Author Topic: CAPS Home Opener at Verizon Center  (Read 1454 times)

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Offline Senators2005

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CAPS Home Opener at Verizon Center
« Topic Start: October 07, 2006, 05:31:33 PM »
Quote from: "Senators2005"
Will be watching the baseball playoffs but with an eye on the Caps.  Any comments for people who went to the game or about the game put them in this thread...


Caps Shorthanded On Eve of Home Opener
by Mike Vogel
October 6, 2006
LINK: http://www.washingtoncaps.com/news/news.asp?story_id=4220

It?s only one game, it?s only one loss and the season is 82 games long. All that is true of course, but the Washington Capitals nevertheless shook up their lines at Friday?s practice, less than 18 hours after Thursday?s 5-2 opening night loss to the Rangers in New York. Preparing for Saturday?s opening night at Verizon Center, the Caps were able to ice only 10 healthy forwards on Friday afternoon.

One of the changes was obvious and predictable. Right wing Chris Clark, one of Washington?s best skaters in the opener, was moved back to the right side of a line with Alex Ovechkin and Dainius Zubrus. During his Calder Trophy-winning rookie season in 2005-06, Ovechkin was never worse than a minus-2 in any of the 81 games in which he played. In Thursday night?s opener, Ovechkin and his linemates ? Zubrus and Richard Zednik ? were minus-4. The trio was on the ice for a last-minute empty-net goal.

?Maybe you can see how important Chris Clark is on that line for retrieving pucks,? said Caps coach Glen Hanlon after Thursday night?s loss. ?The [Kris] Beech-[Alexander]Semin line looked like the Zubrus-Ovechkin line of last year. They did a good job on the power play.?

The rest of the changes are up in the air at this point and involve a more worrisome issue: injuries. Two of Washington?s other top speedy puck-pursuing wingers were out of the lineup against New York, and they may soon have company on the sidelines. Matt Bradley and Matt Pettinger missed the opening night game in New York with injuries. Neither was back on the ice Friday. That duo was joined on the sidelines by center Boyd Gordon and center/left wing Brooks Laich, both of whom are nursing minor ailments.

?I don?t know what?s going to happen [Saturday] for the lines,? said Hanlon. ?We?ve only got 10 healthy forwards.?

When the Capitals take on the Canes on Saturday in Washington, the Ovechkin-Zubrus-Clark line (the Equation Line, if you will) will likely be reunited. And that is about all that is known about the makeup of Washington?s lines for Saturday.

?I thought they looked good again today,? said Hanlon of his newly reunited trio. ?It?s hard not to play them. When you have success, it?s hard not to play them together. I thought Clarkie played well [Thursday] night. We?ll take a look at it [Saturday] and see who we have who can play and we?ll go from there. I do think we need puck chasers on every line. I think [Thursday] night really proved that. We missed that hounding of pucks.?

The Capitals? AHL Hershey affiliate is slated to open the defense of its 2005-06 Calder Cup title in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton against the Penguins on Saturday night, But before the Bears board the bus for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, a few may need to be pointed in a southerly direction.

?I would think that we would have to, yeah,? offered Hanlon, when asked if the Caps might not need to dip into the AHL for a few healthy bodies before Saturday?s face-off. ?We have to wait and see what?s going on with these other guys. But if they?re not ready to go, then [maybe we?ll recall] one or two [players].?

Washington vice-president and general manager George McPhee echoed Hanlon?s thoughts, but indicated that decisions and actual recalls would not likely occur until sometime Saturday, after the training staff has a chance to assess the injured.

The last forwards cut from the Capitals and sent to Hershey as training camp wound down were wingers Tomas Fleischmann and Alexandre Giroux. Hershey currently has a bit of a glut at forward on its own roster, so a recall or two might not be as crippling to the Bears now as it could be later in the campaign. Washington played its season opener with 11 forwards and seven defenseman. The Caps have eight healthy blueliners on the roster now, so one forward might be all that's needed, assuming none of the four injured players are able to suit up on Saturday.[/quote]

Offline Senators2005

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CAPS Home Opener at Verizon Center
« Reply #1: October 07, 2006, 05:33:47 PM »
Oct. 7 vs. Carolina Hurricanes at Verizon Center

Time: 7:00 pm
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: SportsTalk 980

Carolina Hurricanes (0-1-1)
Washington Capitals (0-1-0)
Game Notes in PDF Format

Matchup
The Washington Capitals will host opening night at Verizon Center on Saturday night when the Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes make the first of four visits to Washington this season.

