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Morning Skate Update

Jose Theodore will start in goal for the Caps tonight at TD Banknorth Garden in a matchup of the Eastern Conference's top two teams.

Defenseman Tom Poti (groin) is on the trip but will not play, while David Steckel and Eric Fehr will be Washington's healthy scratches.

Some other notes and quotes from Boston:

*Alex Ovechkin flew from Montreal to Boston yesterday on a small turboprop with Tim Thomas and Marc Savard. I'm told the pilot told everyone that the plane had to be delayed because of baggage issues.

Then Ovechkin walked on late.

Ovechkin explained to me this morning that his limo was late leaving the hotel, and that he was really sweaty when he got to the plane after a long run from customs to the gate (those of you familiar with Trudeau know what I'm talking about). When he got on the plane, Thomas saw him all sweaty and gave him a bottle of water.

"It's good to be Ovie," Ovechkin cracked this morning.

*Manny Fernandez is out tonight with back spasms. So that means the Caps will get Thomas. (Tuukka Rask will back up Thomas.)

*The Bruins, by the way, are going to be a much more complete team this time around. Returning tonight are Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron and Andrew Ference. Michael Ryder, though, is doubtful because of the flu.

*Coach Claude Julien said the Bruins will suit up 7 defensemen tonight for the first time all season if Ryder can't play.

*Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau on catching Boston: "Everything is possible. Our task last year was more daunting that our task this year. Boston is not going to go through slumps. So you're going to have to win at about a 750-percentage to give yourself an opportunity to do that. Whether that's possible or not, we don't know. All I know is if we play as good as we can every game, then we have a chance to win every game. And then who knows what can happen."

*The Caps will be looking to beat the Bruins for the fourth straight time (dating to last season). If they win, it will be the first time they've accomplished the feat in the teams' 125 game all-time series.

*From my colleague Les Carpenter, who is in Tampa for Sunday's Super Bowl: Les reports looking around for any "real" football fans this morning. He's still looking, but he did see a "throng" of folks in red jerseys milling about the Marriott, which is next door to the St. Pete Times Forum. Cardinals fans maybe? Nope. Dozens of Canadiens fans waiting team bus to arrive for the morning skate.

Got a good laugh over that one.

*It's not snowing here. Yet. But I'm told Boston is going to get hammered tonight and tomorrow. And by hammered I mean feet, not the inches Washington is dealing with today. Hopefully, I'll be able to get out. (After four days in Montreal, I'm officially sick of snow.)

I hope to get you the Caps' full lineup before tonight's game.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 27, 2009; 12:11 PM ET
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Next: Tonight's Lineup



Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 27, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

.From previous, I hate posting just as a new thread comes up..
I would think the Preds would want some prospects and Hershey is full of them. Maybe Godfrey and a bourque for Devries.Not sure anyone would take Mo unless they are planning on signing him. Sorry folks but I do not think Nyl's is tradeable at this point, he has to pick it up (a lot)for someone to take the last 2 years of that deal at $4.5 mill. a year. I would not include Carlson for any trade for devries.

Posted by: RichC3 | January 27, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Orange County Register:

Rather than targeting draft picks, Murray would be more likely to seek established players in their early to mid-20s. Certainly, the commodities that might bring the most in return would be former Norris Trophy-winning defensemen Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger. Neither has been nearly as dominant as in seasons past, but might be very attractive to teams looking for the final piece to a potential Stanley Cup puzzle.

Niedermayer, the team captain who stands to become an unrestricted free agent, has given no commitment to playing beyond this season, but could remain extremely valuable as the Ducks attempt to break in a younger group of defensemen. Pronger has one year, at $6.25 million, remaining on his contract.

"I'm certainly aware of it," Pronger said. "We have to start doing whatever it's going to take to win hockey games. If we don't, then we're forcing their hand and they will be forced to move guys, obviously. They're not going to just sit there and watch."

