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Snowvechkin hits D.C., Part II?

Morning roundup


One quick snow-related programming note: The Caps have moved their practice time up to 9 a.m. to get a head start before Mother Nature pelts D.C. with another giant snowball, and Tarik is doing the same -- his flight to Montreal is in a few minutes. The team is going to keep things short and sweet at Kettler, but we'll keep you updated if there's any kind of news.

On to the morning roundup:

In today's Post, Gene Wang writes that while the NFL is winning the battle for TV by billions of dollars, Caps owner Ted Leonsis believes the NHL can own the Web.

"Where we should be advantaged is our customers are younger, more educated, Web-savvy than the NFL audience, which is older, less wired," Leonsis said. "So let's pick a fight we have a shot at winning, and if our consumers are younger, and they love video games, and they have shorter attention spans, and they love interactivity, and they love social media, and everyone blogs, and everyone's on Facebook, why wouldn't we put ourselves right in the middle of that?" | Full story »

The snow will be here by the time you finish checking out these links:

*Slightly biased review of Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire's more-than-slightly biased broadcast of Caps vs. Pens. (D.C. Sports Bog)

*Speaking of Mike Milbury, Greg Wyshynski provides some thoughtful analysis of the "blogger assault" incident. (Who's Your Puck Daddy?)

*Our little Sarge is growing up. (D.C. Sports Bog)

*Can the Caps' offensive style win the Cup? Gee, I don't know. Scoring an absurd number of goals can really hurt a team's chances. (The Hockey News)

*Caps: The Beast of the East. (Examiner)

*Alex Snovechkin. (Rock the Red)

*Caps need a center. (Ed Frankovic)

*Jose Theodore is heating up. (Japers' Rink)

*Travel, shmavel. (Peerless)

*We love that you love the Post showing the Caps some love. (On Frozen Blog)

*Learn to say "Alex Ovechkin" correctly. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

*Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi: NHL/NBC's decision to have the show go on was "reckless and disgraceful." (Kukla's Korner)

*Ted disagrees. (Ted's Take)

*Pens-Caps ratings tie season high, and it's all thanks to Sidney Crosby. (Joke.) (The Puck Stops Here)

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  February 9, 2010; 5:43 AM ET
 
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Next: Caps recall Semyon Varlamov

Comments

I think all this arguing is silly. The NHL is not the top league in the country and hockey fans need to stick together. We need to remember we have more in common with Pens fans living in Pittsburgh than with fellow DC area citizens who don't care about hockey. Do you think any of the Caps players care what Milbury says? The best response would be next time McGuire interviews Ovi, Ovechkin says, "You tell Milbury for me I'm HIS daddy now."

Now that would be funny.

Thousands are getting worked up over Milbury's comments; meanwhile, a few of us are still worried about 26th overall on the PK. All I want is to see Alex raise the Cup and I really don't care if I have to listen to Milbury while it's happening.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 9, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

If Ovi is raising the Stanley Cup, I almost (almost) wish I would be listening to Milbury at the time because it would be fun to hear him choking on the words. But really I'd rather hear Joe and Craig being so happy about it--or better yet, have the roar of the crowd drown everyone out.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | February 9, 2010 7:07 AM | Report abuse

The PK is worrisome for the Caps and I don't think a stay-at-home, crease-clearing type of defenseman would help that department much.

I can think of several approaches that could help: 1) Multiple personnel upgrade (unlikely as it would be too disruptive to team chemistry), 2) Work with current personnel to improve PK (likely ongoing with mixed results), 3) Work with current personnel to improve penalty discipline thereby reducing the number of trips to the penalty box (likely ongoing with mixed results).

I think 3 above is the Caps best shot at improving the current situation. They have shown they have discipline, what they haven't shown is that they have it consistently.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 9, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

OK stat fans here's two more.

If the Caps can net 6 goals tomorrow (a tall order for a mere mortal team), the Caps will then be averaging 4 goals a game. That's 240 goals in 60 games.

I know, I know. Goals don't matter, points do, but look at this goal differential in the East Conf. Caps are a plus 73. Second place is the Devils with +19 about a quarter as much.

