Friday, October 31, 2008

Pre-Cap: Capitals vs Sabres

"Leave the Sabres to me..."

All joking (and promoting an Internet meme) aside, it's time for November's first pre-Cap! Let's hope it goes better than October's first game...

Washington Capitals (5-3-1, Last game OTW 4-3 over Nashville)
vs.
Buffalo Sabres (6-2-2, Last game L 5-2 to Tampa Bay)

The story so far...
Alexander the II leads the NHL in points, so what is his first order of business as king (at least for today)? Dissing Crosby. With a tough opponent in the Buffalo Sabres, here's a great place to "walk the walk" after "talking the talk."

Key players
WSH: Alex Semin, Jose Theodore, Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom
BUF: Thomas Vanek, Maxime Afinogenov, Ales Kotalik, Ryan Miller

Great, another hot goalie...
Sabres goalie Ryan Miller is currently 5-1-1 this season. He has a GAA of 2.02 and .928 save percentage. The team is on a bit of a losing streak right now, earning only 1 point in their last three games, but that's no reason to slouch off against Miller.

Special kind of night
What might be the biggest challenge, other than missing Alex Ovechkin, will be figuring out the Sabres' 8th-ranked power play and 3rd-ranked penalty kill. With the return of Tom Poti, the Caps will likely see a boost in 5-on-5 hockey, but what they really need is to start burying goals consistently on the power play. The Capitals rank 17th on the power play and 20th on the penalty kill. Yet they are just as productive as the Sabres are on offense (32 goals for WSH vs. 31 goals for BUF)

Jockeying for position
Tonight the Capitals can reclaim the #1 slot in the Southeast Division with a Carolina loss earlier in the day. The Capitals need to make good on opportunities to distance themselves from their biggest divisonal foe, and the two teams will meet next week on Thursday.

0
The number of players left on the Capitals that played in their Eastern Conference Finals matchup against the Sabres in 98.

Kinda wish that OTHER Russian was here
Alex Ovechkin has 14 points in 12 games against the Sabres. Too bad he couldn't come back in time to play. Now who will the Sabres fans boo for a hit on a player that left them for more money? Relive the Briere-Ovechkin saga below.



An enforcer on the ice and off it too.
They always say "leave it on the ice," but Sabres enforcer Adam Mair seems to have missed that memo.



Buffalo's claim to fame
Read all about the history of the Buffalo Wing here. Spoiler: It's butter and hot sauce.

LET'S GO CAPS!

Happy Halloween

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

For the man who has everything...

Oh yeah, Capitals putter baby. Only $114.99.

Check it out and other putters at NHL shop.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pre-Cap: Capitals vs Predators

"What do you mean we don't have Ovie!"

Anyway, it's time FOOOR your prrreeEEEEEEE-cccaAAAAapppp!

:end Steve Kolbe voice:

Washington Capitals (4-3-1, Last game 6-5 OTW over Dallas)
vs.
Nashville Predators (4-4, Last game 5-4 W over Los Angeles)

The story so far...
If I told you that Tomas Fleischmann would be tied with Ovechkin in points at the end of October, you'd probably commit me to a mental institution. But thanks to Flash's two goals, the Capitals prevailed over the Stars and now the Ovie-less team takes on the Preds.

Key Players
WSH: Tomas Fleischmann, Alex Semin, Brooks Laich
NSH: J.P. Dumont, Jason Arnott, Martin Erat, Jordin Tootoo (he he he)

Where can I listen to the game?
Thanks to Versus' silly exclusive game, the Capitals will not be on TV. Fear not, you can join Steve Kolbe online for an evening of erratic pitch changes and screaming over tape-to-tape passes. Just click here! For those driving around, the station number is 1500 AM.

Thoughts and prayers with the Ovechkins
Tonight, Ovechkin will end a 203-games-played streak to be at his grandfather's side. His grandfather helped raise him as a young boy and is a veteran of WWII. According to Tarik, Ovechkin could be out against the Sabres on Saturday as well.

Heeeeeeeeereeeeee's Johnny!
Okay, it's a bit early for a Halloween gag, but Johnson's record against the Predators is no joke. At 5-2-1 with a 1.60 GAA, you can't help but feel good about Johnson between the pipes. Especially after the way he dueled with Marty Brodeur last Saturday.

That Fedorov, he's so hot right now!
Riding a two-game point streak, the newly crowned Russian goal scoring champ is no slouch when playing the Predators. With 14 goals and 24 assists in 48 games, Fedorov seems to have the Predators figured out.

That just happened
If you think that the Caps have had some fluky goals scored against them, just take a look at this goal Predators goalie Dan Ellis wants back...



All aboard the TooToo train!
Next on the list of annoying agitators the Capitals face is Jordin Tootoo. Seems like a nice guy, until you make fun of his name. Did I mention he is the first Inuit in the NHL?



*Facepalm* Sarah Palin injures goalie, plans sabotage of Hershey Bears
Throw away your political bias for one moment to enjoy this not-so-great moment in sports: St. Louis Blues goalie Manny Legace injures himself on the carpet that was laid out for vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin.



Now it seems that the Hershey Bears will be changing the start time of their next home game thanks to a campaign stop from Mrs. Palin. Did we mention that the Flyers were the last team in the NHL to win a game after Palin dropped the puck in Philly?

LET'S GO CAPS!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thanks a lot, Versus...


Tuesday night's game will not be broadcast...at all...nothing...not even a web-broadcast.

So for those who can't attend the game, well, you're stuck.

Instead, Versus has an exclusive game between the Flyers and Thrashers. The Capitals will suffer one more blackout on Dec. 2.

Who's the idiot who thought blacking out numerous hockey games for one game was a good idea?