As Murray told players in his first meeting after becoming general manager, their play will determine who stays and who goes. Opportunity to please the new boss is dwindling.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 27, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Nylander in the line-up over Steckel?? I'm sorry, but didn't Steckel score a goal last time he dressed as opposed to Nylander who didn't score the last time he played?? I'm not saying anything, I'm just saying...

Posted by: dcox50 | January 27, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Im not sure I like Steckel sitting.

The old men, (Clark/Nylander) better have a good step tonight, or I can see a flip on Saturday vs. Detroit.

Posted by: SA-Town | January 27, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Double-posting for the sake of attracting new eyeballs...

Can someone with Comcast Maryland please explain to me why I'm forced to watch Versus’ games in craptastic standard def whilst Versus HD incomprehensively becomes The Golf Channel during nationalized Caps games? What gives? Seriously -- I can't watch the game in HD? Such B.S.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | January 27, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

No Stex or Grizzly Fehr? I may be behind the times, but does that mean Muffins is healthy?

Posted by: Tex21 | January 27, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

The playoffs are a different monster, but Feinstein's comments "home ice does not matter." The Caps at home are 19-3-1. On the road= 11-12-2.

I think we would prefer home ice, eh?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 27, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

On the 70 goal pace for Ovi, perhaps it takes in to account that he was ahead of last years pace and expecting the same strong finish. I don't have the time to dig out the numbers, but if anyone has it handy about how his goals now compare to the pace last year, that might help in understanding.

Posted by: _Mark | January 27, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse


The Capitals, meanwhile, are striving for improvement on the road. After going into the break with a 3-2 loss at last-place Ottawa last Tuesday, they have an 11-12-2 road record this season -- the NHL's biggest discrepancy between a home and road marks.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 27, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Dcox50: didn't we lose last time Nyls was scratched while Steckel played?

Nylander: 1 goal, 3 assists over the past 5 games.

Steckel: 1 goal, 0 assists past 5 games

Nylander has a game-winner this season, Steckel has none. Nylander has 643 more points in his career than Steckel.

There's no comparison here. Nylander is being misused this season, and it's the only reason he's not a point-per-game like he has been each of the past three seasons, when he was given top-line minutes.

Posted by: notfadeaway | January 27, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@ MarylanDChris

I hate to say this to you, but you need to step up and buy yourself some Directv equipment. You can't compete with their HD services. Simply the best.

Posted by: redskins2448 | January 27, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"When you're on the road you play for the tie and then you win it in overtime," Boudreau said. "... That's what winning is all about and you've got to learn how to win. Right now, there are some guys that know how to play, they just don't know how to win."

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 27, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Tukka Rask?!?!?!

We HAVE to score as many goals as possible in the first period. Get Thomas out! I freakin LOVE Tukka Rask! Hellz yeah!

Posted by: redskins91 | January 27, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse


Are you kidding me? I'm just happy that the fiancee is willing to let me get FIOS next month! One step at a time... So, basically, is the answer just that Comcast MD folks are screwed?

Posted by: MarylanDChris | January 27, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

So we're playing a big skilled team like the Bruins (with Lucic back in the lineup)... and we sit 2 of our bigger bodies and most aggressive forecheckers (Steckel and Fehr) in favor of a couple older smaller guys who havent been able to string more than a couple good games in a row together for over a calendar year???

Posted by: chombie13 | January 27, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

@MarylanDChris: I switched to DirecTV last year and just a couple of months ago they launched a VS and a Golf Channel HD, they no longer share. Might want to look into switching from Cable. It is my understanding that VS has the rights to the game and Comcast CANNOT broadcast it. At least they're going to show it. I believe two Caps games were not televised because VS had the rights and they showed another game instead.

Still not sure why Nylander is so hated. He's a great hockey player that just can't seem to score. I am much more comfortable seeing him carry the puck out of our zone than Steckel.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 27, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@MarylanDChris: I have Comcast, but in Harford County. I also have both Golf HD and Vs. HD now, so I expect the Caps to be on the Vs. station tonight. I will say that, since they added the new station, the channel info for those two have been wrong more often than not. Meaning, that just because the show info may show golf, it may really be showing the Caps.

