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Ovechkin Probable, Cassivi's Pads AWOL

Alex Ovechkin's status has not been determined yet, but he's on the ice for the pregame skate and appears to be moving fine. He's also come over to the bench several times to talk to head athletic trainer Greg Smith, who took a close look at the stitches on his leg.

I'll try to get something more definitive when the players come off.

It's hard to provide you with a lineup because Michael Nylander and Nicklas Backstrom are not on the ice. I'm told both are in the building, though, and will play tonight.

As for backup goaltender Frederic Cassivi's pads? Still not here. He told me that he called the airline and that his equipment bag is in the country, however. (First, Ovechkin's treatment is delayed in Pittsburgh and now Cassivi's pads are being held in customs. I'm starting to think there's some sort of a consipiracy against the Caps.)

And just in case you were wondering, Ottawa backup goalie Ray Emery showed up early today and will be on the bench tonight. Emery later said he overslept yesterday and that's why he showed up late for practice. So he wasn't sick after all. (As if anyone believed that, anyway.)

Update: Ovechkin said he plans to play tonight. "Pretty good," he said. "It's a little bit pain, but it's normal. If course you are going to feel something. But it's okay."

Coach Bruce Boudreau, however, was a little more cautious.

"He's going to take warmup and we'll see. We're going to dress 13 forwards for warmup, and if says he's ready to play he'll play."

Boudreau didn't say which forward would come out if Ovechkin suits up, but Quintin Laing is in the lineup. So that would seem to suggest that the scratch would be either Tomas Fleischmann or Matt Pettinger.

Asked about the Senators, Boudreau cracked: "Who do they got? ...You just have to hope they catch the flu that Emery had."

Update:Ovechkin is in; Matt Pettinger is the forward scratch.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 29, 2007; 11:32 AM ET
 
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Comments

Tarik, what options do they have if Freddie's pads don't get here? Buy him a new set and hope he doesn't need them?

Posted by: Brad | December 29, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, Can we find out who dropped the ball on getting OV stitched up in Pittsburgh? Do NHL teams rely on the home team for those kind of medical services?

Posted by: Rob | December 29, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Yes, that needs to be investigeted. Can the team file a formal complaint to the league office? How convenient: they ice OV for the remainder of the game. I hate the Penguins.

Posted by: tokyo fan | December 29, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Brad-- I would hope Olie travels with a backup set of pads that Freddy could borrow if necessary. Olie might be a little taller than Freddy but hopefully the pad would fit ok.

Posted by: Tess | December 29, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Actually Tess, Olie's shorter (Freddie is 6' 4"). I imagine the pads would be ok for just sitting on the bench though. This sure has been a strange week for the Caps though.

Posted by: Brad | December 29, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

What goes around comes around. Maybe next time it's one of the Pens stars who gets hurt at Verizon and he sits for an hour waiting for the doc to see him. But what else can you expect from a low-life organization like Pittsburgh.

Posted by: b.orr4 | December 29, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Lowlife organization and lowlife town.

Posted by: Sh*tsburg | December 29, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I didnt even know they had doctors in Pittsburgh.

Posted by: Pitt-PA | December 29, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Wow guys,
I'm pretty sure that any Doctor would take professionalism or favoritism in any and all cases.
Let's see what, if anything, the next few days reveal before we start a lynch mob.

That being said...I already have something against the guy just cause he works for the Black Chickens.
;-)

Posted by: pmoravek | December 29, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

So is Laing free?

Posted by: FREE LAING! | December 29, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

FLASH!: The doctor took so long to get to OV in the dressing room cause he was out at Trax Farms in Finleyville - abut 13 miles away - helping a pregnant mare give birth to her foal.

Posted by: Dezlboy | December 29, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Folks, if you read my story today you would realize that the Pens' doctor was attending to a Pittsburgh player when Ovechkin got hurt. So it was just poor timing.

As for Freddy's pads, they'll get here in time.

Posted by: Tarik | December 29, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, any idea who that Pens player was? Not about conspiracy or anything, I just don't remember any of theirs missing (I think Sykora didn't play much, but I thought that was just a seudo-benching for the misplay on Pothier's goal). I wonder if it was one of their IR or injury-scratched players who was in that night. I guess it all comes down to bad timing for us.

Posted by: Brad | December 29, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, right. The doc was in the house attending to a Pen with what?? a toothache? The message is clear: The Pens play just like their minor league affiliate in Wilkes-Barre and when you play in their barn, wear extra padding and hope to God you don't need medical attention.

Convenient late call against Morrisonn too.

Posted by: dogdaze | December 29, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was weirder that OV got called for that weak cross-check to Jordan Staal, but Jarkko Ruutu was given free reign to run our players. First there was the high blind side hit on Semin, but there was also a full speed skating fist that he threw into Backstrom's face after Nicky had already moved the puck.