Anyway, since you will be sitting in front of your computer listening to the Capitals radio feed instead of watching the game, I suppose you have no excuse not to e-mail Versus to let them know of this poor decision they have made.

feedback@versus.com

I swear, if Ovechkin goes on a 6-goal rampage on Tuesday...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Rule of Eights, Part 1

Keeping things in perspective:

Divide the season into 10 8-game blocks (plus two "bonus" games); score 10 points per block for 100 points and a trip to the playoffs.

1st 8: 4-3-1, 9 pts.
Injury-scrambled lines and a Backstrom-Ovechkin "dead zone" ... coming up 1 point short isn't too bad an effort.

TillyCaps Fan for CK

Pre-Cap: Capitals vs Stars

After two regulation losses, there are some concerns about the team. Frankly, I'm more concerned about which team has the bigger nancy: Nicklas Backstrom and his professional hair stylist or Sean Avery and his purse-loving antics...

Pre-Cap time, baby.

Washington Capitals (3-3-1, Last game 2-1 L vs. Phoenix)
vs.
Dallas Stars (3-4-1, Last game 5-3 W vs. NY Islanders)

The story so far...
Another poor effort, another 2 points lost. Can the Capitals wake up against the Stars, or will they be caught sleeping again?

Key players
WSH: Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin, Jose Theodore, Donald Brashear
DAL: Mike Ribiero, Marty Turco, Mike Modano, Sean Avery

Elite goalie fest continues...
Don't look now but Marty Turco's numbers aren't all that great. At 3-4-1, with a .848 save percentage, the backbone of the Stars team has seen better days. That's what makes him so dangerous: we all knew Theodore wasn't as bad as his Game 1 numbers suggested and taking Turco lightly will likely result in a loss. Also keep in mind that Marty Turco has never lost to the Capitals in his career. He is 3-0-0 with a 1.21 GAA.

Oldie but goodie
In 79 games against the Stars, Sergei Fedorov has 77 points. He has 33 goals, 44 assists and is a +14. So it's not too far-fetched to imagine Fedorov stealing the Russian-born goal-scoring record Saturday night.

An agitator with a nose for fashion
Much of tonight's talk will be focused on a particular Dallas Stars player, known not for his scoring but his agitation abilities. Sean Avery is widely considered the most hated player in the NHL today with a reputation that includes turtling during fights, mouthing off before the game, the infamous "Avery Rule" and the ability to get under anyone's skin. Avery is the type of player you love to have on your team, but hate to play against.

The real story behind Avery isn't just his antics on ice, but his personality off ice. Avery is a fashion buff who frequents runway shows in New York. He worked as an intern at Vogue magazine over the summer and has intelligent opinions on women's fashion. Avery says he has numerous gay friends whom he shops with and even takes teammates on shopping excursions.

In an effort to let you judge the man for yourself, here's two Avery videos that showcase his on-ice and off-ice personality.





As if this pre-cCp couldn't get any stranger
Not really Caps-related but funny enough to check out: If you thought American fans took heckling too far, well, just wait until you see what these Swedes did. It's on the "not safe for work" side so exercise caution.

Still undecided this November?
Marty Turco might be a good write-in candidate.



Caution! Flying skates!
Jamie Heward isn't a Capital anymore, but this video of Mike Modano slicing his face open with his skates is sure to bring about the ire of any Caps fan looking for some reason to hate the Stars tonight. Heward is lucky the skate didn't hit his neck, like former Capital and current Panther Richard Zednik.



Random fact of the day
Dallas has the world's largest wholesale merchandise mart, with 6.9 million square feet.

LET'S GO CAPS

Friday, October 24, 2008

Capitals vs Coyotes post-game thoughts

Another great Theodore game wasted, another 2-1 loss.

8 game segment #1 = 9 points max, 7 points min.

Thank God for puck-moving defensemen...
How many passes in our defensive zone went right to the sticks of the Coyotes?

"Ovechkin whiffs on a wrister!"
Very tired of hearing this line from Joe B. Seems like that is the story of the season for Ovechkin so far.

Tough break Theo
You really can't blame Theodore for the losses at all. He has looked great in both games, and because of his efforts the games were 2-1, not 5-1. It seems like our offense only plays well when our goalies are a liability...

Slump-tastic!
Ovechkin's and Backstrom's slumps are killing team chemistry. You can see they are trying everything in their power to score, but for some reason the absence of Kozlov has an effect. Ovie and Backis looked better with Kozlov but with Clark it's disjointed.

How to stop the Capitals PP for dummies
Seems like every power play we can never truly set up. The Flames and Coyotes just rushed our players and pushed them off the puck easily. When the PP is set up, the shots from the point can't make it through and the slot passes are always bouncing. Although the Caps had one PPG, it still needs a lot of work.

More wasted efforts
The Capitals penalty kill looked terrific. Semin made a beautiful move playing keepaway for a good 15 seconds helping kill a PK. In the end the Capitals couldn't generate momentum from the PK. Am I the only one who doesn't care for Ovechkin on the PK? I understand his "threat," but right now he's no more a threat than David Steckel. Semin on the other hand has used his stick handling to kill time on the PK. So in short, Semin on PK yes, Ovie no.

Just #*@!)# shoot it Backstrom
Two seconds -- that's how long Backstrom held on to the puck in the 3rd on a great scoring opportunity from a prime scoring location. Where did he shoot? Into the goalie's chest...ugh. Sometimes you just gotta unleash the dragon Backis...

Streak over
The Capitals have ended the streak of not losing after back-to-back losses in the regular season under Boudreau.

Ugh.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Erskine re-signs for $2.5 million.....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pre-Cap: Capitals vs. Coyotes

When you can't convert on a 9-minute power play, you deserve the Homer Simpson face palm.

Time for your pre-Cap.

Washington Capitals (3-2-1, Last game L 2-1 vs. Calgary)
vs.
Phoenix Coyotes (2-3-0, L 4-1 vs. Montreal)

The story so far...
After the worst effort of the season so far, the Capitals continue their western road trip with a stop to the site of "The Goal."

