a more COMPLETE player."

Good luck with that. I'll take my one-sided #8 any day against your completely slumping #87.

Posted by: sandyflee | November 13, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Here is a question for Pens Nation.

Should Crosby return any of his salary for the complete egg he has rolled out over the last few games? 1 assist in 6 games....

Do we know if Ovie has even slumped like that in his career?

Posted by: SA-Town | November 13, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

cmecyclist,
Cricket questions.

How do you think England will do today in the first Twenty20 game against South Africa? Will the lost of Kevin Pietersen effect the batting or can someone like Jonathan Trott make the number 3 slot his own with some powerful hitting? Also should England play both Swann and Rashid on a track that is notoriously conducive to spin? Who do you see as the key wicket in the Proteas line up? Thoughts please.

:)

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 13, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

FiOS subscribers in Howard and AA counties in Maryland (possibly Harford too) won't see the Caps games tonight or tomorrow because we don't get CSN+. It was taken from us. (We no longer get Channel 1)

If anyone has FiOS but doesn't get CSN+, the place to let Verizon know you want it is in the Verizon Community Forum (FiOS TV Programming section, "Suggest Channels to Add to FiOS TV" thread). Be sure to give your location.

Thanks.

Posted by: grackle5 | November 13, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Ovie has more goals, more assists, more hits, and five less games played than Cindy Crysby...why are we calling AO the less developed player?

Posted by: capscoach | November 13, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Dave, is it due to rain? Could get interesting with a sticky wicket.

Posted by: Steve_R | November 13, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

If Ovi were Canadien...these mulleted wackos would choose him everytime...of course, Cindy does have a Cup and went through us to get it.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 13, 2009 9:37 AM

@lylewimbledon:

Agreed. However, IMHO the Mother of All Mulletted Wackos would have to be (drum roll, please)...

Keith Hartnell from Philthy.

I hate that guy.

Posted by: Rhino40 | November 13, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

You mean Scott Hartnell, right?

Posted by: snakegriffin | November 13, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

The better question should have been " who is a more completer player Crosby or Malkin"...Sindy is not even the best player on his team.

Posted by: RichC3 | November 13, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

That's Keith's brother.

Posted by: Section117 | November 13, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The line from the Pgh guy is oft repeated from Western Pennsylvanians -- since Ovi takes so many shots and scores so many goals he must be "selfish."

It's a pretty weak effort to turn a strength into a weakness.

For those actually watching Ovi on a regular basis, and given the risks he takes with his body and the amazing effort he puts out on the ice, selfishness is not a term that comes to mind.

Posted by: Sonyask | November 13, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Steve,
Shouldn't rain. Its early summer in South Africa so clear blue skys. I hope so anyway as I plan to get off soon and watch that game when I get home.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 13, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Fro: I read the analysis. The first thing I thought reading at top (NJ) he pointed out below, that Brodeur would have higher SP.

But, I can really see how shots can be judged arbitrarily. (Unless the league has a clearly defined metric.) Take the Jeff Schultz goal in ATL. It wasn't a shot, but a pass. From his own goal area. Just so happens it went on net. 99.9% of the time the goalie sweeps that aside. I don't call it a shot, myself. BUT, since he scored on a fluke, it must be also counted as a shot (can't have a goal w/o a shot).

A lot of times the pucks rolls in harmlessly on goal. Do some official scorers count it and some not? Maybe that is the reason for the discrepancy.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 13, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

anyone think OV plays tonight?

Posted by: capsfansince74 | November 13, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

You know, Ted has a point, especially if he's getting a stream of whining emails, and the fact is the Caps are an upper tier NHL team. But, not the best and not a Cup favorite.

If you read the Melrose answer, it's what most of us say. We want the Cup. Right now the Caps are say in the league's top 8 and might well have a 12.5% (1 in 8) to take the Cup, all things being equal (and maybe a 15% chance if McCreary got kidnapped before the playoffs). We just want to up those odds. And, if you add that prototypical SAH d-man to who he references, our odds go up. Maybe significantly.

Just sayin', Ted.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 13, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

If Ov doesnt play tonight he is too soft, and should be traded or waived.

Posted by: SA-Town | November 13, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Does anybody remember which game Kelly Sutherland is talking about where he called a Caps player for diving and Boudreau got the bench minor? I remember the one where a guy was called for tripping Flash but they also called Flash for diving ... I think there was a game where Poti (?) was called for diving when he was cross-checked in the back.

Posted by: slowser | November 13, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

@snakegriffin:

I stand corrected....thanks!

Posted by: Rhino40 | November 13, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

anyone think OV plays tonight?

Posted by: capsfansince74 | November 13, 2009 10:37 AM

If he does, they should have him come out lsat, with the PA announcer saying over the speaking, "And we have one more member of the Caps line-up to introduce..."

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 13, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

tom,

I always thought the sole criteria for a shot being a shot was whether or not it was on target, regardless of pace or even intent (i.e. Shultz against Atl).

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 13, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Maybe it's Crosby who should be passing the puck more. Late in the 3rd period last night against NJ he rang two posts. Complete player indeed.

Posted by: sandyflee | November 13, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

@All:

I sense yet another trend of improvement over last year:

Last year we would sometimes lose games by making mediocre enemy goalies look like Patrick f***ing Roy in his prime.

The year we seem to be getting better results against genuinely gifted goalies.

Examples:

1) CBJ's Mason shut us out through both previous meetings last year, and although we again lost this season's initial contest, we do seem to have solved Mason...big time.

2) Roloson was--by most objective standards--very, very good Wednesday night, and still we manged to pierce him repeatedly.

3) Yes, we lost to the Rangers, but in my book an opposing netminder who gives up 3 GA can't exactly be said to "own" you. In fact, history has shown that--as good a Lundqvist really is, he definitely does NOT own the Caps.

4) For any of a number of possible reasons, Caps' netminders have yet to record a shutout this season. Of course, the reverse is also true: We have yet to be shut-out.

Please discuss.

Posted by: Rhino40 | November 13, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

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