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Morning Roundup: Bullies and Cheesesteaks


Tonight's game in Philadelphia kicks off what should be the toughest part of the Caps' regular-season schedule.

"It's going to be a huge test for us," Boudreau said. "But if we think we're good, we better back it up."
The grueling 12-day span couldn't begin in a more unfriendly environment than Wachovia Center, or against a more formidable opponent than the retooled Flyers. Already one of the league's meanest teams, Philadelphia General Manager Paul Holmgren made his club even more menacing this summer, adding 6-6, 213-pound, rugged defenseman Chris Pronger to a lineup that had five players rack up more than 140 minutes in penalties last season.

The game is at 7 p.m. on -- sigh -- Versus.

Edit: Forgot to add that Tarik and I are chatting at 2:30 p.m. today. Tarik will take important, game-related questions, and I'll answer any complaints/questions/praises concerning our NHL coverage. Submit questions here.

Other items of note this morning:

*Chris Clark is looking good in his return to the ice:

"I think he's got a little bit of his jump back, a little bit of his step," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I'm real happy for him, and if he continues that he's going to be a big help to this team."

(Washington Times)

* Mike Knuble isn't sure what to expect from the fans when he returns to Philly:

Knuble has left teams before. But he was a bit player in Detroit, only with the Rangers in New York for a season-and-a-half and -- thanks to the NHL lockout in 2004 -- had a year off to adjust to leaving Boston after spending four-and-a-half years with the Bruins.
"I hope [the reaction in Philadelphia] is positive," Knuble said. "I hope I was a good teammate there and represented the team well. I hope people respected what I did. But I guess we'll find out."

(D.C. Examiner)

*'s breakdown of the Caps-Flyers matchup:

Capitals -- The Capitals have exploded out of the gate offensively, but their defense was an issue Saturday. After taking a 6-1 lead on Toronto, they had to hold on for a 6-4 victory. "I was once told that anytime you win, you shouldn't complain because there's so many times you lose," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I told the guys that it was a great win and a great start, but that we have to learn how to win 6-1 when we are in this position and not think we are going to win 9-1. I can preach about, which we do, but you've got to be committed to do that. But I think we have the group of leaders in the room to make that happen."
Flyers -- While Emery has been good in net, he hasn't had to work all that hard. Among teams to play more than once, Philadelphia has allowed just 54 shots, fifth-fewest in the League. Much of that can be attributed to a puck-control offense and a defense led by Chris Pronger, who has played more than 25 minutes in each game. Also, five different players have goals, and 13 have at least one point.

* How do you stop Alex Ovechkin?

CHRIS PRONGER knows a thing or two about playing against some of the NHL's most lethal weapons.
In his 15-year career, Pronger has earned a living shutting down players like Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Steve Yzerman and Joe Sakic. The wild Western Conference, where Pronger spent every season but his first two, was a haven for goal-scoring snipers.
But now, more than ever, the East is the home of hockey's scoring threats.
Pronger will get his first of many regular tests tonight against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals in the Flyers' home opener, and he hopes to put his experiences into practice against the one active player with a shot to best Gretzky's goal-scoring marks.
"He's going to try to be creative and make plays," Pronger said of Ovechkin. "You need to understand that and know where he is on the ice. You've got to make sure you're positioned well at all times.

(Philadelphia Daily News)

* The Flyers' first real challenge of the season should come against the Caps:

Washington and reigning MVP Alex Ovechkin provide Challenge No. 1 in the Flyers' home opener tonight. Ovechkin already has three goals and three assists for the 2-0 Caps.
An early measuring stick?
"The winner of this game is going to win the Cup," deadpanned Flyers' defenseman Chris Pronger, tongue firmly planted in cheek.
Still, this week will provide a barometer for the Flyers.
"We did our job on the road, and here in front of our fans, we need to set a precedent early and not start off on the wrong foot, especially against Washington," left winger Scott Hartnell said.
"They're a high-powered team. Obviously, Ovechkin is a great player, but they've got other players, too. So we're going to have to roll four lines and stay out of the box [because] they have a power play that is going to be right up there among the tops in the league."