Posted by: kenjabi | January 27, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse


I have Comcast in VA, and while obviously they are different lineups I actually have VS, VSHD, and VS Golf HD, or whatever you want to call it. They recently added the VSHD channel, so you may want to take a quick look through your channels and see if they've added that to your package yet.

Posted by: Jeff_ | January 27, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse


Wait -- are you telling me that Versus HD no longer exists? As in, even the Stanley Cup Playoffs are going to be shown in standard def this year?? That is absolutely awful if it's true. The NHL has got to move beyond this horrible experiment with Versus and start over on cable TV. I can’t believe they’d outright KILL their HD channel. Blaaaaah.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | January 27, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

@ Maryland Chris

Versus is channel 226, now. The Golf Channel took over the 254 channel that used to be both VS and Golf.

According to Montgomery County Comcast, at least. Not sure what it is for Howard/Baltimore/etc...

Caps will win tonight.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | January 27, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

@DrinkingPartner and others,

Thanks very much. I will check out the updated channel guide when I get home and hopefully get to watch the game in glorious HD.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | January 27, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

The problem with both Kaberle and De Vries (and Nick Havelid) is that they are lefties. We have lots of lefties: Poti, Mo, Schultz, Erskine, and Alzner. Our only righties are Green and Jurcina (and Helmer--that's why he keeps playing). We need to find a big, mean, right-handed shooting crease-clearer to pair with Poti. (And we can't give up Juice, for the same reason.) It will be hard to find and/or expensive.

Posted by: Kirg | January 27, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

@ Kirg

One thing we don't have, though, is a left-handed Power Play shooter. Backstrom and Fedorov are our lefties, and neither can be considered Bondra-esque.

Neither can Kaberle, but I'd prefer Kaberle as my left-handed shooting defenseman to one of them...or Schultz.

I say we bring Bondra out of retirement -- we need his shot!

(Kidding, of course.)

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | January 27, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I have Comcast in VA and we have the game in HD on VS tonight ...

Posted by: --Boo-- | January 27, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Why do I get the feeling there's more to the sweaty Ovie story?

As in, what the heck was going on in that limo?


Posted by: TheRealOneal | January 27, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@MarylanDChris: No brother, what I'm saying is VS and the Golf channel used to share channel 604 as their HD channel on DirecTV. That has since changed and they both broadcast in HD. Not sure what the Comcast cable companies have to offer.

The Caps NEED to win, or at least draw a couple of points out of the next two games to prove to themselves that they can compete with the top teams in the league. I know they've beaten the Bruins twice, but that was at home, they need to play a strong game in Boston tonight. The Caps team is so solid I am slowly being convinced that this team can make a serious run at the Cup this season. I also believe the can become a dynasty like the Red Wings of the last decade. Our foundation is strong enough, it was proven during November and December, they just need to win the games the SHOULD win too.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 27, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

As of last year, Cox in Fairfax County has both Versus HD and Golf HD on SEPARATE FEEDS:

Golf HD Channel 711
Versus HD Channel 735
Comcast SportsNet HD Channel 734

Hope this helps...

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 27, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I went to look at the +/- leaders to see which D men had the highest +/- with the fewest goals. (What I personally think we're looking for).

The top 3 qualifiers are all Chicago defensemen.

Interesting which team the top 4 +/- leaders overall all play for...

Posted by: austinsteve | January 27, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

comcast in Montgomery County gets versus in HD. I think its like 226?

Posted by: capsfansince74 | January 27, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

The pilot didn't lie about a baggage problem. They had to put Alex's bags on the plane

Posted by: makplan20002 | January 27, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

@drinkingpartner: You're right that our snipers are all right-handed. The problem is, if you put in Kaberle you'd then have to take Ovie off the left point. If you do that, does Semin sit down? I don't want to sit Laich, because nobody else is willing to go to the cage.