Please, oh please, erase the instigator rule so spineless losers like Ruutu and Avery can get what's coming to them. I'm sure Brash or Brads wouldn't mind pounding Ruutu a little. Anyone remember the brawl last year when Laich was just laying haymakers into Ruutu's face when it was covered by his jersey? I think that shows what little respect players have for those guys. Because I've never seen Brooksie being a dirty player.

Posted by: Stephen | December 29, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I think (well... I hope) there was no conspiracy against the Caps on AO injury. But the whole thing presents strangeness:

1) if all he needed was 2-3 stitches... don't every team has somebody that can do that? Do the Caps travel with no medical assistance whatsoever?

2) that was really a long long time before AO could be assisted. It seems very strange to me that there's only ONE doctor available, and has to be provided by the hosting rink?

Anyway... tonight is very very scary. I remember when Ottawa woke up in the third period last game, and they showed that they're one of the best NHL team.

GO CAPS!

Posted by: mauree | December 29, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

One thing to keep in mind the Hockey world would be going nuts if Crysby was in his locker room waiting for a Cap's Doc to see him for over 30 min. Bettman would probably commision a congressional investiagtion to look for a conspiracy. The Cap's would have to give up there next no. 1 draft pick plus a fine :) All in all it was pretty convienent that OV was off the ice for the rest of the game.

Posted by: Dean | December 29, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I thought Flash has played pretty well in the past few games. He hasn't gotten the results but he seems like he's getting close.

As I've mentioned before, I've never been a Bradley fan; I've always thought there are other guys on the team with similar sklls AND more talent. But lately Bradley has been kicking butt on the forecheck. If he can keep playing like that with Steckel and Laing why break them up?

And that brings me to our old friend Matt Pettinger. Can we all now assume that he will never score 20 goals in a season, ever again? 10 goals? And if he's not scoring, what exactly is he doing on the ice? Is he a checking forward? I'd take Laing instead every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Does he take face-offs? Of course not. We have Gordon and Steckel.

Disturbingly, it looks like against Pittsburgh, Pettinger got a sweater instead of Laing based on seniority alone. And that is how you lose hockey games. I hope Boudreau has learned his lesson. Scratch Pettinger tonight.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | December 29, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Wow with all the uproar about Ovie's delayed treatment you really have to stop and think just how lucky we are to have him. Think about it, has Ovechkin complained once? No. We have a player who can get his flesh torn open by a skate one night, and is ready to play again the next with out so much as a single complaint. He truly is a very special player/person.

Posted by: DC FURY | December 29, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Oneal - I have to disagree - I think Flash has been TERRIBLE the past couple of games. I never joined in on the previous Flash attacks, because I thought he was contributing. That all changed for me this past week. He has missed several HUGE opportunities, and really has not added anything. I still can't belive that Laing sat while Flash played. Glad to hear that Laing is free at last!!!

Posted by: Boo! | December 29, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Real men don't need goalie pads. Give him Freddie a stick and jersey!!! He'll keep the puck out of the net better then some other folks!!!

Posted by: Mitch | December 29, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Mitch - just like old time hockey ... they said he arrived with a dozen sticks, so he should be good to go!! ;-)

Posted by: Boo! | December 29, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Strap old magazines to his shins.
That there is some OLD SKOOL SHINNY HOCKEY!

Posted by: pmoravek | December 29, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The Penguins doc was getting Crosby's tampons together for after the game.

Posted by: Lee | December 29, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

or...(And I hate to say it)

Kolzig can't seem to close his pads and stop anything so playing Freddie with no pillows would make no difference.

:-O


Hmmm!
Suprisingly, I don't feel that guilty about saying that.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 29, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Lee

I respect Crosby's ability as a player and all, and I don't usually join in when somebody bashes him....

BUT THAT'S PRETTY FRIGGIN' FUNNY!

Posted by: pmoravek | December 29, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

@Lee,

Good one!

Posted by: Steve R | December 29, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I remember back in 1812 when I started playing "organized" hockey I didn't have any pads either. A few of us wore home made pads made from corragated cardboard taped to our legs over our pants (jeans). Our gloves were literally that, gloves. What total idiots we were!

Goalie pads are not really like player pads. There's a knee pocket that your leg has to fit into, and a cup to fit over the skate. If the leg doesn't fit in the right places, you have a difficult time bending your legs.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 29, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

From TSN.CA on tonight's match up between the Caps and the Sens. Could be a long night...