(Philadelphia Inquirer)

* Bruce Boudreau's Behind the Bench:

We are taking a bus to Philadelphia today, and this is the second time that we will have ridden the bus to play the Flyers since I have been here. I was walking on air the last time we took the bus because I did not know what to expect and it was my first game. It was really exciting and felt so natural because I had been on the bus pretty much my entire life. It is crazy how NHL teams and NHL players get spoiled and coaches are no different. When I heard we were taking the bus this week, my first thought was, "Oh man, we are riding the bus? It is almost three hours." Then I had to turn around and slap myself for getting spoiled.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  October 6, 2009; 9:52 AM ET
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Next: Morning Roundup, Part II: By the Numbers



Posted by: Jaymagz | October 6, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

DirecTV viewers continued to get SCREWED. I don't care what the excuse is or if they're trying to make COMCAST the scapegoat. The fact that I'm paying $$ for Center Ice and I can't watch this marquee match-up is maddening, to say the least.

Screw DirecTV, screw Versus, screw 'em all!

Posted by: donknutts | October 6, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

why is this at the bottom and not the top??? i hope Knubes has a big return game in Philthy.

Posted by: doughless | October 6, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Lookin forward to a good game tonight. I respect the rivalry we have with Philly and glad that we finally have a team that can compete with them. Should be a good match-up for years to come. I hope the other PA hockey team all get H1N1.

Go Caps

Posted by: ciccarellifan | October 6, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Bruce cracks me up!!! Had to slap himself.... That is to funny!

Posted by: hbcapsfan | October 6, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Anyone know a good place to watch tonight around Laurel/Columbia/College Park area?

Seems like any good sports bar worth their weight has DirecTV.

Posted by: panic13 | October 6, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

FOURTH! wipdy doo! i guess the only good thing about livin in fl now is that i get versus on cable and with NHLgamecenter i never will miss a caps game.And everytime the caps play tampa i'm at the game cheerin on my's to all the floridian caps supporters!-LETS GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | October 6, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: gratefuldid | October 6, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

If both teams decide to play, it should be a great game.

I want the Caps to be the team to crack Emery and rip him apart.

Posted by: richmondphil | October 6, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

The Flyers have some serious talent depth.


Van Riemsdyk

Plus plenty of toughness to compliment their more skillful players.



They may actually be able to get away with mediocre goaltending this time around.

I wish the Caps had that kind of depth. Nylander's contract takes up nearly 10% of our cap space (8.6% to be exact). It's hard to get away with that much waste in the salary cap era. I hope something gets worked out soon so we can maximize our resources and add some more depth.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 6, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Except Emery isn't a mediocre goaltender.

Posted by: richmondphil | October 6, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

so i take it that tonights game is just like last week...all right with Versus ONLY so we wont be able to see it any where else??

Posted by: maryjane2 | October 6, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

It's on tonight....

Crazy Ray-Ray Emery is gonna lose it...

Posted by: SA-Town | October 6, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse


I agree with you - I pay DirectTV over $100/month and for that money I can't watch Versus - and will now have missed 2 of the Caps games already. I don't care either who's pointing the finger at whom - LET'S GET IT RESOLVED! Everybody just wants to make more and more money and screw the litle guy. I've e-mailed Comcast and DirectTV several times about this issue and neither one of them has the courtesy to even respond. It really PISSES ME OFF!!!

Posted by: hersheybearfan | October 6, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

If I'm understanding things correctly, because of cap issues and what-not, we wouldn't have been able to call up Sugden to match up against a big heavy like Pronger? I'm a little worried about him plastering our players into the glass. *shrug* I'm keeping my fingers crossed that maybe we call up Sugden for Thursday game. Flying in from Caly to watch! Let's GOO Caps!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | October 6, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I never saw the appeal of "dish" tv/internet. Is there a reason you guys just can't get Comcast? I payed 80 bucks/mo for internet and cable when I had it.

