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Morning Skate Update

Brent Johnson will start in goal tonight for the Caps, who will be looking to win their fourth in a row and sixth in seven games against a New York Islanders team that hasn't won this month (six straight losses). Johnson, meantime, has been one of Washington's best players recently, winning his last four starts while posting a 1.57 goals against average and .957 save percentage in that span.

Tomas Fleischmann will return to the lineup tonight after missing three games with a leg injury. But Eric Fehr (shoulder) and Tyler Sloan (leg) aren't ready to go. Both skated this morning and are close, but not just yet. Meanwhile, Sergei Fedorov (ankle) did not make the trip.

The rest of the lineup should look like this:



With Rick DiPietro still sidelined, Johnson's counterpart will be Joey MacDonald.

Some other notes and quotes from Nassau Coliseum:

*The Caps' power play is 11 for 29 in the past six games. But more important to Coach Bruce Boudreau is the fact that it's moved from 27th in the league to fifth over the past three-and-a-half weeks.

The reason for the surge, Boudreau said, is simple.

"Over the past month, we've been at a pretty consistent rate," he said. "If anything, we've tried to shoot the puck more. Nine times out of 10, when you're struggling, it's because you're trying to make the perfect play. Most power play goals start with a shot and a rebound and then something pops out. That's usually what happens. You can't prepare for a shot when you don't know where the rebound is going."

*The Caps' penalty kill has been even more impressive of late. It's blanked opponents over the past four games (0 for 18). (When I mentioned this to Boudreau, he knocked on his head.)

"Winning streaks are usually because your special teams are going really well," Boudreau said. "There are so many one goal games in today's NHL, and if your special teams can be plus one or plus 2, you are usually successful."

*If Mike Green hasn't looked 100-percent the past few games, it's because he's not. He's still bothered by his shoulder and its limiting him at both ends of the ice.

"It's good enough to play," Green said. "But it's going to take a little bit longer before it's 100-percent."

*Fleischmann still isn't sure what exactly caused the leg injury that forced him out of the lineup. But he does recall talking a slap shot, a slash, a knee and then another slash all in the span of a week - in the exact same spot. Yep, that probably did it.

That's all for now. I'll check in before the game if anything changes.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 16, 2008; 12:39 PM ET
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first. i'm excited to see if Nylander and flash still have the same chemistry of a few weeks ago

Posted by: andy19 | December 16, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

The Bradley third line experiment must end. He can't score for his life.

Posted by: ThisGuy | December 16, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Andy19...that second line has been electric!

Posted by: nomarjax01 | December 16, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you Andy19, though don't discount Kozlov in there too. He's been essential to that line.

Posted by: alee06 | December 16, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@this guy

bradley dinged one off the post(missed by inches) in the last home game, he can score some , but that is not why he is out there

Posted by: _stevo | December 16, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

33/92/25 has been great, and would be even better if 33 could HIT A BARN. I know, nerves and all, but really? 4 chances alone on the doorstep and 1 goal?

I'm excited to get 14 back on that line. Hopefully it can continue to create, and BB can leave it together and let them grow some chemistry.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 16, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

been busy today, so I just caught up on everything. I too sent an e-mail to Pat Collins

"I'll admit I did not actually see that intro but one would think if a local sportscaster was doing their job, they may have taken notice that the Capitals TV ratings are up 140%

If a sportscaster was doing their job, they may have noticed that Attendance is up almost 30%.

If a sportscaster was doing their job, they may devote a little more attention to the D.C. area's most exciting team, the same team that is in the best position to win today, tomorrow and for the foreseeable future.

But no, clearly channel 4 sportscasters are not doing their jobs, so we're left with the same old tired ignorant pot shots at ice hockey and the Washington capitals."

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 16, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Has Erskine fallen so far off the radar he doesn't even make the injury report anymore?

Posted by: stormblue | December 16, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

i hope johnson gets his first shutout tonight. then varMaLov (i like lockers name better) can get his against st louis. GMGM could then send Joe-Say to the stingray's and all will be right at KCI and VC

Posted by: kdwiedel | December 16, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Per John Walton in Hershey:

Congratulations go out to Bears goaltender Daren Machesney, who has been named to Team Canada for the 2008 Spengler Cup tourney, to be held in Davos, Switzerland. For those not aware, the Spengler Cup is the second oldest hockey tournament in the world, and is hosted every year between Christmas and New Year's. Machesney will miss the two home games after Christmas with Binghamton and Albany, and also the New Year's Eve game in Springfield. He's expected to return to the lineup in Providence on January 2. It's a huge honor for Cheese, and Canada is the defending champion of the tournament.

