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Caps crush Devils, 7-2

10094882H22252953.jpegJacquelyn Martin/AP

All the passion and effort that was missing from Friday's performance was present tonight, and not surprisingly, the result reflected it. The Caps chased Martin Brodeur from the net and crushed the Devils in a penalty-filled, 7-2 victory on opening night on F Street.

Check out my story here, Tracee Hamilton's column here and then come on back for some notes and quotes:

*The big story tonight was the way the game ended. From my gamer:

With Brian Rolston and Anton Volchenkov in the dressing room with injuries, the rough stuff began with stars Mike Green and Ilya Kovalchuk squaring off at center ice. Two fights later, Devils enforcer Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond chased down center Marcus Johansson, looking to lure the rookie into a fight. Leblond earned penalties for instigating, slashing, fighting and a game misconduct. Because the infractions occurred in the final five minutes of the game, Coach John MacLean earns a $10,000 fine and Leblond is subject to an automatic one game suspension.
"He asked me at the faceoff if I wanted to go, and I said, 'No,'" Johansson said of Leblond. "I'm happy the guys stood up for me."
Asked what he was yelling at MacLean between the benches, Boudreau said: "I was just saying, 'What are you doing?' Under five minutes, that's an expensive venture. We're the least fighting major team in the league and we didn't have [enforcer] D.J. King in the lineup. We accepted the challenges because we're a group that accepts challenges."

*If Brian Roslton (lower body), Anton Volchenkov (broken nose) and Leblond are all out on Monday vs. Pittsburgh, the Devils could be trouble. They brought only 20 players to Washington because of salary cap issues.

*In case you're wondering, the teams meet again on Nov. 22 in Newark. (Here's my bet: there will be a lot of hype leading up to the game, then nothing will happen.)

*After a relatively quiet night Friday, the real Alex Ovechkin showed up tonight. Two goals and an assist in 19 minutes 17 seconds of ice time. His penalty-shot goal was his second in seven opportunities (Mike Gartner and Peter Bondra are tied for second with three career attempts each.)

"I didn't know what he was doing," Coach Bruce Boudreau said when asked about Ovechkin going way wide at the start of the penalty shot. "He surprises me. I'm glad it went in because 5-2 going into the third is a whole lot nicer than 4-2."

*From the Caps: The seven goals matched the most scored at any home opener. The other time was an 8-7 loss to the Islanders in 1983.

*Tomas Fleischmann had a goal and an assist. But he won only 45 percent of his draws (nine of 20).

*Marcus Johansson had a brutal giveaway in the first period that led directly to the Devils' first goal. But the rookie rebounded nicely, generated a few scoring chances and won 7 of his 11 draws -- a huge improvement over Friday. I'll have more on him in Monday's paper.

*The Caps are off tomorrow.

By Tarik El-Bashir  | October 9, 2010; 11:44 PM ET
Categories:  New Jersey Devils  
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Next: Video: Caps fans enjoy a home-opening victory

Comments

I am so sad I missed this game. Kovy v Green is one of the most absurd fights I can think of. Seeing the box score and hearing the stories makes this sound like one of the craziest games ever.

Posted by: trunkenmath | October 10, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Was at the game-it was wild at the end. After the last of 4 fights, while waiting for the refs to penalize the crap out of LeBlond, the crowd all sang together "Why Can't we be Friends" while the sonjg was played over the PA system. It added a humerous twist to the fights, with a little bit of fan snarkyness

Posted by: AADCDERM | October 10, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

The shenanigans should have ended after the 3rd fight. That would have been a much better note with both teams having their "say" and nothing negative. But lo and behold PL3 had to take it too far and completely tarnish any dignity NJ had left.

I'm proud of Carlson though, he jumped right in there and probably would have earned first star if Ovie didn't get an assist on Fehr's goal. Even our softest non-fighting line has people willing to step up.

Posted by: dimagus | October 10, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Come back Tarik!!

Posted by: Hatfield223 | October 10, 2010 1:21 AM | Report abuse

COME BACK TARIK! EVEN AS A PENS FAN, I PREFER YOU BEING THE CAPS INSIDER RATHER THAN KATIE, A FELLOW PENS FAN... THE CONTENT IS JUST NOT UP TO PAR WITH YOU GONE!

