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Today's Lineup and Other Items of Interest

Olie Kolzig will start in goal against the Rangers today and, in a surprise decision by Rangers Coach Tom Renney, will oppose backup goalie Steve Valiquette, who made 31 saves Saturday to shutout the Flyers 2-0. Most around here presumed the Caps would face Henrik Lundvist, who was between the pipes in each of the previous three games against the Caps (2-1-0).

Washington defenseman John Erskine is out with an undisclosed injury and will be replaced by Steve Eminger.

Here's the rest of the lineup (and quotes notes from Bruce Boudreau's pre-game chat with the media.)



Here's some other stuff to think about:

*Looks like the Caps may be off the hook when it comes to paying Jaromir Jagr next season. In order to trigger an automatic option year in his contract - the Caps would owe him another $3.46 million payment - Jagr needs to 1) rack up 84 points and the Rangers have to win a playoff round or b) score 40 goals and have the Rangers win a playoff round or c) win a major award.

With 15 goals and 47 points, and just a single assist in his previous eight games, all three scenarios seem unlikely.

Although the $3.46 doesn't count against the Caps' cap, it does count against Ted's wallet. So go ahead, start spending his money.

*I asked Boudreau about Pettinger's struggles this season. The left wing, who was scratched the past three games but was back in the lineup today, has two goals, six points and a team-worst plus minus rating of minus-12 in 49 contests.

"Hopefully sitting him out gets a little bit of a message across," Boudreau said. "Sometimes as a player you don't realize you're not doing the things that made you a scorer or the things that made you successful until you sit out and watch from above and see what it takes."

"He's like a cylinder off on everything. He's not quite fast enough, he's not doing everything competitive enough. Maybe a lot of it is confidence in his mind. The head has so much to do with the way you play."

*Boudreau also explained scratching Laing, saying: "Quintin is only being taken out to put somebody else in becuase he's been really good at doing what he does. We're going to miss that element. But you have to lose one element when you take somebody out and put somebody else in."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 10, 2008; 11:23 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Lineup Shakeup for Caps
Next: Former Cap Zednik Stable After Freak Accident


Yahoo! has Erskine listed as having the flu. Is that really the case, do you think?

Posted by: Mike | February 10, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Does Fehr's demotion mean a return to Hershey?? He seems to need some more time getting acclimated after missing a year. More time in Hershey may be good for him. He only played about 10 games there before the call up.

Posted by: Greg | February 10, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I like Erskine. Good farm boy tough stay at home defencemen, who plays with a chip on his shoulder.

Posted by: Pete Peeters | February 10, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Both Laing and Pettinger scratched? Doesn't that put them a man down?

Posted by: honed | February 10, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I would think that Erskine has either a concussion or a broken bone in his hand from his fight with Brookbank. I like Ersk. He may make the occasional mistake, but I like his stay-at-home style and he has been laying out some good crunching checks over the last 10 games or so. However, I wish he'd stick to playing and avoid the fights. He's not that great a fighter, although he's a willing dance partner. The team needs him more on defense than off for an injury.

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | February 10, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Why wouldn't you scratch Bradley - as opposed to Laing - in place of Pettinger?

Posted by: jon | February 10, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

That's good news about Jagr's salary, Tarik. I can't believe that piece of spit ever soiled a Caps uniform. His sleepwalking through games and his pouting on the bench always irritated me. Any team that picks him up will deserve the inertia that he brings to it, as well as the cancer that he'll foster in the locker room. We need to send him back to Pittsburgh where he can work his "magic" with Cindy Crosbytch. I'm sure he'd enjoy that -- skating with a younger and whinier version of Lemieux.

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | February 10, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

"Although the $3.46 doesn't count against the Caps' cap, it does count against Ted's wallet. So go ahead, start spending his money."

It's already spent...on the Ovechkin contract.

Posted by: The Peerless | February 10, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Laing should be playing. He works his butt off every single second he's on the ice the only other player that does that is Ovie. he stops more shots then Olie and Johnson combined and is the PK MVP in my mind.

Posted by: DC FURY | February 10, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Bench Flash instead!

Posted by: Unitedfan | February 10, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully OV gets a nice open ice chance at Avery....

Posted by: Steve R | February 10, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Gutsy and ugly win - I'm going to be devil's advocate later. Happy with the result, not much with the game.

