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Varlamov likely to start in Ottawa

I'm working on something else for later in the week, so I'm going to be brief:

*The Caps' injury situation might not get any better before tonight's game. Defenseman Shaone Morrisonn (concussion) skated this morning said he's getting close but that he doesn't expect to play tonight.

"I felt pretty good out there, but I'm not 100 percent yet," Morrisonn said. "They don't want to rush something like that."

Coach Bruce Boudreau later told reporters that Morrisonn will take warmups and be a game-time decision.

*Semyon Varlamov came off the ice first here at Scotiabank Place, which generally means he's going to get the start. The rookie is 7-1-1 with a 1.94 goals against average and .933 save percentage in his last eight games, and a 1.23 goals against average and .957 save percentage in his last four.

*Varlamov is expected to oppose Ottawa backup goalie Brian Elliott.

*It also looks like Alex Kovalev will not suit up for the Sens, though Coach Cory Clouston did not completely rule him out. Kovalev, though, is not believed to have returned from Russia, where he was attending his mother in law's funeral.

*If Morrisonn can't play, Tyler Sloan will go back to playing on defense. Based on the morning skate, the lines could look like this:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Clark
Laich-Morrison-Fehr
Fleischmann-Perreault-Bradley
Steckel-Beagle-A. Gordon

*Nicklas Backstrom, who turned 22 today, got a shaving-cream pie in the face from Alex Ovechkin after the morning skate. Backstrom laughed it off, but it didn't seem like he thought it was all that funny. (If you've never had shaving cream in your eyes, let me tell you, it stings something awful.)

"On the day of a game?" Backstrom said to no one in particular as he wiped the shaving cream off his face.

"On his birthday a couple of months ago, we did it with [Ovechkin]," Backstrom said moments later. "He wanted payback and now he did it."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 23, 2009; 12:54 PM ET
 
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Next: Tonight's lineup: Caps at Senators

Comments

Let's go CAPS!

Posted by: hbcapsfan | November 23, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Varly has been playing well and should get the start. My question is when is Theo coming back from his "personal issues"

Posted by: icehammer97 | November 23, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully Nicky can duplicate his efforts from his 21st birthday and net another game winner tonight (this time regulation would work :) )

Posted by: BBDwrestling | November 23, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

OOps, I meant 20th birthday, Phila game was 2 years ago

Posted by: BBDwrestling | November 23, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

@icehammer97 - I think Theo needs to take as long as he needs. Those "personal issues" are probably pretty heavy... I'd rather have him back later and ready to play than sooner and not.

Posted by: irockthered | November 23, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Come on OVIE!!!

Whipped Cream pie before games...Shaving Cream after games...Well-known rule..

GET IT RIGHT!

Posted by: SA-Town | November 23, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Probably the only time shaving cream has touched the smooth face of our finest Swede.

Posted by: lornemyoung | November 23, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Theo is back. He was the back-up on Saturday and Neuvy was back in Hershey. Now, when will Theo's head be clear and ready to play? That's another topic.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 23, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

icehammer97 -- Theo was in the backup role vs. Toronto. He is back for his personal issues, just has not yet been awarding the starting role as Varly has been hot.

Posted by: tlakindad | November 23, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

They zoomed in on Theo at the start of the game on Saturday and he had a blank stare. Didn't look at all like someone ready to step between the pipes if need be.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 23, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

@lornemyoung - I dunno... he was sporting visible playoff fur last season...

Sortof?

Posted by: irockthered | November 23, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

You laugh now and just you watch come playoff time he grows a beard and becomes the most beautiful viking to ever play the sport!

hahaha

But correct me if I'm wrong but Theo was on the bench on Saturday night. His personal issues could take some time, and I won't blame him. I'd rather him sit and Varly play than him come in and be...the 3ormore we all know.

Posted by: breaklance | November 23, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

@breaklance - I agree on Theodore.

Maybe Backstrom can take beard-growing lessons from Alzner. That boy had a furface last year!