Players to watch
WSH: Alex Ovechkin, Brooks Laich, Jose Theodore, Alex Semin, Tyler Sloan
PHX: Shane Doan, Olli Jokinen, Kyle Turris, Mikael Tellqvist

New team, same weather
Former Capital foe Olli Jokinen is wearing his new sweater tonight. The Florida Panthers traded Jokinen to the Coyotes last season and while it's nice to have him out of the division he remains a threat as he leads the Coyotes with 6 points. In his career Jokinen has 29 points against the Capitals (14 G 15A) but is a -13. Will Ovechkin try to run him down like he does every star player?

Backing it up
Tonight the Capitals will face the backup goaltender for the Coyotes, Mikael Tellqvist. Which is a total shame because I have been sitting on this hilarious interview with Coyotes starter Ilya Bryzgalov...



Why you haff to be mad?

And now your goalie duel statistics
Mr. Theodore is 5-0-3 with a .905 save percentage against the Coyotes. Tellqvist is 1-1-0 with a .892 save percentage against the Caps.

Brooks Laich: Inspirational quote machine
Leave it to Laich to come up with the "theme of the day." Last year he famously said, "If you want bread, go to a bakery; if you want money, go to the bank; if you want goals, go to the net." Well chalk another up to the team's "ladies man." In his recent interview with Tarik El Bashir he offered this gem about the teams power play.

"We're going to move our legs and not reach as much. We're going to surround the puck. If they have two guys on it, we're going to have three. If they have three, we're going to have four."

Bravo.

So how do you learn to fight on ice anyway?
After Tyler Sloan's monster hit last night and the resulting jumping he received, it got me thinking: how exactly do you learn to fight on ice? Well YouTube answered that question for me, and it's actually quite simple: You spend some quality time with the Don.



Speaking of monster hits
This is Tyler Sloan's equivalent to "The Goal."



Secondary Alex?
Both of Ovechkin's assists this season have been secondary assists. Here's to hoping tonight Ovie will find his touch.

Let's Go Caps!

How much would you spend to piss off the Sabres?

Who wouldn't want this package?

"Ultimate Sabres Fan Package includes: Two game tickets Sec 111, Row 1, Seat 7 & 8, Zamboni Ride for Two People, Watch Pre-game Skate from Sabres Penalty Box, Recognition on Scoreboard and Sabres Telecast, Attend Lindy Ruff's Post-game Press Conference, Meet Buffalo Sabres Broadcast Personalities, Free Parking, Game Program, Game Notes."

How much fun would it be to enjoy all that in a CAPS sweater?


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Caps get some Army training...



Thanks Alex Ovetjkin

CK presents create-a-rule!

On Thursday Gary Bettman and NHL officials will meet to discuss some possible rule changes.

So with that on the horizon, what rules would you change in the NHL and what would you add?

Here's my changes...

10-minute 4-4 OT then shootout
Five minutes isn't enough time for OT and nobody really enjoys the shootout. 4-4 for 10 minutes would resolve most games in the OT period and players such as Ovechkin, Crosby and Kane would be allowed to run wild on the open ice.

Remove the trapezoid
Why they implemented this rule I haven't a clue. Let the goalies roam and handle the puck more. In return they should also be fair game for hitting.

Coach's review
If the NFL and MLB have it, maybe the NHL can have a version of it. Some penalties should be reviewable, but an upheld decision will result in the loss of the coach's timeout. This should not apply to goals.

Shootout lineup shake up
The coaches should decide the first three shooters in the shootout for the opposing team. I know it's never going to fly but, hey, it would force nonoffensive players to show some stick skills.

Out with the instigator penalty
Just get rid of it, end of story.

Helmets should be customizable
Let Ovie show his wild side. Wouldn't it be great if player helmets could be painted like goalie masks?

Penalties at end of OT should carry over to shootout
If you're on the PK at the end of the OT period, the opposing team should be able to choose one player who cannot be in the first three shooters in the SO.

Maroon Gary Bettman
Gary Bettman should be left on a desert island with a bottle of rum and a pistol with one bullet.

Leave some of your rules, zany or serious!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pre-Cap: Capitals vs Flames

Time to hit the road and head west! The Capitals start a three-game road trip with tomorrow night's game against the Calgary Flames.

Washington Capitals (3-1-1, Last game 4-3 SO loss to NJ)
vs.
Calgary Flames (1-3-1, Last game 3-2 loss to Edmonton)

The story so far...
The Capitals were lucky to escape with a point against the Devils and while the Flames are off to a slow start they pose tremendous upset potential.

Players to watch
WSH: Alex Semin, Jose Theodore, Sergei Fedorov, Tyler Sloan
CAL: Mikka Kiprusoff, Dion Phaneuf, Jarome Iginla

Goaltender's duel
Tonight's game might ultimately come down to which goalie gets off to a hot start. Kiprusoff is 0-2 with 6 goals allowed vs. the Capitals. Theodore, on the other hand, is 9-7-2 with a GAA of 2.15. With both teams sporting offensive juggernauts, the spotlight will fall on who can weather the storm best.

Super fan
If you haven't seen this before, then you absoultely must. There are fans, and there are FANS. This child goes beyond strange to show support for his favorite player, Mikka Kiprusoff.



Ovechkin never got this...
Jarome Iginla may never beat 65 goals in a season, but he has a YouTube music video to commemorate 50 goals!



Trivial Pursuit fact of the game
Calgary is home to 82,000 street lights

Is this the game...
... that Ovie starts scoring again? OK, we're being a bit rough: through 5 games Ovie has 3 points but as you can imagine that's not typical Ovie numbers. Sergei Fedorov will be centering Ovechkin tonight, while Backstrom will center Semin. This isn't a strange move though; Boudreau ran similar lines during the playoffs last season. Also Ovechkin was centered by Fedorov during the World Finals last May.