But anyway GO CAPS :D

Posted by: mauree | February 10, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse


1 point up with one in hand. Hopefully Fla loses

Posted by: Steve R | February 10, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse


2PP goals though. Too much time on the PK.

Posted by: Steve R | February 10, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I have to say, Comcast should be ripped for cutting away from the game to show the Skins news conference. At least go to a split screen format. Does anyone there know how to do that? I am a Skins fan too, however to leave a 2-2 game in the third for a press conference on a guy hired weeks ago, even for a few minutes, is a COMPLETE JOKE! TED, light these people up, that's embarrassing.

Posted by: someone else who knows | February 10, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Caps!! When the game went into OT, I was 100% confident we'd win.

How did Avery get third star and not Oveckin? Ovie had a goal and two assists. Avery had just a goal and bad attitude.

Posted by: cbs | February 10, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

@someone else

I agree. It could have waited the end of the period. I hated football during that.

Posted by: mauree | February 10, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: erick | February 10, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Green is the truth!!!!!!!!! That was fun!

Posted by: clawrence | February 10, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

oh yeah - forgot to praise Olie, he won us the game. Probably his best game of the season so far.

Bet Boo! is very happy :D

Posted by: mauree | February 10, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

So happy the Caps pulled this one off!

That being said, I was so upset about them cutting away for the Redskins press conference.

It would be understandable to break out of a live telecast to relay information of dire importance. However, I would not consider a press conference to relay information that you have already made a point to relay numerous times, dire or even important.

Email Comcast at to voice your concern.

Posted by: Comcast Sux | February 10, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

F comcast, F snyder

I guess I am lucky I was watching in NYC on local Rangers telecast

Go Caps!!!!

Posted by: chris Larry | February 10, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Comcast ditched commercial breaks to cut to the Zorn presser! They did not cut into the Caps game, just during TV timeouts they kicked it to Redskin's Park. I thought this media-savvy town would have gotten that!

Posted by: CentreCap | February 10, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Snyder is an idiot if he cant respect that the Caps are playing a game at the same time of his press conference.

Press conference should start immediately following the hockey game.

Washington sports should be a family, not step on each others toes.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 10, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

It did cut the game, maybe just a few seconds but it was very disturbing. Like broadcasting AFTER the QB has passed the ball.

Posted by: mauree | February 10, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

rangers goalie Val-a-whatever claiming Olie was one of the most biiter and sore loser post game comments i have seen in any sport in awhile...

f the rangers....

Posted by: clawrence | February 10, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't think I can stress enough how HUGE Olie played in this game. I know his critics are going to bring up that Drury's goal went through his 5-hole, but when a goalie's got his feet moving, those on-ice shots are very dangerous.

Good game by Gordo, Ocho, and I really thought Fehr played real well again. He really made that 1st goal happen. I also wanted to call our Pettinger for playing a good game. I think he's been playing pretty well for the most part this season, and was within inches of getting 2 goals tonight.

Posted by: Stephen | February 10, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse


Game was picked up after faceoffs both times that Comcast went to the press conf.

Posted by: Steve R | February 10, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I think TSN needs to check their info. By my math OV has 76 points not 80, and the Rangers won the season series 2-0-2 not 3-0-1.

Posted by: Steve R | February 10, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Olie DID have a monster game today. Kudos to him. I just hope that we'll see more of this kind of play from him going forward. Maybe resting more is the key to his successes.

And FINALLY! There are goals on PP! For the Caps, even! I think, though, that we need to translate the instructions to shoot more pass less into Swedish for Backstrom. He gave up good shots from high quality shot range to pass the puck.

That first goal was really nice. Nice and dirty, mucking it up in the crease and stuffing the trash in the net. We've been missing that all season, too.

Other than the second period, not a bad game at all.

Posted by: Greg S. | February 10, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tarik,

Please, please, please let Ted and Management know that even though everyone loves Olie, we need a top flight Goalie and emotions on feelings for Olie should not supersede the fact that his .888 save percentage is going to give the Caps a quick exit in the playoffs or help miss the playoffs entirely.

Posted by: jmpalomo | February 10, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

If Erskine has the "flu", he caught it from Brookbanks' fist in his face...

Posted by: Greg S. | February 10, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Guess Brookbank's momma never told him about washing his hands throughly.

