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Scrimmage Scandal

So what was the best thing about tonight's scrimmage?

That John Erskine recorded a hat trick? That Donald Brashear did, too? How about Alex Ovechkin's penalty shot goal on Jose Theodore? Or that Coach Bruce Boudreau, who served as linesman and referee, had to stop the action at one point and remind his players to lighten up?

While all of that made the trip to outdoor rink at Chevy Chase Club worth it, the best thing, for me anyway, was the fact that the players couldn't agree on which team actually won the 3-on-3 scrimmage.

The scoreboard indicated that the white team had edged the blue squad, 11-10 (or 12-10, depending on when you looked at it). But several members of the blue team argued that Ovechkin had jammed a pass from Alexander Semin past Theodore as time expired, tying the score.

Boudreau, though, did not allow Ovechkin's apparent buzzer beater and the scrimmage, which consisted of two 15 minute periods, was called.

"It was tied," Ovechkin said. "The referee was no good. Tell Bruce he was no good."

Said David Steckel: "It depends on who you're asking. If you ask the blue team, we tied. If you ask the white team, they say they won by one."

The one thing the players could agree on was that a good time was had by everyone, including the two hundred (or so) club members who cheered from behind the glass and in the stands.

"It was awesome," Brooks Laich said. "If you looked at the guy's faces, every time someone made a play or a goal was scored, guys were hooting and hollering. It was a nice break from the strenuous practicing and the business-like atmosphere. Tonight we had a lot of fun."

The idea to scrimmage rather than run through drills was Boudreau's. He has a history of spicing up boring practices by making them into something fun, sort of like the three-team Gaetan Duschsne Cup tournament he instituted during training camp.

"Now I know why the refs don't like us," Boudreau said. "Those guys are relentless on the referees. I don't know who won."

"It was fun until both teams started yelling at me," he added with a big smile. "I thought they were getting too serious, so I had to pull them aside. I told them, 'Leave me alone, guys. I can't take this pressure.'"

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 29, 2009; 9:41 PM ET
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With the NJ win tonight, the Caps are now in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 29, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Any highlights on tonight's match? (specifically the last goal controversy?)

Posted by: redskinsux | January 29, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

The Caps also have the worst winning percentage of any division leader.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 29, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Debbie Downer.

Posted by: _jordan | January 29, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

DET lost 4-2 at home. They're going to come here hungry for a win after 3 straight losses. Come on boys, let's make it 4 losses :D

I wish the Caps put a webcam to stream the game - how awesome would be to see Caps vs Caps with BB referee lol

Posted by: mauree | January 29, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

The Caps also have the worst record among division leaders over the last 10 games.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 29, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

If the Caps don't upgrade their defense, a deep playoff run seems unlikely.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 29, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, it definitely would've been cool to see it in some way or another.

Posted by: FedorovCrunch | January 29, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

So tell me tmac2yao, how fun are you at parties?

Posted by: TheSkyIsntFalling | January 29, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse


I need to know if Boudreau wore a ref costume or not! :)

Posted by: rockthered | January 29, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

The only party I'm worried about is the one where we're celebrating the Caps winning the Stanley Cup. With this defense, the chances of that party occurring are pretty slim. I'm hoping for some good news by March 4th.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 29, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse


I shall surname you "cheerleader"

Posted by: mauree | January 29, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

@mauree - I was gonna surname him "Cheef"........

Posted by: irockthered | January 29, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Based on Tarik's report, BB knows what he's doing. I think the Caps will be back with a blast come Saturday. Don't think for a minute that some pond hockey and the Wings in town won't get them fired up. Let's blow them out from second one on Saturday.

Well done, all.

Posted by: saintex | January 29, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

did Pothier end up playin?

Posted by: BoomerTSFX | January 29, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Y'know... this was a fun blog entry, until tmac2yao showed up. I shouldn't feed the trolls, though.

Posted by: irockthered | January 29, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

If the Caps don't trade for a defenseman, I think we should move Fedorov to the blue line permanently and bump Nylander to 2nd line C.

When the playoffs roll around, we can roll with these D lines:


Posted by: tmac2yao | January 29, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I responded to you on the previous thread.

