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Morning Skate Update

Coach Bruce Boudreau just said he's not sure which, if any, of the injured players will return for tomorrow's game against the Eastern Conference-leading Bruins. But he was pleased to see that they are making progress.

"I'm optimistic that they are looking better - they actually participated in practice today," Boudreau said. "They're all questionable. I'm hoping we'll have two or three back by the weekend. It would be a blessing if any came back earlier."

Here's a rundown on the injuries:


*Tyler Sloan said he's ready to play and is expecting to be in the lineup.

*Mike Green said he's "90-percent" and wants to play. But he's going to see how he feels tomorrow morning before declaring himself ready. So I would say he's questionable to doubtful.

*Alexander Semin came off early and only shrugged his shoulders when I asked him if he was ready. I would say he's questionable/doubtful. But Keith Aucoin appears to have been sent back to Hershey. (The team has not confirmed the move, but he was the only packing up a hockey bag). If he has in fact been demoted, based on today's practice, that would make the second line Fleischmann-Nylander-Semin. That, of course, is assuming Semin is ready. But we probably won't know that until tomorrow.

*Tom Poti practice at full strength for the first time today, but said he's going to wait until tomorrow before deciding whether to suit up.

*Eric Fehr came off after only a few minutes and Boudreau said he doesn't expect him to be ready.

*Alex Ovechkin was taking a "maintenance" day, but will be ready to go tomorrow.

*Sergei Fedorov worked out yesterday, Boudreau said, and reported being sore this morning. So he was held out of practice. He doesn't appear to be all that close.

*John Erskine is up and down but hasn't been on skates in a while.

*Brent Johnson, meantime, is expected to start in goal against the Bruins, a team that has taken some by surprise.

But not Boudreau.

"I didn't think they were going to be middle of the pack," Boudreau said. "Other than that 10-1 game, I thought they were the toughest team in the whole league to play against last year. We knew [Milan] Lucic was getting better. They didn't have [Patrice] Bergeron, but you knew he was coming back. Chara is the best defenseman we play against every year. I really like Thomas as a goalie, I've played against him and coached against him for many years, and he's always been really good."

"And guys like Blake Wheeler we didn't know anything about has been really good. [David] Krejci was an average player, but he's turned out to be a really good player. They've got three really good lines that can score. And they're big and they're tough. So they're tough."

That's some high praise from a coach that is usually careful about dishing it out.

The Bruins, in case you haven't noticed are on a tear - 17-2-1 in their last 20 games to be exact.

*Asked about Lucic, an emerging star and fan favorite, and his penchant for delivering big hits, Boudreau said: "The [Caps] all have the [Center Ice] package. They're in the lounge watching the highlights. Anytime Lucic gets a hit, it's on NESN. He's a guy we have to look out for."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 9, 2008; 12:19 PM ET
 
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Comments

That Lucic guy, the Beast from the East, really bothers me. Would be nice if Brashear would take care of it in the first 10 minutes.

Posted by: CodePoetry | December 9, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

liut

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 9, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Green gets a goal in his FIRST game back.

Posted by: ThisGuy | December 9, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

i lose

Posted by: ThisGuy | December 9, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Copied and Pasted from previous thread:

I totally disagree with Schultz getting blasted. After 21 games his plus/minus was 0, he had 7 assists and only 6 PIMs. He is a stay at home defenseman that does his job. I never noticed him on the ice scrambling around like Erskine or Jurcina which is exactly what you want from your defensive-defensemen, they typically go unnoticed. Kind of like a lineman in football until he gets beaten on a blitz that results in a sack. He broke his hand blocking a shot. IMO with a healty Caps team my top 5 would be Green, Poti, Schultz, Alzer, and Sloan. Numbers 6 and 7 would be tough.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 9, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

IF anyone is interested for the Bruins Game

Section 100 Row Q - $65 Each
Section 111 Row R - $75 Each

Let me know

Posted by: DCSPORTS | December 9, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I hate to be the kind of reader to make corrections, but [Paul] Bergeron made me giggle.

Posted by: _jordan | December 9, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Two things: that's Patrice Bergeron not Paul (unless he's got a brother playing for the Bruins) and how could Bruce have played against Tim Thomas?

Posted by: billieb | December 9, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Injury update:

Green will be in and out of the lineup all year with a slight dislocation.

Semin will not have a good rest of the year (if he plays) because the little man is in his head.

Feds will be out until the end of January.

JT will be one of the worst acquisitions this side of the Mississippi.

Not looking good boys and girls.

But hey let's get all pumped up.

Just calling the shots as I see them (and been right since the beginning). Me knows.

Posted by: windjammersouth | December 9, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Lucic is definetly a pounder... but ask him what happened last year right before the playoffs when he tried to hit Ovie... he found himself on his back looking up at the Gr8 one.

Posted by: GOAT21 | December 9, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Nevermind that you just said Ovie is seriously hurt when he'll be playing tomorrow. Right, stain?

Posted by: _jordan | December 9, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Remember this gem?

----------

told you Ove hurt - dislocation of the shoulder out until Feb.

Posted by: windjammersouth | December 4, 2008 7:43 PM

------------

Yeah, he came back later the same game. Shutty mouth.

Posted by: _jordan | December 9, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

windjammer seems to like to bring doom and gloom is he/she a sorry leftover Philly fan invading our space again like they did during the playoffs last year. There is no way they are a Caps fan.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 9, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Windjammer is the illegitimate offspring of Chief and Someoneelsewhoknows.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 9, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

wind broke the wind

TMF shouldn't be allowed here

Posted by: CodePoetry | December 9, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

lucic has 7 goals and 10 assists and plays hard every game.Dont embarass yourself by comparing brash who fights once a month and goes games without hitting anyone to him.