What's in a walk?
Tonight we see Dion Phaneuf, who lost the Calder to Ovechkin and was right behind Crosby in voting. While he may not have the hardware, he certainly has the talent. In fact he's so talented, he walks funny, according to his teammates.



LETS GO CAPS!

Can we get over it already?

As if Pittsburgh fans had nothing better to do than dwell on last Thursday's 4-3 loss to the Caps, here's a column about the escalating Ovechkin-Malkin rivalry.

The writer seems to think Ovechkin decided to go after Malkin for no reason at all.

I wonder if he watched the game I did in which Malkin boarded Semin and then recieved a 2-minute minor that should have been a major.

Malkin's hit on Semin was the catalyst for Ovechkin's rampage, not the "club" incident a year ago when Ovechkin allegedly punched Malkin's agent or last season's blown hit in January.

Ovechkin was simply standing up for his teammate who had received a questionable hit earlier. Usually this is where an enforcer does the dirty work, but with Brashear out and Bradley already bloodied Ovechkin stepped up and delivered the punishment himself.

So Pittsburgh fans, had it been Ovechkin boarding Crosby and skating away with only a 2-minute minor, wouldn't you have loved to see someone step up and punish the offender?

I rest my case.

I hope they wear these during warm-ups....


The DC Sports Bog had these photos and more on the Capitals Redskins adventure this past Sunday.

CBS even showed a closeup of Ovechkin during its broadcast but the average football fan probably just thought it was the Geico caveman appearing at the game. CBS didn't acknowledge it was Ovechkin.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pre-Cap: Capitals vs. Devils

The Capitals continue "elite-goalie-palooza 2008" with a visit from Mr. Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils. After shellacking Roberto Luongo and then sticking it to Marc-Andre Fluery, the Caps face their biggest challenge in Brodeur.

So grab some coffee or your favorite snack, because you've got nothing better to do until 7 p.m. It's time for your pre-Cap!

Washington Capitals (3-1-0, last win 4-3 over Pittsburgh)
vs.
New Jersey Devils (3-1-0, last win 1-0 over Atlanta)

The story so far...
The Capitals played 30 minutes (give or take) of excellent hockey against a tough Penguins team but the Devils are riding high on a Brodeur shutout and might try to lull the Verizon Center crowd to sleep with their defense-first play.

Key players
WSH: Alex Ovechkin, Chris Bourque, Tomas Fleischmann, Brent Johnson, Sergei Fedorov and Brooks Laich.
NJ: Martin Brodeur, Zach Parise, Brian Gionta and Dainus Zuburus.

Polar opposites
The Capitals are near the top of the NHL in goals scored with 17 goals in 4 games. The Devils on the other hand are the league's worst in goals scored with only 6 goals in 4 games. The Devils are second in goals against with only 6, while the Capitals are in the middle of the pack with 13 goals against.

Elite-goalie-palooza!
Tonight brings future Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur to the Verizon Center. Brodeur is currently chasing Patrick Roy's record of 551 career wins. Brodeur has 541. Not only is Brodeur one of the league's elite goaltenders, he also has an impressive record against the Caps: 32-12-4.

Stat of importance
Both Caps goalies have losing records against the Devils. Johnson is 1-3-0-1 and Theodore is 4-13-0-0.

Mirror mirror on the helmet
As if you haven't heard enough about Marty Brodeur, some might remember when Broduer whined objected to Ovechkin's mirrored visor on his helmet. This YouTube video was taken after the complaint and features Caps fans trying to strike fear into Marty's heart with mirrored sunglasses.



I want Bourque
As if Caps fans weren't excited enough about defeating the Penguins, GMGM made a few fan wishes come true when he brought Chris Bourque from Hershey to the big club. While the message boards went wild, some crazed Bourque fan out there decided to do a little tribute video. The song is from an ad played during Capitals radio broadcasts and the original line is "I want PORK."



A great history lesson and time waster
Ever wanted to know what it was like following the Capitals from the very first game to tonight's bout? Growing up with the Caps is a blog that details the changes the club has endured throughout the years and is a great place to spend a half hour or two. Check it out!

LETS GO CAPS!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Post-game thoughts: Caps vs Peguins?


Just one reason why a good copy editor is the backbone of any publication, be it a blog or major Web site such as, oh... NHL.com.

Secondary scoring
The second line currently leads the Caps in goals and assists. I wonder if teams will start to double up coverage on Semin like they do Ovechkin?

Flash Gordon! (thanks CapsNPanthers)
Congrats to Tomas Fleischmann and Boyd Gordon on their first goals of the season and, boy, were they big ones! Fleischmann has had impressive efforts in the past few games but hasn't had the stats to show for it, but tonight he walks away with a goal and an assist. On Gordon's end, after sitting out a few games in the press box, he really made his minutes count with the game-winning goal.

Calming the jitters on D
If you wanted to rip off John Erskine's head tonight, I don't blame you. His delay-of-game penalty screamed AHL, but it also screamed nervous. The Capitals were overpowered in the first period and looked sloppy on defense. Then Boudreau sent Russian superman Sergei Fedorov to defense and things calmed down. Fedorov on defense isn't just good because of his calming presence – his puck-handling skills create offensive zone rushes and clears. When Feds took to the ice as a defenseman, the Capitals scored 4 unanswered goals to win. Think we'll see Feds at D again Saturday?

Cheap shot or spirited play?
Evgeni Malkin's hit on Alex Semin was worthy of a 5-minute boarding major. It was only awarded 2 minutes. While the league is supposedly cracking down on hits such as Malkin's, it leaves one to wonder if the referee saw it as an unintentional board whereas fans might believe it to be a cheap shot. Personally I don't think Malkin was intentionally trying to injure Semin, but the call was not correct. It should have been a 5-minute boarding call. Either way, Ovechkin made it his goal to crush Malkin at every oppurtunity, and he did.

