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Varlamov Demoted and Other Notes

Karl Alzner suffered a bruised hand after taking two shots in virtually the same spot last night. The rookie defenseman said he plans to travel to Buffalo this afternoon and hopes to faces the Sabres tomorrow night.

But Coach Bruce Boudreau said the team will likely call-up a defenseman just in case. Boudreau would not say who that would be, but it would make sense to bring back Tyler Sloan.

"We'll see how it is tomorrow," Alzner said of his right hand. "It's just a bruise. The second [shot] put it over the top a little bit."

Looks like Jose Theodore will get his fifth straight start tomorrow night. The goalie is playing the best he has since coming to Washington and his record proves it: he has won three straight games for the first time as a Cap.

In fact, as you read in my gamer today, since getting the hook in New York, he's stopped 64 of 68 shots. But for me, it goes beyond his improved numbers. He simply looks more confident between the pipes. He's moving more smoothly. He's steering rebounds to the corners. He not bobbling saves.

While it's way too early to say that Theodore has turned the corner, it certainly appears like he's heading in that direction.

"The last two and half games, he's played really well," Boudreau said. "I don't know if the word confidence. I don't know if the word is focus. I don't know if the word is playing up to your capabilities. But he's playing better."

I'll have more on Theodore in tomorrow's paper.

Some other items of interest from this morning:

*Brent Johnson will back up Theodore tomorrow and Simeon Varlamov has been sent back to Hershey, Boudreau said.

*Donald Brashear is traveling but remains questionable for tomorrow's game, Boudreau said.

*Alexandre Giroux and Chris Bourque are both still here. Depending on Brashear, it's possible both will suit up at HSBC Arena.

*Asked if Nicklas Backstrom is playing his way into all-star consideration, Boudreau said: "You're talking to a guy who really likes Nicklas Backstrom. I don't know how many other centermen have 40 points. All star selections is usually based on points. It's not like selecting Team Canada or Team Sweden, where you're looking for perfect fits. I would vote for him, he's our No. 1 center and we have one of better records."

Backstrom, for the record, has 36 points in his last 25 games.

*Tomas Fleischmann came to the rink today and rode the bike for the first time since being diagnosed with pneumonia. "He's still pretty weak," Boudreau said. It' going to be a while before we see him in the lineup, I'm thinking.

*Tom Poti still has not received clearance to start skating. He told me he has no idea how much longer he's going to be sidelined.

*As for Alexander Semin, Sergei Fedorov, John Erskine, there's not much to update. I only saw Fedorov from a distance this morning, and he was walking with a limp.

That's it for now. If I get anything else today, I'll make sure to pass it along.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 29, 2008; 12:51 PM ET
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Good stuff, as always, Tarik. Thanks

Posted by: CBT2 | December 29, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with Tarik's assessment of Theodore over the past few outings. He looks more comfortable, confident and is making big saves at key times. Solid performance again last night. This is the Theodore we expected.

Posted by: dcox50 | December 29, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if Feds is getting any kind of treatment for that ankle? It sounds like a high ankle sprain, and that takes a lot of time and work to recover from. Hopfully Flash will be back come the new year.

Posted by: EricS2 | December 29, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

great ceremony last night and great win. i really forgot that gartner had over 700 goals in the NHL. i think that puts him 6th? not bad for a guy who didn't always play on great teams.

someone asked where cheef was in the previous post. he wont post here for a couple of reason. first, they won last night. second, i think perhaps even he is realizing that every "arguement" he has against this team and management has been proven wrong.

- poor drafting/player accumulation, well not lately given all the callups and the continued success of the NHL team.
- lack of class and treatment of former players. looked like a nice ceremony last night. good to see all the guys, even scott stevens in a caps shirt. pretty awesome. i think he looks like he could still play and we could use a tough d-man. poti, mind giving up your number?
- even theo is looking good now. if he can just play reasonably well for the rest of the season, we'll be in good shape.
- team is in 4th place overall. the have beat all the top teams in the east except philly. they have taken over 90% of the available points at home. they beat the teams they should beat and have very few off nights considering their lineup.

no, cheef wont be posting here. and if he does, his "points" will look even more pathetic/useless than before.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 29, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Not sure if anyone saw this, but they've released some info on Cherepanov.
Does "blood doping" mean he was on blood thinners or something like that?

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 29, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Tarik - Alex and his #1 Star!

Posted by: _828 | December 29, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Boudreau said: "I don't know how many other centermen have 40 points."

The answer is, in the East, four: Malkin, Crosby, Savard, and Carter.

In the West: Getzlaf, Thornton, and Marleau.

Posted by: Baildog | December 29, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing what happens when your supposed to be back-up, Brent Johnson, and a rookie(Varlamov) outplay you. Theodore's lucky Johnson has been injured. He might not have been given this chance otherwise.

Posted by: wienerdog4410 | December 29, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I think it's too early to be totally sold on Theodore, but agreed that he just plain looks better and more solid and more comfortable. I'm still holding my breath in desperate hopes that he keeps going this way, because it's a beautiful thing to watch.

Varlamov down = BJ1 back, I guess.

Flash is going to be down for a while. Pneumonia is no joke. I'm glad to hear he's back on the bike, but taking it slow is good.

I'm worried about Feds. I think he's pushing that ankle way too hard - he was skating just the other day. I know he wants to get back on the ice and I can sympathize with that, but he's going to miss most of the season at this rate. Let's get it dealt with.

Okay on Tom Poti. He's been tweaking that groin again and again, and if these guys need to sit and heal so they are fresh and gunning to go for to the run to and through the playoffs, I can get behind that. I know it's frustrating (for me too!) but that way we'll have them when we need them the most, and our Hershey guys get to develop with the big club.

Their health is the most important thing to me.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 29, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

@Baildog: I guess BB's point was that Backstrom's 40 points ranks up there with other centers that are expected to be at the All-Star game. Why shouldn't Backstrom?

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 29, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Someone, a while back (must have been in the last week or so), posted a link to a site that had great NHL team salary information. Could someone repost that link?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 29, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't want to jump on the Bash Jose wagon, but I can't agree with Tarik's assessment that he has been controlling rebounds well. Seemed like everything in the Toronto game went off him and right back into the slot.

Posted by: _jordan | December 29, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

To the more seasoned hockey fans, a question:

How does the promotion/demotion thing work in the NHL?