The Caps played their Southeast Division rivals even last season, going 3-3-2 in eight meetings against Carolina. The Caps were 1-2-1 in four games played between the two teams in Washington in 2005-06.

Saturday?s game pits a pair of teams seeking their first win of 2006-07. The Caps dropped an opening night decision to the New York Rangers on Thursday at Madison Square Garden, falling by a 5-2 score. Alexander Semin and Rico Fata scored for Washington. The Caps have not lost the season?s first two games since 1996-97.

Just one game into the ?06-07 season, the Capitals have already been beset by a series of minor injuries. Four Washington forwards ? wingers Matt Pettinger and Matt Bradley and centers Brooks Laich and Boyd Gordon ? did not take the ice for Friday?s practice session at Verizon Center. The Caps were able to dress only 10 healthy forwards for Friday?s practice. If some of the walking wounded are not healthy enough to take the ice on Saturday night, the Caps will recall a player or two from AHL Hershey.

The Caps dressed seven defensemen for the season opener in New York. Washington has eight healthy blueliners on its roster, so it could conceivably get by with a single recall even if none of the aforementioned four injured players is able to answer the bell.

Brian Pothier (24:48], Ben Clymer (18:09) and Mike Green (17:33) were the top three Capitals defensemen in terms of opening night ice time. None of the three played more than 22 games on the Caps? blueline last season.

The Caps have won four straight home openers, each of which was also the season opener. The Capitals are 8-2-1 in their last 11 home openers, including 5-1-1 since moving to Verizon Center in the middle of the 1997-98 season.

The Caps failed to convert any of the eight power play chances they had in Thursday night?s season opener, but did kill off all three of the shorthanded situations they faced against New York.

After receiving their Stanley Cup champion rings on Monday, Carolina opened its season with a 3-2 shootout loss to Buffalo at home on Wednesday night. Prior to that game, the Canes hoisted three banners to the ceiling of the RBC Center in Raleigh, commemorating their 2005-06 Southeast Division, Eastern Conference and Stanley Cup championship titles. A sellout crowd of 18,840 witnessed the 20-minute ceremony.

On Friday night, the Hurricanes hosted the New Jersey Devils in the Devils? season opener. New Jersey blanked the Hurricanes 4-0 in that one, with Devils? goaltender Martin Brodeur recording the 81st shutout of his NHL career, tying him with Alex Connell for sixth place on the NHL?s all-time whitewash ledger.

Eric Staal and Erik Cole scored for the Canes on opening night, but Carolina has not scored a goal in the last 92:19, since the middle of the second period of the season opener.

The Hurricanes made a significant trade a week ago, sending defensemen Jack Johnson and Oleg Tverdovsky to Los Angeles for defenseman Tim Gleason and center Eric Belanger. Gleason logged a team-leading 26:51 in the season opener. He averaged 17:41 a night with the Kings last season.

Carolina is 1-for-14 (7.1%) on the power play and has killed 12 of the 13 (92.3%) shorthanded situations it has faced thus far in the young season.

Notes: Friday night?s game against New Jersey marked the 300th career game for Carolina?s Peter Laviolette as a head coach.

Fun Fact: Carolina?s visit to Washington on Saturday marks the first time the Capitals have hosted the defending Stanley Cup champions in their home opener since 1983-84. After losing the 1983-84 season opener to the Flyers in Philadelphia on Oct. 6, the Caps returned home two nights later to take on the New York Islanders. The Fishermen were coming off the fourth of four straight Stanley Cup championships.

That was also the season in which the NHL first instituted the five-minute overtime period. That Caps-Islanders game on Oct. 8, 1983 was the first regular season overtime game in Capitals history.

Washington came up on the short end of that game, falling 8-7 on Bob Bourne?s goal at 2:01 of the extra session.

Injuries
Carolina Hurricanes
Defenseman Frantisek Kaberle had shoulder surgery and is out indefinitely.
Defenseman Bret Hedican had thumb and hip surgery in the offseason and is day-to-day.
Left wing Cory Stillman had offseason shoulder surgery and is day-to-day.

Washington
Left wing Matt Pettinger has an upper body injury and is week-to-week.
Right wing Matt Bradley has an undisclosed injury and is day-to-day.

