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Wednesday Morning Update

Coach Bruce Boudreau just met with the media here at KCI and the news regarding the injured players isn't what most of you are hoping to hear: the Caps likely will be without seven regulars for a fifth consecutive game tomorrow against the Islanders.

Here's a more detailed rundown:

*Alex Ovechkin is nursing something (Boudreau wouldn't specify and I didn't see him) but he's expected to play tomorrow. Asked if this was a maintenance day for Ovechkin, Boudreau said, "Yes." He was then asked if Ovechkin is injured and he said, "No."

*Because of that, the lines I posted earlier could (and likely will) change, Boudreau said.

*Sergei Fedorov (sprained ankle) practiced today, but came off early. He didn't want to say whether he'll be able to play tomorrow. I'm thinking he's getting closer but won't be ready.

*Mike Green (bruised shoulder) did not practice today, but said he's feeling much better. He said he's aiming for Saturday in Toronto, but that sounds optimistic to me. We'll see.

*Tom Poti skated on his own for a few minutes this morning. But he won't play, and since he hasn't practiced with the team since going down against Atlanta, that tells me he isn't close.

*Alexander Semin (upper back strain) skated on his own for a few minutes. But he did not join in during the team practice, so it looks like he'll miss his 10th game tomorrow.

*John Erskine (concussion) did not skate at all. No one is saying anything, but that's not a good sign considering he practiced yesterday.

*Congrats to Boudreau, who, with just over a full season under his belt, is now the longest tenured coach in the Southeast Division after Carolina fired Peter Laviolette this morning.

"I worry about me, my team and that's all I worry about," said Boudreau, who wasn't much in the mood to talk today. That's notable only because he usually shakes off losses quite easily.

*Asked about his team's struggles the past two games, Boudreau said there hasn't been enough secondary scoring. He didn't name names, but he's talking about Michael Nylander, who hasn't scored since October, Donald Brashear, who doesn't have one yet, Brooks Laich, who has one goal in his past nine games, and Eric Fehr, who also has one goal in his past nine games.

"It's not enough secondary scoring," he said. "It's too easy to check one line in this league. You need secondary scoring. I'm taking about eight other forwards (other than Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Viktor Kozlov and Tomas Fleischmann). We ask them to be good without the puck. But when they have the puck we ask them to score."

*Boudreau also called out the Caps' call-ups, though, again, he declined to name names.

"These guys are getting opportunities that they've never, ever had before," he said. "And it's up to them to prove that they're really solid NHL players or just role players. We need them to be better than what they've shown."

*Also, Brent Johnson is expected to start tomorrow.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 3, 2008; 12:51 PM ET
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At least it's dollar dog night tomorrow. Thats all anyone cares about anyway.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 3, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Well, more of the same. Hopefully OV is just nursing bruises. I don't want these guys to rush back either but after suffering through 2004-05, and 2005-06, I was really ready for a dominating season by the Caps which they could have had. I am not calling the season a wash by any means but I just hope someone in the division doesn't catch fire and leave us in the dust before we can recover. The entire conference is on a pace for about 94pts at a minimum to get in to the playoffs.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 3, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Tough words from the Coach, lets see if this team has what it takes to answer them, or is it getting to the point where they're getting used to being called out? It seems like Boudreau has used the same tactic since day 1, have a bad game, put your name in the paper (figuritively of course...) for not showing up.

Posted by: superpaqman | December 3, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Yep, that two year extension for Erskine is looking better and better. A tough guy who's prone to concussions.

Posted by: billieb | December 3, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm not saying this just because of his gaffe last night, but Steckel has not done one thing to impress me this year. I haven't looked at his faceoff %; maybe that's still good. But last year I thought he was very good, especially on the PK, and this year not so much.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 3, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Karl Alzner is gonna be on NHL Live shortly.

The show is on the NHL Network, XM (204) and Sirius (208) satellite radio. The show is replayed at 5pm Eastern on NHL Network. Alzner's interview should be closer to the end of the 2nd hour.

Posted by: ranndino | December 3, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

It's good the coach took notice. An injury is an opportunity for some one else to step up (just ask Wally Pipp). No one has. Yes, we are not as good a team without 7 of our starters, but if these BOYS want to play in the bigs, they have to show they belong.

Posted by: Leeguru | December 3, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

At least it's dollar dog night tomorrow. Thats all anyone cares about anyway.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 3, 2008 1:12 PM
You speak the truth amigo.

Posted by: Section117 | December 3, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I agree BilliB that the 2 year extension with Erskine was a bit risky, but at the time he was awarded the extension he was playing great hockey. I think the one player a lot of people have overlooked this season is Fleischman. He has 10 goals already this year and had what 7 all of last year. If you ask me I think his contract extension at first was VERY risky but seems to be paying off somewhat these days. If we could get out 7 regulars back in the lineup and stick with Johnny in the net we would be solid again. The more games we give Jose Crapadore the more games we're going to lose.

Posted by: mlewis31 | December 3, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

The caps have traded Nylander to the Stars for Sean Avery.

Ok, not really, but that would be kind of funny. Tarik would have to make new friends with the WaPo's editorial standards board every time he wanted to print a quote of his.

