Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: kcarrera and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Ovechkin set to return

Itching to return from a two-game suspension and make up for lost time in the scoring race, Alex Ovechkin went out for the morning skate 10 minutes early at St. Pete Times Forum. Afterward, the two-time MVP confirmed what we all suspected: His right knee is fine and he'll be in the lineup tonight as the Caps look to beat the Lightning for a franchise-record 12th straight time.

"The fact that he's out there 10 minutes early for a morning skate, that doesn't happen too often," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He missed playing. He only came back for a couple of games from his injury. He loves to play."

Based on the skate, it looks like Semyon Varlamov will start in goal for the Eastern Conference-leading Caps. The rookie netminder has a 1.72 goals against average and a .939 save percentage in his last eight starts (6-0-2).

Defenseman Shaone Morrisonn also appears set to return from an eight-game layoff because of a concussion.

Karl Alzner, though, is headed back to Hershey because of a numbers crunch. Boudreau praised Alzner's play, but said he didn't want to have nine defensemen on the team. And because Alzner is the only defenseman who doesn't have to clear waivers, he was the one who got the bad news. In the five games he was here, the Caps went 5-0-0.

"He did well, but we have nine defensemen," Boudreau said. "It's very difficult with nine defensemen who can play in the NHL -- to sit out three each game would create more of a problem in the end than be more of a competition. We had to alleviate it somewhere and right now, Karl is the one. He's going to have a long career. He's just sort of got to bide his time a little bit."

Matt Bradley, meantime, has returned home to be with his wife, who is expecting their first child.

"His wife is having a baby as we speak, so we got him on a plane as quickly as we could to go be with her," Boudreau said.

A few other notes from the morning skate:

*Morrisonn said he will play with Tom Poti. It also looks like Tyler Sloan will play up front and that Milan Jurcina will be the healthy scratch.

*It also appears that Mike Smith will start in goal for the Lightning, who snapped a four-game losing streak Saturday against the Islanders.

*Nicklas Backstrom was named the NHL's first star of the week for the second time in his career. He has four goals and five assists in his past three games.

Backstrom leads the Caps with 33 points, which marks the first time a player not named Ovechkin has been on top in points this late in the season since the 2003-04 season.

I'll post the lineup later, and a video is on the way.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 7, 2009; 1:09 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Caps assign Alzner to Hershey
Next: Video: Ovechkin 'very excited' to return

Comments

"Backstrom leads the Caps with 33 points, which marks the first time a player not named Ovechkin has been on top in points this late in the season since the 2003-04 season."

At first when I read this, I thought "wow!" Then I realized the 'this late in the season' qualification, which makes it less cool.

Posted by: Raber | December 7, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Only one team has 4 players averaging a point per game. Washington.

Only one other team has 3 players averaging a point per game. San Jose.

Posted by: JSchon | December 7, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Looks to me like the Ovi-less Caps brought a team approach, played solid D, and got lucky hitting a couple of teams (and goalies) playing toward the bottom of their games. Hopefully, Ovi gets back in the game while maintining the focus the other 22 have kept.

And Steckel loves TB. Go Caps!

Posted by: Sonyask | December 7, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Is this the year.....?

....the Sharks finally make the Finals? They're overdue. Thornton is a great player, Marleau is rekindled and Heatley has fit in very well, plus Tampa handed them Boyle on a silver platter.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 7, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

@ Raber - I thought it made it *more* cool/impressive.

Posted by: CapsChick | December 7, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Okay, here is a question to be pondered. At the beginning of the year, we all thought that if we lost OV for any amount of time, we could be in trouble. We have obviously proved we can survive for a while without him (not preferrred mind you).

Which Caps player do you think would be the hardest to replace in the lineup for any length of time while maintaining our #1 status?
Is it still OV if the length of time is longer?
Is it somebody else?
Is it nobody because of our depth?

Discuss

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | December 7, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

tominfl

Are you looking for attention?

Posted by: JSchon | December 7, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

The way the team played without Ovie, hell yeah, this is what the Caps needed, to see how deep they are especially come playoff time.

Posted by: flee001 | December 7, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Caps just scored again...9-2

Posted by: SA-Town | December 7, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Sounds weird, but Morrison (sorry, bad spelling) as that second line is hooking it up

Posted by: flee001 | December 7, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I'd say M.Green, because when he was out last season, we had losing record, the only player to lay such a claim. He plays the most, he averages a point a game, he qb's the #1 pp...

Green.

Posted by: JSchon | December 7, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

@CTCapsPhan

Ovie, for more than 3 games, of course.

But one thing jumps out at me: when Semin is missing, the PP seems much less effective. Seems with him in, it stresses defenses that much more, the team keeps possession in the zone for far more time. (I wonder if this can be measured, but subjectively, it seems to be true...)

I do think we should give ALL the players a chance to sit out games to keep them fresh...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | December 7, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Re: the whole "numbers crunch" nonsense: obviously, someone is not doing their job, and I don't think it's Karl Alzner.