The commentary from NBC was really bad. I watched the replay yesterday and heard words like "predatory" in reference to Ovi and skilled in reference to Malkin.

"look at how composed they are" referring to the Pitt bench.

Chimera "thinking too much".

Caps need to be "not so reckless with the puck" and they "need to find a way to win in these kinds of situations".....(uh, they've won 13 in a row, many coming from behind)

The "hits to hurt people" is a quote attributed to another player....but it had no qualms about repeating it.

It wasn't just one or two remarks. I've never heard anything like that from a supposedly neutral commentator. I hope he is pulled from further caps or pens games.

Posted by: rjma1 | February 9, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully we find out if Jeff Carter gets a suspension for his vicious hit on Anssi Salmela. If the NHL says they're trying to eliminate headshots, they better suspend Carter. He, like Green, has no history of suspensions but that shot to the head was far worse than Green's elbow to Frolik, add in the fact that Carter's hit was very late, since Salmela had already scored.

He should get three games, no less.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 9, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

I took the "hits to hurt" comment as in he gives it everything on every hit. I think it is a compliment.

Lavar Arrington says on his show in football, you hit to knock someone out of the game...without going outside the rules and being dirty...a good clean hard pop...

Thats how I took it.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 9, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I also took the "predatory" comment as complimentary. Ovi's a predator and Cindy whines. Which player would you want given the choice? Which player would any hockey fan want?

I'll bet if you went to 100 random Pens fans, and said, "Your choice, you can trade Crosby to DC and get Ovechkin for the Pens," most of those Pens fans would make the deal.

There isn't a true fan of hockey anywhere on the planet who wouldn't give the best player on his team in a straight up deal for Ovechkin.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 9, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Reading through the prior thread, I want to go clearly on record that I said repeatedly that any deal for Caps to get Kovy would be "bad." Also, on hearing it was Oduya and Bergfors going to ATL, I posted that NJ had given up at least half as much as they got. The Thrashers, especially, could actually be better (defensively, for sure) for the rest of the year.

Prediction: Kovalchuk will never again see a ten million dollar per year contract offer unless he's reading somebody else's. His stock has nowhere to go but down from all this.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 9, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

SA-Town: Then why was Green suspended? In no way did I think Carter's hit was clean. He raised his elbow and it was late, and came after Salmela scored. I know in football you hit to knock someone out, but you know they're trying to cut these shots to the head out of the game, well that's what they claim to be doing. I heard the Versus people saying he was just finishing the check, but the elbow came up, doesn't matter if it's accidental or not. Either way, if the NHL holds true to what they have said, it doesn't matter if it was a clean or dirty hit, it was a headshot and that is why he should get suspension. But probably won't since he's a Flyer.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 9, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I just checked out the Carter on Salmela hit. It's a tough one -- just as the shot was released, with the shoulder not elbow. Definitely a high hit from a blind side, and Carter was completely in control, but not quite as bad as Greenie's hit that got him 3 games. Given how things are going probably a suspension, though.

Here's one of many clips on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsQEn8Dol58

Posted by: Sonyask | February 9, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

On Salmela: Supposedly he got a cut on the bridge of his nose, lost a bridge in his teeth and suffered a concussion.

Carter should be suspended because it was a headshot. Doesn't matter if it's clean or dirty, accidental or intentional.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 9, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

So, Tarik's going to Canada to get away from the snow. Never thought I would hear that in this lifetime.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | February 9, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Carter hit was clean. Speculation was that the facial damage done was from the face-first fall to the ice. Flyers rightfully deserve their nasty reputation, but not on this hit.

Posted by: gonchpup | February 9, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I just watched it on the YouTube. Is it just me or it is almost clean? The hit is late, a bit, but no later than "finishing your check" normally is. And it almost looks like shoulder on shoulder, in fact it almost looks like what Carter hit him with is the upper arm just below shoulder. The damage was probably from shoulder pads.