Posted by: irockthered | November 23, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"OOps, I meant 20th birthday, Phila game was 2 years ago"

Posted by: BBDwrestling | November 23, 2009 1:07 PM

That also means it is Bruce's 2nd anniversary since his first game.

Posted by: ouvan59 | November 23, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Theo came back early as backup because of the additional injuries. Caps didn't have cap space to keep Neuvy up and recall Gordon. They would have had to put someone else on IR to keep 3 goalies. If there hadn't been more injuries, I would guess that Neuvy would have been the backup on Sat.

Posted by: Jordana20 | November 23, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Backstrom.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 23, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

@lornemyoung - I dunno... he was sporting visible playoff fur last season...

Sortof?

Posted by: irockthered | November 23, 2009 1:19 PM |

Sortof is definetely key here, haha.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 23, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Also..I am going to assume Stecks is going to take the draws and then move to LW?

Right? Is Beagle a faceoff specialist too or something?

Posted by: richmondphil | November 23, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil - I haven't seen the numbers but I seem to remember Beags winning a decent number of draws.

That being said, Stecks should always take the draws.

Posted by: pkendrick | November 23, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Also..I am going to assume Stecks is going to take the draws and then move to LW?

Right? Is Beagle a faceoff specialist too or something?

Posted by: richmondphil | November 23, 2009 2:08 PM

This is what I thought would happen last game. There was at least one instance where I saw Beagle get thrown from the circle and replaced by Stecks, so I'm not sure what the deal is.

Also, they should have pied Backstrom after the game. Though I suppose he doesn't need those eyes since he's not usually looking where he's passing anyway.

Posted by: Raber | November 23, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

My thought on this is that in BB's system the wing has to be more responsible with regards to positioning in the defensive end (notice how you don't always see them drop down to the corner to dig the puck out but rather stay closer to the point) and he trusts Stecks to do that better then Beags.

Posted by: pkendrick | November 23, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Re: Pies - They should probably switch to whipped cream anyway... before -or- after the game. It tastes better.

Re: Beagle vs. Steckel - Last game, Beagle went 1:2 (50%) in the dot, and Steckel went 5:11 (45%).

Posted by: irockthered | November 23, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

But then again I could be completely off there.

Posted by: pkendrick | November 23, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Where *IS* everybody today???

Posted by: irockthered | November 23, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

You have to start Varly. He was great in Toronto, and they're in a tough stretch.

Theo should start Wednesday.

Posted by: JohninMpls | November 23, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

IRTR,

On IR like half the team is/will be....

Posted by: PhilR | November 23, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Where *IS* everybody today???

Posted by: irockthered

Best guess is either took vacation and therefore not at work and thus wasting their work day talking on here

OR

Everyone actually has to work because it is a shortened week so the don't have time to talk.

Posted by: pkendrick | November 23, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Where *IS* everybody today???

Posted by: irockthered | November 23, 2009 2:56 PM

It's a very peaceful, reasonable conversation. Sometimes I just read.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 23, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Where *IS* everybody today???

Posted by: irockthered |


Deployed to thwart the invasion of the Doofus Brigade!

Posted by: PhilR | November 23, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 - Yes but I miss you taking the more ridiculous comments and giving a sarcastic response

Posted by: pkendrick | November 23, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

So how about that local sports team eh?

Posted by: superpaqman | November 23, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Where *IS* everybody today???

Posted by: irockthered |

there is a lack of bashing today - so not a whole lot to respond too.

caps to score at least 5 tonight - mark my words!!

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | November 23, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ - Like TomInFl1 the other day, you need to do something major to undo those jinxalicious words you just spoke - typed - whatever. I suggest spitting, turning around three times, and leaving the room... wait... that's theatre.

Posted by: irockthered | November 23, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

pkendrick: There really aren't any absurd comments. I mean, how can you criticize a guy (Green) who logged 31 minutes the other night? Maybe some of the people in Company G finally saw the light of day.

I wish, really, evryone could have listened to the HNiC broadcast. There was Green love galore. If he ever gets tired of DC, which I doubt so long as Ovi is here, but if he gets the itch to move along, he can have his pick of Canadian cities.