Posted by: wendel2 | December 9, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Brash needs to fight Chara to get him off the ice for 5 minutes. Should give us enough time to score a few!

Posted by: _jordan | December 9, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I'd put a couple players and picks together and trade for lucic. the bruins must be getting requests everyday. that kid is a blue ribbon. credit where credit is due. he's a poor mans ovechkin; doesn't score like ovie but hits AND fights, and fights well. he'll be liking for Ovechkin on the ice tomorrow, mark my words. That makes me nervous; ovie is on a collision course to an injury; you just can't play like does and not get hurt once in a while. it's all a part of the game.
I'm looking forward to seeing the bruins again. always liked em. I hope the caps show up for them; and ottowa as well.


Posted by: oo7 | December 9, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Windjammer, like Lucic does what he does, very well.

he comes to annoy and create havoc.

ignore it and it will go away. They only reason i can see people responding to his claims is because people are worried he might actually be correct. We all know he isnt and he speaks out of his a$$ so just leave him be and it will end

Posted by: rdy4all2000 | December 9, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Because Brashear taking a lot of penalties against Boston worked out so well in March.

Posted by: Section117 | December 9, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to see Mikey or Sasha back tomorrow night, but I'm not going to get my hopes up quite yet. That said, a W would really help in the confidence department for the younger guys especially, given the fact that Boston is proving itself to be a worthy opponent this year.

As far as the poster known as "windjammer", I see his/her posts daily and they never contain anything of substance so I disregard them. This person is clearly not a student of the sport and isn't deserving of anyone's attention - esp when all he/she has is negative things to say. Don't feed the trolls. If Windjammer wants to make doom & gloom posts, let him/her - but let him/her do it alone, which is how I suspect he/she spends most of his/her time.

Posted by: ShariLeigh131 | December 9, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

No, but it sure did work well when he goaded Chara into the box a couple times and the Caps pounded the Bruins 10-2.

Posted by: _jordan | December 9, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

According to what Tarik wrote

I will be upset to see Green, Poti or Semin out there tomorrow. We cant afford another Federov to have them do more harm then good.

The rest are no go's obviously.

Get Sloan back in..he is the only one with some confidence.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 9, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Call me crazy, but I don't see Tim Thomas getting pulled twice in the game tomorrow night.

Posted by: Section117 | December 9, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Agreed on katzenjammer, ShariLeigh. No feedy trolls, thoguh I admit I've been tempted. He had yet to ever say anything intelligent or insightful, and he probably needs something better to do. Maybe we should go up to the dining room table and do his homework for a change. :)

Posted by: kittypawz | December 9, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Crazy! Crazy crazy!

Posted by: _jordan | December 9, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

oo7: You can find the door and kindly let yourself out too. If you've always liked the Bs please get off of our bandwagon. If you're a Bs fan, that's great, be a Bs fan, but don't hover around our Caps waiting for them to catch fire when the NHLers return (and they will) and then claim to be a Caps fan. Although I am glad the bandwagon fans have come back to pay the salaries I get tired of fair-weather fans. They are the same idiots that yell shoooooooooooooooot at a game when there are 3 players blocking a shot from getting to the net. When I'm in these Caps' threads I am here for the company. Sometimes the doom and gloom in here is just like listening to Joe B be impartial on our Caps broadcast. Darn it, when he's not national he has to be a Caps fan. If you watch other broadcasts it is almost funny how big of a fan the announcers are. Kind of like listening to our old radio broadcast guy Ron Weber. He loved the Caps, and when they lost he hurt and was sad and mad just like the real fan. Steve Kolbe pretty good too. I used to like to listen to the radio broadcast and watch the game. In this day and age there is a delay in live broadcasts. Thanks Janet Jackson.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 9, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

fanohock1

The problem with using +/- is that it doesn't tell the whole story (like a lot of statistics).

Schultz is not physical in front of the net - or anywhere else for that matter. He somehow records "hits", but if you watch him, they're push offs into the boards. He never really hits the opposition.

He is terrible on PK. When scored against on PK, there's no '-' issued, and he's out on PK a lot. One of the main reasons we're sitting in 24th on PK (or that neighborhood). The combo of his inability to move anyone out of his crease and his lack of speed make him easy to get around and between him and the goalie. That's never a good thing.

Before you say it, yes, the goalies are supposed to be the best on PK. They can't do it alone.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 9, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I was talking to Caps PR guru Paul Rovnak when I wrote that. May bad. It's fixed.

Posted by: el_bashir | December 9, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Good points Greg S. I'll focus on his PK play to see if I've been missing something there. Again though, I really don't notice when he's on the ice and for someone that plays like Green that's bad, but for defensman that isn't a goal scorer that's usually a good thing. Maybe I've been watching him play with blinders on, really.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 9, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

i scratch my head sometimes after reading remarks left here. Brash will drop Lucic like a day old sack of potatoes!! seriously people......

Posted by: doughless | December 9, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

If you're in here Tarik. THANK YOU for your coverage. Keeps the guessing out of who will be suiting up when I get to Verizon. I guess there are a lot of us that are candidates for the Jack Adams trophy this year. Or would that be the Sam Adams, or Jack A...oops. Anyhow, thanks again.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 9, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, what do you mean by Erskine being "up and down"?

Posted by: _stevo | December 9, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Hey, don't blame Janet Jackson, blame the FCC and all of their ridiculous censorship. It was an accident and it hasn't happened since. It's not up to them or the "outraged mothers" to determine what I do or do not watch on TV.

Sorry, not hockey related, but that's always bothered me.

(I'm not criticizing you, either, fanohock)

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | December 9, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I was talking to Caps PR guru Paul Rovnak when I wrote that. May bad. It's fixed.

