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Wednesday Practice Update

First, a quick injury update:

*Tomas Fleischmann skated with the team today, but told me he is far from being ready to return. Coach Bruce Boudreau said he's hoping to have the winger back for the game against Philly on Jan. 6.

*Karl Alzner (bruised hand) and Shaone Morrisonn (foot) are both ready to go. If Alzner suits up tomorrow against Tampa Bay, that means a defenseman will likely be sent down.

*Donald Brashear, after missing last night's game with a bruised leg, is questionable for the Lightning game.

*Not much new news on Alexander Semin (back), Tom Poti (groin) and Sergei Fedorov (ankle). Still not timetable for their return.

*Boudreau wouldn't say which goaltender will play tomorrow, but Brent Johnson came off much earlier than Jose Theodore. That usually means Johnson will get the nod. We'll know for sure tomorrow morning.

*The story of the day, however, was that Brian Pothier was back on the ice for the first time since sustaining a brutal concussion about a year ago. It's the biggest step he's made so far in his recovery. But as he was quick to point out, he's still not ready to put a timetable on his return.

"I'm hoping the next step will be morning skates because they are 20 minutes [and] quick," Pothier said. "I need to get my eyes and hands and eyes going. Do that for a few weeks. And then take the next step, which will be practice and working on systems. And the next step will be bouncing around in the corners and see how I respond."

Asked if he's aiming to return this season, he said: "I'll have to reassess that. I've made a ton of progress. But it's literally day-by-day. If I have a great day, then I will push a little harder the next day and continue to progress ...until I get that setback. And I'm just believing that's not going to happen this time."

*Another holiday crowd out here at KCI. If you've every wondered if having hundreds of fans at practice has an effect on the players, well, it does.

"It makes you try harder," Karl Alzner said. "Usually when I come down and shoot, I just want to get a shot on net and let the goalie make a save. Now I'm trying to score."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 31, 2008; 12:34 PM ET
 
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Next: Morning Reading List

Comments

Why isn't he trying to score every time anyways? He's still the King though.

Posted by: ThisGuy | December 31, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Tarik
Do you know if both teams will pre-game skate tomorrow at Ketler? I don't know about the players, but the practices are more fun for the fans when there are a bunch there!

Posted by: majiksea | December 31, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Wow, anyone else have deja vu?

Posted by: _828 | December 31, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I was there at Ketler - def a ton of people there. The more fans, the merrier!

Posted by: _828 | December 31, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I know we've seen them a hundred times...but Ovie's got 2 of the top 10 goals of the week on NHL.com! The goal to tie the rangers game and his super-human buffalo goal.

Posted by: patrone | December 31, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Anyone in need of an afternoon hockey fix, the Bears are playing NOW in Springfield MA.(in the midst of a major snowstorm). Game is starting in a few minutes. Varlamov in goal.

Listen at www.sportsjuice.com

Posted by: tess2201 | December 31, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Good to hear about Pothier, but I wonder how difficult it will be to get him in the line-up once he is ready. I guess it will depend on other injuries.

Posted by: wienerdog4410 | December 31, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@Tarik

When was Bruce's book supposed to come out?

Posted by: _828 | December 31, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Wow, last time I was there for a random Friday AM practice in October, I was one of eight who came out to watch.

Posted by: AMHV2772 | December 31, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

@_828:

Book is not due out till Fall 2009. Plenty of time to add extra chapters this spring! :-)

Posted by: tess2201 | December 31, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Thanks tess, I thought it was Nov 09, but could not remember if it was Nov 08. Thanks!

Posted by: _828 | December 31, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,
Thanks again for the updates. Do you think OV will travel back to Russia for his Grandfather's funeral? Awesome game from a hockey perspective last night. The Caps did many things right and very little wrong. They scored early and got great contributions from the 3rd and 4th lines. Solid defense and very good goaltending. The anatomy of a perfect road game. Dave Steckel should have gotten the hard hat - He did a lot of the little things that help win games. Lets Go Caps!