And it would be OUR loss, just like when Larry Murphy and Scott Stevens left.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 23, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

what is going on with theo? I realize it's personal but i'm worried for the guy.

Posted by: welcome2theiceage | November 23, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Stevens was the Blues loss.

We got 5 firsts for him. Of course, I'd have preferred Stevens too.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 23, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

irock: My jinxaliciousness was taken off the hook vs Habs when BB went with Neuvy.

Had Varly gotten the shutout Saturday, I would have been on here to let you know about it.

I will repeat again, and not do the jinx, but I will repeat that the "send Varly back to Hershey" company has tucked in their tails and turned for home of late.

Ottawa has a pretty good record, so tonight will be a tough test.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 23, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of "where are they?", Tess is probably making those pork chops and garlic mashed potatoes she was talking about last night.

Make me hungry just thinking about it, and dinner is two hours (at least) away.

Having a bottomless pit can be a nuisance.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 23, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 - I hated the day we lost Stevens and I know I would hate it if Greenie left as well. And I am not a fan of the bashing either so I am happy that it isn't here today.

Now as far as tonight goes, I hope Gordo Jr. gets his legs under him and gets on the score sheet. I liked what I saw from him in pre-season and he could be a decent RW in a couple years.

Posted by: pkendrick | November 23, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm here--just don't have anything to add. Pleasant reading though. The hate posters have taken the day off. Whew!
I do hope the guys got some decent R&R time so that they can properly reset for tonight.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 23, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

The game wan't be easy:

Ottawa is 11/9 w/l
CAPS are 13/10 w/l

... and Ottawa has won 8 games at home - the most in the conference (beside the flyers) ...

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | November 23, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

The CI link to the Ottawa Citizen is a good one. They have good things to say about our team. Despite our battle weary guys and depleted ranks and the Sens recent success, the predictions are cautious. Good opportunity for them but then again Ovi could have a monster night seemed to be the general consensus. GO CAPS!

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 23, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of "where are they?", Tess is probably making those pork chops and garlic mashed potatoes she was talking about last night.
Make me hungry just thinking about it, and dinner is two hours (at least) away.

Having a bottomless pit can be a nuisance.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 23, 2009 3:43 PM
--------------------
No, Tom. I'm still at work. Like you, reading but not saying much. But rest assured that the pork chops are thawed and waiting for me in the fridge. We'll be sitting down to dinner by 6. Didn't realize till a little while ago that it's a 7:30 start tonight.

Posted by: tess2201 | November 23, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Here's an update on the problem of FiOS not showing the Caps on CSN+ in some areas.

There are 32 requests on the Verizon Forum for FiOS to add CSN+ (specifically for Caps games) posted between 10/30 and 11/22: 21 Howard/AA, 1 Harford, 4 VA, 6 no location given.


Only 7 more Caps games are scheduled for CSN+. Wizards have 12 more.

Posted by: grackle5 | November 23, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns - What article on there did YOU read??? The link I saw led straight to the "Underwood Ottawa-Bound?" article from a week ago, and there hasn't been any update at all since...

Posted by: irockthered | November 23, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ - Like TomInFl1 the other day, you need to do something major to undo those jinxalicious words you just spoke - typed - whatever. I suggest spitting, turning around three times, and leaving the room... wait... that's theatre.


Posted by: irockthered

theatre you say?
well most of the people in my building are only 'acting' like they are working anyway - so i guess i can do the above if i'm allowed to change the word 'room' to 'building'.
if you tell me the sooner i take these actions the better - i could be home by 3:15 and sipping on a cold beer.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | November 23, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Two threads ago on CI--one of CI's links. It was on predictions for this game. I read it about an hour ago. Maybe they read your post and updated immediately. Or more likely I wrote down the wrong cite. Sorry if I goofed. Happy hunting.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 23, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ - I suggest you take action immediately. Spit, turn around three times, and go home? Works for me. ;-)

Posted by: irockthered | November 23, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I've said this before and I'll say it again. I'm a little obsessed with hockey so I've seen many blogs of other teams. Ours is by far the best. Tarik and a few of his helpers do an amazing job and make following the Capitals a ton of fun in between games. Which is why I get really annoyed when someone on here gives Tarik crap because there hasn't been an update in the last 2 min 37 sec. As the Russian saying goes, you give them a finger they'll take the whole hand. Crap, it sounds really dirty translated into English.

