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Theodore to start vs. Vancouver

Jose Theodore is expected to start in net tonight at GM Place as the Caps go for their second straight win and ninth in 11 games. The Canucks are expected to start Roberto Luongo.

Coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn't divulge his lines and pairings, but I think it's safe to say that they will remain unchanged from Tuesday's 6-1 rout in Denver.

That means Kyle Wilson will center the third line and look to keep his points streak intact. Okay, so he's only played one NHL game. But what a debut it was for the 25-year-old Colgate grad on Tuesday in Denver, where he had two assists and a breakaway.

"He does a lot of good things," Coach Bruce Boudreau said of Wilson. "He got a chance, and [now he's] got to say, 'I want to keep this chance.' He's made the most of the first game. But as we all know, with young guys -- and I know from way too much personal experience -- you have to keep it going, keep it going until it sinks in with upper management that this guy can play. Hopefully he can continue it tonight."

"He can skate and has good size for a centerman and can make plays," Boudreau added. "Now it's just putting it all together on a consistent basis, which is what we've always worried about [with] Kyle."

Mike Green and Shaone Morrisonn appear set to return to the lineup after missing the third period against Colorado with injuries.

The injury news was not so good on Semyon Varlamov. He participated in his first full practice this morning since suffering a groin muscle pull in Tampa on Dec. 7. He said he did not feel any pain but there was a twinge, which forced him to back off a bit. The rookie goalie said he won't be able to return tomorrow, but still considers Wednesday to be an option -- as long as he doesn't have a setback.

Some other notes and quotes from the morning skate:

*With Michael Nylander off the roster, the Caps suddenly have a lot of space under the salary cap ceiling. But I'm told by a team source that having space doesn't necessarily mean the plan is to spend back up to the ceiling. Remember, ownership is still on the hook for all of Nylander's $5.5 salary and adding another big salary would only compound the team's losses for this season.

That said, GM George McPhee has the green light to go after a rental (or two) at the deadline.

*Boyd Gordon (back) and Quintin Laing (broken jaw) are on the trip and ready to return to the lineup, Boudreau said. But Brian Pothier (rib) will miss another week or two, the coach added.

*Nicklas Backstrom is two games shy of 200 for his career and four points short of 200. Great stat from the team's game notes: Backstrom's seven goals in the last eight games have come on 24 shots (29.2 percent); Before that, he had four goals on 61 shots.

*Although this is the Caps' only trip to Vancouver this season, it might not be the only visit for a number of their players. As many as seven might suit up in February for their respective countries in the Olympics, including Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Semyon Varlamov (Russia); Nicklas Backstrom (Sweden); Tomas Fleischmann (Czech Republic); Milan Jurcina (Slovakia) and Mike Green (Canada).

Everywhere you look in Vancouver, the city is getting ramped up for what figures to be a memorable tournament. The Olympic rings are on just about everything, including a barge in Coal Harbour just outside my hotel window that's got 14-meter tall rings that alternate colors.

*Boudreau on Fleischmann, who is tied with Semin for second on the team in goals with 13 (scored in only 23 games): "We asked him to get stronger. When I had him in Hershey he was 173 pounds. Last year he was 183 and this year he's 192 pounds. And you don't notice any difference. It's all muscle. Now he's got the strength to muscle guys. That's helping him a lot. And in the high-traffic areas, he's out-muscling guys because he's got as much skill as anyone else."

*The Caps have scored a league-best 65 goals on the road. It will be interesting to see if Mr. Luongo has anything to say about that tonight.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 18, 2009; 4:09 PM ET
 | Tags: Canucks, Olympics  
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Next: Tonight's lineup: Caps at Canucks

Comments

I'm guessing Tarik meant to put Mike Green in the potential Olympian list (rather than Backstrom twice), but I still can't believe that Mike Green (now at +12) is less likely to make the Canadian Olympic team than Varly is to make the Russian Olympic team (with Nabokov, Bryzgalov, and Khabibulin pending his health, etc.). But that's what everyone seems to be saying....

This is not to say Varly doesn't deserve it (now 7th in the NHL in GAA (2.21) and SV& (.924), 14th in wins and 1st in win% (12-1-2), but MIKE GREEN MIGHT NOT MAKE IT?!?!? Even on Canada...because Robyn Regehr might??!?