I think I posted awhile back, or someone posted and I concurred, that hockey would be better if they reduced the size of shoulder pads. These "pads" are supposedly designed to protect the wearing player from being hit, but more often (football too) simply "allow" the wearer to hit others with impunity w/o fear of self injury.

Reduce shoulder pads and you'll get more checks like Lidstrom gives, positional rather than destructive.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 9, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

In regards to the article suggesting the Caps could use another center, I wonder if Montreal continues to lose this week if they would consider trading Tomas Plekanec. He's a UFA after this season, and if they can't get him signed to a new deal, maybe they'd trade him. I think it will be hard to fit him in as they are paying over $5 mil a season to each of Gomez, Gionta, Cammalleri, Markov, Hamrlik, and not quite $4 to Spacek, and Price and Halak are RFAs due some hefty raises as well. Right now, Montreal is in the 6th playoff spot, 1 point ahead of Philly and Tampa, and 3 points ahead of 9th place Boston. However, Montreal has also played 3 more games. If they go into a skid and these other teams move ahead of them in the standings, I think they could be sellers.

Posted by: cainoo7x | February 9, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Re the article about Russian name pronunciations....
Would someone please forward that to Lisa Hillary at CSN? I cringe every time I hear her call Varly "Sim-e-on". Apparently she never got the word about his name change. Of course, all last week when Holtby was in town she kept referring to him as Brandon instead of Braden.

Posted by: tess2201 | February 9, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

@rachel

Are head shots not allowed in the game right now? Last I heard they were debating on whether or not to make them illegal. But as of this season, I didn't think they were illegal.

It looked like a clean hit (albeit to the head) with his shoulder. His elbow coming up was just the natural flow of the hit- and I believe the elbow made no contact during the hit.

I didn't think clean hits (even to the head) were illegal right now.

Posted by: Fro_ | February 9, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Carter's hit is perfectly clean.

It's a bad angle to hit someone like that (blind-sided basically), and it was like 1/4th of a second late, but that's not Carter's fault. His elbow was in on the hit.

Now, headshots are the new debate. It's not illegal now, but it may very well soon be.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 9, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Fro, get out of my head. *shifty eyes

Posted by: richmondphil | February 9, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

@cainoo

Plekanec? Why do we need him?

Steve Ott. Saku Koivu. Not Plekanec.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 9, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I guess looking at it again, the guys from "hockeycentral: leafs edition" and you guys are right. It was shoulder to shoulder and like they said it's just a bigger guy finishing his check on a smaller guy. Didn't help though that he was blindsided...

Posted by: rachel216 | February 9, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Phil, that was weird.

And my last sentence was kind of weird too. The more I read it the more it seems, well, just worded weird.

Also, I dont get to watch the Devils much, but is Salvador a tough guy? He was more than happy to dance with Carcillo.

Posted by: Fro_ | February 9, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

And I still say Steve Ott. The story of him learning other languages so he can taunt other players in their native tongue is awesome.

Besides, with a last name like Ott, the nicknames would be endless. Unfortunately I can't think of one right now.

Posted by: Fro_ | February 9, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Also, on hearing it was Oduya and Bergfors going to ATL, I posted that NJ had given up at least half as much as they got. The Thrashers, especially, could actually be better (defensively, for sure) for the rest of the year.

Prediction: Kovalchuk will never again see a ten million dollar per year contract offer unless he's reading somebody else's. His stock has nowhere to go but down from all this.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 9, 2010 8:23 AM |


One guy isn't going to change their defense that much, and I disagree that it was a bad trade on Lou's part.

I also will bet you that Kovy will get offered a 10 mil/yr contract again. I am not positive he is going to sign it, but I bet ATL and LA can/will offer up that much.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 9, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I completely agree with Ed Frankovic. We need a C badly. Flash needs to move to 3rd line C, and we need a top 6 C.

B.Mo just aint cutting the mustard. There is absolutely zero creativity being dished out to either Chimera or Fehr. Perrault was much more creative but he is smaller than Mo.

I'd like Plekanec, but he is smallish too.

Posted by: JSchon | February 9, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Also tom, my heart wants me to believe that Kovy being traded was some interior motive to get some chips towards ATL and then he's going to sign with them in the off-season.

