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No Alex, no problem

With a thorough 7-3 victory tonight in Sunrise, the Caps showed, yet again, that they're a pretty good team even without their superstar winger. They also might have finished off the Panthers' fading playoff hopes.

Check out my gamer here (an updated version should posted soon), then check back for a short Bruce Boudreau video and some final thoughts from South Florida before I head to Raleigh:

*Boudreau on winning without suspended superstar Alex Ovechkin and on Brendan Morrison's impressive effort:

*The Caps improved to 7-2 this season without Ovechkin, who spent a bit of the night on press row. At one point, he was checking his email on Official Caps beat writer Mike Vogel's laptop.

His teammates, though, didn't skip a beat without him. Again. They're now averaging about 4.8 goals per game without him. Boudreau's answer for that?

"They try harder because the game's No. 1 player is not there," he said. "It's like not relying on big brother. When he's there's and it's a close game you're always saying, 'Let's keep it close game, Alex is going to score and tie it.' But when he's not there, they know they have to take it upon themselves to do it."

*Morrison, as I mentioned earlier, had a big night, one game after getting scratched for an important matchup in Chicago. He had a goal and two assists, including a helper on Eric Fehr's game winner.

Afterward, Morrison opened up about his second half struggles. He also said that the deadline day additions served as a major wakeup call.

"It was getting ridiculous, to be honest with you," Morrison said. "Before Christmas I was basically a point a game guy. Then I just fell off a cliff. There were times this season when I was down and frustrated. But tonight, I just told myself, 'Go play.' That's the way I'm going to approach it the rest of the year. I think I have some things to offer the team down the stretch."

Morrison did, however, win only six of his 15 faceoffs, according to the scoresheet. But, as he said, "Tonight, hopefully, is a start."

*Fehr also continutes to prove to be remarkably efficient despite limited ice time, scoring for the fourth time in his last six games.

*It's tough to be critical after a blowout win. But the Caps need to stop yielding goals one shift after putting one in the net. It's been happening a lot lately, and it happened again tonight. In the second period, after Brooks Laich scored on the power play to make it 5-1, the Caps inexplicably let up and Kamil Kreps scored on a rebound just 22 seconds later.

*Speaking of Laich, with a pair of goals and an assist, he set career highs for goals and points. He's now got 24 and 54. Laich is also one of only two Caps to have suited up for all 70 games. (Nicklas Backstrom is the other).

*And finally and injury "update" on Boyd Gordon, who missed almost the entire game after getting tripped early on by Shawn Matthias. Gordon, according to Boudreau aggravated the back strain that has bothered him on and off for most of the season. Boudreau said it's possible the checking line center will miss a few games.

I'll check in from RBC Center early tomorrow afternoon.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 16, 2010; 11:40 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Tonight's lineup: Caps at Panthers
Next: Caps improve to 7-2 without Ovechkin


One thing Panthers played horrible defence (could not clear rease) and Capitals cashed on. Capitals is just better team.

Posted by: dugza | March 16, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Repost from earlier post:

Stupid double posting.... my bad.

I was just looking at the NHL team stats - goals/game in particular. The Caps (3.90) are .64 goals/game ahead of second place, Vancouver (3.26). That is the same as the gap between Vancouver and Tampa Bay (2.62) - who is 20th in that stat. It just shows the sheer offensive dominance of the Caps this year.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 16, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Get healthy, Boyd.

Time for Walker to fill in on the checking line nicely.

Posted by: Cerealman | March 17, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

maybe it doesn't matter too much about the additions at the trade deadline. if they have too many guys - they'll just keep pushing each other. i'd have to image that every guy on the team wants to be on the bench to have a chance at raising the cup above their head - if that isn't motivation at this point - i'm not sure what would be

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 17, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

BMo is actually almost right on when it comes to his stats. In the 37 games he played before Christmas, he had 25 points. In the 31 games afterwards, he had 14 points, including 3 tonight. Hopefully, this is the start of him getting back to his pre-Christmas self. Although that might give Boudreau even more lineup problems.

And you have to love how Fehr is stepping up so often recently. I could see him being a top 6 forward in the near future - but not as long as Knuble and Laich are both here.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 17, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Missed the game. That's the bad news - good news is we think we found a house (3500 sq ft - more like a mansion to this kid from west baltimore) in sunny Santa Clarita CA. Got to the sports bar at 9:30 EDT and they could not get it ?? due to NYR-Mon on Versus?

Anyway, we land in ORL 4:00 pm THU just in time to get home for Caps - Canes. Another week and a half and I start work in CA. Hopefully the home trips (2) will get me as much Playoffs as possible. I'd die if after 30 years following them I missed the Cup being hoisted. Don't close though until late June so it will be begging in Sports Bars.