BTW, Jay Pandolfo has been scratched recently in Jersey. Andybody interested in a quick fix to the penalty kill problem? There he is.

Posted by: Kirg | January 27, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse


At the Caps' 48-game mark last season, Ovi had 38 goals. This season at the 48-game mark he has 31 goals (he missed two games earlier in the season). Last season he finished with 27 goals in the final 34 games (to the total of 65). Even at that same pace he'd finish this season with 58.

Posted by: saintex | January 27, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

@MarylanDChris - I live in Maryland, have Comcast, and I get VS hockey in HD all the time. Not sure why you wouldn't be getting the same thing.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | January 27, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Just realized the game is on VS. HD - I love when I get to watch the caps games in HD out west. I don't have to squint at my laptop screen.

Well with the talk of defensemen, what does everyone think of Steve Montador? Right handed, cheap (800k), and a +/- of 14 this season....

Posted by: LA_caps_fan | January 27, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't mine Ovi being of the point on the PP and wandering. I think both Ovi and Green have struggled to keep the puck in the zone this season. Of course, they are both wanderers and that accounts for a good number of the clearances but I think the Caps need to get better at holding the puck in on the PP.

Posted by: saintex | January 27, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and after this season he's a UFA.

Posted by: LA_caps_fan | January 27, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

@MarylanDChris: VSHD is channel 226 in Baltimore County on Comcast.

Hay guys, you wanted to see a contest between these two squads at full strength (or close to it) tonight? You got it. Per, Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic, and Andrew Ference will all play tonight for Boston, and per Corey, Morrisonn is in and Poti is out tonight.

(h/t Japers' Rink)

You wanted it, you got it. Personally, I'm nervous. Like fanohock1 said, we need to get points in at least and preferably win both this game and the Detroit game in Saturday. Let's hope this team is up to the task ....

Speaking of Detroit, Capitals Kremlin has an amusing idea:

The suggestion is for everyone to show up in an outback hat and tacky sunglasses as a tribute to Ovi.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 27, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Versus now has their own HD channel in the Comcast lineup in Montgomery County. I'm not sure where you live in MD, but scroll through your HD channels and somewhere in the middle of the pack is "VSHD" or something like that.

Posted by: ChrisinSS | January 27, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 27, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse


nice article.

Posted by: mauree | January 27, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

if I can find a hat as Khaki as Ovie's, I'll wear it proudly on Saturday afternoon :-).

Am I remembering correctly that Saturday's game is at 12:30 or something ridiculous?

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | January 27, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse


I don't know Montador much but I like that he's played more games than the vast majority and that he's a little older.

@Everybody else:
(since I'm looking)
Flash, Kozlov, and Laich have the worst +/- values on the team

Schultz, is way up on the other side, behind only Green (who kinda sucks on +/- on the road)

Posted by: austinsteve | January 27, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

austinsteve, My guess with Laich is he's often out against a top line, but that's just a gut reaction, no proof.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | January 27, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

It's good to be Ovie, until the ebola virus that Thomas spiked the water with kicks in. :0

Posted by: basrfg | January 27, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Montador works for me. Are there rumors he's available?

Posted by: Kirg | January 27, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse


I know, +/- is kinda whack sometimes.

You really have to watch the player to get inside what's really going on with it sometimes.

That stat doesn't show that Laich's the only one on the team who consistently chases down icings.

...On the otherhand, those 3 guys are even or positive at home and terrible (Kozlov) on the road.

Erskine and Semin kick butt on the road.

Posted by: austinsteve | January 27, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a huge fan of the +/- rankings of players, but it's a good starting point for analysing players. Someone mentioned the top 4 leaders in the NHL on the +/- statistic. Let's look at the top 10 instead.