Posted by: psugolf | December 31, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Why am I here at work - so boooorrrrrinnnngggg!!!!!!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 31, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Good to see Pothier feels good enuff to get on the ice. Bad news for him though, even when healthy he's not good enough to crack the current roster anymore. Would like to see Brashear back in the game against Tampa. We'll need him considering the kind of team Tampa has turned into after Rick Tocchet took over. Artyukin has been a one-man wrecking crew over there ala Lucic

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 31, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Update:
Bears leading Springfield 1-0 on a goal by Mathieu Perreault. Almost the end of the 1st period.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 31, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Johnson will be in net because it's Tampa. Should be a good game for Johnson to get back into action. Steckle will score a goal... Tampa is the only team he can score against!
Tampa has been good as of late. Should the Caps be worried?

Posted by: _828 | December 31, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I think we have the most road games played this year so far. With all odds against the Caps, they are doing a phenominal job this season!

Posted by: _828 | December 31, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

no

Posted by: ThisGuy | December 31, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Bears are playing now? cool!

hey i was looking for highlights of last night's game and i came across this, anyone who thinks Mike Green takes too much abuse just needs to watch this series of lowlights. He's on the ice for almost every goal and he lets forwards skate around him easily and he doesn't hustle. Just shows how much he really cares about his own end of the ice. He's the last one backchecking. even the forwards beat him back sometimes.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTptR5dc7LQ

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 31, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

You're a little late to that flamewar amigo.

Posted by: Section117 | December 31, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone see Schultz last night drink water? He doesn't tilt the bottle far enough and gets it all over his jersey. Such a waste - he should be sent to the minors!

Posted by: _828 | December 31, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

So you go and pull the "low lites" of the TEAMS worst game of the season, sure Green was bad that game, but why blast the guy and try to taint him for having one bad game. The whole team was awefull that night, not just Green. I am sure that EVERY team in the league would love to have Mike Green on their roster. He reminds me of Paul Coffey more and more everytime I see him play. Sure a offensive defenceman will have a few lapses, but I will take them for what he gives the team any day of the week.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 31, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the hard hat, anyone know who Brooks passed it on to?

Am also curious when/whether Tampa will be at Kettler tomorrow. Would be nice to see Jamie, Matt, Steve, Jeff, and Olie. Any word on who will be in net for Tampa?

Posted by: Kim-3 | December 31, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Selective lowlight videos are as helpful as selective highlight videos in evaluating a player. No context = no worth.

Posted by: ThisGuy | December 31, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Capsfanmiss,
Don't forget he's 23 years old. When I was 23, I did everything right. Because Green is young like the rest of our team, we should get rid of them. Heaven forbid Bruce actually watch film with these guys as he knows nothing about hockey. We should trade everyone and fire the coach... maybe, just maybe we will move ONE spot up and get to 3rd place in the entire NHL.

Posted by: _828 | December 31, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Update: Bears still leading 1-0 at the end of two periods.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 31, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Can we get rid of the young fans too? Because obviously they're sucky fans and know nothing about hockey.

:D

Re: Tampa: I don't know. Can we take Tampa? You bet, but not if we blow it off. As always, I think we should take every game seriously and play to win. Who do we think will be in net for Tampa? The only thing I think I can safely say is that it won't be Kolzig - I don't think they'd do that to him.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 31, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I live in Ballston and would love to go to the morning skate. What time should I get there tomorrow and is there anything I should know about it?

Thanks.

Posted by: jordo1 | December 31, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Kolzig's got an upper body issue and is not playing. I would suspect it'll be Smith with a 2.42 GAA and .923 Save. Not too shabby at all.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 31, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

jordo1,
Don't they do the morning skate at the Verizon Center?

Tampa has looked good these past few games. I just hope the Caps go in there respecting them instead of going in there thinking they are better and don't need to work as hard.

Posted by: _828 | December 31, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Section117 | December 31, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Tarik seems to indicate it is at KCI, just mere blocks from me. Anyone know how this works?

Posted by: jordo1 | December 31, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Oh, great, thanks!