Posted by: Greg S. | February 10, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

A good night for the penalty killers too. They hadn't been getting the job done, but now I believe we've killed off 10 or 11 penalties in a row.

Posted by: Stephen | February 10, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

@ jmpalomo

gmgm is already on record last week that he will not be shopping this year before trade deadline. I really don't think that you should expect any changes between pipes this year or next. Olie's take from the till should be lighter next year than this one, but he'll still be here.


Posted by: Greg S. | February 10, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

@Greg S,

I think you're dead on. Olie will be signed for a lot less and Johnny is under contract for another year. 2 years from now either Varlamov or Neivirth?

Posted by: Steve R | February 10, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I also just want to say, I think Olie's getting better. He went through some tough times this year, but he hasn't been giving up the weak goals. It doesn't matter how good your season was when you get into the playoffs, it matters how deep you dig when you get there.

Posted by: Stephen | February 10, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I think Varlamov is closer to being ready, no? It would be nice to see him up here a few times next year.

As for the Caps post-season - my chickens aren't hatched yet, so I'm not counting them. The Caps are in a weak division and struggling to get on top of the heap. They were challenged by Carolina and lost, and made them look good in the process. That's not how to do it.

Today's game had a better outcome, but was it a better game? 40 of the 60 minutes were, but that doesn't win the divisional lead unless you're in the SE.

Posted by: Greg S. | February 10, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

From the Hockey News Polls:

Which team will win the Southeast division?

Carolina 30 %
Washington 56 %
Atlanta 8 %
Florida 4 %
Tampa Bay 3 %


Who is the best goal-scorer in the NHL?

Alex Ovechkin 74 %
Ilya Kovalchuk 9 %
Dany Heatley 5 %
Jarome Iginla 3 %
Rick Nash 4 %
Vincent Lecavalier 5 %

Posted by: Greg S. | February 10, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

@ Greg S.

I look at it this way, last year, the Caps would have lost a game like this. Now they are winning them. Can't let one game against Carolina throw us off track. Rest of the season, teams will be playing us like that. We just need to learn how to continue to win them.

Posted by: CT Caps Fan | February 10, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

In reading BB's comments regarding Pettinger and Laing, he sounds like a guy who is handcuffed and it doesn't sound like that line up change was his decision. I know that in the Q&A with him, posted the other day, personnel moves from Hershey are basically gmgm's decision. Would you please answer two questions?

1. Does gmgm also determine who will be in the game line up?

2. When does gmgm's contract expire with the Capitals?

Congratulations to Olie on the WIN in his 700th NHL game! I guess that got lost in the Skins press conference coverage.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 10, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Don't get me wrong. This team will be kicking the NHL all over the place in a year or two. This team still has a huge amount of youth in the line-up.

I'm still leaving the chix in the incubator...

Posted by: Greg S. | February 10, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

With 59, we're in 9th in points in the conference, but ranking 3rd. It is plausible that another SE team will be in the playoffs, but it will not be easy at all.

Posted by: Greg S. | February 10, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Agreed - this was Kolzig's best game of the season.

Could any goalie have stopped either of the Ranger goals? Possibly, but overall he kept them in the game.. so let's hope this continues. Especially because..

This is a HUGE week.. three games in the division in a row, on the road. Some wins (in regulation) could be the last straw that might force the other teams to start selling assets at the trade deadline.

If that happens, the Caps will run away with the division.


Posted by: Oneal | February 10, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse


Agreed. And before anyone says anything, we don't need anyone that badly - except in net, but that won't happen, so fagetaboutit!

Posted by: Greg S. | February 10, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Tarik -

Is it possible that Pettinger really wasn't as good as many here thought he was? I thought the 20-goal season was a bit of a fluke while he was having it, and last year showed the beginnings of his decline.

Posted by: Steve | February 10, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

you are right - i AM happy!! :-D it was a great game - tight with enough goals to keep it exciting, a big loud crowd and an OT win ... can't beat it!! and yes, olie had an awesome game - he was 1st star!! did anyone see his MONSTER save when it was 2 on NONE?!? unbelievable!!! he's had 2 great games in a row - i hope he keeps up the momentum. and green's goal was awesome - the team REALLY celebrated after that - very cool. btw, the Caps STILL have not had back to back losses - amazing!! back on top of the SE - LET'S GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: Boo! | February 10, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Did you ever get the answer to your Bryzgalov question? Did you see the NBC game coverage about him, and the comment "NHL GM's must have been sleeping when they didn't take him." Was Mike Milbury talking about gmgm? Kolzig and Bryzgalov would have sounded great going into the playoff run. Oh well, another great gmgm decision

Posted by: someone else who knows | February 10, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

sorry, I didn't sign my 5:10 post.

