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Theodore set to start in Columbus

Jose Theodore will start in goal tonight, and based on Columbus' morning skate, it looks like Steve Mason will be in net for the Blue Jackets (though Claude Noel wouldn't commit one way or another).

I can't get on the wireless network here at Nationwide Arena, so I have to be brief (and no video) today.

Anyway, here are the basics:

(Boudreau giving Flash another look in the middle)


*Big media horde around Alex Ovechkin this morning, and he dropped a couple of good lines.

Asked about winning the President's Trophy, he cracked a big smile and said: "That would be something new for this organization and for our guys. But it's not a big deal. We want to win the big trophy."

Asked what the team learned from last year's playoff run, he said: "This year [in the] first round, we can't play seven games. Second round we can't play seven games. You're just getting tired because in playoffs, every game is like last game in the [season]."

About the importance of getting his name on the Cup, he said: "It's the most important thing to me right now, [more] than everything, is hockey. Everybody wants to be in history on the Stanley Cup. In a 100 years, the NHL is still going to playing and my name is going be there."

*Injuries are still preventing Coach Bruce Boudreau from putting his playoff lines together. But that shouldn't be a problem much longer. Although none of the wounded made the trip, all of them are on the mend, according to Boudreau.

Here's the rundown:

Scott Walker (knee) could play Monday, while John Carlson (upper body) and Boyd Gordon (back) could be back either Monday or Tuesday. Brendan Morrison (groin) could return for the final two games.

With Morrison's status a little more murky than the others, Boudreau is giving Fleischmann another look in the middle on the second line. If you recall, the Czech played there during the 14-game winning streak.

*Boudreau also clarified the timetable on Milan Jurcina, who is recovering from double sports hernia surgery. The big defenseman is expected to start skating with the team by the end of the first round.

"So hopefully we're still playing in the second round," Boudreau said. "Because of his size and the hunger he'll have when he comes back will probably be a good fit for us."

*The key to pulling out a win against the Western Conference's 14th ranked team could hinge on Washington's ability to contain power forward Rick Nash, who leads the Jackets with 33 goals and 32 assists. Nash, who is 6 foot 4 and 218 pounds, has seven goals in seven games against the Caps in his career.

"I hope he takes a game misconduct in the first three minutes," Boudreau joked. "He's been great against us. We don't see him often which is good. He seems to scored a shorthanded goal against us every game and he gets a breakaway every game. So we'll have to worry about that."

*Semyon Varlamov spent about a half hour working on stopping second chance shots this morning. With John Erskine firing away from the point, there were also had four assistant coaches - two on each side - firing pucks at Varlamov the moment he stopped Erskine's point blast.

I'll check in again before the game.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 3, 2010; 1:08 PM ET
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Next: Tonight's lineup: Caps at Blue Jackets


Thanks for the hard work, Tarik. I doubt any other fans in the league get the kind of stuff we get.

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | April 3, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"Q. As a kid, everybody wants to be like someone... Who were your idols?
A. Always liked offensive defensmen - such as Fetisov, Bobby Orr, Kirill Koltsov..."

Probably the one and only time Koltsov had his name mentioned in the same sentence as the other two ;-)

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 3, 2010 11:02 AM |

Yeah, that was strange, but he is Russian so...

It's funny to look at the Salavat Ufa team. A ton of ex-NHL players...Kirill and Konstantin Koltsov...Radulov..Prezhogin....

You guys remember Konstantin Koltsov, right? Played for the Pens...funny to see him in the Olympics recently.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 3, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

And it's funny to hear the people like SouthsideXXX the other day stating how hockey is a puss sport now.

Call me a "puss" all you want, but I am glad the days of an Eddie Shore ending the career of an Ace Bailey because of a check by another player on another player are over.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 3, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse


that should be interesting......

Posted by: butcherbaker | April 3, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how the defense will do. Sloan-Poti could be good for Poti - he might step up his play when paired with a younger guy. And I wonder if playing with a physical dman like Morrisonn might help Corvo. Hopefully, this will be a game that will let our guys get their confidence back.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 3, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I like the pairing of Corvo and Morrisonn. I think that should be a pairing in the playoffs while having Poti play with Carlson.

BMo's injury is starting to worry me a little bit. Hopefully they are just being extra cautious and giving him even more rest. But groin injuries seem to linger and reappear. And only playing 2 games before the playoffs is not that many and does nothing to give the playoff lines any time to gel.

H*ll, the only line that is always the same is the 1st line. However, Semin is always playing with Laich and Belanger is always playing with Fehr now which leads me to believe that BMo will be the 2nd line center (if healthy) and Flash will be 3rd line LW with Chimera on the 4th line.

If BMo does come back healthy, the few weeks of rest for a player his age could do wonders for keeping him fresh for a long playoff run.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 3, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

plenty of opportunity on 2nd chances off john erskine shots since he CANT SCORE A GOAL

Posted by: cotelloer | April 3, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Could you imagine the wise cracks that would happen if they ever put Sloan and S. Morrison as the same defensive pairing? Purely because of the combination of their names.

Anyway, I hope Corvo and ShaMo do well together.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 3, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse


yes, that is how i see the lines, which is to say:

bradley stecks and chimera played really well together versus atlanta, i'd almost like to just keep them together as a cohesive unit until the playoffs, but you cant move bradley away from stecks, and YOU CANT PUT LAING ON ANY LINE BUT THE 4th...

also, ive noticed boudreau putting chimera and semin together a lot on the pk and 4-on-4...a lot of speed there...