Yes, the Wings are going to be hungry; I hope the Caps are hungrier. We've all seen what the Caps can do when they are on their game and when home ice has them fired up ... let's hope we get a double-dose of that this weekend!! :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | January 29, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

The "game" was awesome! So much fun to see the team in such close quarters and on pretty decent ice.

I wish Richmond Phil could have seen it,...oh yeah he couldn't. Sorry dude.

Posted by: gtydings | January 29, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Let's face it, the Caps will most likely finish third overall in the conference barring a miraculous change of defensive playing scheme. They should be concentrating on making sure they continue to beat the Rangers, Montreal and Buffalo (And possibly Pittsburgh). So far their record against these 4 teams are an incredible 10-2, while they are 1-1-1 and 2-0-1 against NJ and Boston respectively. They need to continue to hone that killer instinct against the lower rank teams and teams in their own division just to send a message and to build up confidence. Basically they need to start training for tight Playoff hockey games against the lower echelon teams. Conference Champions and home ice advantage just does not mean much anymore in the Playoffs.

Posted by: JohnWWW | January 29, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

"@mauree - I was gonna surname him "Cheef"........"


Posted by: redskinsux | January 29, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

I love posts like tmac that speak to nothing but records without considering the specifics -- EACH of the other division leaders in the ATL and the NE have had almost TWICE as many games against the very weak SE as the Caps have -- and the Caps have a better record by far against the ATL than ANY other team in the East and a better record in the NE than everyone but Boston -- who they are tied with in losses/and ot losses - so please -- quit raining on everyone's parade

Posted by: Terpsrule | January 29, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

tmac2yao. He's new, huh? It's bad enough I'm already anxious whenever the Caps play. He's got to remind me that it's a constant race to the Stanley Cup. Caps will recover. I have no doubt that they will. Besides, I'll be bringing some Left Coast luck next week in their games against the Kings and the Panthers. Let's go Caps!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | January 29, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

WTF gtydings!!!

A comment actually pertaining to the Caps scrimmage!? Kudos, somebody knows how to stay on topic.

I think this scrimmage was a good thing for the Caps. They need to have fun once in awhile and get their frustrations out.

Ovechkin's comment was funny "The referee was no good. Tell Bruce he was no good."

Posted by: hockeynightincanada | January 29, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

They had fun, the Caps were very relaxed and enjoyed it for what it was, a fun event.

Because it was closed to the public, a once in a season occurence that pissed most off and started an anti-country club commentary is BS. Get over it! Stop the whining and complaining.

The comments on this Whine board is pathetic about a closed scrimmage is laughable.

Sorry Phil, better luck next job

Posted by: gtydings | January 29, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Yea, I'm new to this website but have been a fan for a long time.

My father worked for the Census Bureau and used to get season tickets and split them among co-workers to save money. He was going to games since the mid-70s. He passed away last year but was following the Caps until the very end.

His favorite player at the time he started taking me to games in the early 80s was Bengt Gustafsson. There were a couple of players he was also a big fan of from the 70s that I never saw play. I can't remember their names. I was a huge Gartner fan. It was awesome to see his number retired a few weeks ago.

I have a lot of memories of going to games as a kid back when they were still playing at the Capitals Centre. Hanging out with my father in one of the bars in the arena after the games was almost as fun as the game itself at that age. Getting signatures from players and broken sticks after games was great, too. I don't think I have any memorabilia left. I had a Scott Stevens growth chart poster on the wall in my bedroom for years.

I also grew up with Jeff Halpern. We were good friends and played soccer together. He was an outstanding athlete. He was as good at baseball as he was at hockey at one point. The one sport he sucked at was basketball :). He couldn't shoot straight. I could never figure out how he could be good at so many sports yet suck immensely at basketball. I can still see that clown stuffing oranges in his mouth during lunch. He was a good kid. Everybody liked him. He left our high school in 10th grade to pursue hockey more seriously. It was incredible to see him end up on the Caps. I remember talking to his parents at a few games several years ago and congratulating them for his success. They were a huge part of it, especially his father. I was really sad to hear about his mother's accident.