Posted by: jordo1 | December 31, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I feel like they will give the nod to Kolzig, he needs a another shot. The last time his defense was non-existant. As much as I would love to see Johnson back in goal, I wish Bruce would do as he has in the past and keep with the hot hand. Jose has earned it of late, if he says constant playing helps his game then lets give it to him. Wow...someone has a bit of a chip on their shoulder. We should be proud that we are getting points and staying at the top...since we are continuously down 6-8 key players. I can just imagine were we would be if we had been healthy this whole time! Go Caps!

Posted by: NatyBG | December 31, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

@jordo1: Check the practice schedule on capitals.nhl.com. I'd show up a few minutes early to get a parking spot and seats - if it's crowded today, it'll be more crowded tomorrow. Parking's a buck if you park in that garage (which I recommend).

It is also a public ice rink, and a lot of small children will probably be there.

Other than that, not much to know.

@Greg S: Not too shabby at all. Same goalie that shut out Pittsburgh?

What's Tampa's offense look like?

Posted by: kittypawz | December 31, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Vinny and Marty have been doing pretty well as of late.

Posted by: _828 | December 31, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Update: Midway through the third period, Bears are now up 2-0 on a goal by Steve Pinizzotto.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 31, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

kittypawz

Yup. Lost in a shoot-out to Montreal last night 2-1. He's won 3 of the last 4 games

Posted by: Greg S. | December 31, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

No worries folks.

In his career vs. the Caps Mike Smith has a 6.01 GAA and a save % of .714.

Based on the Caps shots per game (31.6 per) that should yield ~9 goals tomorrow.

My money is at least 3 from OV! :-)

Posted by: Jeff_ | December 31, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Bolts offensive strengths are where you'd expect them to be. Their strong players are St.L, LeC, Recchi, Malone, Prospal, Eminger have 15 or more points.

Recchi drags down the team with a -15 +/- with Stamkos and Jokinin not too far behind.

LeC leads the team with 14 goals followed by StL with 13. It drops to single digits after that.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 31, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey guys, I was planning on going to Verizon early tomorrow to get student rush tix. On the Caps website under promotions it says the box office opens at 10:00 a.m. for student tickets, but on the main front page their is now an ad for student rush saying box office opens at noon..? Anybody know if it opens earlier for just student tickets or at noon for all ticket sales?

Posted by: dcsportsfan13 | December 31, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Bears win -- final score 2-0.

Varlamov gets the shutout and #1 star. Bears goals by Perreault and Pinizzotto.

Road trip continues over the weekend with games Friday in Providence, Saturday in Hartford, Sunday in Worcester.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 31, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

worst thing to do is to underestimate one of our division rivals.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 31, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

@tess2201

Thanks for updates on the Bears
game.

Posted by: sldyer1 | December 31, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse


Anything more on Semin and Poti? Semin participated with the team this morning, while Poti was on the ice before the team.

Posted by: dshibs | December 31, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I understand the Caps being a little upset w/ the Maxim article, but if you remember there was another article done by a Russian writer posted on this board that had many of the same sentiments from Ovie. I think Ovie is just getting more press and starting to talk a little more to them and we are seeing the real Ovie.

I do think that he should be a little more respectful of the country that is affording him such a fortunate lifestyle. The lifestyle that affords him to have Russian girlfriends that have all their teeth and are "fashionable" and don't look like a man like some Russian women. Yeah, the article was probably slanted, but he did say some stupid things. Reminds me of a younger Federov.

Russians never seem to complain about American MONEY.

Take a lesson from Bakstrom and don't talk so much.


Posted by: capfan1 | December 31, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Could someone please respond to my question above? All the caps ticket offices are closed for new years!

Posted by: dcsportsfan13 | December 31, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

dcsportsfan13, is there a number to call? I heard on TV, they open up at noon... however, what not get there at 10am, if it's not open, go have lunch, then get there are noon. Could make a fun day out of it. Sorry I could not help you with precise info.