Posted by: el_bashir | December 9, 2008 2:19 PM
-------------------------------------------
Could have been worse. You could have said Michel Bergeron and gone all retro.

Posted by: Section117 | December 9, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

The problem with using +/- is that it doesn't tell the whole story (like a lot of statistics).

Posted by: Greg S. | December 9, 2008 2:14 PM
-------------------------------------------
To rehash an unrelated argument, Corsi seems to help show that Green is the 2nd most valuable defenseman (after Poti) the team has.

Just saying.

http://www.behindthenet.ca/2008/basic_5_on_5.php?sort=9&mingp=&mintoi=&team=WSH&pos=


Posted by: Section117 | December 9, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I strongly doubt that Lucic is going to fight Brashear. That would be stupid. Lucic is a great fighter, but not in the same weight category as Brash.

Montreal had Laraque hound him all game long the last time they played each other (for knocking out Komisarek) and Lucic didn't drop them.

As Julien said Lucic is playing on Boston's first line at the moment. Laraque is a bit part goon who gets less than 5 min a game.

I watched Boston play Tampa last night. They completely dismantled them for the first half of the game, but then Tampa came back hard and made it a game. Thomas let in 3, but unlike Theo was excellent coming up with at least 4-5 saves of the "you've got to be kidding" variety.

BTW, that made me think once again that we blame our D too much. Boston has very good D... I'm sure everyone would agree, but they still make mistakes and give up great scoring chances. The difference is that they have the goaltending to bail them out every night. Hence the very impressive winning streak. FFSEnough was trying to prove to me that goalie stats are greatly affected by how the D plays. That is absolutely true, but it works both ways. D stats are also greatly affected by how the goalies play. Even though the Bruins play good D Thomas and Fernandez still have to come up with 4-5, sometimes more huge saves in every game (this is the NHL and no D can be perfect against great forwards).

Posted by: ranndino | December 9, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Pretty sad that the Caps have to worry about Lucic. If we had a bigger rougher defense who could handle bigger forwards we wouldn't be so keyed into one player

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 9, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1, I'm sure other teams said that about the Caps and Ovechkin pre-Semin's "breakout", albeit for a slightly different reason.
Lucic doesn't outweigh Ovie, he's got 2 inches of height on him. His point production isn't nearly as high, but he's still an offensive threat. He hits bigger, but Ovie's broken the glass before. I think Lucic is sharp, big, and knows how to use his size (pay attention Jeff Schultz!). I don't think you "key" in on him. You play as smart as he does and try to keep your head up if you're on the ice with him. Like playing against Ovie. (I realize its not a straight apples-to-apples comparison from Ovie to Lucic, but use your imagination a tiny bit)

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 9, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Let's keep our eye on Lucic. He's the one, IIRC, who put Pothier out of action last year. :-(

He's a good player, and a good guy, but that doesn't stop him from hurting people, and we can't afford any more injuries right now!

Posted by: irockthered | December 9, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

You don't need Center Ice to remember what he did to Pothier. I still maintain he got an elbow up there.

Posted by: Whitermage | December 9, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm not worried about Lucic...we will have Mike "cough -up -the-puck" Green back!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 9, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Anyone have extra tix to Friday's game against the Sens? I'm looking for 2 or 4 together.

Posted by: luvfades | December 9, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

can someone tell me the deal with Pothier? will he ever get healthy? he been out so long ,over a year now, is he taking a roster spot? and please, don't tell me about theodore being number 1. that is garbage. you play your way in and out and right now he is playing his way out. and for those of you who think we need more offense to battle three=or-mores bad habits, if you cannot win a 1-0 or 2-1 game then you can forget about drinking from the cup.

Posted by: ergoroc | December 9, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

The most frustrating thing about Theodore is that he at one point was obviously very good. So you kind of have to wonder where it went. Was it just luck? Can a goaltender win the Vezina with just luck? I know he had a ton of off-ice drama to deal with, which I thought was the cause of his drop in play, but perhaps not?

Posted by: luvfades | December 9, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

theodore has been inconsistent for i think 4 years now. gmgm knew he would be a gamble, and unfortunately, it's one that hasn't turned out so well for us. he won a vezina and he had a good career, but in my opinion, with the exception of a great game here and there, it seems like he's burnt out. i'm really excited to finally see the talent johnny's been apparently (who knew?!) harboring all these years

Posted by: jess4caps | December 9, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Glad to hear that some of the boys are FINALLY getting better - hopefully they will be back to full strength just in time for me to get home and go to a game!! :-D

mauree (from a previous thread):
I'm a Caps fan even when I am on vacation!! ;-)

fanohock1:
Little surprised to read your post to oo7. He has been posting here for a long time and has proven himself to be a real Caps fan. I didn't "hear" him say that he wants the Bruins to win, and I would guess that everyone here has another team or two that they like (and probably pull for when the Caps are not playing). So cut him some slack, already! :-)

Posted by: HeyBooBoo | December 9, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

re goalies: The only good news about us getting Theodore right now is that we could be Chicago with Huet for a 50% higer contract and they are having the same complaints about him. I'm with others who feel way more comfortable with Johnie in net and have since the first few games.

re defense: We have had so many d, 11 I think, right? Who does everyone thing the top 6 will be when everyone healthy (exclude Pothier for now)

Can someone put up one of those "Vote for top 6 d men" polls? I don't know how :-(

Posted by: CapsRockTheRed | December 9, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Jim (from the previous):
Did I read that correctly - do you really want Huet back?

Posted by: HeyBooBoo | December 9, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

CapsRockTheRed:
That's a trick question - before or after we can trade/drop any of them?