Just goes to show you how necessary the Don is...
Tonight's game was dirty on both sides. Hit after hit, Ovechkin running at Malkin, Malkin running at Semin and, well, everyone running at everyone. The mayhem that occurred tonight just goes to show you what happens when your enforcer is off the ice. Brashear was out with an injury, and the Penguins were without Matt Cooke. I imagine it would have been a bit "cleaner" out there with those two patrolling the boards.

900
The number of tickets left for Saturday night's game against the Devils, according to the Capitals Web site. Is Washington becoming a hockey town?

LETS GO CAPS!

2-point night! Caps win!

The Rule of Eights

Here's a suggestion for keeping individual games in perspective -- a problem right now for Caps fans eager to repeat last year's glory.

Let's say 100 points is the goal (the Caps got into the playoffs with 94 last season; five teams had 100+).

It's an 82-game season.

So, split the season into eight-game blocks. (Why eight? Well, Ovie is 8, for one thing; hence, The Rule of Eights.)

To reach 100 points, you need 10 points every 8 games.

Now let's look at the Caps' first eight games. They've got four points in three games, so they need six points in the remaining five games of this eight-game block. That means going 3-2 (not allowing for overtime points). A loss tonight (and the Caps should feel free to win this one, by all means!) just means doing a little better in the next four games to stay on track.

Didn't Boudreau do something like this with his young Caps last year? Might be a good thing for Caps fans, who seem to wildly swing between "the Caps are one of the NHL's elite" to "we need to gut the roster" with every loss.

TillyCapsFan for Capitals Kremlin

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pre-Cap: Capitals vs. Penguins

How many shots will Sid and his merry bunch of Penguins take this game? Or will the Capitals find a way to lose to the Pens like they always seem to do?

It's anyone's guess but, hey, how about a pre-Cap?

Washington Capitals (2-1-0, Last game W 5-1 over Vancouver)
vs.
Pittsburgh Penguins (2-1-1, Last game W 3-2 OT over Philadelphia)

The story so far...Alex Semin and the Capitals defense dominated the Canucks, but can they repeat Monday's performance against their bitter rival?

Players to watch
WSH: Alex Semin, Mike Green, Sergei Fedorov, Michael Nylander, Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin
PIT: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fluery, Matt Cooke, Miroslav Satan, Brooks Orpik

Man-down defense
The Penguins shutdown and defensive units have taken a beating from injury and free agency. The Penguins will be playing without top defensive players Ryan Whitney and former Capital Sergei Gonchar; both are nursing long-term injuries. The Penguins lost agitator Jarkko Ruutu to the Senators (free agency) and enforcer George Laraque to the Canadiens (free agency).

Face-off
The NHL's leading "faces" meet tonight as Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby look to jump start their production. Ovechkin has 2 points in 3 games, while Crosby has 2 points in 4 games. Meetings between the Pens and Caps are usually offensive battles, and the two players' stats against each other indicate this. In 11 games Crosby has 19 points against the Capitals, while Ovechkin has 15 points in 12 games.

Friend turned foe

Matt Cooke was acquired by the Pittsburgh Penguins over the summer through free agency. The Capitals did not re-sign him, electing to continue employing current agitator Matt Bradley. Here's a good look at Cooke doing what he does best.



Backstrom's heartbreaker
In four games against the Pens, Nicklas Backstrom has only "scored" one goal. That goal was unfourtunately against his own team last March. Expect Backstrom to take this game as an opportunity to right the wrong. Think he'll watch this again to get pumped up?



Who said they don't have class?
Pittsburgh is home to the the fifth oldest opera company.

Remembering Alexei Cherepanov
Here's a video about the man they called "The Siberian Express." Cherepanov died this week during a KHL game. Cherepanov passed out on the bench, was attended to and hours later was pronounced dead.



Will we get a brawl tonight?
Will the Caps and Pens play fair and enjoy a nice skate on the pond? Or will they let emotion get the best of them, erupting into a spectacle of fists and goals? In the hopes that we get to see some old-time hockey, here's a brawl between the Isles and Sabres that occurred earlier this week.



LETS GO CAPS!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Caps vs. 'Nucks post-game thoughts

The picture says it all. The Capitals got off to a fast start in the first and never slowed down.

Record-Breaking Night
The Capitals allowed only 9 shots on goal, a new team record. The fewest before was 11 shots vs. the Florida Panthers in a game the Capitals lost.

I'm not going streaking anymore...
Roberto Luongo's 11-game win streak vs. the Capitals came to an end. Luongo was pulled at the start of the third period. The Canucks lost to the Caps for the first time since 2001.

No longer "Alex the Lesser"
Alex Semin recorded 2 goals in tonight's game. He leads the NHL with 6 points in 3 games.

A good place to get started
Nicklas Backstrom has been quiet on the top line so far this season. With Pittsburgh on the horizon, there couldn't be a better team for Backstrom to start scoring against. He has recorded 7 assists against the Pens in 4 games. He also scored the GWG in the last meeting...

fe-D-orov
Forward Sergei Fedorov was moved to defense for the game against the Canucks. He was a +3 with an assist. He had 25 shifts on ice, second to Mike Green's 26, and logged 20:21 of ice time. It would not be a surprise to see Fedorov playing defense again against the Penguins.

More fuel for the Nylander trade fire...
With eyes on Nylander from various teams, tonight's game made his trade stock rise. Nylander had a goal (penalty shot) and 2 assists. He was a +2 on the night.

Kremlin Take
This is what the Capitals should have looked like on Friday night. The defense prevented the offense from ever setting up plays, the forecheck tired out the opposition, and the Capitals played their high-powered brand of offensive hockey. Once again it was the second line providing the bulk of the scoring, which means that future team's top shutdown line will need to cover both Alex's eventually. With Pittsburgh on Thursday, the challenge isn't just beating Pittsburgh, it's taking what they did right tonight and applying it throughout the season.