I know that in baseball, a player can only be optioned to the minors just so many times and, once that number is hit, said player needs to clear waivers.

Can someone give me a concise (due to ADD issues) and clear (due to basic stupidity) understanding of the NHL process?

With all the comings and goings here, I am wondering what long term issues may arise.

Posted by: TimDz | December 29, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I think it has to be something more serious (and illegal) than just using blood thinners. Thinners aren't illegal to my knowledge. The word "doping" suggests something illegal to me.

Posted by: wienerdog4410 | December 29, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Imagine next year and the All-Star votes... Ovechkin, Green, Semin, and Backstrom - that would be pretty cool.

I think Jose has looked fine. Let it ride... The Caps are playing better in front o him so maybe that's all that it takes. Who knows... once again, Buffalo is going to be another test for everyone tomorrow night.

Posted by: _828 | December 29, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: tURBO8 | December 29, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

blood doping refers to the various ways in which someone can go about boosting the red blood cell count. Red blood cells carry oxygen, so more red blood cells equals more strength and endurance. Its one of those things that when people get caught doping on, say, the Tour de France, its usually blood doping. In all sports, its illegal, as far as I know.

Here's the wiki page for more info:

Here's hoping Flash is now recovering! I had a mild case last winter and I thought my breastbone was going to split in two every time I coughed. It was miserable and took forever just to get the strength back to work a full day, never mind play professional hockey!

Posted by: RedBirdie | December 29, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: ashburnpaul | December 29, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1. Agreed. I just posted the #s so others wouldn't have to look them up, but I think his numbers and performance easily put him in the All-Star discussion.

Posted by: Baildog | December 29, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I was on the shelf for 3-months when I had pneumonia. I missed a whole semester of school and couldn't work. Of course, Flash is in a lot better shape than me, so he should be okay in a few weeks. :)

Posted by: wienerdog4410 | December 29, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: _828 | December 29, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse


Young players have a certain number of games they can play in the NHL before they require waivers. That # depends on how old they were when they signed their first NHL contract (older you are, the fewer games you have). Most players have either 160 or 180 games (can't remember which) to play. Or, in Eric Fehr's case, he's already expired his first NHL contract and is on his second. Then they require waivers.
It goes into more detail if they're older players (career minor-leaguer exemptions) and goalies are a bit different, but nothing too crazy.
One-way contract means that a player will get payed the same amount regardless of where he plays (Ovie). Two-way contracts decrease the amount of money a player earns if he plays in the AHL. Players can be sent down on conditioning stints without requiring waivers. had a waiver page with more detail, or the CBA can be found on the NHLPA website if you've got about 3 weeks to read it.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 29, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

But, if you re-read it... it says 36 in his LAST 25:

Backstrom, for the record, has 36 points in his last 25 games.

Posted by: _828 | December 29, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the info on blood doping!

TimDz, Sorry that wasn't more concise. But Article 13 of the CBA is about 10 pages long, so I guess its shorter than the original. That counts, right? :-P

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 29, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Why are they in such hurry to send Varly back? Last time they did it, it turned out that Johnson was still not well enough to back Theodore up. And while I am rooting for Theo (and think that he may well have turned the corner) I would think that we need a couple of more games to stabilize the goalie situation. I say keep Varly with the Caps a while longer.

Posted by: caraveli | December 29, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Yay! Ovechkin was named 1st star for the week.

Posted by: caraveli | December 29, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

The longer we keep Varlamov up here, the less work he gets. I do agree, is Johnson really better or is he worried that Theodore is playing well right now and is afraid of losing his shot at the #1 spot?

Posted by: _828 | December 29, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

@jmu_capsgirl: you cut down a 10 page CBA document (most likely complete with attorney double-speak) to a paragraph that even a feeble mind like mine was able to understand.

That more than counts. You done good.

Thanks for helping in my ongoing effort to understand things without having my head explode...

Posted by: TimDz | December 29, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

It has been written on this blog many times in recent weeks that Sloan would likely not be sent down because he would need to clear waivers. Yet, he was just sent down. Does anyone know whether, a) he just cleared waivers, or, b) the information from earlier was just wrong?

Posted by: ccCapsfan | December 29, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

For salary cap info, try or As for waivers, the NHL's process is a lot more complicated. Basically, rookies are exempt for a certain time depending on age of his NHL contract signing and NHL games played. Everyone else needs to pass through waivers. There are two types of waivers, standard waivers going down, and recall waivers for vets coming up.

Note that waivers in the current CBA have nothing to do with one or two way contracts.

Posted by: koalatek | December 29, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

if Feds is still hurt, why is the guy walking around (and limping)? shouldn't he be in a boot or on crutches or in a wheelchair or something?

I gotta think that walking around is only helping to prolong the issue...

Posted by: sargeantmofo | December 29, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

TimDz, You can't be *that* feeble minded. You root for the Caps, not the Flyers or Pens. :-D
I'm not entirely positive about Tyler Sloan's waiver situation. My thoughts are that he would have had to go through re-entry waivers to go back to Hershey, but I guess he didn't.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 29, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

A good question, ccCapsFan. I certainly thought that Sloan had to clear waivers and I was wondering that myself. Of course, there's a good possibility that he might be coming right back up!

Posted by: kittypawz | December 29, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse


I am one of the Theodore detractors. I defended him pretty well through the middle of December. Once I saw a rotation though of Varlamov and Johnson I was like, "Why bother with the guy? He's a head case or something." OK, he's played better. However, he hasn't been REALLY tested. How many shots on goal yesterday? (He gave up a goal on the first shot 16 mins in.) How many scoring chances and really big saves?

I remember the Caps riding Olie in 98 when Olie outplayed Hasek. Has Theo played like that? In two words - hell no. Theo has played better. Has he stolen a game for us like Johnny did vs the Bruins? Two words - hell no.

In my opinion, Theo has played since halftime vs the Rangers exactly the way you'd hope Varlamov would play - no mistakes, controlled the puck enough, didn't do anything stupid, one or two ten-bell saves a game.

I say: trade him while his stock is rising and use Varlamov and Johnson. If we can trade Theo and Morrisonn and get a Bob Rouse kind of defender and we keep Varlamov and Alzner we are equal or better with cap space to boot.