Posted by: someone else who knows | February 10, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

You want to talk about bad goaltending you shoulda seen the St. Louis Blues' goalies last night. I drove up to Dallas to watch the Stars game.

Even with a goalie change-up the PA guy announced to the entire arena that the Blues were letting pucks squeeze by like they were wet bars of soap.

Made me appreciate our Caps netminders. They may let a softie or two in but they've never looked as bad as what I saw last night, it was pathetic.

Posted by: austinsteve | February 10, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Greg S,

In a couple years this team should be scary good.

Posted by: Steve R | February 10, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Pfew! I thought you were going to say how awesome they are! LOL!! :-)

Did anyone hear the guy from NY who called into the post-game show? He said that they drove down to cheer AGAINST the Rangers and that they were Islanders fans! LOL!! He said they have been saying for awhile that the Caps were the team to beat in the SE ... and that we do a great job of booing Jager!! ;-) It was classic ... again, not what I expected him to say ... good stuff!

Posted by: Boo! | February 10, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

can i get some help on something...the AP story i see reports the rangers won season series 3-0-1 ..

but my count is 2-2....with green winning 2 games in i missing something?

Posted by: clawrence | February 10, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse


Yes it's 2-2 with both our wins in OT.

Posted by: mauree | February 10, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse was driving me insane.....and as I live in NYC...bragging rights are key!

Posted by: clawrence | February 10, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

A difficult game to sit through. Bad ice and consistently disrupted flow. I though the Caps started to step out near the end of the second period, but the intermission broke up their rhythm. Of course losing 60% of the face-offs didn't help. Normally we are pretty good at the draws, but we got owned in that department this afternoon. I think you just have to stay after the Rangers. Eventually they will get tired from lugging around all their money.

I thought Olie played very well. I suppose he could have stopped Drury's goal, but it would have to have hit him for that to happen. I was amazed at how fast Drury converted that.

The officiating was its normal terrible self. The final penalty on the rangers was only the third trip in that sequence. I was wondering if the zebras were ever going to call the Rangers for anything.

Unleash the fury!

Posted by: Old Bob | February 10, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

To all -- before you jump all over me, this post is a direct response to "someone else who knows"

Here we go..

Yes, I'm still upset that no one has ever asked GMGM about Bryzgalov.

He had a chance to upgrade the team at its weakest position, for nothing, and didn't take it.

It is no surpise that the national media is beginning to take notice of this.. if that Caps were still in last place, then who would care?

But now, they're getting ready for the playoffs. So now, the media is taking a close look at the team, and they are noticing that Kolzig is ranked LAST among all goalies in save %. 45th! They know as I do that goaltending is what wins in the playoffs.

They are putting two and two together, as I did several months ago. Read the Burnside article on Listen to the clip "someone else who knows" is referring to.

It is a major concern BUT AS I STATED.. Kolzig did play well today against the Rangers. If he keeps it up, then we're all good.


Posted by: Oneal | February 10, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse


2-0-2 for the Rangers for the season series. 6 points to the Caps 4.

Posted by: Steve R | February 10, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Greg S

With 59 points we are actually in 8th place, 9th if you count us, but since we are us, you don't count us twice. We still need another SE to jump to get 2 in, but we would be in right now no matter which division we played in.

Posted by: 121 K | February 10, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

As painful as this is to say.... Go Buff! Beat Fla!

Posted by: Steve R | February 10, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

The game that I saw had the Rangers standing up the Caps, preventing the Caps from having much pressure in the o-zone. At first it looked like the Caps were going to roll with some new-found tolerance for the crease with Ovie's goal, but it was not to be the: Rangers played a good road defensive game.

It sure didn't help getting silly penalties. Made it hard for the Caps to develop any rhythm.

But what did help: Olie having an outstanding game.

I am concerned with the pattern of wins and losses for February. It's 500 hockey right now. They have to step it up now that no one is going to take them for granted.