Other Bears news at

Posted by: tess2201 | December 16, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Erskine and Pothier didn't make the trip, so I'm hoping that's why there isn't an update on either.
Still, it would be good to hear how either is doing. I'm looking forward to seeing Erskine on the ice again, and hearing that Pothier is closer to fine.

Posted by: vrgogrl | December 16, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse


He may take issue with you calling him a sportscaster. Pat Collins' sole purpose in life on NBC4 is to make the octogenarians feel comfortable about the person talking to them on the speaking picture box.

He'll be the first "man on the street" if Caps fans start flipping metro busses, because who else are they going to put out there? George "I hate hockey more than Kornheiser" Michael?

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 16, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Re: Fleischmann - OWWIES! Dang, Flash! :(

@tess2201 - YAY for Machensey! That's great!

@stormblue - Pothier's nowhere near being "ready," though hearing he's up on skates again is a big improvement. There was a really good article on him posted a few days ago... He's waiting until he's fully healthy before making a decision on whether he will continue his hockey career once he recovers or not, and I'm cool with that.

Erskine is on the disabled list for now, rather than day-to-day, according to - don't know what that means (IR/LTIR/what), but his concussion seems to have been more serious than originally thought... :(

Re: the rest of the injuries... Am I the only one who thinks we should be considering getting the team docs to sign off on LTIR for Feds? He keeps rehurting himself, and I'm beginning to think the only way to keep him from trying to come back too soon may be to sit his arsenic and old lace down for ten games and MAKE him not play...

@Tarik: CAN they put him on LTIR? Why haven't they, if they could?

Fedorov keeps reinjuring himself, and he's not going to get better if they keep letting him play on it. I've sprained enough ankles to know that personally... :-p A bad sprain can take longer to heal than a break, and can be problematic for longer.... :(

Posted by: irockthered | December 16, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I don't get it - why does anyone care what Pat Collins has to say about the Caps? Enough to be worth the effort to write that letter to them? Boggles the mind - the Caps have a great team, a great blogging community (led by Tarik and Katie here) and Comcast does a great job of covering them (except for the CSN+ thing). Who even watches local news any more and why would a slight there matter?

I never cease to be amazed at how much hockey fans overreact to the lack of respect in traditional media. Are we all so insecure in our love of the game?

As long as we get Caps Insider posts several times a day and I can catch my Caps in HD more and more, I am a happy camper.

Posted by: katzistan | December 16, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Bears signed tough guy Kip Brennan today, he played with the team before. Great to get some muscle back since Gmac is down for awhile yet.

I wonder if Neuvirth will get some playing time in Hershey since Machesney will be missing 3 games. Unless Theodore is healthly and Varly is back by then.

Posted by: HBFan | December 16, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Shame that Giroux won't be out there with Nylander any more - they seemed pretty good together, at least in creating chances if not finishing them. Feel bad for Giroux, this was his big chance, he played admirably and if a couple of those glorious opportunities had gone in, there'd be some really tough choices when Fehr gets healthy.

Posted by: katzistan | December 16, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

My $0.02 to Mr. Collins...


I was extremely disappointed by your off-hand disparagement of the sport of hockey and, by extension, the Washington Capitals, on last night's broadcast. While it may be argued that your overt bias is merely catering to your audience -- as DC has historically been a one-team town -- I believe you are doing an incredible disservice to your viewers by simplistically propagating this mindless stereotype.

It only takes a very little serious thought on the matter to conclude that, at the present time, there is only ONE "functional" professional sports franchise in this town. Only ONE owner who has pursued an intelligent, well-conceived vision in order to create a winning team in this town. Only ONE "Coach of the Year" in this town. Only ONE league MVP in this town. Only ONE team with a winning record. And, frankly, only ONE team worth paying attention to. And it is not Dan Snyder's 9-year long dysfunctional train wreck of what used to be a proud franchise, but is now unfortunately little more than a laughing stock on par with the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, and Detroit Lions of the world.

The Washington Capitals are winning consistently with phenomenal young talent that produces incredible levels of excitement on a nightly basis. Sports fans in this town have an opportunity to be part of something potentially very special. But you dismiss that off-hand, because, I suppose, it is better to wallow in the misery of the Redskins continued descent into ruin than look beyond simple prejudices to the great sports story happening right under your nose. And, therefore, anyone unfortunate enough to choose to rely on you for sports news will remain similarly misinformed.


Posted by: Baildog | December 16, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse


I think Giroux played well enough to be the first callup when the caps need a forward.