Posted by: _828 | December 31, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

He doesn't have to be respectful of America, that is ridiculous. He can say whatever he wants to say. America is not giving him this lifestyle.

very obvious that the journalist had an agenda when writing this article.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 31, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

dcsportsfan13,

I would go with noon, that is what the home page says. I bet the 10am is for normal games (not on New Years Day).

Gagne is out 7-10 days. Maybe we get to play them hurt just like them playing us when we were all hurt.

Posted by: _828 | December 31, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

@dcsportsfan: toward the end of last season I bought student rush tickets at 11am. Not sure why it says noon now, maybe you can call first?

Posted by: honed | December 31, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday's Ice Chips e-mail from the Caps had the following item:

"Student Rush Time Change

"Thursday's student rush for the Capitals-Lightning 7 p.m. game on Jan. 1 will begin at noon at the Verizon Center box office."

Hope that answers the question.

Posted by: 1995hoo | December 31, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

828,
Thanks a lot. I was thinking the same. I tried calling the number but they are closed for New Year's. I guess I'll just have to try my luck!

Posted by: dcsportsfan13 | December 31, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

1995- Great. Thanks

Posted by: dcsportsfan13 | December 31, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

(Splitting to multiple posts to find reason blog won't let me post.)

------
As promised. After a long afternoon of getting ready to post the figures, then thinking I had things all wrong, then realizing I had them right. Here they are.

All figures are 5-on-5. First number is average quality of competition. Since the numbers that make up QUALCOMP are averages of many small, single digit numbers, there are not many outliers here. Alzner Fehr and Laich are "positive" outliers, while Erskine is a "negative" outlier. By that I mean, Erskine plays vs. weaker opponents while K/F/L play against stronger.

Second number is Goals-Against-ON ICE per 60 min MINUS Goals-Against-OFF ICE per 60 min. Why do I care about this stat? It tells me that when taking QUALCOMP into account, you can determine how a player is doing defensively compared to the rest of the team. A guy who has a positive number means that the team gives up fewer goals/60min when he's on the ice. If someone wants to figure out how to weight this stat with QUALCOMP, be my guest. For now we just have to eyeball.
----numbers to follow----

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 31, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

----cont from previous----

QUAL GAOFF-GAON
ALZNER 0.17 -0.79
FEHR 0.12 0.31
LAICH 0.10 -0.97
SCHULTZ 0.06 -0.95
BRADLEY 0.04 0.56
FLASH 0.04 -1.38
STECKEL 0.03 0.34
CLARK 0.03 0.11
POTI 0.03 -0.55
JURCINA 0.02 0.07
GREEN 0.01 -0.20
GORDON 0.01 -0.22
SHAMO 0 0.57
NYLS 0 -0.12
SLOAN 0 -0.38
SEMIN -0.02 0.45
KOZLOV -0.03 -0.99
FEDOROV -0.04 1.29
BRASH -0.04 0.76
BACKS -0.04 -0.10
OVIE -0.04 -0.17
ERSKINE -0.10 1.23

----analysis to follow----

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 31, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Shoot! Numbers don't line up. I gotta go or I'd fix them a little better. Sorry they are hard to read.

----analysis...----
Items to note:
-There seems to be distinct categories of "QUALCOMP" and there are some groups of players who seem to stick together.

-Semin, Kozlov, Brashear, Backstrom, Ovie all seem to play marginally worse competition. Most important to note here is how much better Fedorov's number is compared to the rest of the group and how much worse Kozlov's is. While I do think of Fedorov as a defensive powerhouse, I don't tend to think of Kozlov as a defensive liability. Especially when comparing his value to Ovie and Backs, with whom he plays a ton of minutes. I would think their numbers should be very similar, but they are not. Maybe this is because Backs/Ovie tend to extend shifts more often? I'm not sure. It means something, I just don't know what.

----more to come----

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 31, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

----more analysis----

-Continuing with the above group. I find it fascinating to compare Semin's value to Ovie's. I have a feeling earlier in the season teams were sticking less-talented guys on Semin. Had he not been out for most of the last 2 months, I think his numbers would be different.