I know, it couldn't be further from the truth, but I'm a wishful thinker.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 9, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Think I just overreacted but now I feel stupid... but I'm fine in admitting when I'm wrong. I think it's because I hate the Flyers so much. He actually never even got his head. Carter is such a bigger guy that his check jolted Salmela and he went down like a rag doll. But gonchpup is right, the injuries sustained was from his face smashing into the ice.

Wow did I do a 180 or what?

Posted by: rachel216 | February 9, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Also, I dont get to watch the Devils much, but is Salvador a tough guy? He was more than happy to dance with Carcillo.

Posted by: Fro_ | February 9, 2010 9:25 AM |

Salvador is a "do anything I can to stay in the NHL" kind of guy, haha.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 9, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Carter's hit was fine. It was a shoulder hit, and Carter actually goes out of his way to make sure it's that's way. It wasn't late, as he had just put the puck in. It's nearly impossible to stop when you're that close if you have your mind made up to hit someone. I would be very surprised if he gets suspended, as I don't think it's deserved at all.

Two days off in between games blows. However, both Wed and Thurs's games are nationally covered in Canada, so the Caps are definitely getting exposure up here, with three straight games on national tv.

Posted by: Aldred15 | February 9, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

RT @dcsportsbog: RT @washcaps: Caps recall Semyon Varlamov. He is skating with the team at Kettler this morning.
5 minutes ago from UberTwitter

hopefully he'll stay healthy the remainder of the season.

as far as headshots, make'em wear a football style helmet then you won't have to worry about that kinda hit.

Posted by: joek443 | February 9, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

@rachel

It's definetely a borderline hit, and those types are the exact type of hits the league is trying to look at more closely. However, my the current NHL rules, the hit was legal.

I don't blame you though, the initial camera angle of the hit makes it look really, really bad.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 9, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

my=by*

Posted by: richmondphil | February 9, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Phil: We have a bet. One ice-cold brew.

I bet Kovy signs for less than Ovechkin makes. Your bet is Kovy gets offered at least $10M a year. If he signs for more than 9.5 but less than 10, we can call it a push.

Sorry, but no way I can see Ilya Kovalchuk as hockey's highest-paid player.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 9, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I said offered. Not that he would take it. :)

Posted by: richmondphil | February 9, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

JSchon: I'm not sure I agree with your above assessment. I think the Caps priority among forwards is a center, but one who is defensively oriented. I guess that could be the #2 center you want, but surely matching with Semin doesn't do anything for team defense. I'm not so sure Flash-Laich-Semin doesn't work for 2nd line. My guy would be a 3rd line (checking) center, and surely Flash isn't that. I would like a guy like Kono, and put him with Chimera and Fehr. And then I wouldn't use him on PP (as your new #2 would be) but instead use him on PK and on defensive zone draws. OTOH, it's possible to find someone who can do it all (Koivu when younger). If it's one or the other, though, I want defense. Respectfully.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 9, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

richmondphil: Yeah when you saw it live it looked really bad/vicious. But the angle facing the front of the net showed it wasn't as bad as it first looked.
Just a bigger guy finishing his check on a smaller guy who was blindsided. That's really all that was.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 9, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

@cainoo

Plekanec? Why do we need him?

Steve Ott. Saku Koivu. Not Plekanec.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 9, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

For one, I hadn't considered that Koivu or Ott would be available, but also, I was looking more at filling the second line center spot that Flash has been occupying, and I think Plekanec would be a fantastic fit. It will be interesting to see if Flash plays and develops some chemistry with Plekanec for the Czech Republic during the Olympics.

Posted by: cainoo7x | February 9, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

@FloridaCapsFan - Part of the discipline problem has come into play again due to lack of time to actually practice. With the recent schedule being so crazy, plus the snowstorms coming in, the team has barely had time to be on the ice at all, outside games, and that does hurt. Once they get a couple of practices in, that will tighten up again.