For the Capitals:

Who's Hot

David Steckel (LW/C)
3 pts in last 2 GP
Alexander Ovechkin (LW)
16 pts in last 13 GP
Nicklas Backstrom (C/LW)
11 pts in last 11 GP
Brian Pothier (D)
2 pts in last 2 GP
Matt Bradley (RW/LW)
2 pts in last 2 GP

Who's Cold

Matt Pettinger (LW/RW)
0 pts in last 5 GP
Tom Poti (D)
0 pts in last 4 GP
Olaf Kolzig (G)
4-4-3, 3.22, .866 in last 5 GPI

For the Senators:

Who's Hot

Martin Gerber (G)
6-1-0, 1.90, .940 in last 5 GPI
Dany Heatley (LW/RW)
5 pts in last 2 GP
Jason Spezza (C)
19 pts in last 9 GP
Wade Redden (D)
3 pts in last 2 GP
Daniel Alfredsson (RW)
18 pts in last 14 GP
Antoine Vermette (C/W)
7 pts in last 7 GP
Chris Phillips (D)
2 pts in last 2 GP
Mike Fisher (C)
3 pts in last 3 GP
Chris Kelly (C/W)
3 pts in last 3 GP

Who's Cold

Dean McAmmond (LW/C)
0 pts in last 3 GP
Christoph Schubert (D/W)
0 pts in last 6 GP
Andrej Meszaros (D)
1 pts in last 6 GP
Randy Robitaille (C/LW)
1 pts in last 4 GP

Look at the length of that Hot list! And see who's on top? Their goalie with a 1.9 GAA, .940 Saves.

Gotta find a way. Strong forechecking, hard hits, keep out of the penalty box, lots of rubber on the goalie, traffic in front for deflections, rebounds and view impairment (who wants to look at Laing's butt?).

Defensively, they need to play like they did against the Pens in the first 2 periods. Quick clean outlets, short shifts, hard hits.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 29, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Who's Hot and Who's Not means nothing unless they can back it up game to game. They've done it so far, but can they do it tonight? That's the $1 trillion question.

Hey Tarik, when you track down Pothier one on one again, can you tell him to go fracture his other thumb? Ever since the first fracture he's played well and put some numbers up on the board. I also had no idea he could "bring the heat" from the blue line.

LET'S GO CAPS!!!!!!

Posted by: Mitch | December 29, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,
You reported that the Pens said their doctor couldn't take care of Ovechkin because he was busy with an injured Pens player. Well if you freeze frame a shot of the Pens bench several minutes after Ovechkin left you'll see they have their full complement of players. Someone's not telling the truth and I think I know who.

Posted by: b.orr4 | December 29, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

How long before Sens players are targeting OV's stitches?

A) not at all
B) after OV goal
C) OV's first shift

Is there a doctor in the house?

Posted by: who needs stitches? | December 29, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

good call giving pettinger the night off. he could use a different perspective.

Posted by: pgreene | December 29, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Holy Moly! Semin is back!! So will that goal infuriate the Sens into action, or defeat them early?!? Wouldn't it be nice if we could beat them in their own house AGAIN?!? I know, I shouldn't say this out loud ... maybe it does not count since I only typed it?!?

Posted by: Boo! | December 29, 2007 7:17 PM | Report abuse

BTW, good to see that Cassivi's pads made it - too bad he didn't get a chance to practice with them. :-(

Posted by: Boo! | December 29, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

This is beautiful ... why do I feel like I am talking to myself?!?

Posted by: Boo! | December 29, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

GO OVIE!!!!

Man...if only we played against everyone the way we do the Sens.

Posted by: keef | December 29, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

This is awesome...if only I could watch it instead of listening to the stupid radio.

Posted by: keef | December 29, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

I missed the first period, and have been out of town the last few days, but things are looking good here in the 2nd period.

Posted by: Jeff | December 29, 2007 8:19 PM | Report abuse

shots on goal is also impressive

Posted by: jim* | December 29, 2007 8:20 PM | Report abuse

This is fun ...

Posted by: Boo! | December 29, 2007 8:24 PM | Report abuse

BB needs to backhand Olie repeatedly for a day. I guess the word's out that all you need to do is slap a backhand across him to score.

Posted by: keef | December 29, 2007 8:26 PM | Report abuse

OK, THAT was not fun, but the 2 goal lead is still fun! :-)

Posted by: Boo! | December 29, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Oops, Olie just let in his fourth consecutive penalty shot (including shootouts).

Posted by: Joe B | December 29, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to mention: that penalty shot resulted from Mike Green being too focused on his offense, not being back to cover his defensive responsibilities.

Posted by: Joe B | December 29, 2007 8:30 PM | Report abuse

@Joe B

I've been noticing this problem growing increasingly worse over the past few games. I still think they should try bumping him up to a forward.

Posted by: keef | December 29, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

HAHAHAHAHA - Kozlov cannot catch a break.