Posted by: BigGameSid | October 10, 2010 1:34 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what Green or Kovalchuk were thinking. A 7-2 game, late in third period, two superstars risking injury. If I were BB, I would be telling Green that is just crazy. Remember last year when Bradley jumped in to spare OV having to fight and risk injury? Green should have been thinking about that. I don't care how much bad blood there may have been. One awful result is that Green wins the fight and breaks his hand. And that is only one injury scenario. Also, why does the league authorize the refs to allow two players to square off, take off their helmets, and duke it out? I guess they think it brings fans. I am a hockey purist. I think fighting taints the beauty and grace of the game. Shame on Bettman for allowing this stuff. Make me commissioner and there will be no fighting within two years. No other major sport tolerates such blatant bad behavior. the notion that the rules of the game include a penalty for fighting speaks volumes. It is time for hockey to get into the 21st century. I still believe in the Caps' old theory that the best way to counteract the rough stuff is to make them pay on the power play. I hope they are not changing that. Nor do I think that philosophy had anything to do with their playoff woes. Indeed, had they made the Canadiens pay at all with PP goals, they would have won the series handily last year.

Posted by: chevychase10 | October 10, 2010 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Didn't get to see the game or watch the non-youtube hightlights since my cable is out and all I have is my phone. It looks and sounds like this team finally has some guys that will stick up for their teammates. Also good that we were able to come back from being down and take control and keep our foot on the gas the whole game so there was no comeback thoughts. As for Green's fight I am fine with it. He wasn't going up against a heavy weight or even a light weight. It would be like someone fighting Semin. Neither guy looked like he had any idea what they were doing from what I have seen on youtube. I really want to see the whole thing with the last fight, still haven't seen any of that yet.

Posted by: icehammer97 | October 10, 2010 2:11 AM | Report abuse

@BigGameSid - STHU. Her updates are just fine and the content is the same as it was with Tarik. Go back to your Pens board, you DB.

Posted by: Snowdog | October 10, 2010 2:26 AM | Report abuse

By the way, Green fought Kovy for that late hit on Bradley on the play right before that. It wasn't covered/shown on CSN, but it was shown on the Devils feed.

So there, there's an example of someone sticking up for the team not named Chimera or Erskine.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 9, 2010 10:39 PM


I, for one, have no problem with superstars defending themselves.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 10, 2010 2:27 AM | Report abuse

There's "being a hockey purist" and then there's "being an NHL Hockey purist". Please don't mix up the two. Fighting is part of NHL hockey. Thank god for 21st century NHL Hockey!

Posted by: carlton46 | October 10, 2010 2:32 AM | Report abuse

CC10, while u may think the fighting takes away from the grace of the game I beg to disagree with you. You may think it is barbaric but, in fact is pretty graceful that these guys can balance themselves while on ice while dueling an equal combatant is quite graceful. It is a metaphoric battle that displays the true emotions that take place during the game. To me it shows how much more mature this league is compared to the others. The other leagues don't allow it cause they can't control it. Which is another display of why this game is better then the rest. I will agree that tonight's actions by the Devils were over the top, that is the blame of the ref's they didn't take control of the game.
Sorry for rambling on but, I've become bored of typing but, if you don't like the game like it is please by all means stop watching!

Posted by: Iwatsu | October 10, 2010 2:46 AM | Report abuse

CC10,
Where is this 21st century hockey of which you speak? IIHF rules allow fighting, they only penalize it more (5 min majors + misconduct). I have been to 4 SEL matches and I saw 3 fights. The KHL has changed its rules for 2010-2011 to more closely mimic NHL fighting rules. Fighting is just a part of the sport. A strange part of an already strange sport. I always found it fascinating that a hockey player had to have strength, endurance, finesse, and be able to take a punch to the face.

You might not enjoy it, and I can totally respect that. However I would almost guarantee fighting brings more fans than keeps them away.

Posted by: trunkenmath | October 10, 2010 3:22 AM | Report abuse

Geez, I wish DJK was dressed tonight. BB needs this guy to lay down the law as this team tries to play more on the edge. We need team defense a bad-ass attitude to win in the playoffs.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | October 10, 2010 4:18 AM | Report abuse

Someone above called Leblond PL3. I think Double-Hyphen is better. Who is this guy?

Posted by: Bartolo1 | October 10, 2010 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Become commissioner and you will learn that you cannot make rules, the only way fighting would come out the game, is if the competition committee, owners, GM's and players decide they do not want it, every poll that has been done on the subject has shown 90% want fighting

Posted by: cocorules | October 10, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Great game, loved the way they came together. Started off slow but picked it up as the game wore on. Still some defensive miscues, but other than that a really good game.