-The line of Brash/Steckel/Bradley, while somewhat (but not much) varying QUALCOMP, all have positive numbers. We see this on the ice. Teams don't score often vs that line. We also see that Brash's lower ice time compared to the other two has reduced his QUALCOMP, but he is still doing a good job of keeping his competition off the board.
----more to come----

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 31, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

----more----
-Erskine has a VERY high number here, but he also plays against the worst competition. We can try to over-analyze this, all it says to me is Erskine is doing his job of keeping the poorer scorers off the board.

-I'm not too worried about most of the - numbers up there except Laich, Schultz, Flash and Kozzie. Kozzie's doesn't make sense to me, but that's because of his linemates. Schultz makes sense to me, as I have not seen him play as well this season as I have expected. Flash also makes sense, I don't think anyone here would argue he is a solid defensive forward yet. Laich is the huge surprise here. While paired against very good competition (the highest "tier" in the list, 0.10+) he's not doing a very good job of keeping them off the scoreboard. On the other hand, look at Fehr.

-Juice's QUALCOMP has taken a huge jump while playing with Karl. I would assume, just as QUALCOMP has gone up, the main number for him has gone down. I would bet had I run these numbers a month ago, Juice would be at the bottom with Erskine, but with a higher number.

-Other things that don't make sense: --ShaMo's high number vs. marginal talent. I just haven't seen it this year.
--Poti's low number vs. marginal talent.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 31, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that Tampa will skate at the VC, but if they do skate at Kettler, it will nodoubt be after the Caps or on the other sheet. 10AM is a bit early, but the chance to see a few old Caps as well as the current bunch might make it worth getting up and trying to clear the head. I can always nap before the game like the players do.

Posted by: majiksea | December 31, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Phew. that was a lot of stuff. I have to run. I will check back later this evening. Please discuss/critique, I have no emotional attachment to analysis or numbers. If anyone has an idea on how to make them better/more useful, let me know.

Again, not trying to use these to form an opinion, just spark discussion.

And, end of game. 1 min left, up by 1 goal, I want a line of Brash/Feds/Bradley.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 31, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Richmondphil,

So you think for some reason that Ovie can earn the fame and fortune somewhere other than in North America, mainly USA because he wouldn't earn nearly as much in Canada?

The Russian league is paying more now, but he wouldn't be known outside of Russia. You are right he doesn't HAVE to be respectful, but you would think that he would considering it does effect the Franchise that is signing his checks. His image is tied to the Capitals, and if he is painted as he has been recently the Caps front office won't be too happy. He is the best player in the league in my opinion, but along with that comes a little responsibility, and it doesn't include using F-bombs when doing interviews with reporters you can't trust.

Posted by: capfan1 | December 31, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

The numbers that matter!
2 WASHINGTON* 38 24 11 3 51

Posted by: majiksea | December 31, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Sombrero, are you going to the game tomorrow? I owe you a beer.

Posted by: Leeguru | December 31, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Guys, remember one very important thing: Ovi is 23 or 24. He is young. Some young people don't get the whole image thing and reputation thing until they are much older, and Ovi seems like he'd be that type. Ask him about it and I'd bet that disrespect was the furthest thing from his mind and he probably didn't mean it that way at all.

Gotta admit, though, he's right about American drivers! :) I think he hasn't driven much outside of the Washington area, though, because I've found in my driving around the country that tying up the passing line and being a snail doing it is much more common on the East Coast. Probably because Maryland is one of the few states in which doing so is legal.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 31, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin is young. He'll doubtless say a stupid thing from time to time. Believe me, just because you get older you don't stop saying all the stupid things. I'd've cursed that Saab driver too. Slow drivers belong in the right lane. Here in Orlando drivers think the left lane is for anyone eventually turning left. As I remember, it was better in Baltimore/DC.

As for the chewing tobacco, I have a cigar from time to time. Not the end of the world.

I don't know about his taste for women. I've never yet seen a Russian woman I thought was attractive. But then again, I don't find any Nordic women attractive. Not that Maxim would ask me.