What a person must do to earn a living.


Posted by: tominfl1 | March 17, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

that's almost twice the size of my house - couldn't imagine trying to take care of a place that size.
i know you work with costs all the time - but 3500 sq ft * CA comes to ... uh ... er ... lets see ... carry the one ... - i get $839,262,379.75 (plus closing costs) - am i close?

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 17, 2010 12:43 AM | Report abuse


Glad you found a new house. Good luck in your new position.

Will you be changing your posting name since you'll no longer by in Florida like TominCal

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 17, 2010 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Where are your video wrap-ups?

Posted by: robgerri | March 17, 2010 1:25 AM | Report abuse


Way cool! My brother used to lived in Costa Mesa and had a girlfriend who lived in the valley, your new neck of the palm tree woods. Hope you enjoy the new diggs and convert some of the SoCal natives to the second greatest thing that makes you sweat.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | March 17, 2010 2:01 AM | Report abuse

So Alfredsson had a pretty nasty hit from behind on Beauchemin last night. Who wants to bet there will be no suspension?

Posted by: Aldred15 | March 17, 2010 4:10 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't that bad; it was just a little push. Give him 2 games. No, wait, that would be consistent - better give him 5 to send a message that there will be no pushing in Colin Campbell's league.

Posted by: Raber | March 17, 2010 4:54 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone else see the way Bryan Allen smashed Brooks Laich into the ice a couple of times after Brooks scored one of his goals? It was crazy! The puck was in goal, Brooks was down on the ice on his stomach, Allen was on top of him and he just pounced on Brooks a couple of times really viciously. Joe B and Craig were incredulous. Shouldn't there have been a call? Oh wait, that's right, it wasn't Ovechkin, so no call.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | March 17, 2010 6:47 AM | Report abuse

@Aldred15 & Raber

But Alfredsson is not a suspendable superstar or a repeat offender so, of course, no suspension.

And he doesn't weight 235 pounds.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 17, 2010 6:47 AM | Report abuse

The boys showed Mr Campbell what they thought of their buds suspension last night! And where are all the BMo haters today??? Great game by the boys.

Also, did any of you read that column Mike Wise wrote? What a complete MORON!

Posted by: PhilR | March 17, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Re: Did anyone else see the way Bryan Allen smashed Brooks Laich into the ice a couple of times after Brooks scored one of his goals?

Yes, DCCitizen, I saw it and it made me sick. Not a call in sight. Malicious. Vicious. And on purpose.

"Ref You $uck"

Posted by: Caps16Fan | March 17, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse


Congratulations. I find house hunting exhausting. But houses sure are a lot bigger out West--all that land!!! You definitely have to see the playoffs so I hope all moving and new job requirements are playoff timely. I missed your voice during all this Ovi craziness--it's been a tough year for him. Let's hope that it ends with Ovi holding the Cup over his head!

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 17, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Great win for the Caps! Early on, I thought that the Panthers were really charging the net in a fiercely dertermined way. As the game went on though, they just seemed to be come gassed, demoralized and sometimes confused. As dugza stated above, the Caps are just a better team. :)

Nicky's just such an amazing wiz kid! Probably everyone saw this but at one point, he had control of the puck in the defensive zone and was attempting to skate it out but a Panthers player was trying to foil his plans by repeatedly pushing him and trying to pop him off the puck, like he would a bottle cap. Nicky wasn't budging AT ALL for what seemed like 7 - 10 seconds and managed to get a pass off to the D. It was stunning in a good way. I think people sitting down closer were really amazed.

His mutant power is that he has that Nordic low center of gravity (I have personal experience with this) and can utilize it at will to make himself sturdy and unmovable. Pair that with his tremendous skill (hands) and vision ("still see it!"), sheer determination and growing (in leaps and bounds) confidence and voila! You have he incredible player that he is and is continuing to become.

I feel that we just are so fortunate in so many ways as Caps fans!

On another note, I wonder when the time will come when the Caps hockey TEAM play and win without Ovie that the headlines don't all state something to that effect? Just a wonder of mine.


Posted by: nena1 | March 17, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse


caps offensively dominant to be sure, but also important to remember that the system BB has in place is incredibly aggressive on the forecheck. Does anyone know if the Caps even have a "shutdown" mode? It seems we're sending two guys in deep regardless of whether we're up five or down five...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 17, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1: Congrats on moving to the Left Coast! Santa Clarita is a bustling community. I'm sure you will love it there.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 17, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

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