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Saturday practice notes

Injury Update
Alex Ovechkin and Tom Poti each completed this morning's practice, but only Ovechkin said definitively that he'll suit up tomorrow against the Penguins. Poti said he'll wait until tomorrow morning before making a decision.

Nyls Hurt
Michael Nylander suffered an upper body injury on Thursday and will miss tomorrow's game, Coach Bruce Boudreau said. The veteran center could be out a week, according to Boudreau. Sergei Fedorov, meantime, was just taking the day off and will play against the Pens.

Clean Sweep?
With a win tomorrow over the Pens, the Caps can sweep their rivals for the first time in the series' history. Washington went 6-0-1 vs. Pittsburgh in 1984-85.

Since Boudreau took over in Nov. 2007, the Caps are 4-1-1 against Pittsburgh. Washington was 1-7-1 in the nine games prior to his arrival.

That's Original
Two young women told me on the way into KCI that they plan on distributing 500 pacifiers to fellow Caps fans on the way into Verizon Center tomorrow. I didn't ask why, but it's I'm assuming that dummies are meant to mock Pens captain Sidney Crosby (who in some corners of the hockey world, is considered to be somewhat of a whiner.).

Heading In Opposite Directions
The Caps may be going for a clean sweep of the Pens, but they're also looking to snap an ugly three game losing streak (all the losses came at home, all came against lesser opponents.)

The Pens, meantime, have won five in a row and are 7-1-1 since Coach Michel Therrien was fired. That one regulation loss? A 5-2 defeat to the Caps at Verizon Center on Feb. 22.

Sloan Up
Tyler Sloan, as you're probably already read, has been recalled. So why not Karl Alzner, you ask? If Alzner plays 40 games this season, that means he'll reach free agency a year earlier. They did the same thing with Jeff Schultz in 2006-07, when he played only 38 games.

So do the math.

Poti's Short Shift
Poti took the opening face off on Thursday because that meant he was technically injured during the game, therefore if the Caps recalled a player (which they did) he would be an emergency call up and not count against the maximum of four call-ups each team has after the trade deadline.

More To Come
I'm going to have more on Ovechkin and the rekindling of his rivarly with Sidney Crosby in a bit. The Penguins are set to practice here around 1.


By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 7, 2009; 12:09 PM ET
 
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Next: Crosby: 'It comes down to respect"

Comments

Whoever said GMGM doesn't know what he's doing... This is one sneaky guy. Injured during the game indeed! Not that this would ever happen to me, but I'll never play a game against him.

Posted by: Greg S. | March 7, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

How about 18,000 pacifiers? :)

Posted by: rachel216 | March 7, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see that Ovi will probably be back tomorrow. We need him.

Otherwise, we'll be short a forward, once again, without recalling someone, since Nylander is now out. (If I hear of a forward being recalled tomorrow, then we can worry.)

I think the Caps will be fine once they break out of their slump if they win a couple of games reasonably soon. I'll admit I'm worried about tomorrow, short term. (It's probably a good thing I'm committed to doing something else during the Sunday afternoon time frame when the Caps are on or I'd be too nervous.)

I'll admit I was definitely in a gloom and doom mood on Thursday night. But chances are, they should win the SE division.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 7, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

love the pacifier idea. pens fans have been jerks to us for years, it's about time they get a taste of their own medicine. i wish i could be there to see the looks on their faces.

Posted by: jogabonito | March 7, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update and the notes. Knowing the intricacies of some of the moves is nice, especially the 40 game max thing. I knew Poti had "played" seven seconds for a reason dealing with "when" he was listed as injured, but you explained it perfectly.

Posted by: CamaroFS34 | March 7, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Wow, he is scratched for four games and then gets hurt his first game back? I actually am starting to feel sorry for Nylander.

Hopefully someone will be providing updates on the Bears game tonight. I am so very curious (and equally nervous) about how Pothier does.

Why did Eric Cole have to go back to the Hurricanes? Sheesh.