Positions 1-4, 8, and 10 belong to Boston. They are (I hope this formats correctly - I'm not an HTML guy):

Player +/- Home +/- Road +/- Div +/- Other Div +/-

1 Marc Savard 28 11 17 7 21
2 Blake Wheeler 27 16 11 9 18
3 Dennis Wideman 26 11 15 1 25
4 David Krejci 25 17 8 9 16
8 Zdeno Chara 22 8 14 5 17
10 Michael Ryder 21 13 8 3 18

The Caps lone entry in the top 10 is:

6 Alexander Semin 23 13 10 10 13

Our next highest is ranked 21 in Mike Green.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 27, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

FYI saw both Bondra and Nylander at the Ice Rink in Rockville Saturday. My son had a game in the freezing outdoor rink. I've seen Bondra over there a few times because his son played for Team Maryland last year and Rockville is one of their homerinks. Only mention it because I am always impressed with how down to earth hockey players are. I make a point not to bother them but did have a chance to engage in a conversation with Bondra last year because he was actually waiting to talk to my bud whose son played with Bondra's son last year. I did the typical fan thing, like, man, you were awesome. I even went so far, and I believe this, to tell him that he was the OV of the 90's for Caps fans. He not only thanked me, but he was visibly picked up by my comment, and told him that I was really pulling for him to get back with the Caps at the end. IMHO he was a lot like OV in that he would score late goals and scorched goaltenders with his shot.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 27, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

From Puck Daddy: (The 3 numbers are the team's commitments for this season and the next two.)
Washington $58.5 mil. $45.9 mil. $30.1 mil.
Scary deal: Michael Nylander, 35, $4.9 mil. until 2010/11.
A bust, intensified by his feuding with Coach Bruce Boudreau and minimal impact in the lineup. The no-movement clause he was given in the deal has handcuffed the Washington Capitals in ways that probably didn't anticipate when they signed him; then again, they probably didn't anticipate Nylander would have 59 points in 85 games over the course of two seasons, either.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | January 27, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Ovi Hat Night! Haha... I was toying around with the idea of doing something like that, so now I definitely need to. Any idea where one can obtain a miniature flag of the Canadian (or perhaps Russian) variety? I see some stuff online, but I'm not sure I can justify paying an absurd amount for shipping just to get a $2 flag here by Saturday.

Posted by: FedorovCrunch | January 27, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Both Sat and Sun are 12:30 games.

Posted by: saintex | January 27, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I wish they would let Fehr play. I know there are many teams that would snatch Steckel or Fehr in a heartbeat. Not much money for quality third liners.

Posted by: Freez | January 27, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

there's Alamo Flag Shop on highway 50 in Arlington/Falls Church (at Patrick Henry Dr. / George Marshall [6134 Arlington Blvd.]) that sell miniflags, at least per the Web site, for $3.90. Maybe if you buy in bulk you can get a discount.

Posted by: saintex | January 27, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse


I live right near the flag shop. If you want one, let me know. I'll be a the game's this weekend and can bring it along.

Posted by: saintex | January 27, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know of the practice schedule for this weekend? I'm making the four hour trek Thursday night and would like to see at least one practice at KCI. All I need is that hat and I'm ready to rock my Ovie gear.

Posted by: abuddy2004 | January 27, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the info (and offer)! It looks like there's one in DC, too... so I think I might head down in a bit and check it out since I'm nearby. If I need your assistance, I'll let you know. :)

Posted by: FedorovCrunch | January 27, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Predictions for tonight? I say the Caps outshoot the B's. It will come down to goaltending; if Theo comes to play we win this one.

Posted by: reesem37 | January 27, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Both Sat and Sun are 12:30 games.

Posted by: saintex | January 27, 2009 3:00 PM

With a Wizards game Saturday night at home, so cue the bad ice comments for Sunday.

Posted by: Section117 | January 27, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I pray the Caps win tonight but I'm not feeling so optimistic... we beat Bruins twice, they're looking for revenge and they're at home... if we win we'll have to play very solid defense cause no matter whose starting for the Bruins we'll probably score only 2 goals so we'll need to win by a 2-1 score.