So, this should be a pretty big game for the Caps. They've done well in the last few games without Ovechkin, and seem like they have really started to grow as a team. But, now is the time for them to start demonstrating that "killer instinct" that we've been talking about since last April. This is a game against a division rival, one that is competitive this year, and is pushing for a playoff spot. It's the Caps' first game against Tampa this season, and it's in their building. A team with a killer instinct would be motivated to nip it in the bud, and put Tampa in its place right away. Tocchet has his team motivated based on what Tarik posted earlier: "It's big for us to see where we stand. This is important to see where we are as a franchise and the players we have here." The Caps have just as much reason to come out and play a dominant game (the recurring theme of "killer instinct" and team identity).

For the record, people who are critical of the Caps tend to jump on them when they lose games like this one. It's teams like this against which the Caps should bring a playoff like intensity. It should be all business, and they should put forth 60 minutes. Don't allow Tampa to believe for one minute that they are capable of competing with the Caps. This is the perfect opportunity to knock some wind out of their sails, and as I said before, show them where their place in the pecking order is.

Posted by: aybee27 | December 7, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

For the record, people who are critical of the Caps tend to jump on them when they lose games like this one. It's teams like this against which the Caps should bring a playoff like intensity. It should be all business, and they should put forth 60 minutes. Don't allow Tampa to believe for one minute that they are capable of competing with the Caps. This is the perfect opportunity to knock some wind out of their sails, and as I said before, show them where their place in the pecking order is.

Excellent point. Bolts have been showing signs of life - let's nip it in the bud.

Posted by: hook99 | December 7, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Excellent point. Bolts have been showing signs of life - let's nip it in the bud.

Posted by: hook99 | December 7, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

What is this horticulture?
Lets sucker punch this dopes with knee on knee hits...

Posted by: JSchon | December 7, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

tominfl

Are you looking for attention?

Posted by: JSchon | December 7, 2009 1:36 PM

Why? Who is offering?

I was just about to put that Green would be hardest to replace, but you beat me to it. Combination of the minutes he plays and the fact that drop off to next most effective d-man is huge.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 7, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I agree about Green, but many on this board think he is the worst D-man ever and we should trade him. :)

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | December 7, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Funny you should put up the score 9-2 SA-town, that's what the Bears did to Hartford yesterday. Valiquette was in goal for them and got lifted after 1 period and couple mins.

2 games with the Bears, Bourque 3g2a, talk about a get out of jail free card issued to him when put on waivers by the NHL's evil empire :)

Posted by: BBDwrestling | December 7, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I decided to look at the gamer from the Philadelphia Inquirer and, it seems as if the writer watched/saw/reported on a different game...

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/frequentflyers/Carcillo_awaits_a_call.html

One interesting quote: "After a heated exchange of cross-checks on the boards with Dan Carcillo, Bradley and Carcillo squared off – or were about to tangle – when Carcillo caught him with a swift right that nearly knocked him out cold."

Am I wrong to say that there was no EXCHANGE of cross-checks? Maybe it did happen, but I don't remember it...

Posted by: TimDz | December 7, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Boudreau said. "It's very difficult with nine defensemen who can play in the NHL --
LOL!!! This includes Schultz????

Posted by: BPTUCKER71 | December 7, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

sounds like they were watching a different game to me. From what I remember, Brads wasn't squared to Carcillo, in fact I believe he was turned somewhat sideways facing away from him.

As for Ovie, I stopped by the end of practice on Friday and saw Ovie in the orange jersey doing some hard sprints and quick cuts. Looks like the knee is 99%.

Posted by: callingallcars | December 7, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

@TimDz

Nope--you are NOT wrong. Carcillo cross-checked Brads twice when he was down on the ice after his clean check of Carcillo against the boards. That was the first penalty called and the ref had his arm up before Brads got up. And it went downhill from there.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 7, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

BPTUCKER71:
guess you don't like schultz much huh?

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 7, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

@BPTUCKER71

Go to James Mirtle's site From the Rink. He ranks the top defensive d-men across the league. Scultz came in at number 8, ahead of some surprising names. Juice is at no. 15. Don't make the mistake of underestimating him.

http://www.fromtherink.com/2009/12/1/1181639/the-nhls-top-defensive-defencemen

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 7, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

i haven't read one philly article that is even close to accurate on the carcillo/brads thing. having spent some time in the greater philly area, we should be really glad we have guys like tarik and corey to bring us an objective view of things, good and bad.

i get that the philly writers need to feed some red meat to the flyers faithful but really. exchanging cross checks? i read another one that in one paragraph said the punch came "as bradley appeared to be dropping his gloves" and then the next paragraph said he "had already dropped his gloves". not one of them pointed out the abject stupidity of carcillo even getting involved in something like that in a 1-1 game for a struggling team. ah well, old news.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 7, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see all the positive comments about Green today. I think Santa is bringing this Caps fan a #52 jersey, and I'd like to think it'll be valid for a long time.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | December 7, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know how much 4 games will cost that low-life thug Carcillo in lost salary?

Here's hoping Laviolette dumps him faster than a super hot chili bowel movement.

Posted by: capper3 | December 7, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

sa-town that made spill my drink,thanks for the laugh!

Posted by: just_call_me_shell | December 7, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

UEFA Champions League http://www.nowgoal.com/22.shtml

Posted by: bgfgf402 | December 8, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company