I will eat my words the day Theo is named NHL player (or #2 or 3) of the week.

Signed, respectfully,
Tom in FL where it's 80 degrees and it doesn't feel like hockey

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 29, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

ccCapsfan, I didn't see your question earlier, but there are a few points of confusion for me. 1) He had to clear waivers out of camp to go back to Hershey with Laing. 2) He would be exempt from clearing waivers again only if he did not play more than 10 games or had 30 days on the roster. Which, at 23 games, he clearly did. I'm not sure to be perfectly honest (which disappoints me to no end. :-P)

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 29, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

By the way, is anyone making the trip to Florida for Caps vs Tampa 2/13 and Caps vs Florida 2/14? I am planning to go but haven't bought tickets, and my daughter says on they are advertsing packages. If anyone plans to fly into/out of Orlando and wants to save on car rental:

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 29, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Looking Ahead: Real Good News

The last 21 games of the season the Caps schedule includes:

13 games against division foe
4 against Atlanta
3 against Tampa
3 against Florida
3 against carolina (2 at home)

2 games against the Maple Leafs

1 against the Bruins (A)
1 against the Penguins (H)
1 against the Flyers (A)
1 against the Predators (A)
1 against the Sabers (H)
1 against the Islanders (A)

Looking good for the stretch run...

GMGM and Coach need to encourage ample time off for our injured to get healthy. No need to rush them back.

Posted by: windjammersouth | December 29, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"The last two and half games, he's played really well," Boudreau said. "I don't know if the word confidence. I don't know if the word is focus. I don't know if the word is playing up to your capabilities. But he's playing better."

That quote is made of awesome.

Posted by: Section117 | December 29, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse


As stated before - as soon as Varlamov gets lit up, people will be wondering why he got called up.

Way to support Theo and then change your mind after seeing a Rookie who could have been just lucky - who knows?

Tested, he is playing against other NHL teams. Sure, some are better than others, but c'mon, he has had a pretty solid performance in the last 2.5 games.

"Has he stolen a game for us like Johnny did vs the Bruins? " Why yes, he has. One against the Habs when he shut them out, another one when Johnson went down and he had to play 2 full periods and did not allow a goal to secure Johnny's win. I think it was Carolina.

"I will eat my words the day Theo is named NHL player (or #2 or 3) of the week." Why does he need to be named NHL player of the week? I just want him to win games... could care less about his stats. Johnson is not a starter - he has been a backup all of his life. Why do you think he got injured and sick - because he can't handle the load. So, you want to put a rookie in with a backup that has to try and play well because this is the last year of his contract?

Posted by: _828 | December 29, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

They are advertising packages for games in Florida on the Caps website.

Wow, Florida and Tampa must really be hurting for people to come to the games... they are advertising on other teams websites.

Posted by: _828 | December 29, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Should go undefeated in that stretch. Im hoping to say that each time you post it. What is it, your 10th time posting the same exact thing?

Posted by: _828 | December 29, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse


The FIRST time you posted that, I thought it was the most intelligible thing you have posted, and perhaps signaled that you had turned the corner and were going to begin posting "up to your capabilities." But alas, as this is at least the 4th or 5th time you have cut-and-pasted your one-and-only approximation of a worthwhile post, it appears I was mistaken.

Posted by: Baildog | December 29, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Check out this Poll from

Who will win the Stanley Cup?
1% Ducks

15% Bruins

10% Flyers

15% Sharks

18% Red Wings

12% Blackhawks

29% A team not listed

Total Votes: 5589

Why are the Ducks on there?

Posted by: _828 | December 29, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

So glad Bradley is back and coherent today. Love that guy and I was worried at how it looked last night.

Tampa and Miami over Valentines Day weekend. Sweet!

The links regarding the Brooks Laich dealing with injury info. was vintage. Especially the audio where he talks about getting hit in the nose with a puck and his eyes going in different directions. I smile every game just knowing that we have players like him on our team.

I did not get to participate in all of the Kozlov back and forth a couple of threads ago. He is making a believer out of me. Personally, I think that Feds is having an influence on him just as much as he has on the youngsters. Viktor seems to be trying really hard to fill some big shoes while the grasshopper is hobbled with a wonky ankle.

Posted by: Kim-3 | December 29, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

_828, Cause they've won it a few years ago? I think the voting public agrees with you though. Except apparently the Ducks roster and their wives, maybe. Why aren't we on there? Unless by "A team not listed" they just mean the Capitals. :-P

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 29, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I've been telling people to let him get settled with the team. It's not his team as a goalie. Yet. The team played better in front of Johnson, if you haven't noticed. The defense has been pretty shaky in most of Theo's starts, in the first period. And if you play goal, you'd know that the first period determines how the rest of the game is played.

I've cursed Theo a couple of games but I've always said be patient, it sucks that we are paying that much for him to have him take this long to get acclimated; but even then, we are stuck with him until he plays better, which he's doing. He needed to tighten up and he did that, but then lost a couple of games, but looks good again. People need to stop freaking out. The sky isn't falling. We're second in the conference.

Once the team meshes, goalie, and all; it'll be an unstoppable team. And yes, it sucks that it's taken Theo this long to get his act together, I'm with you on that. But the season isn't over yet and he's picking up his stride.

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | December 29, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

jmu_capsgirl, that's what I thought at first. Team not Mentioned means us. But then I thought about the Pens, Rangers, etc... mostly them. You know the Penguin fans like to sit on the computer all day and vote for their star player.

Posted by: _828 | December 29, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Is there a viable reason that the Predators haven't put tickets on sale yet for the Caps game? I thought they released at least some tickets to every game during the season at the beginning? Or are they really not that desperate for ticket sales?

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 29, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1: The idea of running with Varlamov right now scares me to my skin, more than Theodore does. Will he be lights out in two-three years? Bet on it. Is he ready right now? Hell no. In case you didn't notice, he was living a charmed life in Montreal. The Habs must have rung the metal on his goal three or four times in the third frame. His win in Montreal was pure, unbridled luck. It was meant to be. He made some serious and almost costly mistakes in both games he started, and while his athleticism is amazing, his technique needs work. Put the two together and Lundqvist'll turn green with envy in a couple of years.