Posted by: keef | December 29, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse

...but Baby Back makes the most of it.

Posted by: keef | December 29, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

@keef

Or Boudreau should tell Green that his offense is nice, but he's first and foremost a defenseman and should play as such or take a brief "vacation."

Posted by: Joe B | December 29, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Five big ones against the Senators!
Congrats to Backstrom, 1G 2A (so far).

Posted by: Joe B | December 29, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Way to go by Brash, keeping the late fight from being a boost for the opposition with about a dozen strong lefts. I think maybe Neil was looking for the right hand at the start there?

Posted by: Kurt | December 29, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

@Joe B

But on the flip of that he's going to be asked to provide some points though and he crashes the net to try and do that. :)

Honestly, I think he's performing better when he's on the offensive than behind the blue line. He's had some beautiful breakaways where he's split multiple defensemen and some d'oh moments on defense.

Posted by: keef | December 29, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Will that penalty shot be considered shorty?

Posted by: keef | December 29, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

@keef

I mostly agree, Green's showing very good offensive skills. But he's got to do better at picking his opportunities to play deep in the offensive zone.

On that power play, Ovie was already in deep from the point; Green should have stayed back then.

Posted by: Joe B | December 29, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

"Will that penalty shot be considered shorty?"

No. Believe it or not, Olie was actually in goal for the penalty shot, so it was 1 0n 1.

Posted by: Joe B | December 29, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

What an awesome second period :D

That hit on Backstrom seemed too rough (elbow on head)

GO CAPS

Posted by: mauree | December 29, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

@Joe B: hahahahah, nice one. I think Olie should turn around on those shots and play backwards. I bet he'd have a higher save %.

Posted by: keef | December 29, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

5-3

I hope five is enough to overcome our formerly good goaltender.

Posted by: Joe B | December 29, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

What a surprise, Olie lets in another soft one. Ugh, this is getting old. Hopefully the boys will hold on for the W despite Kolzig's inability to stop the puck.

Posted by: Mitch | December 29, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

aaaaaaaaaaand Kolzig with another weak goal. Too bad the Caps didn't get a real goalie for Xmas this year.

And the penalty shot? Soon as it was announced I called the score, because let's face it, most peewee players have a decent shot of beating Old Man Olie one on one.

Posted by: Jim | December 29, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Backstrom ROCKS!
Kolzig SUCKS
Petty WHO?

Posted by: Puckguru | December 29, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

F'ing brilliant, guys. Good job.

Posted by: keef | December 29, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

5-4 :(

Come on Ovie, we need that hat trick.

Posted by: Joe B | December 29, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey, here's how you beat Olie.....JUST SHOT AT HIM!!!!

Posted by: Mitch | December 29, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse

man oh man
This is the time to check the hell out of them

Posted by: mauree | December 29, 2007 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Looks like BB told Nylander to shoot the damn biscuit for a change. :)

Posted by: keef | December 29, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

THANK YOU NYLANDER AND SEMIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Note to Defense: Block Shots because your goalie can't!!!

Posted by: Mitch | December 29, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

6-4 :)

I really think they need to make the nets bigger.

Nice 2 on 1 for Nylander's goal.

Posted by: Joe B | December 29, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

ooh i was going to say (at 5-4) i liked the policy of easing back on 1st & 2nd line players once we had a lead until nylander scored (6-4). scratch that, i still like that policy now that policy now that we're back at 2 goals.

Posted by: jim* | December 29, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

what a pass by Semin

Posted by: mauree | December 29, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Incidentally, how many like-minded fans would it take to start a 'Brz-ga-LOV!' chant at the next home tilt?

Posted by: Kurt | December 29, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

6-5.

The Caps need a starting and a back up goalie.

Posted by: Joe B | December 29, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Kurt: We can chant Bryzgalov all we want, but it's not going to bring him here.

HAT TRICK OVIE!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Mitch | December 29, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

HAT TRICK!!!

Posted by: keef | December 29, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

7-5! Hat trick for Ovechkin!

Can the Caps hold them off for 6 minutes?

Posted by: Joe B | December 29, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

This has got to be one of craziest games that I have ever seen ... I LOVE IT!!!!!! :-D

Posted by: Boo! | December 29, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

These Caps never give up. Me like it.

Posted by: mauree | December 29, 2007 9:35 PM | Report abuse

7-6. I hope Ottowa doesn't go for the two-point conversion!

Posted by: Joe B | December 29, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Okay, seriously. Denis was on the waiver wire.

Posted by: Kurt | December 29, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

mauree - you spoke too soon ... can they hold it off for two minutes?!?

Posted by: Boo! | December 29, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Kurt- Denis' record is worse than Kolzig's.