He's a young man living life at full speed. Be thankful we have him. I have been a sports fan for 40+ years and he's the best player I've ever rooted for, up there with Frank Robinson and Johnny Unitas.

My name's Tom and I'm a Theodore detractor. I'll be attending meetings twice weekly until I can get over it. If he plays well for as long as he played lousy, two months, I suspect I will.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 31, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Tom
My name's Bob, let me know when and wherefor the meetings! BIG GRIN!! I just hope he makes us eat our words!!!

Posted by: majiksea | December 31, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

kittypawz: We were typing the same thing at the same time! Believe me, I've lived both places, Orlando is much worse! At least in Balto/DC the truck drivers knew to move right. Here you get a three lane road each side and 18-wheelers get side by side in the fast and middle lane. The light changes and instead of movement you get smoke puffs! Maybe it's just getting worse eveywhere since people more and more only think of themselves.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 31, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Hi Bob! Welcome to the meeting! If everyone shows up who should show up, we'll have a full room!

I have to admit, my Theodore detracting was overwhelming my life! Sometimes I'd sneak on the computer at 3 am to say he had a lousy game and complain because he was twenty feet outside the crease and because he would flop like a beached whale as soon as the oncoming forward crossed the blueline!

Not being able to complain about him, after it having become a habit like that, it's like detox! How can I get my fix if he plays well?

My name's Tom and I'm a Theodore detractor. For now. I'm trying to quit.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 31, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Semin skated today alone for about 15 minutes before the practice wearing the pink jersey, he had ovie yelling stuff at him in russian the whole time. semin skated from 9:50 to about 10:05, so if you want to see him, show up before practice next time.

Posted by: hsk8er6 | December 31, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Traveller's Digest ranked the countries with the world's most beautiful women. As might be expected, Sweden came in first place. Russia was third. Five former Soviet Republics (Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Estonia) came in 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th. Argentina (2nd), Bulgaria (4th), Netherlands (9th) and Denmark (10th) rounded off the list. I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but Ovi might be on to something.

But overall, I have to agree with those who wrote that his PR agent should be more careful whom he allows to interview Ovi. The lad/lady from Maxim's was not a fan.

Posted by: RedRocker1 | December 31, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Semin played the entire practice. He and Backstrom did most drills together. He looked fantastic and drew a few oohs from the crowd with some goals.

What I gleaned from the practice is that our players enjoy eachother and are having fun. Of course winning helps to foster such an atmosphere, but it is great to see.

Anyone else at practice stand in awe of the little kid in the red jersey that took the ice after most of the players had left? That kid was unreal. His stick handling and shots were amazing. He was going 1 0n 1 with Jose and beating him. (Threw that tidbit in there for you Jose Meeting attendees). I wonder if it was Nylander's kid.

Posted by: phknlwyr | December 31, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

No, all i meant was what i typed. America is not paying his paycheck. I live and work in America, does that mean America pays my paycheck? He is a human being, and allowed to do whatever he wants. if he doesn't like traffic in America or certain laws here...GUESS WHAT, you are allowed to say you don't like it. He said nothing disrespectful. something called culture shock.

So he chews tobacco? WOW WOW WOW, stop the presses! how completely unlike any other sports star.

i swear, i understand the politics behind him having a "good" image but i'm not going to sit here and say he is disrespecting the people who pays him because he is not. He gets paid to play, and thats what he is doing. If he wants to comment on how he hates American traffic or certain laws, then so what? what are we the USSR c. 1970s now??

Posted by: richmondphil | December 31, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

its exactly this false "goody" image which made me like Ovechkin so much.

He just doesn't buy into the whole politics behind sports. No frills. He is who he is and if someone asks him a question and he wants to answer how he wants, than all that does for me is respect him more.

and for the most part, American traffic is horrible and he is right. But also, Russia has no where near the reliance on cars as we do.
about girls, Americans are just a mixing pot of every country in the world. if he finds Eastern European girls better, then how is this disrespecting America?

all this article did was make me respect the guy a lot more.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 31, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm off till... not sure when... Happy New Year everybody!

To Tarik, thanks so much for your work.
To Katie, thank you as well, your morning reads/reports are a blast.

