Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post,
Winning consistently on home ice and making Verizon Center an unpleasant environment for opponents have long been among Boudreau’s priorities. In his postgame news conferences, he often makes mention of an arena’s “atmosphere” and how it played on the Capitals’ emotions—and ultimately affected the outcome of the game. After Tuesday’s 5-2 win in front of a sparse crowd in New Jersey, for example, Boudreau said the subdued mood at Prudential Center negatively affected both teams but that it mostly dragged down the Devils.
“It was a dead building,” he said. “When we played Florida [a 5-3 loss at Verizon Center on Dec. 2] it was very similar. It’s tough.”
“Dead” might be the last word anyone would use these days to describe the Capitals’ rink, which is gaining a reputation around the league as one of the loudest and most intimidating arenas in the NHL. The Capitals have hosted 14 capacity crowds this season—six more than all of last season—and 10 in the past 11 games.
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
That the Devils played poorly in the first two periods of tonight’s 5-2 loss to the Capitals wasn’t really debtable.
They still had a chance to win the game, however, after Jamie Langenbrunner’s shorthanded goal 41 seconds into the third period cut what had been a 3-0 deficit to 3-2.
The Devils controlled play after that until Mike Rupp was called for goaltender interference at 9:09 of the third by referee Bill McCreary. It appeared that Washington’s Tom Poti reached in with his stick, tripping Rupp as he drove to the net and causing him to slide into goaltender Jose Theodore.
Devils coach Brent Sutter said it was clearly a trip.
“No question the video showed he was tripped on the play,” Sutter said. “He’s driving to the net and a guy trips him. How do you stop? Not every time a goalie gets touched does it mean there’s a penalty. Sometimes there are circumstances leading into it that make it happen. It clearly shows he was tripped on the play. He’s cutting to the net and gets tripped by the defenseman.,.That’s a penalty and we get it called against us when it should have been called the other way.”
Also from Tom...
the Devils traded defenseman Sheldon Brookbank to the Anaheim Ducks for the rights to center David McIntyre.
from Ted Leonsis of Ted’s Take,
Many fans that were rooting for Detroit are actually our season ticket holders. They are happy Caps fans and loyal customers and they root for the Caps always except when we play Detroit. When we sell out the bottom and top bowl, the club seats go on sale via Washington Sports and some of those tickets get sold as groups or online to Detroit fans.
It is obvious that we have made progress. Perhaps ten percent of the arena was rooting for Detroit at yesterday’s game. I won’t rest until we have 100 percent Caps fans in our building but I admire what Detroit has built in terms of fan loyalty.
from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,
How much the Caps can take from this victory is debatable. The Red Wings, after all, were missing two front-line players because of injuries, Tomas Holmstrom and Henrik Zetterberg. Holmstrom is a monster in the crease; without him Detroit’s power play, the best in the NHL, suffers. And Zetterberg might be the best two-way player in hockey right now.
Throw in the relative good health of the Capitals and the fact that they beat Ty Conklin, not Chris Osgood, in goal—and that the Red Wings entered the game in the midst of their first four-game losing streak in nearly a year—and Detroit was a good bet to go down.
But at the same time, that’s the NHL regular season. Before a team’s greatness is defined in May and June, they have to show signs in the regular season, and the Caps have now consistently shown they belong in the Boston-Detroit-Montreal conversation.
What really happened on the ice yesterday was another example of why the Capitals can never again be Ovie and the Overachievers.
from On Frozen Blog,
The Caps couldn’t have scripted a better reception or conditions for their annual outdoor skate at Chevy Chase Country Club Thursday night. They created a mid-winter postcard to remember for hundreds of hockey loving club members, and there was a tremendous showing to chronicle the skate by local media. It was chilly but clear and breezeless by the rink, perfect for shinny. A not-so-small army of club youths chanted and cheered “Let’s go Caps!”, many in Alexander Ovechkin jerseys, as the Caps drilled briefly and then shinny-scrimmaged….
It was a treat to see U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts stroll right up beside us on an observation deck for media and take in the action with his family. A child whom we gathered was Chief Justice Roberts’ son was modeling a smart-looking red Caps’ Ovechkin sweater for the occasion.
from the CP via TSN,
Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, the leading goal-scorer in the NHL and the league’s reigning MVP, left Tuesday night’s game against the Bruins after awkwardly crashing into the boards following a hook from Boston defenceman Zdeno Chara.
Ovechkin hit the boards behind the Bruins goal with his right shoulder and head, then remained motionless on the ice for about 15 seconds before rolling over and rubbing his face with his glove.
update 8:55pm, The headline now states Ovechkin Returns but the story has not been updated, so it looks like AO is back.
video added below on 1/28/09…
via John Feinstein of the Washington Post,
It is now time for the Caps, their fans and the local media to let go of this whole all-star thing and move on to far more important tasks: like trying to win the Stanley Cup.
It really doesn’t matter that Montreal’s fans stuffed the ballot boxes to get four of their players into the starting lineup or that Ovechkin, the best player in the league, wasn’t a starter, or that other all-star-worthy Caps got snubbed. Because there has been so little actual winning among the professional sports teams in this town during the last 20 years, there’s a tendency to make a big deal out of things that just aren’t that important.
In case you missed it last night, Elliotte Friedman of CBC did a great job with an ‘Inside Hockey’ segment on Alexander Ovechkin.
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
Ovechkin’s unexpected public interaction with Malkin had to catch most puck-watchers by surprise. The two Russian-born stars have been estranged over a personal matter that neither player was too interested in discussing. The feud caught the eye of fans and media when both players went out of their way to hit each other in recent games between the Caps and Pens.
According to one source, Thrashers captain (and fellow Russian star) Ilya Kovalchuk brokered the peace deal between Ovie and Geno. In playing the part of the peacemaker, Kovalchuk might have been looking toward the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The three snipers figure to be a big part of Team Russia’s gold-medal hopes.
more on the Saturday night festivities in Montreal…
Q. Alex, where did you get the idea to do the hat and the glasses?
ALEX OVECHKIN: Well, it was last night. I talked actually with Nate about it, and I said it’s going to be fun, and you have to try it.
Q. Can you just comment on, it seems like you really enjoy the spotlight and playing up to the crowd. Do you think hockey needs a little bit more of that?
ALEX OVECHKIN: Well, I think, you know, fans have to see how we are, who we are, you know. They see our skills and, I think the last trick like was just for fun. I think fans love it.
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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