Posted by: Boo! | December 29, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

4 for Ovie!!!!

Posted by: Joe B | December 29, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Ovie is a super-freakin-star!

Posted by: Boo! | December 29, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

take 2:

These Caps never give up. Me like it.

Posted by: mauree | December 29, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

mauree - me like it too :-) oh, and, for the record, i am on your kolzig bandwagon this time (thanks for riding mine last time).

Posted by: Boo! | December 29, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Thank god for OV, who's amazing. Just think what would happen to this team if he got seriously hurt. I don't even want to think about it.

Kolzig stopping a heroic 73% of the shots. YOU'RE AMAZING TOO, OLIE! JUST IN A DIFFERENT WAY!

Posted by: Kip | December 29, 2007 9:48 PM | Report abuse

kip - if ovie had not played tonight, we would have SO lost this game!!

Posted by: Boo! | December 29, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Kills me that I'm in Chicago tonight and Comcast is showing an AHL Chicago Wolves game on TV instead of the Caps game.

Posted by: Ogilthorpe | December 29, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Ogilthorpe - you missed a good one ... hope you taped it!! ;-)

Posted by: Boo! | December 29, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

The Caps played their hearts out tonight, and looked great.

I predict a 5-game slide.

Posted by: MikeZ | December 29, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

even though a lot of those goals were tips, fluky bounces, etc., 6 goals on 22 shots is pretty painful.

Posted by: pgreene | December 29, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

JEEZ!
Get the trainer to cut OV's other leg...
Or maybe one of Kozlov's...

Kolzig needs ten or twelve stitches in his blocker hand maybe?

Posted by: pmoravek | December 29, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

I hate to be negative about Zilla...but you're spot-on.
He HAS GOTTA come up with some of those.
(and he would have 3 or 4 years ago)

I still

Posted by: pgreene | December 29, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Just got off the HNIC feed and Cherry just called Brashear a phony for not fighting McGratton and instead fighting O'neil. They showed the first five seconds of the fight and the last five seconds to which Cherry said Brashear lost. What the hell crack is this guy smoking? He obviously missed the 15 straight shots to Oneil's head. And then he called Brashear a hot dog for wiping his hands after the fight. But nothing about Oneil's gestures to the crowd. And he wasn't done as he called out Brashear for hitting McSorley when he had a bad shoulder I guess insinuating the phony deserved the stick across the side of his head.

The Canadians can't stand when their boys get whipped so they start making crap up.

I used to have respect for Don Cherry but not anymore and wouldn't mind seeing his ugly suits shoved up his a$$. (Oh, did I just insult a deity? Good!)

Looks like we have a showdown Saturday afternoon and I hope Cherry is watching.

Posted by: Just make a save | December 29, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Olie sucks.

Ugly win, but 2 points is nice.

Posted by: Steve R | December 29, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Sorry pgreene...
I was responding to you,
not trying to post AS you.

Anyway...
I still thing Olie can get his game on track. I'm not sure what it will take to trigger it, but I think he still has some juice left in the tank.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 29, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Meant Tuesday afternoon.

Posted by: Just make a save | December 29, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Well, that was a nailbiter, and I could only listen to the radio feed from the Caps website.

A few questions about Kolzig: Is he really slipping, or just in a slump that he can break out of? Did his injury last year shake his confidence? What were his stats pre and post Boudreau? Could the coaching change be disagreeing with him?

Posted by: Gelf | December 29, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

If Grapes is complaining about Brash then he just saw video clips.
The whole reason Brash went after Neil was because of the hit he put on Nicky B. Something needed to be done about that and I am glad it was because Donald politley hand him his A$$!

Posted by: pmoravek | December 29, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

I honestly don't know if Olie has lost his mo-jo or if there is still a chance he can bounce back. I would like to think the latter, but after games like this, I am not sure. Olie did not win this game - the rest of the team did. It is rare that both the O and the D are firing on all cylinders, and tonight they were. If Olie was, too, then it would have been a much lower scoring game. My only other observations from tonight are that Gerber had an off night and we had too many penalties. Regardless, it was a win - I'll take it!! :-)

Posted by: Boo! | December 29, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

@Gelf

The only thing hampering Kolzig is his age. The old adage that "fine wine gets better with time" does not apply to Kolzig. In his hayday.....10 years ago, he was the MAN. Now, he's the senior citizen that needs to hang it up. Unfortunately, we're stuck with Zilla...I mean fizzle until the end of the year and knowing our luck the next 3 years cause numbnuts GMGM will resign him. Unless we get a real GM in DC to pull off some deals and get a goaltender....it is what it is.

@MikeZ

We don't want a slide. We want a STREAK! WINNING STREAK!!!