Posted by: Kim-3 | March 7, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Suggestion: Instead of booing Crosby when he has the puck, how about everyone start crying, like a baby does?

Posted by: kittypawz | March 7, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

alright...I understand the 40 games...but do playoff games count?

Posted by: shotfromthepoint | March 7, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

@Kim-3: You can follow the broadcast yourself. It'll be available on either sportsjuice.com or ahllive.com.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 7, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I heard nyls cut himself while shaving his chest so he could float around the ice even more effortlessly than he does now. Any word on how many stiches he took?

Posted by: wendel2 | March 7, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Awesome! Thanks.

Posted by: Kim-3 | March 7, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

With Karl at 30 GPs so far, that means he will be back up for the last 9 games leading into the playoffs. IMO

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | March 7, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I really like the pacifier idea, I think I might bring my own to join in! I also agree we should whine instead of booing Crosby, he REALLY needs to know what he sounds like! My hubby also suggested, since Sidney sports some of the largest and redest lips I have seen on a man, we should get those big red wax lips and wear them too! I think I might bring both! I love to see people's imagination at work when it comes to poking fun at Crosby! MAKE HIM CRY!

Posted by: NatyBG | March 7, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

@shotfromthepoint,
No playoff games do not count towards the 40 game limit, only regular season games.

Posted by: StikSav | March 7, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Nylander is a contract thief...once he signs hes happy not to play.

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | March 7, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

@Kim, Kittypawz, and anyone else...

Just a reminder that the Bears game is at 4:00 today. Kind of a stupid time for a Saturday game, but whatever....Maybe it's a Canada thing.

Posted by: tess2201 | March 7, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

OK, so I just saw that the Maple Leafs have a home game at 7:00 tonight so I guess that's why the Marlies scheduled theirs for 4:00. They don't use the same rink but I guess they're trying to avoid traffic issues.

Posted by: tess2201 | March 7, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I hope the cameras show those 500 fans with the pacifiers!

Posted by: elicea | March 7, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

LOL. Pacifiers.

I really hope the Caps play their best and WIN this game tomorrow(we seriously need a win), so those fans won't be the ones left crying.

Posted by: bajgirl | March 7, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"Sidney Crosby (who in some corners of the hockey world, is considered to be somewhat of a whiner.)"

Awesome. Is that diplomacy, Tarik, or a very dry wit?

Posted by: jen-s | March 7, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

In Wash! Ready for tomorrow's game!

Let's go boys for the sweep :D

Posted by: mauree | March 7, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

NJ losing to Isles 2-0. This would seem impossible with their fabulous goaltending and defensive leadership.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 7, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, now it's 3-0, still in the first. Good teams never have bad games against teams below them in the standings.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 7, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

mauree ..how can you even bring up a sweep as you call it when your team is a a three game loose streak!...

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | March 7, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Pacifiers? Seriously? Even as a lifelong fan of the Caps, I am starting to agree with some of the people who have been saying that Caps fans are idiots this year. Dressing up and making signs is one thing, but passing out pacifiers is just absurd and wasteful.

The fans are about to be treated to a climactic finale to a series which could very well be some of the best regular season hockey this year, and yet they want to keep playing "Taunt Sid". Not like you will get to him, I mean he will probably get off the ice, slip into his 4,000$ suit, board his chartered jet, then fall asleep dreaming of what to do with all his money.

Posted by: trunkenmath | March 7, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

At least Sid listens when Cherry told him not to jump around when you score .

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | March 7, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I'll handle this one guys since SC07 is still getting over his hangover...

See if we were to win the game, we would sweep the season series against Pitt 4-0. ALSO, winning the game would mean we obviously would not longer be on a losing streak. Complicated I know.

Wow Tim Thomas giving up a juicy rebound for an easy goal. Good thing Boston has a lead but if they get that kind of goaltending in the playoffs they are going to have problems.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 7, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

He jumped around a lot after he tied the game the other day against Fla. It was a nice goal and amazingly no one had a problem with him showing a little emotion. I liked the fist pump, showed he actually cared.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 7, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

@ trunkenmath:

Go back to the Pens blog and fantasize about Sid taking off his $4,000 suit for you!