Posted by: cotelloer | April 3, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse


Just had a point robbed away from them.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 3, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse


On Atlanta having a point taken away from them. Growl!

The only good thing about that game is that Crosby did not have any goals (but he did have two assists.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 3, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I know TEB and the others read some of these comments so I am going to suggest something. I think it would be interesting to see what BB thinks about the Johnstown Chiefs leaving just like in the movie. Since he was in the movie and played for the Jets.

Posted by: icehammer97 | April 3, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Three assists, actually, it would appear, CapsFan.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | April 3, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse



(Okay, Ovi, time to get on the stick and have a few more points over the next few days.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 3, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Cindy also slewfooted a Thrasher with the ref looking right at him. No call, of course. Ovi does that and it's a suspension! Lord help the Caps if we face the f@#*in' in the playoffs - the officiating is so skewed in the Pens favor it's sickening.

Posted by: CAP-lanta | April 3, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse


I hear you. I didn't watch the game but heard about it.

While I don't particularly look forward to a Caps vs NJ Eastern Conference finals, I would get great pleasure out of seeing the Devils knock the Pens out.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 3, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

looks like it will be Caps vs. Rangers again in the first round because of their easy schedule.

they play philly back to back to finish the season...

the Caps SHOULD finish them off in 5 games or less unless the Rangers have similar success against Theo (assuming he's the playoff starter) as last year.

if Varly keeps getting better and regains his form, I would start him against the Rangers based on his performance against them in the playoffs last year, 4-2, gave up only 7 goals in 6 games including 2 shutouts

Posted by: joek443 | April 3, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

The Eastern Conference is so tight, the Rangers could easily finish 7th, 8th or 9th and they were left for dead a few weeks ago.

Their schedule is very soft but the eams trying to get into the playoffs do keep on losing to clubs already eliminated from the playoffs for some reason.

I've given up trying to figure out who to root for.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 3, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse


I hear you -- on the Rangers.

And now Atlanta lost again. This time to the Pens. The Thrashers have a tough schedule from here on out.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 3, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Tarik: Your ability to log-on to a wireless network, catch a plane, bus, etc really has no bearing on the content provided. Post what you can, when you can. Dare I say that the vast majority of us love reading your posts and do not care whether they are brief or not. We just like reading your insights. It is tiresome always reading your explanations of why you can't do this or that. Skip that unnecessary banter. We have jobs. We know excrement happens.

Keep up the great work. Love your posts, features, and updates.

Posted by: phknlwyr | April 3, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Varly taking shots from Erskine is probably not the best indicator to tell him how he is doing :) Pretty sure I could block an Erkine shot and I never played hockey in my life!

Gotta luv out little tough guy though!

Posted by: capscoach | April 3, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

well according to BB, Erskine was an offensive d-man in his junior days... I find that very hard to believe unless he has had leg injuries and lost whatever speed he had before

Posted by: joek443 | April 3, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I didnt ge to see the Pens/Thrash game, but noticed that the Pens scored on a PP in the last minute of regulation. That might be the final nail in the coffin for the Thrash.

Here are some of my predictions for some of the games this evening:

I like the HABS to beat Buffalo (on the back end of a back to back)

Toronto over the Bruins....just to keep things interesting for spot #8

CAPS with a hat trick from Ovie

Ducks over the Kings out west

The Canes over the Devils...teasing the Caniacs with "what ifs"..we played better a little earlier in the season.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 3, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

@phknlwyr - I'm guessing you are relatively new here. Tarik, Lindsay, and Gene take daily heat if the full Morning Roundup is not posted by 9 am, even though practice doesn't start until 11.

Posted by: zmega | April 3, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Another interesting bit on Orlov I found browsing some russian sites today - Dmitri was nicknamed "Orr-lov" by his coach in juniors. In fact, this article about him is literally headlined "Almost like Bobby Orr". Numerous very positive write-ups about him.

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 3, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I think cstanton will like this link - our [hopefully] boy Dmitri got a grand total of 27 minutes for his effort! He is number 9 in white.

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 3, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

cool, if he's really like Bobby Orr maybe he'll be able to keep the puck and kill off a penalty all by himself on occasion...

Posted by: joek443 | April 3, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

That's pretty much how they used to teach PK in Russia years ago - but playing keep-away on NHL size ice is much more difficult and risky. Sёmin tries to do it once in a while... you can just see BB blood pressure rising totally out of control when he does that ;-)

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 3, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

and he did that against Lanny McDonald, a future HOFer...

Posted by: joek443 | April 3, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Crosby sucks. His +/- is 9. Ovi's is 43. When Malkin gets hurt, Crosby can't carry the team. hey are below 500 in those situations. MVP my a$$

Posted by: jmurray019 | April 3, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

@zmega Not exactly. Been a regular STH and reader for many years. Just finally got sick of "excuses" and/or explanations whioch are entirely unnecessary. I never post a comment like, "Hey Tarik, gotta mow my lawn so my reading time on the desktop is limited but..."

Tarik and co. provide a service, free of charge, to the general public. And while I too anxiously anticipate reading their insights and reports, I have no entitlement to anything, especially their time. If the masses get unruly if the Morning Round-Up is not posted by 9 a.m., perhaps they should start a blog, free of charge, and stick to a strict schedule of reporting and see how well they fare. I dislike Tarik's "gotta go blurbs" simply because they are empty calories. Give me the content, not the reasons for brevity or tardiness. I'm owed no such explanation...and neither are the masses.

Posted by: phknlwyr | April 3, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

@zmega...Really, get a life dude. WTF? Its a blog! Life isn't gonna end.

Posted by: jmurray019 | April 3, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

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