Lastly, Ovie is the MAN!!! If the Caps did not have Ovie...well the Caps wouldn't win a game and wouldn't have any fans and Tarik would not be writing about them.

Posted by: Mitch | December 29, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Kip,

gerber was just above 73% in sv % (incl empty netter) and 76% if u don't count the empty netter.

Posted by: jim* | December 29, 2007 10:32 PM | Report abuse

17 out of a possible 26 points in December, not bad. If they can keep this pace it should put them in the 85 - 90 point range conservatively, which should be enough to contend for #8 in the east.

not sure if anyone has noticed, but I wonder who puts this list together; http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/playerranking? Marc Savard over AO... yeah right. I'll take crack smoking sports writers for $200 Alex.

Posted by: pch49 | December 29, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Hey Mitch

Don't leave out Nicky B.
He had a great game too.
That pass to Nyls....
Let's just say Nylander owes the kid dinner...eh?
Make it a table for three...he should take Semin to the same restaurant.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 29, 2007 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Good Lord Kolzig looks gassed. Seriously, I was actually nervous looking at him play in net like a pylon even when we were up by 3 or 4 goals. (I was right to be nervous).

Either he's tired or he should be re-tired. Either way I hope he sees the bench soon.

Posted by: Sapper | December 29, 2007 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I love Olie but i'm afraid i'm going to have to agree with his haters. His play has been horrible. He only made 16 saves. Whatever no one will remember because all that matters is we creamed the best team in the east and Ovie scored four goals.

Posted by: DC FURY | December 29, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

"I'll take crack smoking sports writers for $200 Alex."

LMAO

Posted by: pmoravek | December 29, 2007 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Ya know what DC FURY?
I was feeling the same way.

Gabby was talking about that kind of thinking before the game.

I guess it doesn't matter if Olie makes us nervous, what really matters is if the players are confident in him.
(I just don't see how they could be)

Posted by: pmoravek | December 29, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

You don't have to look at the numbers to see Olie is slipping fast. He really really looks slow. He looks like he's got cement skates on and an invisible rubber band snapping him down to the ice and holding him there. Absolutely zero lateral movement or recovery.

And that penalty shot he got beaten on was the same backhand move that NY or whoever used to score three shootout goals in a row on him the other night.

Posted by: Sapper | December 29, 2007 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Sapper, that was DET. They had the book on Olie. He doesn't believe in the SO, I guess, so any shot will do.

What matters to me is that the team was able to keep scoring despite the Sens' attempted comeback. I was hoping Kozlov would score, at least to show us he's worth that big contract.

Posted by: Green Trees | December 29, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

What is it with the Senators and the Red Wings that bring the best out of everyone?

Seriously?

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | December 29, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I've crunched Kolzig's numbers from this season, not including tonight's game. I also excluded shoot-out goals. I got all my stats from http://stats.washingtonpost.com/nhl/playerstats.asp?id=687&team=23&page=logs so if the Post has something wrong, I've got something wrong. All typos and math mistakes are my own. These stats include 15 games pre-Boudreau, and 15 games post-Boudreau. Nice symmetry, eh?

Pre-Boudreau, Kolzig let in an average of 2.8 goals per game, and faced an average of 28.133 shots per game. He let in 9.95% of shots, and stopped 90.05%. Post-Boudreau, Kolzig let in an average of 2.933 goals per game, and faced an average of 25.333 shots per game. He let in 11.6% of shots, and stopped 88.4%. However, the standard deviation on his save percentage is around 6%, so those numbers aren't statistically significant, and may mean nothing. Cheers!

Posted by: Gelf | December 29, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

@Just Make and pmor,
What? Que? Quoi? I've been to Don Cherry's in Ottawa several times and make it a point to go there to watch games when in town. Once I get confirmation about what you guys are claiming (youtube I guess) no more. I can always watch a game and drink Labatts at the hotel bar.

Hell, I never really liked Cherry anyway. "He's from Moose Jaw ya know?" Who cares!

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | December 29, 2007 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Gelf, those numbers can be skewed due to BB's more aggressive forechecking system. Hanlon favored a more defensive system.

Regardless, I don't think Olie performance under BB has anything to do with him and BB not getting along.

Posted by: Green Trees | December 29, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

@Sapper

I'm afraid I can't watch the games from Milwaukee, so looking at numbers is all I can do. :)

I don't agree with how people are saying it, I've got too much respect left from when Kolzig was an excellent goalie, but I do agree that Kolzig should not be the starting goaltender next year. It's about time to turn Kolzig out to pasture and give him a nice retirement for all that he's done for the Caps.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 29, 2007 11:11 PM | Report abuse

@Mitch
Yeah, I know. But I seem to recall a coach getting fired soon after the last time we beat the Sens...