My new place has "free" DirecTV, and I'm not allowed to upgrade/get anything else. Sucks.

Posted by: richmondphil | October 6, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Pronger doesn't really fight that much, so I don't see what Sugden would do. I guess he can fight Cote or whoever they dress. Carcillo.
If Laing and the other 3/4 liners keep banging bodies, that should be enough. Sugden can't skate worth a lick. I find someone like Laing constantly forechecking and finishing checks a bigger physical presence then having a completely one-dimensional enforcer in the lineup.

But, we must keep Green far, far, far away from Pronger.

Posted by: richmondphil | October 6, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I posted on previous thread:

Haven't been feeling well so just got done doing a lot of catch-up reading. Regarding the chant at the Leafs goaltenders (which is goofy IMO), how in the heck could any of you at the game not see that the MONSTER stepped into the net? He is 5 inches taller than Toskala. Hence the nickname MONSTER. Ironically enough it seems the way to beat the MONSTER is to go high. Both Semin and Morrison's goal were shots they roofed, the third was a fluke. Most big goalies are beat low, 5 hle usually being the favorite target.

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 6, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse


You're right but Emery's career numbers (GAA, SV%) are identical to Theodore's. It's not impossible to think he could put together a mediocre year. He was good in 06-07.

I guess a better way of putting it is that if Emery can be mediocre, the Flyers should have more than enough depth to be legitimate contenders. It's a big "if" but it certainly isn't an impossiblity. The Flyers also have more than enough depth to bring in another goalie at the deadline if things aren't working out with Emery.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 6, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Also posted on previous thread just before it ended:

My opinion on Schultz...I like him. I like him even more after the preseason he had. I know a lot of you like Erskine but he has by far been the one making common mistakes. He hasn't played all that bad, but he is obviously the least skilled of the defensemen that have played thus far.

IMO Pothier has looked good too but is being held out tonight because we'll need some extra meat on defense tonight.

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 6, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

F Philly

Posted by: Moose33 | October 6, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

The DirecTV-Versus battle is one that can be resolved easily. Right now its a pissing match between 5th graders. DirecTV wants to add it to its sports package, Versus doesn't want that to happen for fear of lost viewers and doesnt want to be known as a premium channel. The solution:

DirecTV makes Versus available to everyone who currently subscribes to DirecTV. All new subscribers after specified date will have to get Versus through the sports package. This deal would grandfather all those current subscribers, Versus wouldn't lose viewers and then DirecTV gets its way moving forward. It's very simple, just stop the stupid argruments and bashing each other and get it done.

Posted by: ThePat | October 6, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

We match up just fine against the Flyers offensively. Adding Parent to list of D is a reach. He's no better than a Schultz who is expendable as far as this board is concerned. Randy Jones HAD to be a salary move unless he came into camp out of shape. His numbers indicate he was a very reliable defenseman for them last year.

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 6, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

bars in fairfax with Versus???


Posted by: carsonspence | October 6, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"adding 6-6, 213-pound, rugged defenseman Chris Pronger"

Jeff Schultz is bigger than Chris Pronger.

Just stirring the pot a little.

Posted by: Fro_ | October 6, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Baileys in Ballston Commons mall, arlington, got 1 Comcast box so they could show these games on Versucks. I will be there, which means Ill be draggin at work again tomorrow. This is probably Obama fault, right?

Posted by: daddy_axe | October 6, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse


Versus HAD been a regular DirecTV channel for years - never had to pay extra. It's just now that Comcast wants to jack the price to DirecTV by (supposedly) 20% that it's been yanked because DirecTV doesn't want to absorb that cost nor do they want to pass it along to its customers. If that's true - then Comcast is simply being greedy and figures this is a way to win over satellite customers to their cable offering. Well, they can take their cable and SHOVE IT!

Posted by: hersheybearfan | October 6, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

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