Games like this one go along way toward bringing teams together, its good that guys are sticking up for eachother, and I hope it's something that becomes a regular thing with this team.

Only complaint is that BB needs to quit whining about who other teams put on the ice. If King isn't dressed, then he needs to get Erskine on the ice to counter PL3. He's totally at fault for that. He has last line change at home, get someone on the ice to try to prevent what happened. I assume PL3 went after 90 because he didn't like that Green fought Kovy.

Posted by: Fletch22 | October 10, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

One more thing, why was MaJo even on the ice? It's the last minute and BB puts a soft rookie out in a game that's gotten nasty. He should put every big player he's got left out on the ice. That's just bad coaching. I don't mean to complain but he could've gotten the kid hurt.

Posted by: Fletch22 | October 10, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

@Fletch22: That was EXACTlY why MoJo was on the ice. Boudreau was trying to make the fighting stop and get back to hockey by icing a lineup that doesn't fight. By then, the refs had no control and the Devils had lost their marbles - it's about the only option he had left. The game was already decided - let's just everybody finish the last four minutes and go home.

That was fun :) If a little ridiculous towards the end. Brooks Laich should have had an easy button on the bench.

P3L had better see the press box for a couple of games. What a bush-league stunt to pull. Maclean is going to have to get a leash on that squad.

Posted by: kittypawz | October 10, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

One more thing - if he puts Erskine on the ice, he's just as responsible as everyone else if the fighting continues. At that point he's GOT to make an effort to make the fighting stop, because it had just gotten out of hand.

Posted by: kittypawz | October 10, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Looked like Patrick Division hockey last night. It was fun to watch.

Carlson is a stud. 1 goal, 2 assists, 12 pim.

Posted by: underpants2 | October 10, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Chevy Chase 10, I'm taking a guess that you live and or are from the great snobby land home of the liberals... Chevy Chase, Maryland! Thank goodness you will never have anything to do with the NHL, you would have been picked on and had your lunch money taken away in school if it wasn't for that wonderful private school education that you received in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Stick with Dancing with the stars or Disney on ice, the game of ice hockey has no room for wussy's! The Caps looked great last night, the only thing missing was a real coach behind the Caps bench and DJ King! Did Boyd Gordon even play last night?

Posted by: PhilHelmuth | October 10, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

7-2 has a lot to do with the Devils trying to find their character early in the season with Kovy in their line-up (yeah, he was with the Devils last year, but never meshed then either) and a new coach/former star for the team. I am more impressed with the 2 than the 7 as the Caps played much better team defense and kept the puck in the Devils end for long streches. That being said, I want to see that kind of effort with the Sens, too.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | October 10, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Nice reassuring win...some random musings:

1. Sad to see Brodeur losing his luster. Class pro his entire career, its always unfortunate when the great ones lose their shine, and you see the trend clearly.

2. Matt Hendricks - what a find. The guy is sandpaper. Agitating constantly, we have desperately needed that presence

3. PL3 or whatever the heck is name is. A joke, does not belong in this league. Just a completely gutless act.

4. Still think we need one more D-man. This team still has trouble getting the simple clear accomplished

Posted by: rnscaps | October 10, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, thanks for stepping back in, except for asking us to read Tracee Hamilton. Really, why does the Post insist on letting her do columns about the Caps? I liked the quotes from Neuvy, but in general, Hamilton's columns are worthless.

And don't worry, Tarik, Katie is doing a GREAT job filling your very large shoes.

Caps were so much fun to watch last night. After the Atlanta game I thought they weren't a "team" yet, but Ovi was right---last night was a big step for them in that regard. And Greenie was great along the boards and played terrific defense. Even Flash quieted the "Flash haters" for the time being. Semin was sublime in his play, especially the pass to Chimera coming out of the penalty box.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | October 10, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

What a great Sunday to wake up to an article by Tarik on a Caps win. We miss reading you and miss seeing you at Kettler. Hope you write more on the Caps.

Posted by: novaeight | October 10, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

@kittypawz

On LeBlond seeing the press box for the next two games: There are reports that he may be suspended for at least one game anyhow since he got an instigator in the last 4 minutes of the game so the press box is probably where he'll be anyhow.