If either Varly or Greener doesn't make the team, the bright side for the Caps is they get to rest over the break (not sure how much time Varly would see anyway) and play with that extra chip in the run for the Cup.

We know what we've got with these guys. Our time is now...

Posted by: SiberianTiger1 | December 18, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Damn, SiberianTiger1 just beat me to being the first post!

I'm a little worried about all those players in the Olympics - Ovie and Semin figure to be there until the finals.

I'd like to see the Olypmic participation continue, but without the season shutdown. The schedule's brutal this year.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | December 18, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone else hear that GMGM burst into Colin Campbell's office this AM and punched him in the mouth?

Posted by: jmurray019 | December 18, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Bingo Bango Bongo, his name is Roberto Luongo! Love my Caps, but Luongo is one of my favorite non-Caps player...really looking forward to tonite

Posted by: melissa2809 | December 18, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

SiberianTiger,
Not knocking Green, but with as much firepower the front four lines have, why do they need another overly offensive minded defensemen? Wouldn't you rather have sound defensemen (Yes I know Greenie isn't that bad on D) but against Russia or Sweden have the best Defensemen you can have?

Posted by: caps28fan | December 18, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Damnnnnnnnn drop the puck already. Let's Go Caps. Let's Go Caps.

Hang in there Varly - stop this twinging. Heal up soon.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | December 18, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

for the extremely bored and those that just can't get enough of the caps:

"Team-first approach has Capitals in first place"
at -> http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=510378

make sure you also read:
"Boudreau speaks his mind on key topics" (on the same page)

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 18, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Check out www.hatersink.com for funny shirts.

Posted by: danp3111 | December 18, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

@caps28fan

If Green is selected to play for Team Canada, he will be a PP specialist. If you watched the worlds championships, Greens minutes were typically on the PP with very little even strength and zero PK.

I think the decision for Yzerman is either Boyle or Green to QB the PP. My guess is Green will not make it and will the last guy to be eliminated.

Its unfortunate because Green isn't a bad defender, in fact, I think if he wasn't asked to do all that he is asked to do offensively he would be a much better defender, like a Duncan Keith. The reality he is asked to be a Mark Streit and Duncan Keith.

He is, right now, the best scoring defensemen of this generation and will win a Norris Trophy, or two, when his defense catches up to his offense. He's only 23.

Posted by: JSchon | December 18, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Some feat if Backie can get 4 pts this weekend and have 200 in his first 200 games. Malkin did that by getting 201 pts in his first two seasons (160 games). Crosby and Ovechkin also did it in around 160 games. Who was last NHLer to do it before those three? Vinny Lecavalier didn't come close. I have no clue, don't know where to look for such a list. I'll bet not many have done it - less than 50 since scoring was low until the 60s. I'm sure Grtezky, Mario, Bobby Orr, Sellane, Mogilny I think.

Most recent? Lindros?

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 18, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone else hear that GMGM burst into Colin Campbell's office this AM and punched him in the mouth?

Posted by: jmurray019 | December 18, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

thats not what you originally said hahaha

Posted by: mrszilla | December 18, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

JSchon said: "He is, right now, the best scoring defensemen of this generation..."

Really? Check your facts, he is 8th scorer in defensemen year-to-date with 3 more equal to him. He has had one big year.

Not knocking Green here but you suffer from the consistant emission of grand statement not backed up by facts... Wait until he has dominated, say 3 years in a row then you can go ahead with your statement... It would have been better to say that "he has the potential to be..."
At least, you entertain me...

Posted by: atybat | December 18, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

LETS GO CAP-I-TALS! Get well soon varly,we miss you.I hope wilson continues to impress and flash,well he's one of my favorites so keep doin what you do flash,best of luck tonight cause no matter what,luongo will always be on his game and the caps have to be too.GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | December 18, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

No, Mike Green is first this year just like he was first last year.

http://espn.go.com/nhl/statistics?stat=nhlscoring&league=nhl&sort=pts&order=true&qual=true&season=2010&seasontype=2&split=null&pos=d&row1=1

I agree to some extent that the statement can be qualified. However, the 31 goals last year were most since Hatcher had 35 I think in 92-93. So if you are really picky about it, you can say last season's 31 goals were best in a generation.

Barring injury, when he hangs em up, people will say, "Best since Coffey and Housley."