Posted by: HeyBooBoo | December 9, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

i think he was just comparing chicago's situation with huet to our situation with theodore- both whose contracts are worth more than their 2008-2009 performances

Posted by: jess4caps | December 9, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm not worried about Lucic...we will have Mike "cough -up -the-puck" Green back!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 9, 2008 3:57 PM
-------------------------------------------
Yeah, he should not be playing at all.

Posted by: Section117 | December 9, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

When we were doing all the talks this summer about resigning people and so forth, I'd always thought that the reason they didn't want to sign Huet to a four-year deal was because they have up-and-coming goalies in Hershey who will be ready in a couple of years. Current events, the signing choices, are really bearing that idea out. JT60 is nothing more or less than a placeholder until Varlamov is ready. That's it. If we can keep Johnny based on his play, sign him to say a two-year extension, that gives Varlamov a year as part of a goalie tandem with a more experienced goalie before he takes the reins as #1 goalie.

I think just about everyone is disappointed in Theodore, and it's hard to claim after the Carolina game that he is performing anywhere close to expectations, but ... Huet didn't play ball, so we got the next best thing we could.

@ergoroc: Maybe, but we're stuck with JT60 for the moment, I don't think anyone will take him in trade to be blunt with you. Not much we can do about that, so we do what we can. :)

Posted by: kittypawz | December 9, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

luvfades, The lockout seems to be the start of his "slide", but the year after his Vezina win wasn't anything to write home about either. The year after the lockout, he was MTL's #1 (until he got traded). With the exception of last season, his GAA has been over 3 since the lockout. His Vezina year he had a .931 and a 2.11 GAA. Last season he had a .910 and a 2.44, his best since the lockout. On the bright side, his SV% in the playoffs is over .900. His GAA is still over 3 though, so eh. I guess its up to our offense to make sure we've got a four-spot if he's going to let in 3.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 9, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

jmu:
Have you been hanging out with Sombrero again? ;-)

Jess:
I must have misread - thought Jim wanted to do a package trade that included Huet. Hope not - he's not playing any better than Theo and I think he burneed a bridge, ta boot ...

Posted by: HeyBooBoo | December 9, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

enough with the whining about goalies. there are plenty of other Caps players that have had shortcomings this season. let it rest!! the fixation on JT is a little annoying.

Posted by: doughless | December 9, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

(for those of you who are paying attention, burneed ala dungeen ... ;-))

Posted by: HeyBooBoo | December 9, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

doughless:
good luck with that ... ;-)

Posted by: HeyBooBoo | December 9, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Nope, don't like. Try again Boo

Posted by: Leeguru | December 9, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Leeguru:
Huh?

Posted by: HeyBooBoo | December 9, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Boo!, nope! Just glad I can study something not finals-related for the first time in weeks.

Oh, and Johnny was a #1 at one point. 01-02 with the Blues. Johnny's numbers have always been solid. Not sure about the 03-04 season. He got traded and that seems to be the start of his "backup" title. Although he was injured in the beginning of the 02-03 season and the Blues brought in Osgood, which might have been part of it. But he finished the season as their starter so, once again, who knows? I'm with a lot of fans in the Johnny camp, but I know that we paid that much money for JT and we're going to try to get as much out of him for it as we can.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 9, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

JMU:
Thanks for the clarification - now can you please tell me what Leeguru is talking about? ;-)

Posted by: HeyBooBoo | December 9, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

all that really matters is a W and 2 more points. everything else just blog fodder.

Posted by: doughless | December 9, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

doughless:
True, but can we get there with Theo? (Sorry - could not resist!! ;-))

Leeguru:
Ah, you don't like the new screen name. I've been using it for three days - where have you been?!? Well, Boo! is not an option and mauree did not like Boo- ... any other suggestions? (Here we go again!! ;-))

Posted by: HeyBooBoo | December 9, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

3 days? I should read more and stop scanning.

Posted by: Leeguru | December 9, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Got that right! :-)

Man, tough crowd ... ;-)

Posted by: HeyBooBoo | December 9, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I think the goalies all just needed a little momentum--just more consecutive starts so that they can get a rhythm going...whether that be Johnson or Theodore (I haven't written him off just yet).

I think Theo's real problem is he's just too pretty for hockey!

Posted by: luvfades | December 9, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Leeguru:
Actually, I think it has been FOUR days!! Anyway, back to the Caps ... care to weigh in on the goalie situation, just to make doughless crazy? ;-) And when are you going to a game? Is mauree joining Steve again anytime soon?

Posted by: HeyBooBoo | December 9, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else think Ovie should sit a few games out, just to heal up a bit? Yeah, he's a big part of this Caps' team, but is it really worth the risk for him to acquire an even more severe injury, that may put him out for a long period of time?

...Just a thought

Posted by: elicea | December 9, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I went to the Islander's game thursday. Saw Super. Had a beer. Team won. Very happy.

Goalie situation? We are stuck with Joe-Say until 2010 when Varlamov comes up. All we need is the defense to keep the shot count below 1 and we will be fine

Posted by: Leeguru | December 9, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I wish that Erskine was available for tomorrows game. I would LOVE to see him pound Lucic again :). If you dont remember it, youtube it. Its the proudest Ive ever been of Erskie!

In regards to the actual game, the Caps are going to have to play with playoff-like emotion to win. If they come out without anything resembling the energy they displayed in the Florida debacle (or even the Carolina game), they will get destroyed. With that said, Caps 4- Bruins 3!

Posted by: thegr8one | December 9, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else think Ovie should sit a few games out, just to heal up a bit? Yeah, he's a big part of this Caps' team, but is it really worth the risk for him to acquire an even more severe injury, that may put him out for a long period of time?