Posted by: NatyBG | March 7, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Dah Dave I know you have beaten the pens 3 times ...But first I would be laying a little low since you have a little streak of your own to worry about! Is that what you ppl in DC think hockey is all about showing up your opposition WOW you ppl have lots to learn

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | March 7, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

1907 is a portage for rats.

likely a ballslapper as well.

Posted by: WhyGo | March 7, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

teach us, oh mighty offspring of Cherry's loin

Posted by: WhyGo | March 7, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Stuh-Stuh-Stuh-Stanley is a boner

Posted by: WhyGo | March 7, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

You better read your history of the Stanley Cup again WhyGO

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | March 7, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

SC07 all the top teams in the league have had little bad patches this season. No reason to lay low when we're one of the best teams in the league.

Wow Thomas just had another one blown past him. 4-1 to 4-3 just that fast. Man Thomas 3-4 career in playoffs. Lots of experience there. Marty has given up 4 to the Isles in only half a game so far. Elite teams with lots of grit indeed.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 7, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Chief is so fun to provoke.

He won't be able to move away from our blog all day now. His Mom is calling him to clean his room and he keeps tellin' her 'IN A MINUTE, MA!!'

Posted by: WhyGo | March 7, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Just because I'm doing penance for disrespecting history does not mean that you are not a boner.

Posted by: WhyGo | March 7, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Whew Thomas gets saved by an empty netter. It's a good thing Boston has such a quality backup in Manny Fernandez backing him up come playoff time. Manny's 3-4 career playoff record just shows how much experience the B's have in net come playoff time.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 7, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

5-2 Isles. Poor Marty. Elite team.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 7, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Thread Bite!

Posted by: WhyGo | March 7, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

one of the best teams in the league!!!!???? Dave I told you not to mix your medication's
Your team will never win the Cup as it stands now. As i said before you need a goaltender ....less Russians that have no desire to win the Cup all they want is to win the world championships ..that is their cup
and O.V is a great player its just he thinks everyone is watching him and the world revolves around him He is NOT a team player...All this = NO CUP CAPS

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | March 7, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

That was a lot of gibberish. Not a team player oh my friend you are too funny. Fortunately I don't take any meds, but I know you are an authority on such things so if I ever have to once I hit old age I will take that advice knowing the source is someone who would know.

I guess we'll just have to wait an see. Teams go from last place in the league to winning the Cup in a year and a half all the time. Yeah, that's a realistic expectation. I'm looking for a Cup in the next 3-5 years, not this year.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 7, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Hey NatyBG,

Oh Snap:
http://tinyurl.com/cxtz6y

and to prove where I live:
http://tinyurl.com/bdrzsy

You may send me to another team's forums when you are paying 100 euros a season AND have to get up at 1am to watch all the games. Seriously, you bandwagoners need to learn some of us watch the sport for the action and not to be fan fixtures.

Posted by: trunkenmath | March 7, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

They will have to blow up the team first Dave Find out if Semin really can play a whole season Get a tender and rebuild around O.V. Only if he matures and becomes a leader and not worrying about his entertainment value

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | March 7, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

O.V reminds me of Dennis Rodman

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | March 7, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

real discussion see I like THIS SC07. I think he has become a leader over the last 2 seasons, the comments of the team tell the story as is how he leads them on the ice. The whole "entertainment" thing I'd like to leave on the side in a discussion like this, because in truth, it doesn't seem to affect his game at all and it's not relevant to the idea of what the team needs going forward.

I don't think they'll need to blow the team up, our top 2 defensive prospects aren't yet in the NHL and a lot of our guys that log minutes now are still young and will improve. Obviously Theodore isn't the long term solution, he isn't even the long term commitment they only inked him to 2 years. That's why we have 2 of the better goalie prospects to compete to see who takes over.