Ovechkin's Music Video

You may remember that over the summer, Ovie was cast in a music video for a rising singer. Well thanks to Tuvanhillbilly, here it is! Ovechkin shows up in the video around 3:30 for those who are not interested in the whole video.



Wow.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pre-Cap: Caps vs. Canucks


It's Canadian Appreciation Night at the Verizon Center and, to celebrate, we're playing a Canadian team!

Washington Capitals (1-1-0, Last game W 4-2 vs. Chicago)
vs.
Vancouver Canucks (2-0-0, Last game W 5-4 vs. Calgary)

The story so far...
The Capitals rebounded after a hairy first period to fend off the Blackhawks, but now they will need a solid 60 minutes of hockey to beat Vancouver.

Ones to watch
WSH: Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin, Tomas Fleischmann, Jose Theodore
VAN: Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Roberto Luongo

The man in question, and in goal...
Jose Theodore has had mixed success against the Canucks. He is 11-9-1-2 with a GAA of 2.71.

Ovie and the 'Nucks
Ovechkin has 4 points in 2 games (2G and 2A) against the Canucks.

Those Sedins, they're so hot right now
Daniel Sedin currently leads the NHL in points (5), while his brother Henrik has 4 points.
In addition to being pretty good hockey players, they are rumored to be good dancers...



Former Cap update: Matt Pettinger
Former Capital Matt Pettinger won't be facing his old team tonight. The Canucks waived Petty before the season started. He is currently playing with the Manitoba Moose.

Last season's meeting
The Canucks won 3-2 at the Verizon Center.


We're going streaking!
Some point streaks to watch tonight...
David Steckel, 2 points in 2 games.
Alex Semin, 4 points in 2 games.
Entire third line, earned a minus in both games.

Hell if we don't win, at least we can blame Canada.


LETS GO CAPS!

Post-game thoughts...: Caps vs. Blackhawks

What a win! Well here's some quick observations and thoughts to munch on until the next pre-Cap!

2-point night!

Fourth Line Success
Brashear, Bradley and Steckel are playing well. They earned a goal in Saturday's game, and Steckel notched a goal against Atlanta. This line is dangerous because it can score and punch your lights out.

You can't keep a good man down
Ovechkin rebounded with 2 goals against the Blackhawks, and Boudreau led his team to a hard-fought win after a poor effort. Coincidence? I think not.

Slow starter
Jose Theodore has a record of 2-5-1 with a 3.00 GAA when starting in season opening games.

The Garbage Man
Brooks Laich is a perfect fit for the second line. Alongside skill players Sergei Fedorov and Alex Semin, Laich adds a degree of grit and, as witnessed Saturday, some garbage-goal skills.

Clarkie, oh Clarkie, where art thou Clarkie?
Chris Clark only logged 10:40 of ice time against the Blackhawks. He was second to last, with Brashear only skating 8:56. Clark was a -1.

0
The number of lazy penalties committed by Semin 2 games into the season.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pre-Cap: Capitals vs. Blackhawks

Not the best way to start the season boys... not good at all... Well I'm over it and ready to cheer on our boys at Verizon Center!

Time for your pre-Cap!

Washington Capitals (0-1-0 Last game: 7-4 Atl win) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (0-1-0 Last game 4-2 Rangers win)

The story so far...

Two high-octane teams are looking to right some opening night wrongs and, for Washington, the question mark in goal has just gotten bigger.

Key Players

WSH: Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin, Mike Green, Jose Theodore.

Why? Ovechkin was blanked on opening night, and we all know Alex isn't too happy about that. Alex the lesser (Semin), on the other hand, had a three-point night. Green looked amped to be playing for real and, after an injury scare, punched in 2 goals. Theodore will likely start (to the dismay of some fans) and it's make-or-break time to prove he can be a #1 goalie.

CHI: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Brian Campbell

Why? Imagine having the Calder winner and second runnerup on one team? That's what the Blackhawks have in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Also free-agent acquisition Brian Campbell will look to bounce back after the B'Hawks were beaten Friday.

Don't Toews Me Bro!

In one game played against the Caps, Toews has scored 1 goal. Counterpart Patrick Kane has recorded 1 assist. Okay, it's nothing special, but the headline was just too darn clever to pass up.

The Older Russian Machine

Sergei Fedorov has scored more points against the Blackhawks than any other team in his NHL career. (34-56-90)

Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast

The Verizon Center might consider changing the name of two popular food items this weekend as ex-Capital Cristobal Huet is not projected to start in net against his former team.

Wankers

English rockers Def Leppard opened the NHL season with a mini-concert on Thursday; they also got to "handle" the Stanley Cup.



Leave it to soccer fans to disgrace the Stanley Cup...

Bruce Boudreau is now a meme

If you're one of the degenerates who browse 4chan, you may know a thing or two about "dramatic-look prairie dog."



Well here is the all-new Boudreau version of the meme, ripped from his recent ad.



Wes Johnson, arena announcer and video game star?

Capitals events announcer Wes Johnson will be appearing in the blockbuster video game Fallout 3 this October. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic Washington, D.C., that was destroyed by nukes. This is not the first game he has been a part of: Johnson also appeared in The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. Here's a taste of his vocal talents as the Capitals tour his "crib."




Caps game related? Not really. Cool? Hell yes!

Let's GO CAPS!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pre-Caps! Capitals vs. Thrashers

It's finally here, the game 1 of the 2008-2009 season!

The Washington Capitals take on the Atlanta Thrashers in a Southeast Division showdown.

Capitals (0-0-0) vs. Thrashers (0-0-0)

Key Players: Alex Ovechkin, Jose Theodore, Mike Green (WSH) Ilya Kovalchuk, Tobias Enstrom, Kari Lehtonen

Remember kids, winning comes in CANS

The Atlanta Thrashers' preseason slogan was pretty laughable this season. While the Capitals opted for the powerful yet corny "good isn't good enough," the Thrashers took a page out of a bad motivational speakers notebook.