Has Theo been really tested? Not really. I'm good with that, because it means our D is doing their job, which wasn't the case in the beginning of the season. That says good things - offense sells tickets, but defense is what will bring the Cup to DC. If he never gets tested like he was in the beginning, I say GOOD.

I like what I'm seeing from Theodore right now in the last couple of games. Truthfully, I'm almost afraid to breathe when the subject of Theodore comes up, because I don't want to chance messing it up. I'm cautiously optimistic right now, because if Theo finds and keeps his legs, Johnson and our other boys get healthy by say Feb 1, and nothing else goes wrong *knock on wood*, we could be looking at a very, very good summer.

Varlamov needs to be in Hershey where he will make lots of starts and get lots of ice time to learn. Theodore desperately needs all the starts he can get here in Washington to build on what he's finding. He's got to play and play and play some more to find himself (and that's per BB and him both).

I'm very much in a "wait and see" pattern with this team on so many levels, and that's no bad thing. Popcorn, anyone?

Posted by: kittypawz | December 29, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Okay, a couple of more things.

First, boy am I glad that we played Chicago earlier in the season. They are almost as hot as we are.

Second, just a quick point about media coverage. It will come. We were driving on Rt 1 today with our Caps magnet on our SUV and got "Caps honked" You know the three honks ala Horn Guy. (And no it was not because we were driving too slow in the left lane).

Third. As I looked through the sports page and watched ESPN today I resolved to be so thankful I am a hockey fan with this team. Often my daughter will ask about a player. Her quote is always "Is he good?" We will say, "Of course he is good, he is playing professionally." Then she will say, "No, I mean is he good." How lucky are we that with all of our players we can say yes both to talent and character.

Posted by: Kim-3 | December 29, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

It's funny some of you have been cursing Kozlov. I've been a support of Nylander up until recently. I've cursed at him the last two games.

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | December 29, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Sloan, from everything I have been reading I don't see how he could have avoided going through waivers on the way back to Hershey.

Posted by: JayHoo89 | December 29, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a TV genius by any stretch of the imagination, but the NHL Network is only available on digital service, ie cable & satellite, correct? Then why is that gawd-awful Digital conversion commercial on loop? Every single one of them (except Rick Nash) makes hockey players look like cheerful idiots.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 29, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

where is that damn spam button to block

as for varlamov...he still needs to get a lot of work in the minors to be ready for us in the future. if he comes up now, it severely reduces his playing time and he doesn't get the experience of the north american style that he needs. when he comes up, he should come up playing for the starting role...not up as a backup in the event someone gets injured. varlamov is olie on steroids for us for the next decade!

now all we have to do is sign one more stud russian defenseman and we can have the iron curtain shift. I am hoping gonchar wants to come back to end his career : ). pretty sick to see an OV-Koslov-Semin / Federov-Gonchar Varlamov shift on the ice!

Posted by: CapsSkins | December 29, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I think the Washington Post is missing an opportunity here. Capitals Insider has basically become "The Capitals Injury Report". Seems like a perfect fit for a hospital group, or pain reliever sponsorship.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 29, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I just watched the Coach's Daily Dialogue on the official Caps site...Does he give everyone a hard time, or just you?:) His response to your question "Brashear?"...too funny! love that guy!

Thanks for all your great work!

Posted by: fullright | December 29, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

The Post is too busy staffing people on the soap opera known as the Redskins.

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | December 29, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

As everyone knows I've been on Theo's case all season. I'll be the first one to admit that he's playing much better lately, but I wouldn't jump the gun and say that he's solved his problems yet. Truthfully he hasn't had one even remotely tough game in this little stretch. We've dominated teams and he has had to be simply decent to post a win.

The real test will come if the team has a bit of a stinker and he has to make a lot of great saves to steal a win. Then I'd be cautiously optimistic that he might've turned the corner.

As for now, like I've been saying all along, the way we play we just need solid goaltending to win. Doesn't have to be anything extraordinary. Just has to not suck.

A good example of teams where the goalie has to stand on his head every night to win would be Tampa and Columbus. Rookie Mason has been doing it for a while now with the Blue Jackets. We're not asking that of our goalies. They just have to save what should be saved and make 1 or 2 great saves per game.

Posted by: ranndino | December 29, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Notice how the two-way contract was signed AFTER Detroit smoked them recently?

Posted by: Section117 | December 29, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 29, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

mnmnt_snow: Has the team played better in front of johnson? Yes, but Johnny earned that. Yesterday the tem awas playing fine until Theo let in the first shot sixteen mins in. Sixteen mins! How frustrating must it be for the team to not allow a SOG for 16 mins and then the first one goes in?! Did you watch how they let up a little? We're lucky the Leafs don't have any Flyers orange in their blood or maybe we'd never have gotten back in it.

828: I didn't give up on Theo because Varly played two good games. I gave up on Theo based on two months of mediocre/crappy play. So maybe he'll turn it around. Enough to make the difference between $4.5M/yr and $815K/year?

kittypawz: I can't disagree until we get to the critical part of the season. If Theo really does turn it around, kudos to BB for managing a head case into a positive asset. No popcorn for me - can't stand the stuff. I can eat potato chips though until they come out my - sorry.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 29, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Sombrero Guy: Your comment is funny because years ago the Orioles had a guy who was always hurt - Fred Lynn. Anyway, whenever Scott McGregor pitched Lynn would run into the wall trying to catch the ball and get hurt. Then they are playing the Rangers and Texas brings in this rookie - Mitch Williams - to pitch. This guy was throwing like 100 mph and he hits Lynn with a fastball. Lynn heads down to first grimacing and clutching his shoulder and the trainer, maybe Richie Bancells, comes out. I turn to my wife and say, "They should call this the 'Johnson's & Johnson's Injury Timeout.'" My wife says that's the stupidest thing she's ever heard, some part of the game covered by a sponsor. Well, 20-some years forward, and EVERY part of the game is sponsored. And every time we see something sponsored that you could never imagine would be and I turn to her mockingly and say, "Johnson's & Johnson's Injury Timeout," and she replies, "OK, for the millionth time, you were right."

And I say, "Even a blind squirrel find a nut sometimes."

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 29, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me or is anybody else getting tired of the guy holding his baby up behind the glass while the post game interview is going on?