...Just a thought

Posted by: elicea | December 9, 2008 5:20 PM

If Ovie sits before the injured players come back (Semin in particular), we lose. I think that Ovie and BB are trying to hold the fort as best as possible until we are healthier, and then they'll think about sitting Ovie down if he is not better by then.

Posted by: thegr8one | December 9, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

@ CapsRockTheRed

Green/Mo (he is getting a bad rap in here)
Poti/Alzner
Sloan/Schultz (see comment above)
Erskine is your extra dman

Sloan is a fit. We will have to trade some offense to make this work. I still say trade Nylander and Jurcina for a top 4 dman and send Sloan back down. What I have above will work for the season, but another top dman is necessary for the playoffs.

I think there is a deal done for Nyls, but they had to put it off until the injury bug is over.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | December 9, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I agree with thegr8one. OV knows he needs to sit, but not while the team is so depleted. As long as they all come back by the end of the month, he has some time in January to rest. Then come back for the final push

Posted by: Leeguru | December 9, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

amen on more D!!!!

Posted by: doughless | December 9, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Alright, it's probably just me being too paranoid...

Posted by: elicea | December 9, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I think Sloan may have to go through waivers if he is sent down (i can has cap experts pls?) If so, no way do we send him down, because I would NOT want to chance losing him to waivers, and you know some team would grab a solid, young S@H Dman on the cheap in a heartbeat.

So, I figure it this way -

Green/Mo
Poti/Sloan
Alzner/???

Erskine and Jurcina rotate the pine.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 9, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations Caps, you now have a competitive regular season team.
Maybe after the next "retool" they will become a legitimate post season contender.

An injury free team can't contend in the the post season, defense and goaltending still suck.

Yeah yeah, some people out there saying "anything can happen in the post season", just remember that does not apply in the Finals, see 97 & 98 Canes & Caps.
Keep rockin red

Posted by: Cheef | December 9, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I meant Flyers in 97

Posted by: Cheef | December 9, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Cheef,

You make a point, but no team can carry 9 players being hurt like this. In the playoffs especially. ANd it's not like 4th liners have gone down hurt.

Posted by: Leeguru | December 9, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

My point is this:

After so much failure, all they have to show (even 100% healthy) is an offensive force designed well for regular season hockey.

Make no mistake, with the current (I mean 100% healthy) defense and goaltending, this team cannot compete for a Stanley Cup with a realistic expectation of winning.

Until a proper front office is in place to construct a winner, it's all show, just like a New car. hehe.

Posted by: Cheef | December 9, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

kittypawz, Sloan had to go through waivers during preseason cuts, so I'm assuming he'd have to do it again. I'm for keeping Sloan, too. He's been working his butt off, and if you don't hear much about him, its probably a good thing.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 9, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Lucic has no reason to engage Brashear. He's a better player in all aspects so he needs to spend more time on the ice and less time fighting goons. If Brashear wants to fight I'm sure Chara and ST will give him a shot.


>
yesssir!

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 9, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

for those who might mistakenly think cheef knows what he's talking about, heres an article on the caps prospects. of course, they drafted themselves.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/teams/story/?id=258847&hubname=nhl-capitals&lid=sublink02&lpos=headlines_nhl-capitals

here's another summary from pierre labrun who writes for espn.com and used to be the canadian press hockey writes and appears on CBC's hockey night in canada..

My take: You know, it's funny, a couple of years ago after the Jaromir Jagr fiasco, I was beginning to wonder if McPhee was going to work out. But did he ever prove us wrong. Once he got the green light from owner Ted Leonsis to properly take down and build up the Caps the old-fashioned way through draft picks and youth, you now see what kind of hockey acumen McPhee has. Everyone looks at Ovechkin and Semin, but the Caps are stacked up and down throughout the organization with youth and skill. I'm not sold on their goaltending right now, but otherwise, this is a team that's in great shape for years to come.

but hey, why listen to the experts when you can read the inane dronings of some frustrated keyboard gm after every loss.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 9, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

we could be in trouble tommorrow against Boston. They are cruising and we are bruising. If we can get someone back on the blueline but then again, that's been the problem all year. it's time for leadership at the blueline. As for theordore, he was a vezina winner before they changed the pad size. look it up. it'll be johnson down the stretch, you can't chance it right now by playing him back to back, so we are stuck with three-or-more until the organization decides to bring the kid from hershey in

Posted by: ergoroc | December 9, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

You ask Semin if he's going to play and he
gives you the cold shoulder.. thats the best u can get ....Semin Go back to where ever u came from ...whats the big secret!!! play or go home or at least tell us...upper body injury #@*&%@...Like i said get the next flighthome and let a kid in who will play!!

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | December 9, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

in case anyone is interested, I went to see if the Boston Globe has a blog like this and didn't see anything related to the upcoming game, but here are some team comparison stats:

http://boston.stats.com/nhl/head2head.asp?gamecode=2008121023&home=23&vis=1

Posted by: caps28fan | December 9, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Injury report:

Clinton Portis skated today and is looking forward to playing tomorrow.

Greeny plays a max of 5 games before he sits for another month due to re-separation of the shoulder of his.

You heard it hear first - separation of the shoulder and hockey defenseman are like oil and water. It sucks but we are going to have to deal with it.

Posted by: windjammersouth | December 9, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Semin back on the ir list due to recurrence of injury due to shoulder shrugging.