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 18, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

@mrzilla:

Yeah, my bad. I meant to post that particular statement on a different website. lol

Posted by: jmurray019 | December 18, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

jmurray- hahaha i enjoyed the freudian slip ;)

BTW people... does: "Boyd Gordon (back) and Quintin Laing (broken jaw) are on the trip and ready to return to the lineup, Boudreau said." = YES laing is playing???

that would be sweet.

Posted by: mrszilla | December 18, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

@atybat

Thanks for telling what I suffer from...

Green has been averaging a point per game since last year... No defensemen comes close...

By the way, when I saying scoring, I mean assists too...

Posted by: JSchon | December 18, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone else hear that GMGM burst into Colin Campbell's office this AM and punched him in the mouth?

Posted by: jmurray019 | December 18, 2009 4:42 PM

He got 2 minutes for roughing only. Since it was not a "fight" as Campbell went down.

Bettman stated that there may be a fine but since there was no intent to injure nor an injury there would be no suspension

Posted by: realoldcapsfan | December 18, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Bettman further stated that since Campbell had been "out like a light for the past several years, he couldn't have a concussion

Posted by: realoldcapsfan | December 18, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

JSchon: Don't worry. You're actually in very good shape. mrstominfl1 says often that she truly wishes that my "constant emissions" were limited to grand statements.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 18, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Bettman further stated that since Campbell had been "out like a light for the past several years, he couldn't have a concussion

Posted by: realoldcapsfan | December 18, 2009 6:58 PM

also a concussion requires that the brain hit the skull - it would seem the thick "skulled" campbell lacks one of the two major components

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 18, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

To answer (maybe) my question from above:

Ilya Kovalchuk had 252 pts in his first 240 games so he probably made the 200 in 200 that Backie is trying to get.

Speaking of "generation," the current generation of 27 and under are maybe the best in league history? You can never tell of course, but Stamkos and Tavares seem to be on their way too.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 18, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Danny Heatley 272games 284points

Posted by: JSchon | December 18, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I can't tell if Heatley made 200 in 200. His first three seasons, he had 190 games played and 181 pts. So, he would have had to get 19 in the first 10 games in the post-lockout year of 05-06 to qualify.

Maybe if Backie actually achieves it, Tarik can do the research (nice enough for me to create work for him) so that we can understand the historical significance of the feat.

My guess is roughly 50 in NHL history have done it.

OK, coincidently, the top 51 in all-time pts per game had 1.00 or higher:

http://www.hockey-reference.com/leaders/points_per_game_career.html

This doesn't mean that all of them did it first 200 games, nor does it mean some of the lower players didn't. Backstrom though if he gets 4 pts this weekend would be 52nd all-time, nhl history, in pts per game (note, I did not check to if Kvie, Ovi, Crosby and Malkin are on list, so maybe he's 56th).

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 18, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin, Crosby and Malkin aren't on the list, although they made 200 in 200. (The list doesn't say how many min games to qualify.) Other current players - Kovalchuk, Thornton and Heatley are there. Backie would then be #55 all-time min 200 games played. Pretty impressive.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 18, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

btw everyone should be focusing negative energy towards the nj devils... they are still one point behind us.

can our game start yet??

Posted by: mrszilla | December 18, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

With the impending forecast of snow for tomorrow, here's some weather notes that will make you feel warmer by comparison. (Okay, less snow but ....)

The weather forecast for Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, in Russia, for the next 5 days

Saturday -- partly cloudy; 3° F | -4° F

Sunday -- change of snow 20%; 8° F | -22° F

Monday -- Clear 0° F | -20° F

Tuesday -- partly cloudy; -16° F | -40° F

Wednesday -- partly cloudy; -29° F | -34° F

Yes, it's spring weather here by comparison to Krasnoyarsk.


Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 18, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

BTW hershey 2 rochester 0 in the 2nd! wonder if the caps/bears scoring coincidences will continue!

Posted by: mrszilla | December 18, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

@mrszilla

Grr, on the Devils winning. The only consolation with them winning is that it would push Pittsburgh behind them. (I hate the Pens worse than the Devils.)

The Atlantic has 2 super teams, 2 greatly underachieving teams, and the Isles.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 18, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

@mrszilla

I hope the Bears hold on to win tonight. And the Caps win also.