Posted by: ludeman95 | December 29, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

do you know how hard it is to play for 16 minutes and not get a shot on goal when playing in net? You must not have ever played goal. I've played games where I've had 5 shots on goal the whole game and I let in two because I was snoozing, and they should have been routine saves.

You have to get into a rhythm when you're in goal. and if you stop the first 3-4 shots you're set for the game within the first few minutes.

I've seen the defense collapse and give opportunities in front of Theo EARLY, at the beginning of the season. Should he have stopped some? Yes. But a lot of those opportunities could have been prevented had the defense done their job, like when they're playing in front of Johnson.

I don't know if you look at what happens before each goal, or just the when he let in goals at certain timeframes during the game. There have been a few games where he played like absolute dogsh1t.

But that happens. That's usually when the whole team is playing like they just woke up from a deep sleep and just suited up to play 20 seconds later.

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | December 29, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse


I seriously doubt the team was down on Theo for that first goal he "let" in.

When a goalie never moves, he never saw the shot. When you have two guys jumping into the shooting lane without any blue sweaters in the same shooting lane, that's a huge problem. If nobody is screening your goalie, you shouldn't be either. Stecks and Collins both created a wall infront of JT60 and he had no chance. The players knew it (you could see Mo chatting with collins after the goal on the bench).

Additionally on that rush, our "D" men were Mo and Stecks. Collins was one of the last to enter the zone for whatever reason. You can read Laich's body language after the goal was scored. Collins looked lost trying to rush back to the front of the net, puck deflects off him (reason JT's further right than he should have been, that's where the pass was going) and goes left, then he drops to knees to try to block whatever was incoming.

Also, that goal scored by TOR was on their 5th shot. Not first of the game.

If you want to look at guys letting in "game changing" and "heartbreaking" goals, look at Vesa last night. Laich's first, Ovie's 2nd should have both been stopped. ABSOLUTELY should have been stopped. That's the kind of stuff we don't want to see from our goalies. The kind of stuff JT was giving us through his first couple starts of the year.

Someone else was talking about Varly's play vs MON and how lucky he was. I'd 100% agree. A lot of what he was doing in MON game that drove me nuts though, was corrected in his next start. He wasn't coming out as far to challenge shooters and he was in better position to stop the second shots. I was personally shocked at how well he reacted to some serious coaching between his starts, and I'm looking forward to how much better he can get.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 29, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Kim-3's post that it is good we played Chicago earlier in the year. I watched them play the Flyers the other day and the Blackhawks are crazy good. Really exciting to watch just like the Caps. Don't Toews me bro!

Posted by: washingtonpost31 | December 29, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

ludeman, pretty funny. i noticed that too. i'm not annoyed by it, just amazed that someone would bring that young a kid to a game, much less have him/her awake at that hour.

speaking of behind the glass. i've noticed something recently. that is that there always seems to be visiting team fans in the front row behing the visitors bench. i noticed it at the buffalo game, the montreal game and i've noticed caps fans there at away games. anyone know how this seems to happen all the time. are tickets auctioned on ebay/stubhub specifically for visiting teams fans. certainly those tickets belong to a season ticket holder...anyone enlighten me?

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 29, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Re: Cherepanov - I am not overly pleased with the report of his blood doping. If it's true. Somehow, it smacks of the Russian authorities trying to dodge that they didn't have a working defibrillator on hand. Like it was Cherepanov's fault, not theirs, somehow.

Add that to Ovechkin's comment about never being lied to in America... yeah. I don't like it, and I smell a rat.

Re: Varlamov - I agree that he got lucky in Montreal. VERY lucky. He did make a lot of corrections in his next start, but he needs the time in Hershey to acclimate to the North American play schedule.

@jmu_capsgirl - That link should come with a drink warning! As in you'll spew your drink all over your monitor, because it's so funny.

Posted by: irockthered | December 29, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse


that link. was. awesome.

Posted by: Fro_ | December 29, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I was definitely having a hard time containing my laughter. Laughed out loud a couple of times, which led my dad to ask me what was so funny? I had a hard time explaining since most of the funny stuff he really wouldn't know much about since he barely follows the NHL these days.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 29, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

2nd intermission:

I really think they fix that one trike so it's all busted up, that one last night was busted up. it'd be funny if someone snuck in a fire extinguisher and used that to propel them down the ice.

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | December 29, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

JT is finally getting his groove. This is when he started to play good last season. I would not be surprised to see him get a run of 6-7 games in a row if he continues to play good. The leafs first goal was not his fault Sunday.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 29, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

That's been going in for two yrs now with that baby. In todays day and age of kids getting kidnapped all the time I personal don't think I'd be paradeing my son or daughter around on national television. A few games back you can see him saying something to two older kids that were standing infront of him, one of the kids turned around and looked up at him then moved to the side. So now he's telling other peoples kids to get out of his way. Sorry for my little rant, haha. Yeah I always notice fans of the other teams sitting right at the glass. Makes you think if a Caps fan sold the tickets to them?

Posted by: ludeman95 | December 29, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

re: dcsportsfan1

My fiancee and I were behind glass behind the Buffalo bench for that game. She bought the tickets as a Christmas present and I think she got them from Stubhub. But you're right it was all Buffalo fans behind the bench, except for us.

Posted by: TwoBuckChuck | December 29, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I will go back and replay the Leafs goal from last night. I am not disagreeing with FFSEnough, I just want to see what he said. It was the first shot on goal per Joe B and Locker. Plus, if he didn't see it, well part of a goalie's job is to see the puck. I know the players block it out. I recall one save by Varly with a Blue absolutely directly in front of him and no Caps nowhere and Varly reaches around the Blue to make a snappy glove save.

I am liking what I see of Theo, and hope to see more. In a perfect world, he steps up and leads us to the Finals. That makes it easier on everyone. Just like in a perfect world Clark ends up with 10-15 goals. At least there's a ray of hope.

For those with the NHL Network, Canada vs Germany (World Jr) is on at 7:30 if you want to check out the next great star - John Tavares. It's either that or a Burt Lancaster movie on the Western channel. Burt Lancaster was a fantastic actor but this Taveras kid looks great too.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 29, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I tried to buy tix for the Caps game in Carolina in March - they don't go on sale until Feb!!!