The next couple years will see which holes we fill, which prospects show themselves to be ready to contribute, and how we sign guys to keep the core of this team together. I think Semin has proved he can play, I want to see him play a full season but I'm still not convinced he just didn't have one bad injury each of the last 2 years vs. say a lot of minor stuff every other week (which would be a sign to me he's injury prone vs. just bad luck). Semin playing 75-80 games a year I think he is a 40 goal scorer and challenges for top 5 in scoring in the league.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 7, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh Dave but it does affect the team..Did Avery affect his team in his little way..and thats all Grapes was saying is OV is better than that and should act the part
And your right about Semin but he must prove he can play a full season his stats say otherwise..Dave your the first person in here that talk a little cents

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | March 7, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I'll be honest, comparing OV to Avery is a joke. Ovie taking runs at people is extremely exaggerated. It almost comes off like they don't want one of the top skill players in the league to be physical because it's not what Gretzky did. There's nothing wrong with his enthusiasm especially when he shows as much or more for teammates than he does for himself. THAT fact is why I think he is a great team leader and it's a positive aspect to his game and not a negative one. The fact the rest of the team joins in only seems to reinforce this fact in my opinion.

Semin's a weird case because he was so quiet and young in his first stint I really only think you can consider his past 3 seasons. 2 seasons ago he played in 77 games and put up 38 goals and 35 assists. 77 games is good enough of a full season in my book you miss 5 games here or there for various little stuff maybe even illness. Last year he had that ankle injury coming out of training camp that caused him to miss a lot of time and get him off to a slow start when he came back...still put up 26 goals in 63 games. This year he has 27 goals in 47 games along with 35 assists. The one back/shoulder problem he had from taking a bad cross check cost him a lot of time.

If it was a lot of little injuries I would worry about it, but it just happened to be an ankle (just see Feds this season for how long those can take) and the back thing this year which hasn't interrupted his scoring pace at all since he came back, and it also hasn't been recurring. The guy is an elite offensive talent, there is no question about that. This season especially playing on the PK his defensive skills have gotten much better, and he has one of the best lift checks with that active stick of anyone in the league. I really think if he could play 75-80 games next season he could be close to the 100 point mark and the 40 goal mark.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | March 7, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I've often wished that the Washington Post would print tables for the best players in terms of how many points they've notched up per game played.

Today I compared Ovechkin and Semin in this regard, and here is the result:

- Ovechkin - 1.317 points per game to date this season
- Semin - 1.319.

Interesting! Looks like they're virtually tied for Caps' MVP.

Peter Reddaway

Posted by: pbreddaway | March 7, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

It did seem that Semin certainly had some bad luck in the injury department the last two years. Last year, he had sprained his ankle. He tried to come back too soon and reinjured it. Then, he missed about 3-4 games for a badly bruised tailbone.

This year, he was off to such a great start and was injured (back) in the early Nov game against NJ. (I'm not sure how the injury occurred.) Apparently, it was a pinched nerve. Then, it seemed he was back less than a month when he took that nasty cross check from Dave Backis of STL which reinjured his back.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 7, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

@WhyGo:

Thanks for clowning SC1907. I can't imagine what he actually does for a living, to warrant such a sour attitude on a blog that isn't about his team. If there was anyone that would know a thing about needing attention 24/7, it'd probably be SC1907 and the pompous Canadian guy who wears some hicktown designer's Mardi Gras suit line.

I am forever in your debt for coining the term "ballslapper". Whenever I feel blue, I think about the word "ballslapper" and Sidney Crosby's smiling face and just giggle. It makes me happy. What would make me even happier? Seeing StanleyCup1907 in person and being able to laugh at him personally.

Thanks for the laughs, WhyGo. Unleash the fury tomorrow, folks! Oh, and WhyGo, post up a link of your poster, dude. I'd LOVE to see that poster and use it on my facebook and/or myspace. =)

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 7, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

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