Posted by: windjammersouth | December 9, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

cheef-
are you really a caps fan? maybe i'm just confused, but it sounds like you're really not, and this thread is meant to be an outlet for caps supporters. i'm not sure if you watched the last portion of last season and the first round of the playoffs, but i believe that if there's one thing the capitals franchise has taught hockey fans, it's that they can beat the odds. the capitals are a hardworking and deserving team, and i think that maybe you need to reevaluate the team you're dismissing. if the other nhl teams out there are underestimating this team the way you are, they're in for a rude awakening this april

Posted by: jess4caps | December 9, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

@Boo

You're blaming me for the screen-name???
Maybe I have to get used to it but I too preferred Boo- :D

How about -Boo- ?


Posted by: mauree | December 9, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Semin Go back to where ever u came from ...whats the big secret!!! play or go home or at least tell us...upper body injury #@*&%@...Like i said get the next flighthome and let a kid in who will play!!

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | December 9, 2008 8:42 PM
-------------------------------------------
Yeah, you're an idiot.

Posted by: Section117 | December 9, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

windjammer, that last comment was actually funny.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 9, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Well windjammer lets let Semin actions descide who the Idiot is! The Caps for paying him to sit out or you for being his fan!....But all i know is the guy has not ever played a complete season..why would he when he can sit and still get payed.

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | December 9, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Cheef, why are you so hateful towards GMGM? Seriously, this is sounding beyond the Caps or hockey. Did he sleep with your wife or something? Did he fire you at some point? All of us here are aware of your personnal negative comments towards him. He must've screwed your wife.

Posted by: Andoy | December 9, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Cheef, Wind and 1907

If it wasn't for dumb f%$@s like you, we wouldn't have anything to talk about between games. Keep up the good work! Even though you are wrong at every turn, you continue with arrogant, pompous remarks that have no real connection with reality.

But hey! We need to be entertained! At least this way we don't have to pay for being entertained by the court jesters.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | December 9, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

From TSN.Com....Look who is DEAD WOOD NOW........The rivalry between Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and Washington Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin went up another notch on Friday, with Ovechkin's teammate Alexander Semin offering some harsh words on Sid The Kid.

In an interview with Yahoo! Sports on Friday, the Russian winger said he didn't know what all the fuss was around No. 87.

"What's so special about (Crosby)?" Semin told Yahoo! Sports through a translator. "I don't see anything special there. Yes, he does skate well, has a good head, good pass. But there's nothing else. Even if you compare him to Patrick Kane from Chicago.(Kane) is a much more interesting player. The way he moves, his deking abilities, his thinking on the ice and his anticipation of the play is so superb."

Semin also criticized the way stars like Crosby are promoted, saying there's too much focus on stats and not enough emphasis on skill.

"I think that if you take any player, even if he is "dead wood," and start promoting him, you'll get a star," he told Yahoo! Sports. "Especially if he scores 100 points. No one is going to care about anyone else. No one is going to care whether he possesses great skill. Let's say you put someone in front of the net and let him deflect pucks in, and he scored 50 goals; everyone will say "Wow!" and then hand him a $10 million per year contract. That's what they like here."

With eight goals and 16 points through nine games, Semin leads the Capitals in scoring and is tied with Malkin for the league lead.

Crosby has three goals and 13 points in 11 games, but was forced to leave the third period of the Penguins' 4-1 loss to Phoenix on Thursday with what is believed to be a sore hip. Ovechkin, who is in Russia visiting his ailing grandfather, has two goals and five points in eight games.


Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | December 9, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

oo7: You can find the door and kindly let yourself out too. If you've always liked the Bs please get off of our bandwagon.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 9, 2008 2:04 PM

WHy you smug dolt. I can only like my hometown team? I can't appreciate other players? Thats moronic. You, my dimwitted friend, are barking up the wrong tree. I've been reading and posting on this blog since Tarik started it, and you have the gall to call me a band wagoner, newbie? You think because you started posting here a lot only recently that you're the die-hard numero uno cap fan? WHere have you been the last few years? Just reading the posts? Fancy yourself the Insider bouncer now? Maybe you should focus on editing down your posts so we don't have to keep reading epics, oh Master of the Obvious.

Thats the problem with this blog these days, a lot of new people are showing up and acting high and mighty, along with a bunch of teenagers and kids that dont know jack about hockey but what to weigh in and run their mouths anyway.

Posted by: oo7 | December 9, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

So lets put Semin in front of the net have him Shrugg his shoulders to deflect pucks in the net and pay him 10 million

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | December 9, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

this is absurd

it's great that some of you have been here commenting forever, but some of us "newbies" aren't here to act high and mighty, but to learn more.
personally, i'm here because i love talking hockey and, as a relatively new fan (3 years), it's nice to get back-up on my opinions to make sure that i am, in fact, seeing game plays correctly and not making mistakes in my understanding of the game. however, seeing posts like these is really disappointing. we're here to support a team and discuss players, but really, putting each other down just pisses people off and accomplishes nothing. unless hating on each other is going to earn the caps a stanley cup (pretty doubtful, i think), can we stop with the high school insults? there's a reason caps fans don't have a rep as being rude fans, let's keep it that way

Posted by: jess4caps | December 9, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

I have no problem with the people trying to learn more, I have a problem with the idiots that just spout off.

Posted by: oo7 | December 9, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

jess you might want to check out the "lawn bowling blog"

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | December 9, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

^
case in point.

Posted by: oo7 | December 9, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Cap space is another mess the Caps GM has "managed" to create.

Now the Caps have a great offense, No Solid D, No Goaltending worthy of building around and are at the CAP.

Wow, how proud everyone should be for their GM, the same GM that "managed" to retain a job by LOSING.
Classy, real classy.

Posted by: Cheef | December 10, 2008 12:34 AM | Report abuse

woah woah woah people, calm down, other than chief and the sort, we are all caps fans, no need to get up in everyone's grill... Lets look forward to a pounding of the Bruins tonight... No Brash... hold for just a second, we don't need that happening again. LET'S GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: SZALACH7 | December 10, 2008 12:51 AM | Report abuse

I've been a Capitals fan since 1982, so I've been around for all the heartbreak and failure that dogged this franchise over the years.