Posted by: Boo- | December 29, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1, I've been watching, Tavares is not bad at all. I don't think he's the second coming, but he's definitely got some talent to work with. Canada has been taking names the entire tourney (9-2, 15-0), they're definitely the most exciting team, with the best roster. (Don't get me started on the USHL and their political machinations) Haven't seen Russia play yet, but I'm hoping to catch one of their games later this week.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 29, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Ooh, for all the ravens fans on here, I just saw a guy wearing a Ray Rice jersey walking around the Nhl store.

Posted by: ludeman95 | December 29, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

irockthered, I think the article might allay some of your suspicious.

"The committee said the club's medical team may carry legal liability, contending a 'row of gross violations was committed by the medical brigade' helping Cherepanov."

In addition, the report found that Cherepanov suffered from myocarditis and should not have even been playing professional hockey. A team physical should have caught this.

There's a lot of blame to go around, and it looks like the committee isn't being conservative in doling it out.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 29, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Okay. I looked for Preds-Caps tickets but they're aren't any available. But they have Rags-Preds tickets for two days later. I guess opportunities to see Ovechkin are a hot commodity for WC fans. I still don't know if I'm going to make that drive, but that's my spring break, so I may end up doing it.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 29, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Suspicions, not suspicious.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 29, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse


Whatever Joe B and Locker may have said, the shot counter in the arena said "4" just after that shot went in the goal, so it was either the 4th or 5th official SOG.

Posted by: yosemite_sam | December 29, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Go figure. But if I lived someplace else, I'd go to a game just to see him, too. It's kind of like going to the Winter Classic, an All-Star game or the playoffs - what real hockey fan would not do those things, given the opportunity? After all, despite what the (Canadian) media says, Ovie IS the NHL ... :-)

Posted by: Boo- | December 29, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

OK, it was the 4th shot. And, yes, Collins did a really bad job of dropping down and completely screening the goalie. Theo certainly played one of his better games of the year. Maybe Theo starts playing consistently well, Clark starts scoring and Nylander stops circling and giving the puck up. Everyone else can just keep doing pretty much what they've been doing.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 29, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

@JohninMpls - While it's true that was stated in the article, I still see "may carry legal liability" vs. "was engaged in blood doping".

The writing style implies that while the medical brigade might be liable, "experts concluded" that Cherepanov had engaged in blood doping "for several months." It still sounds like an attempt to push the blame for Cherepanov's demise onto the boy and off of the medical authorities who A) should have caught that he had myocarditis, and B) should bloody well have had a working defibrillator around in any case.

The fact that Denisov was sacked does not, in my opinion, mitigate the gross negligence that the team and medical authorities are accused of, and saying, "well, he was blood doping," doesn't make it right for me. They should have caught his illness. They should have done something about it. And they damnwell should have had a working defibrillator around. Period.

Cherepanov's blood doping may have played a part, if it was even happening, but the fact that it's taken since September for this to come to light smacks of a coverup to me. It took just over three weeks for the toxicology reports on Chris Benoit to be released. Why did it take from October 13th to December 29th to get the information out about Cherepanov?

That's all I'm saying...

Posted by: irockthered | December 29, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Too true. I probably won't end up going. Eight hours is a drive, even for me. And my luck gas will go back up just in time for my trip, too. I'll save up my pesos for future season tickets or drive to Canada and finally see Toronto. :D

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 29, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Glad to hear that Bradley was not injured. So much for the medical team in the broadcast booth who could read lips and said that he most likely had a concussion.

Posted by: MKadyman | December 29, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: OldFan | December 29, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

SLOAN & WAIVERS -- Sloan would not have had to clear waivers as he is on emergency recall.

Posted by: gogetem | December 29, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse


I think they'll try, but I hope they won't succeed, to shift the blame to blood doping.

In any case I'm surprised that a person so young would make use of blood doping.

Posted by: mauree | December 29, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

i have been riding theordore like a cheap pony all year. the game against Toronto was his best by far thia year. if he can keep it to 1-2 goals a night then we dominate.

Posted by: ergoroc | December 29, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Can't you come up here for a game instead?

Posted by: Boo- | December 29, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

@mauree - It surprises me as well. I'm wondering if there is some sort of a connection between the blood doping and the myocarditis / ischaemia / hypertrophic cardiomyopathy / whatever other heart condition the Russsian authorities want to blame this on... All three conditions have been cited, after all, in connection with Cherepanov's death...

But I doubt we'll ever get the whole story.

Posted by: irockthered | December 29, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Islanders are up on the Rangers, 1-0 with a couple of minutes left in the 1st...

Posted by: irockthered | December 29, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Anybody see how old Colorado is on defense?
And they're really old on Defense

Seems like they could use a veteran centerman and some youth on the blueline...

Posted by: austinsteve | December 29, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

wait those first two sentences are repetitive.
And they kinda say the same thing.

They are down big on centermen was supposed to be one of those first two points

Posted by: austinsteve | December 29, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

@gogetem: Good to know. So emergency injury recall never triggers waivers no matter how many games you play?

Also, watching the Montreal/Florida game is an education in and of itself. I have just enough French to follow pieces of the commentary and pick up some of the French hockey terminology. I'm not getting all of it, not by a long shot, but I've gotten a few nuggets.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 29, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

recent headlines:

"Sakic Sidelined Approximately Three Months"
"Stastny to Undergo Surgery"

but anywayz...

Posted by: austinsteve | December 29, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

The Buffalo News had a poll on who is the best forward in the NHL. The writer said Ovechkin is the best player in the NHL.

Survey results show:
Ovechkin 74.2%
Crosby 3.2%
Malkin 16.1%
Other 6.5%

I'm amazed, not that Ovie is so far ahead in this poll, but that 25.8% of the voters chose someone else!

Joe B

Joe B

Posted by: rw-c | December 29, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

i really want to put you in net. and have guys screen you all sorts of ways. on some of the screens you can see the puck being shot and not have a clear view... or be screened and not even see the shot go off. how many goals have ovechkin scored by using a defenseman's legs as a screen and shooting from behind in between? c'mon man. if a goalie can see the shot go off he can square up to it. you're killing me.

Posted by: MNMNT | December 29, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse


"wait those first two sentences are repetitive. And they kinda say the same thing."