"Winning comes in cans, not in cant's"

Season opening road warriors?

The Capitals have a record of 5 - 10 - 2 when opening the season on the road. Last season the Capitals opened on the road in Atlanta, winning 3 - 1.

Swedish BFF's

The opening meeting of the Capitals and Thrashers reunites party boys Nicklas Backstrom and Thrashers Defenseman Tobias Enstrom. Backstrom and Enstrom famously missed All-Star practice last season because they were too busy partying the night before.

Ultimate Hockey Fighting Championship

The Thrashers and Capitals have had a history of dropping the gloves...en masse. Here's an old clip from the Hanlon era of a good ole' Thrashers brawl.



Tonight's possible fight opponents are Capitals enforcer Donald Brashear vs. Thrashers enforcer Eric Boulton.

Boulton and Brashear have met before, when Brash was a Flyer and Boulton was a Sabre.



Mutiny in Atlanta

Thrashers goalie prospect, Ondrej Pavalec was supposed to go to the Thrashers minor league affilliate, the Chicago Wolves, to start the season. Pavalec decided he'd rather use exercise his "options," instead. Can somebody say drama?

Trophy viewing on Saturday

Thanks to On Frozen Blog for posting this...

"Festivities on Saturday begin with the Power of Red Contest, in which an enormous block of ice will be placed near Clyde’s between Gallery Place and Verizon Center at 11 a.m. Fans can attempt to pull hockey sticks from the block of ice, and any successful fan will win a prize. Prizes include an executive suite for an upcoming Caps game, a team-signed jersey and a stick signed by reigning NHL most valuable player Alex Ovechkin.

Doors open for Saturday night’s game at 5:30 p.m., a half-hour ahead of the usual schedule. Fans will have a chance to see five trophies from the Hockey Hall of Fame: the Hart Trophy, Lester B. Pearson Award, Art Ross Trophy and Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy that Ovechkin won last season and the Jack Adams Award that Bruce Boudreau won as the league’s coach of the year. In addition, Capitals alumni including retired number honorees Rod Langway and Yvon Labre will be signing autographs on the concourse before the game, while ESPN 980 will be broadcasting live outside the arena."



A glimpse at the opening video?

On Saturday night the Capitals will not only have their home opener, but debut their new opening video. The mock rockstar video shoot is widely publicized on the internet, but no real teasers have come out suggesting how it might look. Here's an interview with a Ovie that gives us a glimpse of the new opener.



The hottest band in town? Ovie and the Caps? Hopefully the final video has a better band name that is more um..team related. The band also needs to be more enthusiastic about their fist pumps, those were pretty sad.

Capitals Kremlin prediction thread


The season is upon us, and that also means the first Capitals Kremlin pre-cap is just hours away too! So in the fashion of many of our other great Capitals bloggers, it's time for a prediction post!

Instead of the typical, let's predict some "off the wall" stats and please join in with your own in the comment section! So here we go!

Alex Semin

Alex the lesser will have an equal amount of lazy penalties (hooking and slashing to be exact) and goals this season.

Nicklas Backstrom

"Backis" will lead the team in assists, record an 70 point season, and will be ignored for All-Star considerations.

Michael Nylander

Will lead the league in trade rumors. His wife will ensure he stays in Washington.

Donald Brashear

The Don will have his best season in scoring. He will record a Gordie Howe hat-trick this season. He will be given three game mis-conducts. Don Cherry will accuse him of backing down from a fight twice.

Alexander Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin will have a new girlfriend for each month, including playoff months. Ovechkin will lead the league in goals, but will still be dogged by Mike Milbury. Ovechkin will record a Gordie Howe hat-trick this season, most likely against Pittsburgh, Philadelphia or Buffalo.
John Erskine

Will be the most "scratched," defender, with Karl Alzner taking his place for those games.

0 Goals scored against Kolzig in first meeting

The Tampa Bay Lightning will not start Olie Kolzig against his former team in their first meeting. The Capitals will win 5-2. Brooks Laich will be the third star.

8 games

The longest win streak the Capitals will go on this season.

Enjoy and please post your own! Remember it's all in fun, so take it that way!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Hockey Nomad - A Review

The Washington Capitals and Arabic hockey players have one thing in common. They practice and sometimes play at a mall.

The Arabic teams are just one of a few who under strange circumstances, enjoy the game of hockey as seen in Dave Bidini's documentary, "The Hockey Nomad."

Bidini takes viewers on a journey to find places where hockey is played free from the complications of professional sports.

His journey starts in the United Arab Emirates with the Mighty Camels Tournament in Dubai. There teams from the middle east take on ex-pat Canadians. Bidini shows us a team that has two faiths, Islam, and hockey. For the Arabs the tournament is more than a game, but a chance to prove that even a desert nation can keep pace with Canada on the ice.

Bidini then travels to Transylvania, home of Vlad the Impaler (who probably invented the penalty spearing...)

Bidini visits the town of Ciuc whose rivalry against Bucharest, Romania is a symbol of an age-old struggle. The poor (Ciuc) vs. the privileged (Bucharest), the oppressed vs. the oppressor. During Communist rule in Romania, Transylvanians could only sing their anthem or speak their language at the hockey rink. The rivalry is a game of pride for Ciuc, and the battles between the teams are violent affairs requiring riot police to stand at guard around the rink.

The last locality Bidini visits is Ulaan Baater, Mongolia, where due to water restrictions, the local hockey club may not be able to make a rink to start it's season. There Bidini learns that the NHL dream extends even to those who can barely put together a hockey rink in time for opening day.

The Hockey Nomad is a short 58-minute film that illustrates how hockey can create the same passion we feel for the Capitals in the most remote places.