I'm really enthused about this team. The boys are still in first place, despite the avalanche of injuries. I think the playoff loss to Philly last season will turn out to be a good thing. We have a young team, and it was a learning experience that will pay dividends.

If the Caps get just average play from the goalies, there's a shot at the Cup. I can't believe I'm writing that, and I can't believe what a scoring machine this team is. I grew up on the Caps who would check you out of the rink while struggling to light the lamp.

Of the Washington franchises, the Caps are suddenly the best. Hard to believe. They've drafted well and picked up the right guys along the way. Of course, Ovie is a once-in-a-generation player.

Like a lot of old-time Caps fans, I'm fond of this group. It's not going to be easy, but I think the best is yet to come for Washington.

Posted by: gaspeny | December 10, 2008 3:42 AM | Report abuse

Uh oh, time for another group hug! Sombrero - dont't you wear the unofficial moderator "A" when I am on vacation?!? ;-)

Why does Sloan have to clear waivers? Has he played that many NHL games? Or is it due to age alone?

I agree that Ovie won't sit until more of the guys come back unless he is REALLY hurt. He may not practice much, but he won't sit any games.

gaspeny:
I agree. Besides, they are much better prepared for the post-season this year. As disappointing as the Flyers series was last season, they had to get that under their belts to learn how to play in the playoffs. They'll do better next time.

mauree:
Blame is such a strong word ... ;-) But I like your suggestion - I will get it a shot (assuming that Leeguru approves ;-)). Probably won't deal with it until after vacation, but will do so eventually.

Leeguru:
So you went to a game while I was away - avoiding the bow down, huh? ;-)

Posted by: HeyBooBoo | December 10, 2008 4:07 AM | Report abuse

From the Caps:

Fighting On

The Capitals face three opponents this week, all from the Northeast Division. The Caps are 2-1-1 this season against the Northeast.

The Caps have recalled nine players from Hershey in the last two weeks and they have been performing admirably. A Hershey call-up has scored nine of the 19 goals that the Caps have scored since Thanksgiving. Washington has used 31 players this year, which ranks tied for the highest in the league with three other Southeast Division teams.

While the Capitals roster has seen many changes during the past couple weeks, one thing that has remained constant is the play of Alex Ovechkin. In the last seven games he has recorded 10 points (5g-5a) to lead the team. Linemate Nicklas Backstrom has also been on a hot streak, scoring a goal in three of the last four games.

Posted by: HeyBooBoo | December 10, 2008 4:11 AM | Report abuse

@oo7: The correct response to new people out of line is: "Please Lurk More"

Overall I am not worried. The fact the caps have been able to win games while depleted at this level is a testament to their depth. If the month of december is the seasons low point I can't complain, we could be at the bottom of the leauge now.

What frustrates me though is how strange they have been playing. Games are 1-4 AM for me when on east coast. Sometimes I watch the first period and go to bed thinking the caps have it in the bag...only to wake up to a loss. Others I think we are down and out and wake up to a win.

Posted by: trunkenmath | December 10, 2008 4:31 AM | Report abuse

comcastsportsnet.tv has a poll:

which caps goalie should get more playing time?

johnny 68%
jose 32%

Posted by: HeyBooBoo | December 10, 2008 5:23 AM | Report abuse

@Boo

regarding the name, send me e-mail:

ungaro@jlab.org

Posted by: mauree | December 10, 2008 5:29 AM | Report abuse

@Boo

4:07 am... are you waking up or going to sleep? Hehe sorry sorry, I'm too curious :D

@trunkenmath and @JSchon (who I know makes similar arguments)

I don't know guys... not trying to be pessimistic but if we lose tonight, which frankly is not impossible, we go 3-7 the last 10 games. Which is a bottom-of-the-conference record. I think our attitude against weaker teams is dooming us - we can be stronger than that.


Posted by: mauree | December 10, 2008 5:58 AM | Report abuse

@ergoroc - Pothier is suffering from what is called "post-concussion syndrome." You can read more about this here. PCS can cause a number of physical symptoms, any one of which would make Pothier a danger to himself on the ice. Dizziness comes to mind, as does headache, nausea, etc. It can also cause cognitive and behavioral problems.

My personal take on Pothier is that he should retire. He's taken a large number (I believe six or more) of major concussions in his career, and he has small children. The risk of severe behavioral problems if he gets hit in the head again is very high, and Chris Benoit was a prime example of what PCS-related behavioral problems can cause. I don't think anyone wants to risk that.

There is no cure for PCS; you can only treat the symptoms, but Pothier is dangerously close to permanent brain-scramble, and by all counts, is nowhere near ready to return to the ice.

On the bright side, his salary does NOT count against the cap, because he is on long-term injured reserve.

Posted by: irockthered | December 10, 2008 7:31 AM | Report abuse

@StanleyCup1907 - Semin's English is not good enough for him to give a good response, and if I were him, I'd be getting sick of being asked every 5 minutes, too!

The last comment I saw from him in translation was basically that he was not coming back until he was 100%. He got bit hard by injury last year and tried to come back early, and it got him more missed ice time. That, and he's learned from Fedorov's mistake this year. Semin has turned, by all accounts, into a much more mature hockey player this year. He is a serious scoring threat when healthy, and we cannot afford to lose him later in the season. We need to have him 100% before he comes back, so he doesn't reinjure himself and make himself lose more game time.

Posted by: irockthered | December 10, 2008 7:35 AM | Report abuse

@mauree

We lose tonight we'll be 4-6 in the last 10.