HA!! :-D But it looks like Joe B did not get the memo ... ;-)

Posted by: Boo- | December 29, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Sure could! I might go to the game on March 5th, but a hockey road trip just sounds cool. Or, I could take all my gas money that I would spend driving to Nashville and buy tickets to multiple games in DC instead. Choices, choices. :-D
Thanks, gogetem! That makes sense!
kittypawz, Are you watching the game through an internet feed or TV?

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 29, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Please tell me that Joey MacDonald will hold off the Rangers. They are out-shooting the Islanders, but it looks like Islanders are picking up the pace at the end of the second....YESSSSSS they scored. I want us to stay in the second slot in the Eastern Conference.

Posted by: caraveli | December 29, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Well we hope to see you in our neck of the woods soon! Feel free to drop me an email if you need help getting tickets. I can't get my STH discount at this point in the season, but I can get tix without the Ticketmaster fees. I also know folks who sell their tickets when they are out of town, and they pass their STH price on to my friends! :-)

Posted by: Boo- | December 29, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

@jmu_capsgirl: On TV through NHL Center Ice. Crazy series of penalties in the second - MTL was on the nasty end of a 5-on-3 with one guy still in the box for fighting. The Montreal box was standing room only. :D

This is a very good game, hard-fought and fast-paced. Much better than the Islanders/Rangers game.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 29, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Watching world juniors...I know this is 5 years out but does stefan Della Rovere really have a chance in the NHL? A rough guy...maybe a Scottie Hartnell (did I just say that!?)type player. What are his projections as I don't know too much about him.

Posted by: ralCapsFan | December 29, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

ralCapsFan: Too early to say. The organization has high hopes for him, that's for sure. The pest factor was a big part of the reason why he was drafted, and I remember that he looked really good in development camp. He made World Juniors as a seventh-round draft pick, the only one drafted later than sixth to make the squad.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 29, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

I've been asleep (rotten cold!). Just checked back on the NYI-NYR game... Rangers are up 5-3 with 3:21 left. Darn. I was really hoping the Islanders would win this, and help us keep some distance away from the Rangers... But the odds of them tying it up now are slim to none. RATS!

Posted by: irockthered | December 29, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update. He surely is fulfilling his 'pest' quota...we could use someone like that

Posted by: ralCapsFan | December 29, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

@kittypawz - Either A) your French at-speed is way better than mine, or B) this cold is making me way stupid, or C) both, because the only things I'm picking up on this commentary are player names! (((>.<))) Watching hockey in French is... interesting!

Islanders managed to pull to within 1 point, but they couldn't pull it out. Darn. :-p

Posted by: irockthered | December 29, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

We are watching Della Rovere too. The announcers won't stop talking about him - not bad for 7th round draft pick. After the big hit on Esposito, Della Rovere antics in front of Germany bench might have crossed the line. But whatever, announcers said that GMGM was in attendance tonight and that "he must like what he is seeing"

Posted by: Jen12 | December 29, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

It's not that bad - I'm far from getting everything, but here are a few key terms you should be able to make out:

tirer: to shoot; conjugates as a standard -er verb. Similarly, tir shot
but: a goal
mise en jeu: faceoff
prison de faute: penalty box
supèrieure numérique: power play
cinq contre trois: 5-on-3
dégagement: clear (as in clearing the puck).
arrêt: save (translates literally as "stop")

I have not yet picked up the term for the penalty kill, but "shorthanded" is inférieure. I'm also looking for the term for the goalie, but I'm not good enough to have gotten that yet. I can read anything printed on the screen pretty easily, though. (My written is better than my spoken.)

Posted by: kittypawz | December 29, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Caught a couple of other terms:

Obstruction = interference
Retenu = holding

Got those off watching the movements the referee made, and then looking at the listout on the screen, but I found a website that seems very useful:

Off that website, your goaltender would be gardien...

Posted by: irockthered | December 29, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

"Shorthanded" is <something> infèrieure, rather.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 29, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Jen12: Where are you watching this?

Posted by: kittypawz | December 29, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

This is a question that may have been answered, but I would appreciate it if someone could respond to this:

During Mike Gartner's Jersey retirement ceremony, Langway and Ivan Labre were on the ice, but no Dale Hunter...does anyone know why Dale wasn't there?

Posted by: TimDz | December 29, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

This is a question that may have been answered, but I would appreciate it if someone could respond to this:

During Mike Gartner's Jersey retirement ceremony, Langway and Ivan Labre were on the ice, but no Dale Hunter...does anyone know why Dale wasn't there?

Posted by: TimDz | December 29, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

double post...sorry...either that or double vision...

Posted by: TimDz | December 29, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

He's probably busy coaching. I think the other two are pretty much retired at this point.

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 29, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

@TimDz - No idea, but that struck me as odd as well... They didn't have him on any of the tribute videos, either.

Posted by: irockthered | December 29, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

All I could think was..."You check ONE guy into the boards after he scores and...suddenly you're on the outs with your old team..."

Seriously, I still see that overtime goal against Philly in game seven back at the old US Air arena as one of the all time great Cap moments...I was actually there, third row from the ice (due to a scalper nonetheless...) and remember the place just ERUPTING when he scored on that breakaway...

Posted by: TimDz | December 29, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

@TimDz, --Boo-- - Well, he is the head coach for the London (Ontario) Knights of the OHL, but they weren't playing last night... in fact, they haven't played since the 19th, and don't play again until tomorrow. Hunter could have been coaching, but he wasn't needed at a game last night... :-(

Posted by: irockthered | December 29, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what his schedule is, I just know he's a coach! :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 29, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I was at the game and Hunter was on a video tribute, looking a bit heavy I might add.

Posted by: Erika29 | December 29, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I do wonder if the unfortunate end to his Caps career had something to do with his not being there on Sunday...

Arguably, he does have one of the best and worst Cap has to wonder if that cheap shot against the Isles had something to do with his no-show...

Posted by: TimDz | December 29, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Hunter did a video tribute. He's in London.

Posted by: Scott_in_Shaw | December 29, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

If that was the case, I don't think they would have retired his #.

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 29, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Whoops -- I need to remember to refresh...

Posted by: Scott_in_Shaw | December 29, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

@Erika29: Langway wasn't exactly looking buff with his Dunlop belly (where his belly dun-loped over his belt), but he was standing on the ice...When you hit a certain age (this is coming from the voice of experience mind you...) gravity and too many trips to the all-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet's will do that to you.