They'll probably have trouble dressing enough players to play since Volch will be out for the next game and LeBlond is probably suspended. Due to cap space reasons, they can't call up a replacement if LeBlond is injured.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 10, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

By the way, Green fought Kovy for that late hit on Bradley on the play right before that. It wasn't covered/shown on CSN, but it was shown on the Devils feed.

So there, there's an example of someone sticking up for the team not named Chimera or Erskine.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 9, 2010 10:39 PM


I, for one, have no problem with superstars defending themselves.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 10, 2010 2:27 AM | Report abuse

I don't think I've ever seen anyone quoting himself on here... LMAO talk about EGO!!!

Posted by: joek443 | October 10, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

@kitty, BB saw PL3 out on the ice, and I'm pretty sure Dean Evason leaned over to him and had to tell him PL3 was out there, if I remember correctly. It's his job to to protect his team in that situation, not decide how the rest if the game should be played.

And I don't think the refs lost control of the game, there were four fights up to that point, and I didn't see much nonsense after the whistles, or any cheap shots.

Regardless, great game, fun to watch, and good to see the caps play with some fire and sticking up for each other.

Posted by: Fletch22 | October 10, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, would have been good to have DJK but who would have thought they would even need him against the Devils? Yeah the Flyers or Coyotes definitely but the Devils? The fight with Green and Kovy was very odd. You can tell Green doesn't fight much. It reminded me of that Semin fight last year.

We miss you Tarik? There is no comparison. You are missed!!!

Posted by: LloydChristmas | October 10, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

@kittypawz

If you're who I think you are, you answered your own question on Japers about the fate of Monsieur LeBlond -- one game suspension.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 10, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

WTF_fehr: your new name should be wtf_semin...

for times he just falls..

Posted by: rachel216 | October 10, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

4. Still think we need one more D-man. This team still has trouble getting the simple clear accomplished

Posted by: rnscaps

I agree they would be much much better off with the addition of a shut down D. However, I think the problem with getting the simple clear accomplished has more to do with the wingers. I found this very frustrating last year and noticed it some last night, that the winger is standing at the blue line behind the opposing D man while the opposing D man is pinching along the wall to keep the puck in. The caps wingers need to engage said Dman and not hope for the puck to hop over his stick.

Posted by: BorntoHula | October 10, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

WTF_fehr: your new name should be wtf_semin...

for times he just falls..

Posted by: rachel216 | October 10, 2010 10:43 AM

Rach, he starts each season like this. Like its his first time on skates sometimes, and its like he has to learn old lessons all over again. Taking cheap penalties and so forth.

He will get on track soon, and he knows this is a contract year. He has to stay healthy and get his 40G 80PTS.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | October 10, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

What a fantastic time last night at VC! Caps were on fire and NJ got totally classless. I thought our guys showed up big when the fists were flying. Best, I though, was Bradley decking Clarkson, and then jumping up and rushing straight to the locker room to serve his time.

It's predictable, though silly, to read some folks here finding fault with who BB put on the ice late in the game. Are you the same folks saying we're too soft, when last night virtually all of our guys jumped into the mix to stand up for each other? I think we should all take last night as another sign that the Caps will continue to exhibit a new level of grit in 2010-11, which so far is what we're seeing since the start of pre-season on.

Posted by: Justafan | October 10, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Good effort last night from the guys. Some thoughts on the game

-Major improvement on the PP, more aggressive, moving instead of waiting for the nice PKers to open lanes for them. That's what I was looking for against Atlanta.

-rnscaps-Agree about Brodeur. It's only been two games, maybe he can rebound somewhat.

-PL3 is a dbag, but I don't think MJ90 is an angel. That's a good thing. The kid is going to be good.

-Now that I've seen Mike Green fight, I never, EVER want to see that again. That was just awful. Mike looked terrified and it was ILYA FREAKING KOVALCHUK! Good thought, Mikey, but let Matt Bradley protect himself.

Next up, the Sens. Go Caps!!!

Posted by: ablake70 | October 10, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I thought T E Bashir was leaving? Good to see him staying to keep Kattie the pens fan in check! ha ha ha

Posted by: Puckthepens | October 10, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

One more thing, why was MaJo even on the ice? It's the last minute and BB puts a soft rookie out in a game that's gotten nasty. He should put every big player he's got left out on the ice. That's just bad coaching. I don't mean to complain but he could've gotten the kid hurt.