Posted by: rachel216 | January 27, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Shorthand version of Boston Globe statements:

Semin has only been held scoreless 4 times this season

The Caps have the longest active streak in the league of games where we allow a PPG

Marc Savard's 26 assists is the most of any player vs the Caps, by 8

Posted by: austinsteve | January 27, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse


I've got Fios in AACO. and all of the Vs games are in HD. Something to look forward to if you switch next month.

Posted by: ludeman95 | January 27, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

...since the lockout

Posted by: austinsteve | January 27, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse


They apparently also have a shop at Union Station.

Posted by: saintex | January 27, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Inside Hockey on CBC has a video spot on Ovie.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 27, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Wizards play Saturday night?

Cue this at the Red Wings game.

"All Fans will receive free upper level admission to tonight's Wizards/Clippers game with todays ticket stub."

Posted by: SA-Town | January 27, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Bondra has a son that plays for Washington Junior Nationals and Nylander has 2 sons that play for Team Maryland.

They were likely discussing the new NHL sponsored (read paid for by, to the tune of an $8 million dollar annual grant) USA American Developement Model (ADM) for High Performance Clubs (HPC) and Long Term Athletic Developement (LTAD).

This program is being crammed to the youth hockey world and it is nothing short of mind-blowing and revolutionary.

Check it out:

Posted by: WhyGo | January 27, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

This is going to be a tough game tonight. Both teams will be rested. The Bruins have most of their key players back as do we. I'd like to see Poti back in the line-up but that just isn't going to happen tonight.

Here's to Ovie, Kozi, Semin, Green Nylander, Clark and others to light it up tonight. Maybe not all on the scoreboard, (though that would be awesome!) but at least with quality plays for a full 60 minutes.

For me, this has the feeling of a playoff game for some reason. I think we'll face Boston in the playoffs. Tonight could be one heck of a hockey game.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 27, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

2. Who is your front-runner for MVP?
Burnside: Despite Alex Ovechkin's dynamic play and place near the top of the NHL scoring race, I still don't know how you ignore what Malkin is doing in Pittsburgh. He's got a 10-point bulge in the scoring race. And don't give me the "Well, he's got Sidney Crosby" line. Ovechkin has Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green. It doesn't diminish what kind of player Ovechkin is, and having Crosby as a teammate (and sometimes linemate) doesn't diminish Malkin's status. Malkin has rebounded after a grisly Cup finals series against Detroit to prove he is a bona fide superstar.

Hradek: Two words: Alex Ovechkin. He has helped to carry an injury-riddled Capitals team to a double-digit lead in the Southeast. Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara gets my second-place vote.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 27, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

WhyGo, Is that their version of a "fix" for the US Development system's politics and their perennial losing in international play because of their insistence on selecting only players who went through their system and overlooking talented individuals who did not?

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | January 27, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes, to the part about poor international play, but not so much on the other part. It is more about adopting a system (LTAD model) that has shown impressive results in over 100 programs worldwide for more than a decade (Europe, Canada, soccer, swimming, hockey).

The problem has been that the process has been distorted over the years by clubs, coaches, parents and morphed into something that scarily resembles our own federal government.

USA Hockey has taken back the reins of power and demanded change from the current 1:1 game to practice ratio to a 3 or 4:1 ratio, smaller teams (two lines) at the younger ages, ability for late bloomers to 'play down' a year and many, many other "player friendly" ideas. It's almost like a 'players union' for the players. It puts tons of restrictions on clubs and coaches amd forces them to meet benchmarks or risk losing the HPC label.

Really has the youth hockey blogs lit up accross the nation.

Posted by: WhyGo | January 27, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

WhyGo, Sorry,just being sarcastically bitter about Carlson not being selected to the WJC. I don't know much about the US development system, all I know is Canada's. Good to see the league acting on the kids' behalf.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | January 27, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Man, I think I'd even vote for Jeff Carter over Malkin. He's had one heck of a year, also without benefit of another NHL All-Star on his line. And, unlike Malkin's team, the Caps and Flyers would make the playoffs if the season started today.