Posted by: TimDz | December 29, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

@Erika29 - I stand corrected on the video tribute. :) I was out of my seat for a bit, looking at the jerseys they had up for auction. When I looked, the low price was on Pothier's. It was going for $400, and he didn't even skate. No way in hell I was getting one of them... Ah well. C'est la vie!

I wonder if they'll post anywhere what each jersey went for... Varlamov's was at $2,000 when I looked! (Wow!)

Posted by: irockthered | December 29, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Point taken. I just think that there would be some plausible explanation, or at least some reason stated during the ceremony, why he wasn't there.

Was anyone there when Hunter's number was retired? Was there a smattering of boos or something that suggested a need to keep him away for Gartner's ceremony?

I just find this vexing for some reason...

Posted by: TimDz | December 29, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

I wondered about the jerseys. I didn't bother jumping down from the nosebleeds to check out the prices. $2k for Varly??? Holy crap!!! I can't imagine what Ovie's was.

Posted by: Erika29 | December 29, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I really would not read that much into it. Coaches schedules are pretty demanding. Even if he did not have a game that night, he may have had other commitments that kept him away.

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 29, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

...actually, they posted the tribute videos on the Caps' website. Hunter's was very easy to miss; he only said about 10 words...

Here's who they had...

Peter Bondra
Craig Laughlin
Ted Leonsis

Yvon Labre
Rod Langway
Dale Hunter
Bryan Murray

Ryan Walter

Posted by: irockthered | December 29, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I remember Ted writing that he was trying to get him here for something last year (what was that again??); if there were any issues, I doubt that Ted would have written that he was working on it.

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 29, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Boo-, Thanks, much appreciated. Even with my "3.5 day weekend" class schedule next semester, work still tends to dictate when I can and can't go to DC. I'll keep it in mind though. It might be neat to see what the building is like when its not half empty or filled with student-hooligans. :-P
kittypawz, man, poor Habs. I thought that only happened in minor league games. I wonder how the box official was handling all that.
As far as Delly goes, he was most definitely drafted to be a pest, although he's also got a scoring touch, too. I've been cheering for him since draft day, but I've also got the "root for the underdog" sort of mentality. I *might* have been more concerned about his ankle/shin than Brads's noodle. *cowers* But only because I was sure Brads has a hard head, I swear! Actually, in a few years, Delly might be Brads' replacement. Thoughts?

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 29, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

I guess it is more a personal thing for me...

I always loved watching Hunts play and the cheap shot he took was always difficult for me to watch. It really denegrated his legacy as a hockey player in my eyes.

It will be interesting to watch over the coming years when the next Jerseys are retired (Bondra, Kolzig...) and whether or not Hunter is there...

Posted by: TimDz | December 29, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Bondra HAS to be the next jersey retired. A lot of cheers for him last night, plus the records he holds. Why does it take so long to retire a jersey? Is there a waiting pd like the HHOF?

Posted by: Erika29 | December 29, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, $2k for Varly. There was no way in hell I was getting one. *BOGGLE!* I didn't even look at Ovechkin's, though I should have, to get an idea. Theodore's was in the $750-800 range, I think...

Posted by: irockthered | December 29, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

@ Erika: My money is on Bonzai next, followed by Ollie...

After that, we may have to wait until OV retires...I don't see anyone else of real substance in between...

Posted by: TimDz | December 29, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

fullright, I also noticed Boudreau's word association with Tarik during this morning's press conference.

Tarik: Donald Brashear?

Bruce: He’s a big black guy.

Tarik: He is. Is he ready to go?

Bruce: He’s coming on the trip.


Bruce: What? [In response to Caps PR man or reporter rolling eyes in response to the "big black guy" comment]

At least, Bruce didn't use the "N" word a la Chris Simon's verbal run-in with Mike Grier.

Posted by: VivaBunnista | December 29, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

I can't see them retiring Kolzig's number until after Kolzig retires from hockey... which I maintain he should have done at the end of last season. Retiring gracefully from the southeast division championship team trumps ending your career as the backup goaltender for the 3rd-worst team in the NHL in my book... :-(

Posted by: irockthered | December 29, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

I second that. My dad retired his Kolzig jersey to the closet (he's still pissed he didn't retire) and I got him a Backstrom red jersey for Xmas.
P.S. Rangers won. Boo.

Posted by: Erika29 | December 29, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

@ irock...

You are right on both accounts. I figure he will retire at the end of this year, but who knows? I would have liked to see him retire after last year, but its hard to retire when a million dollar a year (give or take) salary is staring you in the face...

Fearless prediction:

Bonzai's # retired in 2010 and Kolzig in 2011

Posted by: TimDz | December 29, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

@jmu_capsgirl: Yeah, I liked Delly too. Unfortunately, I couldn't get enough of the French discussion to tell you how the box official was handling it, but it got crowded in there :)

Posted by: kittypawz | December 29, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Wow. It's gonna take me a WEEK to go through all the shots I took during warmups last night. I wasn't worried about framing things; I was just shooting at everything in front of my lens. Went from image #345 to image #733 in 15 minutes of warmup (plus a bit during the game, and the stars after).

BTW - anybody have any notion why Backstrom had a huge line across his forehead in warmups where it looked like his helmet would have been?

Posted by: irockthered | December 29, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Also, it's entirely possible that Della Rovere will take Brads' role on the team, although hopefully he can actually fight. And hopefully he's not as insane as Tim Conboy.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 29, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Just saw probably the best non-hockey comparison for Ovechkin (pure athlete comparison, if you will).

"Jim Brown on skates"

Posted by: TonyX | December 29, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Not sure if anyone has posted this yet... but it's so true. The NHL should definitely take notice!

Posted by: luvfades | December 29, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

^Yay! Finally an Ovechkin/Syracuse University (Jim Brown) connection! Seriously I was really impressed that this was written by Larry Brooks, a notorious Ranger homer disguised as an impartial journalist.

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | December 29, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

do people really think theodore at his peak has been better (as opposed to as good as) johnson at his peak/ healthiest this season? b/c if not, johnson has been more consistent when not injured imo.

Posted by: am_jim | December 30, 2008 1:14 AM | Report abuse

Great game by Chris "TINY" Bourque. Chris looked like someones kid out there when the team came out to congratulate Theo.

Posted by: washingtoncapitals | December 30, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

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