Posted by: ranndino | November 23, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

@Ranndino: good point about the blog. One more blessing to count on Thanksgiving (and every day!)

Do the Russians really say "you give them a finger...."? Maybe "the finger"?

Posted by: dccitizen1 | November 23, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Nick!

2 Goals 2 Assists for his 22nd!

maybe 3 and 3 cuz he is mad bout the shaving cream.

Posted by: malujoker | November 23, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

It reads like Tarik was trying to imply dissent between Slick & Ovi in order to increase page hits, then felt better about it toward the end of the piece. :-D

Posted by: Kdarienzo | November 23, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

So in my infinite boredom here at work today, I was just glancing around salary etc., for nhl players. I noticed that Neuvirth is a(n) RFA after this current season. Should that (or rather, would that) have any influence as to whether he would be trade bait at the deadline? Given the fact that Varly isn't a(n) RFA until the year after (an assuming we don't keep both of them), who would (should) be more likely to go?

Again- this is purely out of boredom (and perhaps some slight curiosity) that I ask.

Posted by: Fro_ | November 23, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about all the ()'s.

Posted by: Fro_ | November 23, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

@Fro_ - I would not expect them to trade Neuvirth. The goalie prospects we have are:

* Michal Neuvirth

* Jason Bacashihua (Age 27) (AHL since 2001-02, once played for the St. Louis Blues in 2005-06 and 2006-07, 19 games each season.)

* Braden Holtby (Age 20) (WHL since 2005-06, now ECHL, has never played at the NHL level; has played 4 games for Hershey.)

* Todd Ford (Age 25) (WHL since 2000-01, now ECHL, with a 3.53 GAA and a 0.884 SV%, has never played at the NHL level).

We'll be keeping Neuvirth.

Posted by: irockthered | November 23, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Holtby, BTW, is not a bad prospect, but he is not as good as Neuvirth is, and has zero NHL experience. A couple more years, and he might be ready to come up, but we won't trade Neuvirth on a gamble. The other two?

Todd Ford did not look good at all in camp, and his numbers don't look great in South Carolina. And Jason Bacashihua (I had to look on the spelling for that) is a career AHLer at this point.

Posted by: irockthered | November 23, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

TONIGHT ROOM ASSIGNMENTS

--The big news here is that Varly gets his pick of roommate because he was the best player at the game against the Leaves. Varly picks, his idol, Ovi. It does not matter that Ovi thinks that Varly is a baby and wants to hang out only with Backstrom and the other big boys. The coach said he had to, so you will see Ovi pouting tonight. Other pairings:

--Perreault-Beagle-A. Gordon (throw all the Hershey babies together)

--Bradley, Fehr (throw together all those with little or no personality that fans have a hard time remembering)

-- Clark-Theo: Clark, after his display of toughness with Green, was assigned to room with Theo to help him deal with his "issues" and toughen him up. Watch Theo's face tonight as he steals scared glances at Clark and smiles at him sweetly trying to get on his good side.

--Fleischmann - Green (part of a new plan to improve relationships between forwards and defense. They have to spend 10 minutes each morning doing trust exercises--falling backwards in the each other's arms. Watch for any signs of improved bonding between forwards and D

--Backstrom-Sloan (same plan)
--Laich-Morrison (reward for being good)

--BB-Pothier--Steckel (since Varly did not pick BB as his reward for playing well, Stecks and Pothier picked him so he would not feel dejected. Check out if BB looks at Varly resentfully when he things the cameras are not on him.

More updates on rooming assignments when the coach makes further announcements

Posted by: caraveli | November 23, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

@ dccitizen1

No, it has nothing to do with giving the finger. You interpreting it way too literally based on a word similar to the American saying. The point of the saying is that you give someone a little (a finger) and they want to take a lot more (the whole hand). It was directly related to what I was posting about so that's why I thought of it. People don't appreciate when they have it really good and start taking it for granted.