Posted by: irockthered | February 9, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

well, lets see if alan may is right about media bias. greens hit was no worse than carter's. look at greens hit again and you will see that is was shoulder to head just like carter. the only problem with greens hit is that his elbow was not tucked, but since it wasnt what made contact with the head, it should not have been suspension worthy. i thought different when i first saw it, but after seeing all the replays i agree w/ greenie.

in the end, all head shots, shoulder or not, need to be eliminated.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | February 9, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Here is my theory on why Caps' fans have so many problems with NBC's coverage of hockey: The coverage just stinks. It's as simple as that. The team of Milbury, Olyczk, etc., in the NFL would be the equivalent of the "C" team. We're used to national broadcasters like Nantz, Aikman, Buck, Michaels, and Simms. Imagine if someone the quality of one of those guys was covering hockey? Perhaps the problem isn't something untoward on NBC's part, perhaps it's just their coverage is just that mediocre.

Posted by: Matt23185 | February 9, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

think all this arguing is silly. The NHL is not the top league in the country and hockey fans need to stick together. We need to remember we have more in common with Pens fans living in Pittsburgh than with fellow DC area citizens who don't care about hockey. Do you think any of the Caps players care what Milbury says?
__________________________________________

Like I've said before (disclaimer), I spent a lot of time living in the D.C. area, and even rooted for the Caps when they weren't playing my Pens. I haven't heard any Pens fans refer to Milbury's comments, and most Pens fans dislike Milbury anyway because he was an ice clown when he coached the Bruins. You Caps fans are an awfully sensitive bunch... I thought you won Sunday's game anyway?

Posted by: Jumpy66 | February 9, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 - I say we need to leave the lines alone. The boys need to practice, and things will tighten up. It's not that bad. Flash is doing fine as 2C; Semin needs a practice or two to get his head back on straight, and they'll start clicking again.

Posted by: irockthered | February 9, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

irock: It's not Flash I think needs to be adjusted, it's BMo. He's hit a brick wall the size of the Great Wall in China. I think we need a 3rd line, defensively oriented center who can lead the PK with a little more speed, skill and grit than Steckel. Optimally, he would have more skill than BMo is showing now.

OTOH, maybe the break will rejuvenate BMo and he'll come back looking like he did in December. He's still small, can't fix that, and he won't give you the sandpaper/grit aspect no matter how long of a rest.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 9, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

as far as a center goes, is it possible that the Caps are waiting to see how a certain Swede plays at the Olypmics? I think we may heard some more Forsberg talk before it is over. No players need traded and I think we still have a roster spot free.

Posted by: jay18 | February 9, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Nothing to say Kovy wouldn't go back to ATL, but did he burn some bridges?

I think the only way Don Waddell keeps his job is if he got the chips, got the picks, AND convinces Kovy to comeback for nothing more than the previous offer.

I cannot think of many instances where "Star Player A" goes and gets traded after playing extreme hardball with his long-standing team. Is rented somewhere within conference, and then re-signs with his old club after the season...very few times has that happened and I cannot recall one right now...

Posted by: netminder71 | February 9, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

On the topic of B.Mo:

He had a good start, but doesn't have the youthful legs of an early-20-something anymore.

He's on pace for his lowest production "full season" in over 10 years, and the team has been thankful enough he hasn't seen the IR.

I think BB moving him off the power play pivot was smart, and probably moving him off the PK (2nd unit) would be wise too.

But, in his defense. The guy skates well, he makes fewer mistakes than other forwards, and he is providing solid two-way play and veteran leadership. For $1.5M that's a bargain.

Posted by: netminder71 | February 9, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I will be interested to see if the Olympic break re-energizes BMo. As netmider71 said, he appears to have run out of steam as the season progresses. Part of that is moving from 1st/2nd line duties to 3rd line, but he isn't playing nearly as well as he did at the beginning of the season. I am curious to see if a couple weeks off helps him find his form of earlier in the year, which would improve the Caps that much more. If he does become productive again, it'd be nice to see BB sit him for the final week of the season, so he's ready for the playoffs (although that is a very unlikely scenario).

Posted by: Aldred15 | February 9, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

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