Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Statistically, the gap between the two rivals is modest. At the moment, the Washington Capitals’ Alexander Ovechkin is second in the NHL scoring race and leads the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby by just two points….
In the 3 1/2 years they’ve been in the league, Crosby and Ovechkin have developed a Magic Johnson-Larry Bird sort of rivalry. Ovechkin won the Calder Memorial Trophy in their rookie seasons, ahead of Crosby, who is 20 months younger but joined the league the same year as a result of the lockout. Crosby won the MVP in Year 2; and Ovechkin took it last year, a season in which Crosby was out of the race early as a result of the 29 games he missed because of a high ankle sprain.
This year, Ovechkin’s advantage stems largely from team success. The Capitals are off to an excellent start, despite massive injuries, while the Penguins waddle along, their herd thinned by free-agent defections and an inability to handle their casualties as well as the Caps.
But half a season does not a year make and a healthy and motivated Crosby may still have something to say about the scoring and MVP races before all is said and done.
from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,
Later, I briefly asked Ovechkin whether he was really trying to pick up fighting tips from Brashear, and he clarified, saying he wants to be prepared just in case anything happens, but that he has no intention of becoming a brawler.
“Show me how I have to do something if somebody grab me,” he said he asked Brashear. “It’s normal thing. I don’t want to fight. I don’t want to get hurt. I’m terrible fighter. Probably worse than Sasha.”
Earlier, Ovechkin had joked that Semin “hits pretty cool, actually,” but when another media person now asked jokingly about Semin’s fight, Ovechkin bristled a bit.
“Well, he do it for our team,” he said of Semin. “And he fight. I want to see if you go over there and fight with Staal, and how you’re gonna be fighting.”
from Japers’ Rink,
This morning I noted that “On this date back in 1998, Dale Hunter had three helpers and reached the 1,000 point plateau, becoming the first - and still only - player in NHL history with 1,000 points and 3,000 PIMs in a career.”
Maruk commented that Huntsy may be the only member to ever enter that exclusive club, and while you never say never… he’s probably right. A quick glance at the active Top 100 in points and PIMs makes you realize that it’s unlikely anyone currently playing is going to reach the double milestone, but let’s take a look at just how unlikely.
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have partnered with AOL to create the first ever Capitals email domain along with a toolbar to keep fans up-to-date with the Capitals.
The AOL affinity email is free to sign up and the user can view their Capitals email from anywhere in the world. There are four different domains; CapsHockeyFan.com, MyCapitalsMail.com, CapsRed.com and CapsFanatic.com. The user can copy their address book and emails from another account, while sharing Capitals hockey with friends and family. Fans can find the email domain and toolbar at http://capitals.nhl.com/fanzone/caps_aol.htm.
from the CP via TSN,
...Their coach and some other members of the No. 2 team in the Eastern Conference were a tad less diplomatic.
“We know on merit that Nick and Mike and maybe Alex Semin should all be on that, but that’s not how the scenario goes and it’s not because they don’t deserve to be on that,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s the way the whole thing is situated - the way they pick.”
Goalie Jose Theodore, twice an all-star for other teams, also spoke strongly.
“There are some stars but it’s not all the stars,” Theodore said. “The league should really review the system.”
from Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post,
All over Washington, just when few thought it would ever happen, Caps craziness, Rock-the-Red fever, a region-wide Great Eight debate, has exploded.
Just one year ago, the Caps had only one sellout crowd halfway through their season and wouldn’t get their second full house until Feb. 24. The sport was still dormant, kept viable by the adoration of a devoted fan base but a whisper to casual fans. Now the Capitals are storming the city.
So far this season, Verizon Center has been 98 percent sold out, an increase of 31.5 percent in attendance.
from Homer McFanboy,
While we were waiting near the Caps locker room to conduct an interview with defenseman Karl Alzner after the game, we witnessed something we can confidently say we’ve never seen before.
In addition to the various players and equipment managers shuffling up and down the hallway, there was George McPhee, who was followed by roughly 30 priests from the Institute of the Incarnate Word in Chillum, Maryland.
It turns out Raul Fernandez, a part owner of the Washington Capitals, invited these fine men to attend the game and get a little VIP tour of the facilities, which set the scene for the most bizarre and improbable moment in our young blogging career.
thanks to Ted’s Take for the pointer…
from pucksandbooks at On Frozen Blog,
“Let’s go Flyers!” (tepid) . . . “Flyers suck!” (thunderous)
There was last night in our building, in abundance, hatred. Blissful, beautiful, bellicose, and long-lost loathing, united against the orange and black. The universe at last seemed ordered. An observer in the Phone Booth last night couldn’t help but imagine these two teams—so evenly matched last spring, last night, and likely for much of the next decade—engaging in scores more of these heart-stoppers of hatred, but with division pride at stake each time. And near the end of regular seasons, division titles on the line. Except that can’t happen.
What a (Bettman-birthed) tragedy.
Thanks to Gary Bettman, for the past 10 years we’ve wandered in a division of dreck, an outpost of ‘Oh who cares?’ as the winter evenings’ scores scrolled by. But not last night.
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Still stung by his team’s 7-1 defeat at the Wachovia Center last month, Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau recently took some verbal shots at the Flyers for what he perceived as running up the score.
“What goes around comes around eventually,” he told NHL.com. “And it will.”
Boudreau’s Caps play host to the Flyers tonight.
Relayed Boudreau’s comments, Flyers coach John Stevens bristled after today’s morning skate.
“You guys can take this Boudreau stuff and you can take it somewhere else,” Stevens told reporters. “I’m not getting drawn in tit-for-tat stuff. I don’t know where this is going. Bruce coaches the Washington Capitals. I don’t care what he says. I’ve got my team to get ready here. This is obviously an important game, a hard game, and I don’t care what he said, to be honest with you. He can say what he wants….”
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
...OK, puckheads, now that we’ve wasted a few seconds of your time, we draw your attention to tonight’s game between Backstrom’s Capitals and the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.
The last time these two teams met was Dec. 20, when the Flyers pasted the Caps, 7-1. That was their first encounter since last spring’s first-round, seven-game playoff victory by Philadelphia. Needless to say, the Caps were looking forward to tonight.
“We had like 50 shots on them that night [48 to be exact],” Backstrom said of the Dec. 20 game. “It was a weird game. Everybody on the team is very much excited about this game [tonight].”
We like Washington’s chances. The Caps are an Eastern Conference-best 17-1-1 at home.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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