Anyway, Tarik is THE MAN.

P.S. What is it with Canadians having a culture very similar to that of American South? Country music, etc. Is it because a large part of the country is rural and you are required to be obsessed with country music if you live in a village? Sorry, I guess the PC term these days is small town.

Posted by: ranndino | November 23, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I meant "he THINKS" not "he things." Plus ignore other typos on previous post.

Posted by: caraveli | November 23, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

@irockthered

So do you see Varlamov and Neuvirth as our 2 goalies moving forward (after this season)? I had figured we would eventually try to acquire a veteran to back up which ever stays, and preemptively move the other at the deadline. Am I way off on this?

Posted by: Fro_ | November 23, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

@hock1 (from a previous thread)

It's not just Semin that's changed his style. Backstrom has also been totally "off" as of late. Backstrom has been taking more penalties and does not seem like the same player. A teen age blogger had wondered if an evil scientist had switched his brain with someone else.

We know Nicky was sick during late Oct/early Nov.

And as for Semin, he was and still is bothered by the wrist (but there were reports of other ills as well). He was feeling the pressure of playing without Ovi when he's ailing and where every mistake is scrutinized something fierce and there's no margin for error.

We know Bruce Boudreau has not changed the system lately. Backstrom and Semin have been successful under Boudreau in the past.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 23, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

To add to my comment above- perhaps bring Johnny back as our veteran back up. He's a UFA after this season and the price would certainly be right. Just killing time until the puck drops.

Posted by: Fro_ | November 23, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Well I'm an idiot- IRTR, I missed your point. Forgot that we could just keep Neuvirth in Hershey. I was thinking more a place for him to go.

Posted by: Fro_ | November 23, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

k wtf i would rather throw bradley in there with ovy and backstrom , he never get s a chance but i think hes way better than clark, id probly throw anyone out there with ovy and backstrom thats nam isnt clark lol

Posted by: theshah91 | November 23, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

@Fro_ - Actually, you got it in one. I am expecting an eventual Neuvirth-Varlamov tandem. Barring that, we could pick someone up (a veteran) to back Varlamov and keep Neuvirth in Hershey, but that would not be in Neuvirth's best interests, and probably would not be what he wants.

Posted by: irockthered | November 23, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

@ranndino

It sounds like the "give a finger..." expression is the equivalent of "if you give a person an inch, they'll take a mile."

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 23, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

@Fro_ & @irockthered

I assume they'll have Varlamov and Neuvirth be the goalie tandem for next year and try to develop them both. (Since we're low on cap space, we can't really afford a veteran goalie as a backup anyhow.)

I figure Theo will walk after this year. (No matter how good he is from this day forward, we can't afford to resign him at his present rate of pay.)

Holtby seems like a pretty good prospect but he's not as ready as Varly or Neuvy (AKA "New Kid on the Block").

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 23, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

@caraveli

Interesting roommate suggestions. In some cases, the actual roommates for many of these guys are injured.

1) I'm assuming Ovi is rooming with Varly on this trip as Semin is not available.

2) Normally, Flash rooms with Juice but did Juice even make the trip?

3) Is Boyd Gordon Fehr's "normal" roommate but BG has been out since forever?

4) Backstrom already rooms with Green (or at least that was the case last year). So that should take care of the improving relations between the O and the D.

5) Sloan roomed with Laing but Laing's now injured.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 23, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, Nicky.

Hope you have a game winner, like you did 2 years ago.

(The last guy I remember a guy having a GWG for his birthday was Shaone Morrisonn in a game in Dec against the NY Rangers. The one where the Caps were down 4-0 but came back to tie it in the 3rd and won in overtime. I recall Semin scored a goal on his last birthday but the team played poorly that day and lost.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 23, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

@irockthered

On where was everyone? I was at a training class but generally don't post while at work anyhow.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 23, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

@Raber

On pieing Nicky. I just hope (for his sake) he doesn't wear contact lenses.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 23, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

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