Posted by: Fletch22 | October 10, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Bradley and Hendricks were both alreay out because of their fights. Who else was he going to put out Semin, Ovechkin? MJ is on the third line so he is going to have to learn to deal with this a little. Now to be jumped is not something he should have to deal with but NJ will pay as I am sure the moron will be suspended and they don't have the cap room for replacements.

Posted by: icehammer97 | October 10, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

@icehammer, did I mention OV or Semin? How getting Erskine out there. Why is that difficult to understand?

Posted by: Fletch22 | October 10, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

@icehammer, did I mention OV or Semin? How about getting Erskine out there. Why is that difficult to understand?

Posted by: Fletch22 | October 10, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

CC10. I agree with you on your fighting comment, but we are on the minority; trunkenmath hit the nail in the head with: "... I would almost guarantee fighting brings more fans than keeps them away." There is a big difference between the pure game of hockey and hockey the event, the latter is a show made for entertainment and profit.

Posted by: hock1 | October 10, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

*how about getting Erskine out there*.

Posted by: Fletch22 | October 10, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Crap, double post

Posted by: Fletch22 | October 10, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Fletch you need 5 guys on the ice and Erskine plays D. You still have to play some forwards and our two non-skill players were already out from fights. Was BB supposed to know that MJ was going to get jumped? Almost all fights are two willing guys and BB knew MJ wasing going to agree to fight. It would not surprise me if the NHL adds some extra games to the one game suspension to PL3 or whatever it is since he punched a guy from behind who had no intention of fighting. The NHL wants to get rid of blind side hits to the head and this was a blind side punch to the head.

Posted by: icehammer97 | October 10, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Tarik come back!!

Posted by: Willy6 | October 10, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

@ice hammer, I understand how the game is played, you're making excuses. What difference does it make if Erskine is a d-man? If he's out there at least you minimize the chance he starts cheapshotting our our players.

Why wouldn't BB assume someone would get jumped? What else was PL3 out there for? Pot a few goals before time ran out? Say what you want, but there's no excuse for BB not putting out Erskine as some measure of protection. Nevertheless, a great game, at least we can agree on that.

Posted by: Fletch22 | October 10, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

@BigGameSid - STHU. Her updates are just fine and the content is the same as it was with Tarik. Go back to your Pens board, you DB.

Posted by: Snowdog | October 10, 2010 2:26 AM
-----------------------------

I think there is a pretty good contingent of caps fans who beg to differ. Just take a quick look at some of the comments in the last few topics.

Posted by: BigGameSid | October 10, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

@Fletch22
I understand your take on Erskine being a possible deterrent had he been out there, but since LeBlond was lined up across from Johanson when the puck was dropped and then proceeded to pursue Johanson down ice, it's clear that LeBlond was going to fight regardless of who was on the ice and it's clear he'd singled out Johanson as his dance partner, whether Johanson wanted to go or not.

All Erskine likely could have or would have been able to do is exactly what Carlson, Gordon and Fehr all did. Which was to rush in to aid their over-matched teammate.

Personally, I think LeBlond showed his lack of class by targeting a skill guy, and a rookie at that. Double so, for pursuing the fight after Johanson said "no" to Leblond's "wanna go?".

But maybe I've got LeBlond pegged wrong? I mean, by instigating a fight in the final 5 minutes of a game whose outcome was already decided, he forfeits his game day salary which goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. Maybe he's just just got a funny way of being a philanthropist? ;)

Oh, and it's official: LeBlond got a 1-game suspension today.

Posted by: Hordedog | October 10, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I don't see it at all that NJ played a "classless" game. One guy, LeBlond, goes overboard. And he gets suspened. Nobody got hurt. Had he rammed MaJo into the boards, that's a different story. What he did was make a complete idiot of himself for being a goon and chasing down a skill player

I also find it interesting what CF75 I think put about NJ and the cap. If Rolston and Volch can't play but don't go on LTIR, and LeBlond is out a game, they are a player short with maybe no room. Had this been later in the season, and had they built up a small underrun, game by game, they could do it. NHLNumbers says they have only 36K in space. That's about $200 per day for 180-day season. Even a min salary guy at $500K is about $2750 per day, so they have to go under 14 days first before they can bring such a player up for just one game.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 10, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

@BigGameSid - why don't you go to a Pens blog and leave Katie alone, she's doing great. Don't be an idiot, and it's not like there's not anything going on with your team.

FWIW Katie also seems to know more about hockey than others who work hard and write well but may not have grown up with the game.

Posted by: govtimbo | October 11, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

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