You will feel an instant connection to the fans in Dubai when Bidini sings "The Good Old Hockey Game," and fans rhythmically clap along as we do at the Verizon Center.

The Hockey Nomad illustrates that ice hockey and sports in general can flourish where there is a passion for the game even if you live in a desert.

-CK

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Laing Clears!

Reported earlier today, by Tarik El-Bashir, Quentin Laing has cleared waivers.

Great news for Laing fans such as myself.

A glimpse at the lines


Per Tarik

"Now that the opening night roster has been announced, the forward lines look very familiar to the ones that were making the rounds over the summer

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov
Laich-Fedorov-Semin
Fleischmann-Nylander-Clark
Brashear-Steckel-Bradley

The defense pairings were as follows:

Morrisonn-Green
Erskine-Poti
Schultz-Jurcina

The extras were Gordon and Fehr. Gordon was assigned to the fourth line while Fehr skated with the third."

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pre-Cap! Capitals at Thrashers

It's finally here, the game 1 of the 2008-2009 season!

The Washington Capitals take on the Atlanta Thrashers in a Southeast Division showdown.

Capitals (0-0-0) vs. Thrashers (0-0-0)

Remember kids, winning comes in CANS

The Atlanta Thrashers' preseason slogan was pretty laughable this season. While the Capitals opted for the powerful yet corny "good isn't good enough," the Thrashers took a page out of a bad motivational speakers notebook.



"Winning comes in cans, not in cant's"

Season opening road warriors?

The Capitals have a record of 5 - 10 - 2 when opening the season on the road. Last season the Capitals opened on the road in Atlanta, winning 3 - 1.

Swedish BFF's

The opening meeting of the Capitals and Thrashers reunites party boys Nicklas Backstrom and Thrashers Defenseman Tobias Enstrom. Backstrom and Enstrom famously missed All-Star practice last season because they were too busy partying the night before.

Ultimate Hockey Fighting Championship

The Thrashers and Capitals have had a history of dropping the gloves...en masse. Here's an old clip from the Hanlon era of a good ole' Thrashers brawl.




Speaking of fighting....

Tonight's possible fight opponents are Capitals enforcer Donald Brashear vs. Thrashers enforcer Eric Boulton.

Boulton and Brashear have met before, when Brash was a Flyer and Boulton was a Sabre.



Mutiny in Atlanta

Thrashers goalie prospect, Ondrej Pavalec was supposed to go to the Thrashers minor league affilliate, the Chicago Wolves, to start the season. Pavalec decided he'd rather use exercise his "options," instead. Can somebody say drama?

Today's trivial pursuit fact....

Atlanta is the only U.S. city destroyed by fire as an act of war...

LETS GO CAPS




Final cuts put Laing on waiver wire

By now you are probably aware of the cutting of Karl Alzner, Chris Bourque and Quintin Laing from the Capitals.

Bourque and Alzner will move to Hershey where they will start the AHL season on Wednesday.

Alzner's contract more than likely kept him off the Caps roster, and Bourque was kept out by the Capitals abundance of forwards. It is fair to expect both to return to the main club eventually this season.

Laing, a fan-favorite for his gritty play and 110% efforts, will have to pass waivers before he can report to Hershey. It is hard to imagine that Laing will clear waivers with no interest from other teams.

Boudreau called this batch of cuts the "toughest in his career," but the potential loss of Laing on the waiver wire was tough to bear.

"[Quentin Laing] was so proud to be a Washington Capital, he probably took it the hardest," Boudreau said.

In honor of one of the hardest working Capitals, a YouTube collection. Let's just hope he slips by on waivers and will help the Bears to another Calder Cup.





GMGM's dilemma

In case you don't know, there are three young players looking to crack an already crowded Capitals roster.

Eric Fehr, Chris Bourque and Karl Alzner all have made claims as to why they should be Washington Capitals come Friday night, but who realistically has a chance of making the team?

Yup, you guessed it, we are gonna break it down. Here's the story lines.

Chris Bourque - The Hall of Famer's son looks to start his own legend.

"I want to be a Washington Capital more than anything. This is where I see myself playing this year." - Bourque

Key preseason stats: 3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points. Game tying goal vs. Boston on Sunday Oct. 5.

CK Take: The knock on Bourque isn't his play, but rather his two way contract. Bourque can be sent to Hershey without having to pass waivers.

Projection: Hershey, but don't be surprised if he is first on the call up list. Expect him to be a Capital if an injury or major slump occurs on the main roster.

Eric Fehr - Fighting for a job, Fehr hopes this will be the breakout year that has eluded him.

"I've had a couple of years where I wasn't able to perform at my highest level, but this year there is no real excuse for me." - Fehr

Key preseason stats: 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, +1,

CK Take: Fehr's preseason hasn't been stellar, and compared to Bourque, he only has two advantages. His size (6'4, 212) and his one way contract. Fehr will have to clear waivers if he is sent to Hershey and a young power forward such as Fehr is likely to be snatched by a rebuilding club.

Projection: Fehr stays, his one way contract keeps him from packing for chocolate town.

Karl Alzner - Smart and conservative, Alzner's stay-at-home game could have an immediate impact on the Capitals.

"I have no idea what’s going on. I am just trying to be consistent. If I can be consistent, then that’s good for me because that is something I pride myself on." - Alzner

Key preseason stats - 2 assists, 2 points, +3

CK Take: Don't let Alzner's stats fool you. Scoring isn't necessarily his game, solid defense is. Alzner has been solid, committing few mistakes while having a calm presence on the ice. Alzner presents a salary cap problem, and with the Capitals already feeling the crunch, it hurts his chances of "rocking the red," at the season's start.

Projection: Hershey. Alzner's cap hit presents a problem for the Caps, but if Boudreau really wants Alzner, they'll find a way to make it work. Just don't be disappointed if come Friday, he is wearing brown.

- CK
 
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