10-point bulge. He makes it sound like Gretzky's 163 assists in 85-86 (70 more than second place Lemieux).

Malkin's a great player, but he's not leading the MVP race at this point.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 27, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

It's not so much that Canada has a better (or for that matter worse) SYSTEM that the USA, the real difference is that Canada has hundreds of thousands more top athletes that choose hockey as a sport. In the USA, we generally and unscientifically get what is left over after football, baseball and basketball.

With this current plan (as with many plans in history) the problem will likely be not with the plan itself (which seems very solid) it will rather be with the implementation.

As an aside, I am from Florida and used to chuckle at a common bumper sticker "happiness is a hundred thousand Canadians headed north with a New Yorker under each arm"


Posted by: WhyGo | January 27, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

It was a lot more funny when I lived in Florida, gotta be care now!

Posted by: WhyGo | January 27, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Nylander spent a full hour coaching the AAA girls team at Montgomery(where my daughter played) last year. He graciously accepted our Swedish coach' invitation. He was patient and good-natured and quite humble. He acted like he was coaching an Olympic team and not just a club team.

Like some others, I am also buffled by the anti-Nylander attitude in this blog. Hope he isn't reading it. I agree with another blogger about his stats reflecting the lack of playing time. Even so, he has 22 points and is among the top 8 players. He is on par with other good NHL players. Milan Lucic has 26 points; Corey Stillman 22; Saku Koivu 23, etc.

Last year he had 37 points, though he didn't play during the last few weeks due to surgery. He played in dire pain until the very end--that's the kind of team player he is. With his surgery last year and his lack of ice time this year, I don't think we have seen him play at full strength yet. I bet that he will blossom given some more concistent ice time and will definitely come through in crunch times, like the playoffs.

Posted by: caraveli | January 27, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Clark/Nylander are getting a little bit of a bum rap as i see it. neither are playing on a line with the level of talent that they did in the past. if only comparing the cost/production then both look way over paid. i think they still contribute when they are on the ice. just not as much on the scoresheet as i'd like to see

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 27, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Please, leave the payers. family and their activities out of this blog. Criticize players if you want but stating where the kids play should be off limit. They have a right to privacy.

Posted by: atybat | January 27, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

On a better note, in case you don't know what Ovie was leering about at the ASG, here is a link that will clear it up...

Posted by: atybat | January 27, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

i am using my only freebie for one of my easier classes to watch this game. should be a real good one.


Posted by: richmondphil | January 27, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

nyls gets paid to much. that is the bottomline. i love the guy, but its his salary that i think has most of us wanting him gone.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 27, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse


nothing you wrote was out of bounds, IMHO.

quite complimentary.

Posted by: WhyGo | January 27, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse


well done missing class for a caps game, following in my footsteps

Posted by: _stevo | January 27, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

@atybat -

Loved your 2nd post - context is everything!

On the other hand, re the previous post, I wouldn't get too up in arms about the info about Nylander's and Bondra's youth hockey activities, which are pretty common knowledge in Montgomery County anyway. Both have kids who are listed publicly on the rosters on the Team Maryland web site, for example.

Posted by: yosemite_sam | January 27, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

agreed - you could get the same production from lots of people for less than half of what he costs. i just don't think he's getting a fair shake when it comes to his actual play on the ice.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 27, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

So nervous!!!!45 minutes...

Posted by: rachel216 | January 27, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Any links to watch the game online?

Posted by: redskinsux | January 27, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

sorry for the re-post but watching this just gets me pumped up!!! let start the second half with a win

Posted by: skinzfan4 | January 27, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for letting me know what Ovi was looking at. I did quick and dirty translation to get the comments on that page, for what its worth alot of "female dog" comments...

I liked the one on the right, and I think Ovi did too.

New season starts tonight, stretch run, clean slate for guys to prove they deserve to play here.

GO everybody, EVERYONE here wants to trade!!! (WHY? Because we win and maybe you trade dreams come true)


Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | January 27, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: rachel216 | January 27, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

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