To all fellow bloggers *raises glass of champagne*

To the Washington Capitals Team:

You guys ROCK!

ROCK THE RED!

*honk honk honk*

Champagne for a wonderful season so far!

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Posted by: mauree | December 31, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Man, I go away for the day and everything happens. Glad to hear the update on Pothier. He was already on the shelf when I started actually paying attention last season, so I look forward to his return if he feels like its the right thing for him and his family.
I'm with Ovie on those awful drivers. The second I notice I'm blocking people that are going faster than I am, I make sure I speed up and pass more quickly. I sure wish folks around here would pay more attention to the cars around them.
Tess, thanks for the Bears updates! I'm really happy they continue to do well despite the strain that the Caps injuries are putting on their roster.

Reminder that Canada vs US WJC game starts at 7:30. Winner gets a few days off and a free trip to the semifinals.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 31, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

wearing my semin jersey out tonight.

i dont drink, but ill raise a glass for you.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 31, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

The worst drivers are those from Massachusetts. There is a reason they call them mass***es.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | December 31, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

While I enjoy and appreciate Tariq's blog and I defend him since I live in Atlanta when local sports writers rag on him(often), I must say that my first encounter with him was VERY disappointing. My family was at our first Kettler practice this past week prior to the Buffalo game and we wandered in past the fence that was wide open that the reporters are allowed but apparently the fans aren't. He RUDELY told us that we weren't allowed back there like he was the Caps cop or something. Nice first impression Tariq. I'm sure I,my wife and 11 year old child looked like a total threat 3 steps into the 3 foot fence to the Caps players that were on the ice. Sorry Tariq, but I've been following the Caps longer then you've been alive (was at the first game ever in '74) and you should be a little friendlier to us Caps Fans. We're all there to support our team. You could've introduced yourself and found out that we are really very nice people and could possibly have information that could contribute to your career.
Best Regards
Dave Inkeles (a TRUE CAPS FAN)

Posted by: daveink44 | December 31, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

CT:
Did you see my post to you last night?

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 31, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

No, let me go check it out

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | December 31, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Boo,

Just went back to see it. THat is priceless...and so true!

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | December 31, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Although I will not be attending, my kids along with my sister will be at the game tomorrow night and I think they were going to take a sign that says Happy New Year, Alex in Russian

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | December 31, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

CT:
:-) I thought it was pretty funny ... you need to contact someone's marketing dept!! ;-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 31, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Nice! In DC, that will probably make the cameras!

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 31, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Well we are off the for evening's festivities - Happy New Year everyone!! :-D

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 31, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

The little kid in the red jersey that took the ice after practice was indeed Nylander's son and him and his other two sons came out there with him a little while later.
I noticed Chris Clark and Alex Ovechkin were not practicing today. Are they both taking a maintenance day off?
There has been no mention on this blog or on the Capitals website about Alex's grandfather passing away this past weekend!! I only learned about it during Comcast Sportsnet coverage of the Caps/Buffalo game last night. Also, any word on when Alex will be going back to Russia for his grandfather's funeral and how long he will be gone?

Posted by: theresa21 | December 31, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Check out Varly's stats for this month--out of this world! In just 2-3 weeks he went from #5 to #2 in the AHL rankings and had a shut-out in today's game.

Posted by: caraveli | December 31, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

@daveink44: Speaking as another Caps fan and a fellow human being, I recommend that you take whatever complaints you have with Tariq or whoever else you may have a problem with to private channels. It is in poor taste in general to air one's complaints in a public forum, and doubly so to do so on a blog where it is off-topic and not of general interest to the readers. There is a link on this blog to use to privately contact the Post, and I recommend that you use it in the future.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 31, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

RedRocker1:

Since you listed countries with most beautiful women, I'll list mine:

1) The good ol' US of A.
2) Spain, Greece, Italy or any Mediterranean country with full-figured beauties who cook meals that fill my belly!
3) South Pacific like Hawaii.
4) South America.

OK, so South America isn't a country! Sue me!