For all you Olie haters:
"'It was definitely a ratings booster for the TV stations and I'm sure the fans got their money's worth, but I'm too old for these kind of games,' Kolzig said. 'It's going to force me to retire sooner than I want.'"

Yes, he's old. Not like it's his fault. I don't understand why management had NO plan to replace our rapidly aging (yet still occasionally heroic) goalie.

Posted by: MikeZ | December 29, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

I one of Olie's chief detractors on this board, I feel compelled to be honest here.

Ilya Bryzgalov should be the starting goaltender for the Washington Capitals. He is not. George McPhee is to blame. The only indication of WHY he is not was a vague reference to team chemistry during Tarik's on-line chat. Tarik has never asked McPhee, for the record, why he didn't pick up Bryzgalov.

THAT BEING SAID.. I watched the entire game tonight and it would be VERY difficult to fault Kolzig on most of those goals. The Spezza slap shot in the 3rd was a weakie, no question. And of course Kolzig can't stop a breakaway, so the penatly shot was obviously going in.

But other than that, the Senators scored on a collection of crazy bounces, screens and horrid defensive break-downs.

So I'm willing to cut Olie some slack for this game, because for one thing it was Ottawa, and for another the Caps ened up winning.

If this game had slipped away I'm not sure if I would be able to feel the same way.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | December 29, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

words..cannot..describe..that game.

Posted by: on ice | December 29, 2007 11:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm still pissed at Don Cherry and his comments about the Brash fight. To think I actually bought a T-shirt from that place a few years ago. I'm gonna find it and use it for kindling for a toasty fire since we are getting some snow tomorrow night.

Way to go Caps!

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | December 29, 2007 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Awesome game. You know Olie being older now it wouldn't be soo hard to believe that he's probably tired. I mean look at how many games in a row he's played and I think BB has picked up on that which is why he was going to start playing Johnny more. I don't think Olie's game was as horrible as everyone thought. There were some redirects that really went the Sens way. That being said can someone seriously tell me what Poti and Kozlov are contributing to this team b/c I'm just not seeing it....

Posted by: K | December 29, 2007 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Oneal

Dude, I want to respect your opinion. But give it up...the Bryzgalov ship has sailed, Man.

If you want to stir another poy, why don't we discuss whether we should claim Sergei Samsonov off waivers.
He makes just north of 3.5 mil a year.
Would he be a good fit with the rest of our Russians?

Let's hear it, Boys.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 29, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

...stir another poy?
I meant stir another POT

Ever since the kid spilled apple juice into this laptop, it's been kinda hincky.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 29, 2007 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Pmoravek - you can't get past the Bryzgalov debacle until someone, somewhere asks GMGM the question, on the record.

Otherwise you're just sweeping the mess under the rug, and meanwhile we're left with a goalie who was ranked 33rd in the league BEFORE giving up six goals tonight.

For the record, Bryzgalov is ranked 8th.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | December 29, 2007 11:55 PM | Report abuse

@pmoravek,
Exactly, Bryz is NOT an option anymore so let's stop waisting our taps and no, I too saw the Samsonov waiver but 3.5M for another potential Kozlov is out of the question! We need to sign Ovie remember? GMGM needs to (oh god, I can't believe I'm putting McPhee in blogger charge) shore up our goaltending situation. 3.5M can buy a pretty good goalie last time I looked. West coast goalies love coming to the defensive minded east to pad their percentage. If GMGM really works the phones come trade deadline, we can get a starter.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | December 29, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I thought about that (claiming Samsonov).

There are two problems:
-he's a shadow of his Boston self, and;
-he's right-handed.

What the Caps need most right now (aside from the obvious -- D and a legitimate successor to Olie), is a strong left shot on the power play. There is not a single one. (Some argument can be made for Zubrus, but he never had the shot that Gonchar or Bondra did.)

And Nylander and Backstrom don't count. No.1 their shots aren't that hard, but, No.2, they're feeders, and shouldn't be counted on for that shot.

Since Bondra left, we have had not one single truly strong left-hander on the team. We used to have Gonchar and Bondra (and that was the time when we didn't have a strong right-hander) at the same time. Now we have Ovie, Semin, Clark, and Green, all of whom are right-handed.

One way we would have solved this problem would have been by claiming Recchi. Or if Poti would play the correct side so that he might get some one-timers from the right point.

But he won't.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | December 30, 2007 12:04 AM | Report abuse

"It was definitely a ratings booster for the TV stations and I'm sure the fans got their money's worth, but I'm too old for these kind of games," Kolzig said. "It's going to force me to retire sooner than I want."

Posted by: keef | December 30, 2007 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Since BB arrived, the level of play has improved greatly over the entire pond with the exception of between the crease.