If we win tonight we're 5-5. And this is all with a west coast swing and the Hershey Bears on D. We will still be in first place.

And your reason for concern is again?

Posted by: SA-Town | December 10, 2008 7:39 AM | Report abuse

From Corey in the Times, an excellent article on Pothier's rehab efforts.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/dec/10/the-long-road-back/

Posted by: Section117 | December 10, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town

not really concerned... I'm just wishing we win them all :D

Really, I don't blame some recent losses all to injuries, but also to lack of will to pay the price to win. When I watch other teams (like S.Jose, Anaheim, Boston) I notice that we have more talent than them, but they win more than us, cause they play every game with determination to win.

Come on admit it... with all our talent, even when healthy, we "relax" a bit when we win enough, or when opposed to a weaker team. No?

On the other hand I like the Caps system, when they're all playing together as a team they're unstoppable and a treat to watch.

I'm sorry if my opinion bothers you or other more "optimistic" bloggers here. I'm not less of a fan, nor I cherish less the team when we score, or win :) but if I think something is wrong... well, isn't that what bloggin is all about? ;-)

Posted by: mauree | December 10, 2008 7:56 AM | Report abuse

And yes sorry, we'd still be 4-6 in the last 10, but 4-7 in the last 11. Which is still bad.

Oh well... no matter what it's going to be one hell of a game. I wish Ovie beat the hell out of Chara and scores another hat trick :D

Posted by: mauree | December 10, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

@Section117 - Thanks for posting that article; it was really good! :)

Posted by: irockthered | December 10, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Irockthered

Funny, Semin, with his terrible English, sits next to Green at every game and chats away with him. They sit and talk the whole game. I wonder, do you think Green's Russian is really that good? For those who don't know, our guys come to the games and occupy an empty luxury box, sit there texting, drinking water, and occasionally watching the game.

Posted by: majiksea | December 10, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

@majiksea

I hate you. I'm 5% more cynic now. Have to watch some baby "awww" AFV to balance it.

Posted by: mauree | December 10, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Since people have a hard time putting things into perspective around here, I've done some here for you...

Lets play this game... We'll use 6 players (2nd leading scoring wing, 2nd line C, top 2 defensemen, 4th defensemen, 2nd RW)
Where would these teams be without...

NJD
Patrick Elias (Semin)
Danuis Zubrus (Fedorov)
Paul Martin (Green)
Johnny Oduya (Poti)
Colin White (Schultz)
Jamie Langenbrunner (Clark)

NYI
Trent Hunter
Andy Hilbert
Mark Streit
Andy Sutton
Chris Campoli
Richard Park

NYR
Markus Naslund
Brandon Dubinsky
Mike Rosival
Dan Giraldi
Paul Mara
Ryan Callahan

PHI
Mike Richards
Jeff Carter
Braydon Coburn
Kimmo Timonen
Luca Sbisa
Joffrey Lupol

PIT
Sidney Crosby
Jordan Staal
Kris Letang
Alex Goligoski
Rob Scuderi
Peter Sykora

BOS
Phil Kessel
David Krecji
Dennis Wideman
Zdeno Chara
Andrew Ferrence
Blake Wheeler

BUF
Derek Roy
Jason Pomenville
Jaroslav Spacek
Andrej Sekera
Teppo Nummenin
Drew Stafford

MON
Saku Koivu
Robert Lang
Andrei Markov
Roman Hamrlik
Francis Bouillon
Guillaume Latendresse

OTT
Daniel Alfredsson
Mike Fisher
Filip Kuba
Alexandre Picard
Chris Phillips
Jaarko Ruutu

TOR
Nik Antropov
Alexei Ponikorovsky
Tomas Kaberle
Pavel Kubina
Ian White
Mikhial Grabovski

ATL
Slava Kozlov
Todd White
Ron Hainsey
Mathieu Schneider
Nathan Oystrick
Colby Armstrong

CAR
Rob Brind'amour
Eric Staal
Joni Pitkanen
Dennis Sedinberg
Tim Gleason
Chad Larose

FLA
David Booth
Greg Campbell
Jay Bouwmeester
Keith Ballard
Nic Boynton
Radek Dvorak

TBL
Martin St Louis
Steven Stamkos
Paul Ranger
Andrej Meszaros
Lucas Krajicek
Jussi Jokinen

I'll stop with just the Eastern Conference. But also add to the mix, not only the is the last name on each list suppose to an injured Clark, also take away their points to represent an ineffective Clark as well. Add to to all list below par goaltending. Add to that the 3rd line C (Nylander) who is underacheiving, or the 2nd highest paid forward on each team, if you prefer.


Posted by: JSchon | December 10, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

*reads* Ohfer...

StanleyCup1907: Injuries happen, dude. Doesn't make the remark less true. One might almost think it was you guys that wished the rash of injuries on us for that remark, and if it was, that's not a good thing to go advertising. What goes around comes around. Just sayin'....

Jschon: I think we get par goaltending when Johnny's in the net. Isn't Johnson right in the middle of the goaltending pack stats-wise? It's Theodore we have to worry about. :(

Now, people can call me not a fan too for saying that I think mauree has a point about an attitude problem on the "easy" games. We don't come out to win every single night. We don't have that killer instinct. Maybe we will later in the season. I'm hoping to see it - if we came out to win every single night and with the goal of humiliating every opponent, we'd tear the conference apart. I firmly believe that.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 10, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Also, new thread....

Posted by: kittypawz | December 10, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Thanks section117 for posting that link about Pothier. I really hope he can make it back to some semblance of a normal life, whether that includes lacing up the skates or not. Good luck and keep working hard Brian.

Posted by: _Mark | December 10, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

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