And the lack of HD coverage was awful last weekend!

Posted by: stormblue | December 16, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

post-concussion syndrome is no joke. a lot of good players careers have been shortened by it.

good luck to pothier.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 16, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

How many games has Giroux played? He is has to go through waivers once he gets to more than 10 games.

Posted by: HBFan | December 16, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

From last thread:

I thought the produce section comment was Locker. My bad. Priceless no matter who said it.

Agreed that we acted disgusting at the end of game 7. The Flyers fans around me acted disgusting through all of both games I attended (1 and 7). Maybe it's me.

@majiksea: That is frickin' awesome that Ted would do that. Hope this Collins dude shows up. Hey, maybe if we're nice instead of rude and drag him to a game or three, we'll have another convert instead of another snotty news anchor dissing the only successful sports team in Washington right now.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 16, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I think tonight will be his 5th game

Posted by: HBFan | December 16, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I just posted this in the last update from Tarik, but I'll put it here. Here's the video from Pat Collins. Horrible.

Posted by: Caps1Fan | December 16, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Question: What did Pat "where's the fire" Collins say on the air?

Posted by: dezlboy1 | December 16, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

@katzistan - On a surface level, I see what you mean. I personally don't watch the news but it matters to me when any journalist or talking head makes an ignorant comment. True, the die hards have the blogs and other avenues to get their hockey news, but the talking heads and the MSM columnists have impact on the marginal fans and the uninitiated.

Pat Collins shouldn't be making snide comments and insulting hockey. He should point out that Redskins fans shouldn't weap now that their mediocre team is finished. They can start watching the most exciting hockey team Washington has ever seen.

MSM and local talking heads do have an impact on how the non hockey fan viewing audience thinks. I want them to think the Caps are worth checking out. I want them to buy tickets to a few games, become fans, and become revenue streams so that Ted has plenty of cash to re-sign Backstrom, Semin etc.

I have to admit I don't even know who Pat Collins is, but if Pat Collins is on TV and says something that reveals his ignorance, Pat Collins is going to thirty second education on what he is missing with regards to Capitals hockey. If enough Capitals fans do the same, it could shape the attitudes and views expressed on air, which could impact the attitudes and views of the surrounding non hockey fans.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 16, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Pat Collins...Just so I'm clear we're talking about the guy whose primary role is to go out and stick that stupid measuring stick into three-quarters of an inch of snow to get an "on the spot" measurement, right?

Posted by: tha_prophet | December 16, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Just kidding, I thought that was it, but apparently that is a different (but similar) segment.

Posted by: Caps1Fan | December 16, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Um, I just watched the video of Pat Collins report and I didn't hear any references to hockey at all....

Posted by: thecapsfan79 | December 16, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Your correction beat my comment. My bad.

Posted by: thecapsfan79 | December 16, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse


When talking about how much the Redskins suck and their season's over, he essentially said (I'm just paraphrasing from what I remember): "What's left? Hockey?" all sarcastic-like.

Posted by: Caps1Fan | December 16, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't think games-played matters for Giroux. He's 27, and well outside of within 1 year of singing an NHL deal. I think he's subject to waivers if we send him back down.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 16, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, sorry about that. I thought that was the segment, but it appears that it was just an earlier segment of the same thing. I just realized that the timestamp on that one is around 5pm, when he made the comment it was the 6pm news.

Posted by: Caps1Fan | December 16, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

In an addition to Giroux re: waivers...

Makes me wonder why we brought him up at all, unless maybe we're shopping him or Fehr. Maybe the package of JT60 and Nyls for Happy-Bowlin and a bag of pucks is stalling. Maybe tossing Giroux in there will make them toss in mid90's-Roenick-Amonte and Chelios.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 16, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Did I miss something in that video? I thought it was just a bunch of people throwing shoes ("seriously, who throws a shoe?") at the Redskins. I couldn't care less about the Redskins, but at least it was mildly cathartic for those who do.

Where did he bad mouth the Caps?

Q: What's wrong with the Redskins? A: They don't have Ovechkin to score for them.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | December 16, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

They are not trading Theodore, you guys are stuck with him. Bruce knows it is too soon to put Varly up there full-time.

Posted by: HBFan | December 16, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Then how come Aucoin did not have to clear waivers, when he came back?

Posted by: HBFan | December 16, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I'll be interested to see how the Giroux-Laich-Bradley line does.

Not a big limb, but I predict the GLB line scores tonight.

Posted by: Cerealman | December 16, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse


That's because the video I posted wasn't what I thought it was. Sorry. See my above post where I paraphrased what he said about hockey.