Posted by: Clarendon | February 10, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse


Were we not 3rd it means we wouldn't be in the division league - and that would put us in 9th place.

Posted by: mauree | February 10, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Mauree, I think I kinda get what you're saying, but it's confusing. Of all the Eastern Conference teams, we have the 8th most points. Until Buffalo finishes it's game. If Buffalo wins, we'e a point behind them.

Posted by: Whiter mage | February 10, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Great win today! Was especially awesome to have Rangers fans behind us that were cheering against Jagr. Priceless.

As far as the faceoff issues. Did anyone keep track of how many times Steckel and Laich were kicked out of the circle. It was getting ridiculous.

Based on the officiating today, I guess the officials saw their faceoff percentages. It seemed that the officials were a little one-sided. I know it was wrong, but could not help wanting to cheer a little when Jurcina pegged that one official.

Oh, and Olie played well and I still love Mike Green!

Posted by: Kim | February 10, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

I like the fact we found a way to win the game despite being mostly outplayed. At one point they showed a graphic where the Rangers had I think 13 3rd period shots to our 3 and it didn't surprise me at all. The Caps were back on their heels the entire and lost countless battles along the wall.

Morrison was awful early with what 3 penalties and poor position all day resulting in Avery's goal (Laughlin even mentioned it). Yeah we won I know and I'm not trying to be a downer but the Rangers dictated the play a day after they got in a knock down drag em out with the south street bullies.

Olie played very well but the same mistakes he's made all year, like not covering the puck or controling the rebound led to Drury's, albeit lucky, goal.

Also, Schultz has been much more physical and is playing better as a result. Emminger played well too and his one slip up didn't end up costing us which is good. Hopefully they pick it up on the road this week.

Let's Go Caps!

Posted by: Pat | February 10, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Didn't get to watch the Caps game so I'm watching Florida, they just rushed Zednick off the ice, blood pouring everywhere. They think it's got to be an artery. He took a skate to the neck on replay.
The amboni is out to scrape the ice, blood everywhere.

Posted by: austinsteve | February 10, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Complete silence in the arena

Posted by: austinsteve | February 10, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Not good in Buff. Zed hurt bad.

Posted by: Steve R | February 10, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

They claim he's stable but we'll have to see I guess.

Posted by: austinsteve | February 10, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Ouch! I hope he's OK!

Posted by: Greg S. | February 10, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Poor Zed! I hope he is OK. I wonder if that threw the Panthers off - they lost the game. I would think it would be hard to focus after that ...

Posted by: Boo! | February 10, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

with what happened to Pat Dipuzzo in philly yesterday, the forward who just had his jaw broke when the puck struck it, and now this with zed, it makes you remember what a dangerous game hockey really is.

heres to our boys getting back to full health and staying there

Posted by: Pat | February 10, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

I don't care if we do have to pay Jagr -- I'd pay a share out of my own pocket just to see him a few hundred miles away.

Jagr, I know it's hard for you to believe, but we have not missed you at all.

Posted by: NicoleW | February 10, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Glad to hear Zed is in stable condition. This has been one brutal weekend for hockey players and refs alike. They all truly earn their paychecks.

Posted by: cbs | February 10, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

I think Pettinger should remain scratch. Laing has done so well since joining the team. When Clark comes back from injury, that is really going to make it hard to decide who gets benched. I say Eric Fehr as he starting to look a bit out of his league in the NHL at the moment. I think he may need to be sent back to Hershey when Clark comes back.

Posted by: MadFlava | February 11, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Lots of work to do in the offseason:

At the end of this season, the following players are RFA/UFA:


There might be some strategy to sitting Laing. If we keep letting him show how great of a PKer he is, we might have a hard time resigning him.

All joking aside, It would be nice to see the caps lock some of these guys up long term before the end of the season, or other teams could jump in and put the squeeze on the caps.
Green, Laich and Morrisonn are MUST resigns. I'd put Laing borderline between this group and the next. Fehr and Flash are guys who, if we want to stay young would be nice to keep in the Red, White and blue. The other guys I could see making room for even younger talent, though, I do like Boyd and Brads toughness.

Posted by: FFS Enough | February 11, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Per, Laing is signed for next year. He is not a UFA until the following season. I trust that datasource more than

Posted by: grego | February 11, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

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