Then again, I didn't think the Bears were prone to blow leads this year.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 18, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

@melissa2809

On bongo and Luongo, I hope Bongos scores some goals on Luongo tonight.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 18, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Anybody know of a stream for tonight's game? Advance thanks.

Posted by: vsmartin007 | December 18, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm hunkered in for the impending Nor'easter...

Beer. Done.
Firewood. Done.
Remote control. Done.
Broom to knock snow off of dish. Done.
Ladder to get to dish. Done.

2ft of snow coming. I'm going to shovel my way out and go to the movies tomorrow.

Anybody seen Avatar?

Posted by: JSchon | December 18, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Beer done.
Scotch done.
Steak done.
Bare hand to knock snow off the dish done.

JSchon, haven't seen it yet but I want to but it looks like the weather won't cooperate. Till then I have Caps hockey Friday and Saturday night and that will do just fine!

Posted by: eorr | December 18, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

vsmartin007:
http://atdhe.net/

it's listed for tonight - just scroll down to the 10p et listings

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 18, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Wait... and the dog burping the in the girlfriends face... done!

It's only Friday and this weekend is shaping up to be a good one.

Posted by: eorr | December 18, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

@eorr

Is that a reference to a Ron Burgundy skit where he is a jacuzzi eating steak, waffles and drinking scotch?

Posted by: JSchon | December 18, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

@JSchon

I don't think the movies will be very well attended tomorrow. Plus, they won't have that many people working there anyhow. A skeleton crew of die hards.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 18, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Capt Kirk!

Posted by: vsmartin007 | December 18, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

40 minutes till game time...

Posted by: MReilly9 | December 18, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Wait... and the dog burping the in the girlfriends face... done!

It's only Friday and this weekend is shaping up to be a good one.

Posted by: eorr | December 18, 2009 9:10 PM

you're lucky - my wife won't let me have a girlfriend

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 18, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Ha, unfortunately not. I have Beer, Scotch, and Steak and only a bare hand to clean off my satellite dish, but like I said the Caps on two nights in a row is fine by me.

Posted by: eorr | December 18, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Tarik should be done with dinner by now - i'm expecting 'tonight's lineup' any time now

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 18, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75

That is my ideal setting for a movie. Theater to yourself.

I have Wrangler, I'll put it through the test tomorrow...

Posted by: JSchon | December 18, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Haha, Kirk if the dog had burped in the wife's face then I would be sleeping in an igloo tonight.

Ha, I kid, no wife. Folks please don't bombard with Tiger jokes and hate on me for being a bad person. It was only a joke.

How do I do the sarcasm O's again?

Posted by: eorr | December 18, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Why can't the game start already? I am stuck watching Pirates of the Caribbean 2 right now. YUCK

Posted by: eorr | December 18, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Tropic Thunder HBO or Bruins vs Hawks on NHL...

Posted by: JSchon | December 18, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

eorr:
Ø

sometimes the more politically incorrect - the funnier. no hate and or offense from me

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 18, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Just watched the devils finish off the sens... now deep blue sea. mutated sharks are only scary after so many viewings... IM READY FOR SOME HOCKEY!

LETS GO CAPS!!! this is the first day of winter break for me so I'm playing tonight nice and chill... hopefully the caps will help make it a good start for me!

Posted by: mrszilla | December 18, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

eorr:
sorry - forgot to say i just cut and paste it Ø

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 18, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

ah good call jschon.... tropic thunder for 20 mins it is!

Posted by: mrszilla | December 18, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

@mrszilla

I've gone full-retard plenty of times in my life...

Posted by: JSchon | December 18, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Ha, Thank you JSchon watching the Hawks and Bruins game. Of course the GF complained that the announcers aren't Joe B and Locker. HA

Posted by: eorr | December 18, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

I do love Tropic Thunder but I have seen it several times. I don't what its called, I just know the sound it makes when it lies!

Posted by: eorr | December 18, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Goal Blackhawks. 2-1 Blackhawks. I really like the song they play when they score. Unless its being played against us in June.

Posted by: eorr | December 18, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

new post.
Next: Tonight's lineup: Caps at Canucks

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 18, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know why we don't the games in HD when we play in Canada? Does Canada not have HD?

Posted by: eorr | December 18, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

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