Posted by: Caps1Fan | December 16, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I went by KCI this morning and noticed that Schultzy, Nosayve and Clarkie skating pretty hard.

Pothier was also out there (no pads) wearing glasses. (Can you wear contacts in a contact sport like this? I have heard people talking how they move to the back of the eyes if you hit). But I definitely see him working harder. I would love to see him come in. Can you imagine, Green-Schultz, Poth-Poti, Juice-Alzner....I think we could def make a run at the cup with that back line.

Send Mo on his way bc he is by far the most inconsistant. I love Big E but he could go and keep Sloan as a 7th. Send Clarkie on his way, not needed. I like Bradley/Gordon but one of them has to go so Fehr can get back in the line up.


What do ya'll think?

I like Laich on the 2nd line because he is a net clasher as is Fehr on the 3rd line.

Posted by: numero94 | December 16, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Not that I'm not happy to see Green back in the line-up, but if he is not 100%, why is he playing? I respect the grit he has, but he could just be setting himself up to attain an even more severe injury, and without him being 100% he is somewhat hurting the team.

just a thought...

Posted by: elicea | December 16, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Poth doesn't normally wear glasses. It was a side effect from the concussion. I thought the article about him said he should lose them once he is better.

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 16, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

@ numero94:

The glasses are part of the vision therapy (I think thats what they referred to it as) that Pothier is undergoing right now. It's been the one thing *knock on wood* that has helped him thus far on his road to recovery.

Posted by: ShariLeigh131 | December 16, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Just want to once again invited everyone out to the Mister Days in Clarendon for tonights Caps game. We are going to be meeting up there around 6:30 just to grab tables and make sure we get the sound on. I have heard from a couple of you but please feel free to stop by and cheer on our Caps.


Posted by: numero94 | December 16, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

@numero94: Thanks for the invite, but I work near Baltimore and that end of the Beltway's not really feasible on a work night.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 16, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I've just finished watching interview with Varli translated by Sergey Federov. I've got to say - Federov is the best Russian to English translator NHL ever had!

Posted by: romicva | December 16, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Aucoin's 2 way contract has something to do with that. Precicely how, I'm not sure.

As for Mink, who's also 29, I am also unsure, but the career minor-leaguer exemption could have something to do with that.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 16, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Erskine also did not travel with the team. But since he doesn't seem close to returning (concussion) I did not list him.

As far as Pat Collins goes, all I'll say is I went to HS with his son.

Posted by: el_bashir | December 16, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

one more thing: it was just snowing half dollar sized flakes out here on LI. biggest I've ever seen. only sticking to the grass, though.

Posted by: el_bashir | December 16, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

The Bradley third line experiment must end. He can't score for his life.

Posted by: ThisGuy | December 16, 2008 12:55 PM

Its a checking line. Primary object is to check and provide energy and play strong defensively. He does that and thats why he's in there. Goals from Bradley are considered a "bonus"

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 16, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

For those of us outside DC - What did Pat Collins say on the air? And wasn't he a weatherman- why is he talking about hockey anyway? Shouldn't he be concentrating on clouds and Care Bears?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 16, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tarik and Katie -- your blog is the best one going on the Caps and I read it several times a day. But what's up with the new format of "to continue reading" link? I wouldn't be here if I didn't want to read it and the extra keystrokes and links on my iphone are a pain. Please go back to a single block blog. Thanks!!

Posted by: bubblegirl1 | December 16, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Giroux has a 2 way contract. I have spoken to other people and they are telling me that he has 10 games to play and then he has to clear waivers.

Posted by: HBFan | December 16, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Wow Sasha just skatd a terrible shift by giving up the puck twice inside our zone. What is it with our skill guys like Green and Semin where they turn the puck over in disgusting ways

Flash lookin good, good to see him back

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 16, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Of all the callups at forward Giroux has looked the most comfortable. He's had a reputation of being lazy sometimes but so far he's been one of the hardest chugging players out there. Could make for interesting roster decisions once we start getting healthy. He's definitely better than Clark.

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 16, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Giroux has a 2 way contract. I have spoken to other people and they are telling me that he has 10 games to play and then he has to clear waivers.

Posted by: HBFan | December 16, 2008 6:02 PM

I thought he had a 1 way deal. Maybe because of the emergency callup rules he has to play 10 games to clear waivers?

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 16, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Just to clear the air, Collins is a news reporter.
He has nothing to do with sports.
But they'll all be gone soon (layoffs), so let's all get upset about something else.

Posted by: GtownHockeyFan | December 16, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

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