I am thankful for a tremendous victory. To date the Sens had only lost 8 games. Our boys go up there and knock them off for the second time on their home ice this year.

Reading Tarik's bit in the paper today (yesterday) it seemed an almost impossible feat to beat their boys again. Hell, BB didn't want to say any more that may tick them off!

Great job Ovie, Nickie and the boys...Olie, have the dignity to either get going or hang 'em up.

Posted by: OleMiss | December 30, 2007 12:16 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree with Oneal. While I was getting really nervous every time the Sens were in our zone, I don't really blame Olie for most of them. Spezza's goal shouldn't have happened, Olie reacted a little late for that. I saw a few comments talking about how Olie "let in a softie" on Fisher's SH goal. That was an amazing shot to the roof. If OV or Semin scored it, everyone would be saying what a beautiful play it was. Fisher also had two beautiful deflections, and you can't ever really blame a goalie for having the puck deflect through his five-hole.

Posted by: Stephen | December 30, 2007 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Look guys, we beat Ottawa twice and went toe to toe with Detroit and Pittsburgh. The Pens were preseason predictions to win it all remember? We can continue with our player/personnel who made camp and work Hershey vertically. That is why The Bears are there. Also, we only lost our backup for a few weeks so let BB play our current #2 as needed. The bigger issue is defense/goaltending and Kozy earning his paycheck. About Green, yeah you play D first and jump up as needed but he's young.

We play Ottawa again in a few days which could determine if we really are in the hunt, or BB is just the result of a default situation. I say let's make the Langways, Hunters, and Bondras proud!

Go Caps!

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | December 30, 2007 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Well, for the record, I don't think picking up Samsonov is a particularly good idea. But since there are so many people that think we should claim every POS on the waiver wire...I just thought we should discuss it.

Some of our problems will solve themselves. Fehr should be able to play soon. That should be interesting.
And I think next year Alzner should make the team. And who knows....maybe Koslov breaks out if this slump or whatever it is.
Maybe Nylander starts skating toward the net. And maybe Poti....well, maybe not so much.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 30, 2007 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Give Greener a pass.

Being an offensive-minded defenseman is about taking risks. Your gonna get burned sometimes. As he gets more experienced he will make less mistakes like that.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 30, 2007 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Very exciting game for my little NoVa hockey player reunion down here!

But ultimately it's 2 points. No more, no less. I've never pissed on our team when we lose one and I don't pop champagne when we win one.

What have we won if we lose the next game? Let's build on this baby!

Tonight our offense bailed us out. A shutout sometime soon would be nice.

Posted by: austinsteve | December 30, 2007 1:28 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Kolzig is what he used to be and probably never will be again, but on the other hand what was happening in this game was a bit unusual in that we were holding the mighty Senators to 2 shots in the first period and Olie just wasn't seeing much rubber.

You had to sense that was going to be a problem eventually. Anytime a goalie doesn't see many shots and then the barrage comes it isn't a good thing. Olie did let in at least 2 easy's though, but against the Senators the Caps actually played good D even though at times it didn't look like it. Hey, the Sens can make any team look stupid at times and the good thing is that for most of the game we looked brilliant!

This was the first game in a long time that Ovie actually willed the team to a victory. You just sensed that he wasn't going to let it slip away. There is NOBODY else on the team that can do that...hell there ain't many in the league that can do that.

Great win for the team's confidence. Now let's hope they can do something similar at home in 08.

Posted by: Capfan1 | December 30, 2007 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Even when watching the recap, I don't particularly blame Olie... except the third Sens goal. He KNEW he was going to shoot, had nobody between him and Spezza and he failed to cover the net. That gave them back a lot of momentum. All the other goals were very tough, including the penalty shot, which was a great move (I don't think any goalie can stop that kind of move consistently)

I really didn't expect them to win this one. The way they played was spectacular. In the second period, there were minutes of complete domination... and this is Ottawa, the best team in the conference and possibly in the league.

GO CAPS

Posted by: mauree | December 30, 2007 4:00 AM | Report abuse

@mauree

I totally agree on that penalty shot. A lot of people don't understand that sometimes a good move is just a good move, and there's not much the goalie can do but try and get a piece of it. Also, I watch a lot of Sens hockey (when the Caps aren't on), and Alfie is probably the best go-to guy in the NHL to get a big goal for his team.

Posted by: Stephen | December 30, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

@Olie Detractors -
Bryzgalov is not a goalie for the Washington Capitals. I doubt he'll ever be. He's also average, if not *below* average. Which is what Olie is right now, sadly. So please stop complaining about him. Thank you, that is all.

Posted by: Whiter Mage | December 31, 2007 2:44 AM | Report abuse

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