BB's in a tough spot. A couple of guys are playing so poorly right now that they deserve to be healthy scratches. Unfortunately, we don't have any extra parts.

Alzner is benefiting from the experience, but too much getting burned like last night and they'll ruin him his confidence and possibly their career like they did Eminger.

And randomly, if I was rating the "effort" right now from the squad that's playing it would go something like this:

OV, Laich, Flash, Fehr
Gordon, Backstrom, Kozlov, Mo, Sloan
Everyone else except....
Mink, Alzner, Helmer

Posted by: oldtimehockey | December 3, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Non-on ice question here, but does anyone know if the Caps plan on getting a better radio station (FM) to broadcast their games? 1500 doesn't quite cut it to me.

Posted by: superpaqman | December 3, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

- mlewis31

Jose Crapadore. Ha!

- oldtimehockey

Eminger's career hasn't been ruined just yet. He's actually playing on the top 2 D pair and PP in Tampa. I actually really liked him when he was here. Could have used him right about now.

Alzner's interview was interesting. One thing that struck me is that he said that he didn't anticipate being as nervous as he was prior to his NHL debut. He couldn't sleep, he was shaking, he wanted to puke. And this didn't stop once the game started. He said that he felt very nauseous for the whole game and very tired before the game because he couldn't get any sleep.

Posted by: ranndino | December 3, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

If you are into hockey on the radio, you need to go with XM/Sirius. They have all the games, and great hockey talk.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 3, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse


If Avery has "no power", lets see you get quoted in the national press tomorrow. That is a kind of power my friend, perhaps you don't think of it that way, but simple access to the media is power and Avery has more than his share. With power comes responsibility and Avery has none of that.

Posted by: majiksea | December 3, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

OK, the Jose Crapodore comment made me spit water all over my computer.....I need warning before something like that pops up!!!

Posted by: PhilR | December 3, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

i think the fourth line has played okay. they tend to keep the puck in the offensive zone and work the corners well. i've seen several passes from that line that just miss connecting in front of the net. they also forecheck well.

Posted by: doughless | December 3, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse


On Eminger. Apparently he did need a change in scenery.

2008/11/30: Tampa Bay defenseman Steve Eminger dropped completely off the fantasy radar after toiling in the press box in Washington and struggling at times in Philadelphia. However, he has been flourishing in Tampa Bay, posting eight points in 11 contests since he arrived. He has also seen more than 20 minutes of ice time in each of his last seven games, including a career high 26:15 against the Rangers on November 26. For the 12th overall pick in 2002, it's now or never.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 3, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

With power comes responsibility and Avery has none of that.

Posted by: majiksea

Dude, he's a donkey that likes the sound of his own voice. Nothing newsworthy in that.

Posted by: Steve_R | December 3, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

No offense man, but using the Spider-Man argument on this just isn't realistic. Avery's been doing this stuff for 5 years, even calling out Colin Campbell at one point, and NOW there's an outrage? Come on man, really.

If the market is willing to pay a guy who's never scored more than 15 goals since juniors almost $4m per, then this type of stuff will continue to go on. Bettman's suspension of him within hours of him saying it not only gave this story legs, but made him out to be a bigger idiot than many of us first presumed.

Posted by: Section117 | December 3, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

avery had 18 goals 2 years ago when split time between the kings and rangers

Posted by: _stevo | December 3, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

avery had 18 goals 2 years ago when split time between the kings and rangers

Posted by: _stevo | December 3, 2008 3:19 PM
Stupid split season stats. But you get the jist nonetheless.

Posted by: Section117 | December 3, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Ok, Eminger is playing better in Tampa. But, he certainly didn't develop into the superstar they thought he would be, and let's be fair being a top 4 in Tampa is about as prestigious this year as being a top 4 curler in Phoenix.

I have nothing against him, and indeed I actually liked him when he was here, and like him better than some of the people who were playing above him last year who are inexplicably still here. But, I think everyone agrees he came into the league before he was ready and it really hurt him for many years. Compare him to Green. Green went up and down for awhile, and while he didn't like the Green who finished a couple years ago in Hershey came back last year and dominated. That's what you want. Alzner has seen the show. He seen that its faster and he needs to be faster on his decisions to last here. I think he'll do well back in Hershey to hone his craft and he'll come back better.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | December 3, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I did almost the same thing! Although Jose Three-or-More was really clever too!

Ok, No more bashing...back to good thoughts. Ov is just resting today, right? I mean, after logging 25+ minutes, would seem logical. I would really like to see him off the PKs. Too risky.

OK, the Jose Crapodore comment made me spit water all over my computer.....I need warning before something like that pops up!!!

Posted by: PhilR | December 3, 2008 2:42 PM

Posted by: vkova10 | December 3, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

i don't which is more funny jose three-or-more or crapadore. i prefer joe theo-soft. i am glad someone else sees the things i see. it starts in the goal. but a little leadership at the blueline would help.

Posted by: ergoroc | December 3, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

no no no, haha his nickname is Jose Three-or-Four. pretty much the GAA for every game he plays 3 or 4 goals per game

Posted by: capsfan387 | December 4, 2008 2:01 AM | Report abuse

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