Not to pick on that Traveler's magazine, but six-foot bony women with cheekbones like Katharine Hepburn like from all those Baltic countries (and they probably can't/don't cook), well, you can have 'em!

Back to hockey...I am recording USA vs Canada World Jr and will watch soon.

Tomorrow is Hawks-Wings at 1:00 and then Caps-Lightning at 7:00! More of the lobster casserole at lunch with the white Burgundy! A man can't live on hockey alone!

My name is Tom and I'm a Theodore detractor.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 31, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Geez, Delly. Did we really draft this kid? The Canadians were skating back to the bench after they scored to make it 3-2 US. An American player clipped a Canadian (not sure who) in the face with his stick. Delly immediately cleaned out James vanReimsdyk, knocking him halfway over the boards by the benches. He was holding a bag of ice to his face after staying down for a while. Canada just scored again to make it 3-3, after being down 3-0. It only took them about 5 minutes to come back from 3-0. Pretty good game if anybody's at home waiting for midnight.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 31, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Bravo dude...use a 2 month old game for your basis. That in itself lends itself to=your points are pointless.

Posted by: ralCapsFan | December 31, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

What a game! Looking forward to a CAN-USA rematch in the semis. And Kazakhstan's goal total for the tourney...now 2. Way to ruin the streak Czechs.
Kugryshev had an even +/- with a double minor for high sticking in today's game vs Sweden, a 5-0 loss.
Della Rovere had 12 PIMs--one 10 min misconduct--all for that hit on van Riemsdyk and was -1. Oh, and speaking of Delly acting ridiculous, Puck Daddy called him "Canada's Baby Sean Avery". Yikes, please no.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 31, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

holy ___! we drafted that #15 chump? i've been screaming profanities at my tv tonight because of him. a sucker punch and then a vicious boarding... oh no!

btw, worst officiating i've ever seen. i don't know if that's what the juniors is like, but heaven help us if it is. at one point, the us coach just waved them off, saying "brutal!"...

another btw, tarik rocks - i appreciate his efforts, even if he is a "caps cop" in his spare time...

Posted by: 7734yeah | December 31, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

828, was at the practice as well, on the balcony behind the net that Johnny was tending. My wife and I are contemplating heading down tomorrow morning too.

Posted by: Steve_R | December 31, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

CTCapsPhan

I've been to almost all of the states (missed Montana somehow and Alaska), Canada, England, Holland and Germany (Argentina, Chile, Ecuador and Peru I don't really recall - too young).

My votes for wackiest drivers?

1. Puerto Rico - mostly because most of their roads are under destruction, unlined, and they share cigarettes between cars as they're careening down the street dodging pedestrians jay walking with street signs that are obscured by overhanging trees.

2. Atlanta, GA - They all think they're NASCAR drivers. Otherwise nice southern belles get behind the wheel and they instantly transform into deamons hell bent for leather with their foot down on the gas pedal and hand on the horn.

3. Philly - There's a reason the Schuylkill Expressway is nicknamed the "Sure Kill Expressway."

4. Connecticut and Massachussets - Sorry, but they're both pretty wacky drivers, too. Like most places, the further away from urban areas the better the drivers - or at least the less crazy they drive.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 31, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I saw the van Riemsdyk hit. While I think we need a pest, we don't need that kind of behavior. That's just over the top, and I suspect the fans won't appreciate it even if he is one of ours. He's got to cool it with that.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 1, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Happy New Year, Everyone!!! :-)

Posted by: irockthered | January 1, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Is the Della Rovere - vanReimsdyk hit available online somewhere? We don't need a baby Sean Avery on this squad...

I saw the hit from behind on Kevin Shattenkirk... nasty.

Posted by: irockthered | January 1, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse

I couldn't agree with the poster more that said the Puerto Rico drivers are crazy!
Then you have motor cycle riders darting in and out of traffic non stop because that is what they use for delivery in and around the city! They don't even care if they get into a fender bender they just keep going! It is crazy there. I am thinking this is how Ovie likes it.

Posted by: capfan1 | January 1, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

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