Anyhow, it's awesome to see the Caps with a pretty good team. I think winning the Cup this season may be a little out of reach based on some of their weaknesses. A trade to bring in a top defenseman could make a big difference though and I wouldn't be surprised to see it happen. If for some reason the Caps don't win it all this season, the good news is that they have a nice foundation of talent and growing fan support.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 29, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Any news on Pothier?

Posted by: --Boo-- | January 29, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

I talked to Pothier for a long time tonight. He's doing much better and can do almost everything in practice. He's even had some light contact in recent practices. But he still needs to get medical clearance and he's not sure when that will come. All he can do, for now, is continue ramping up the intensity of his training and stick with his therapy sessions.


Posted by: el_bashir | January 29, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

nice story tmac2yao.

I think most here agree that the Cup might be out of reach this season, the team is still too green for it, and they're not yet hungry enough for it. But, so much talent, and so much fun to watch :) (and so stressful too at times lol)

Posted by: mauree | January 29, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Tarik. Did Pothier play tonight? If so, how did he look?

Posted by: --Boo-- | January 29, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

"nice story tmac2yao."

I believe the name is, "Cheef"

Posted by: redskinsux | January 29, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Pothier update! I've always liked him as a player (even when I watched him play at RPI back in the day) and it's great to hear he's doing much better.

Posted by: FedorovCrunch | January 29, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse


thank you! 1999 was my first year at RPI, and I remember when a player signed for an NHL team. Now it turns out it was Pothier, and he plays for the Caps! Cool stuff :)

I think that one was the year that somebody won the car during intermission, wasn't it?

Posted by: mauree | January 30, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse


Yeah, I didn't start at RPI until 2002, but I had season tickets all through high school. Right after I moved down here, he ended up signing with the Capitals which was cool.

And now that you mention it, I seem to recall the car thing. I'm not sure when it was exactly, but it seems like the right timeframe.

Posted by: FedorovCrunch | January 30, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

I'm a newbie too but I'm almost certain it works better if we all believe they can get into the playoffs and maybe have a decent shot at the Stanley Cup. Isn't that part of the reason we watch each game? Isn't there a part of us that believes that the Caps could win the Cup? If we keep the faith that they have a chance, then there's a reason for us to be in the stands. Win or lose, I'll be a Caps fan. And as a Caps fan, if given a chance to talk to one of them, I wouldn't want the words "I don't think you guys could win the Cup this year but next year for sure..." to be what I say to show my "support". I'll keep to my polly positive attitude about the Caps and their chance at the Cup.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | January 30, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse


Obviously we all want to believe that the Caps will win it this year. But realistically, without another solid D-man or two, an injury free lineup, and consistent goaltending--which all may be possible this year, it's hard to see the Caps winning the Cup this year.

But, you gave me a good laugh when you mentioned what we would hypothetically say if we talked to a Caps player. hah.

Posted by: redskinsux | January 30, 2009 2:10 AM | Report abuse

Hello All!
Great to see BB occasionally lightening things up as reminders to the boys that they have the greatest jobs in the world!

Nice to hear from someone who also recalls the Capital Centre with fond, childhood memories.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | January 30, 2009 2:13 AM | Report abuse

Hahahaha. Good post.

The outcome of the Bos-NJ game sucks for us, but I think we can and will catch up to NJ. It's not the end of the world, folks. (I just have to keep telling myself that.) I seem to recall that we had a similar rocky period when we lost all those guys and started playing with a ton of Hershey guys, and then things evened out.

Dropping to third in the conference might just have gotten these guys' attention. Let's hope so, because we need a serious run now. Florida is winning great guns and is gunning to catch up to us.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 30, 2009 3:01 AM | Report abuse

@BernieWolfefan: Was it hard to see the Caps winning the division last year or going to the playoffs at this time last year?

I rest my case.

I think an injury-free lineup is a little too much to ask, honestly - won't happen, injury is a fact of life in this sport. Consistent goaltending? At this point, I'm looking to #60 for that, and if he keeps going as he is, we might just manage. Need to play #1 now and then too. Another solid D-man or two? Let's see what GMGM has up his sleeve at the trade deadline.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 30, 2009 3:05 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget your floppy hats and sunglasses for the game tomorrow!

Also, don't forget your Fedorov signs -

for the "unofficial Fedorov tribute" the Road Crew is planning!

Posted by: irockthered | January 30, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

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