Possible Line Combos and Defensive Pairings
Carolina Forwards
26-Cole, 12-Staal, 13-Whitney
16-Ladd, 17-Brind?Amour, 11-Williams
19-Letowski, 25-Belanger, 24-Walker
14-K.Adams, 27-C. Adams, 59-LaRose
 
Carolina Defensemen
2-Wesley, 22-Commodore
7-Wallin, 8-Gleason
45-Tanabe, 48-Babchuk

Goaltenders
29-Gerber, 30-Ward

Washington Forwards
8-Ovechkin, 9-Zubrus, 17-Clark
28-Semin, 24-Beech, 20-Zednik
87-Brashear, 16-Sutherby, 21-Laich
43-Fleischmann, 38-Klepis, 22-Fata

Washington Defensemen
2-Pothier, 26-Morrisonn
27-Clymer, 44-Eminger
6-Heward, 52-Green

Goaltenders
1-Johnson, 37-Kolzig

CAPS Home Opener at Verizon Center
« Reply #2: October 07, 2006, 10:11:54 PM »
And the Caps get a big win over the defending champs!  5-2!  Ovechkin came alive with two third period goals and Semin got the hat trick.  Awesome.

Offline Senators2005

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CAPS Home Opener at Verizon Center
« Reply #3: October 07, 2006, 10:59:54 PM »
Big WIN indeed!  Wow...great 3rd period!  :twisted:




Offline Senators2005

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« Reply #4: October 07, 2006, 11:02:35 PM »
Ovechkin erupts to help Caps keep Hurricanes winless

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Everyone knew the Washington Capitals had one fantastic young Russian left wing named Alexander: Ovechkin, last season's Calder Trophy winner.

Well, now it appears the Capitals have two players who fit that description, because Alexander Semin is back in the NHL and taking some of the load off his teammate's shoulders.

Ovechkin broke a tie with two third-period goals, Semin had a hat trick, and Washington beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 Saturday night, the third consecutive loss for the Stanley Cup champions.

"After I thank God at night for having a great wife," Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said, "I say a quiet prayer for having those two guys on my team."

Perhaps frustrated by beginning his sophomore year with five scoreless periods, Ovechkin went into a prolonged celebration after putting the puck in the net 8:04 into the third period to put Washington ahead 3-2.

He kissed his right glove, pumped it, then let out a yell. He was surrounded by teammates for hugs and backslaps, then skated over to the bench, where he shouted again as he looked up and saw himself on the overhead video board.

"I hold myself accountable," Carolina goalie Cam Ward said. "That's a stop I've got to make, especially that time of the game."

A second shy of exactly 5 minutes later, Ovechkin scored again, this time redirecting defenseman Brian Pothier's shot from the slot on a power play to make it 4-2.

"Everybody played together -- that's why we beat the Stanley Cup champions," said Ovechkin, who took a career-high 15 shots. "First period, I played awful. Terrible. Second period, I told myself: Shoot everything."

Semin, who scored in each period, added the finishing touch with 2:47 left in the game on a close-range goal. Pothier collected one of his three assists on that one, which gave Semin his first three-goal game in 54 NHL contests.

"I scored three tonight -- but I could have scored more," Semin said through a translator.

It capped quite a home opener for the Capitals, who finished 27th out of 30 NHL teams last season.

Andrew Ladd and Niclas Wallin scored for Carolina, which has yet to win as it opens defense of its first league title. The Hurricanes were playing their third game in four nights after consecutive losses at home, as they raised their championship banner and showed off the Stanley Cup.

"We're kidding ourselves. We're taking bad penalties instead of doing the work. We're mouthing off instead of doing the work. And selfish acts are costing us games," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "It needs to be corrected, and it will be."

Shortly after Ovechkin's second goal, he went down when Carolina defenseman Tim Gleason used his left skate to cut the Russian's left leg out from under him. Ovechkin, who had just hit Eric Staal, dropped to the ice and stayed down for a few minutes.

But he eventually returned and was the first to greet Semin with a hug after the hat trick was completed.

"He played not fair," Ovechkin said, referring to Gleason, but added that he felt fine.

Ovechkin is 21, a year younger than the less-heralded Semin, who was picked in the first round of the 2002 NHL draft and scored 10 goals in 52 games with the Capitals in the 2003-04 season.

But when Washington wanted Semin to report to a minor league club during the NHL lockout, he instead went to play in Russia, and the Capitals sued to get him to return.

Finally, in April, Semin agreed to rejoin the Capitals -- and they couldn't be happier. He has four goals through two games.

"He was doing those things when he was 19 years old," Hanlon said. "It's only two games into the season, but we've seen that before. Now, more so than the last time he was here, he's more 'North Americanized' in that he's willing to shoot a little bit more and not be looking to pass quite so much."

Game notes
Capitals G Olie Kolzig made 25 saves. ... Carolina opened a seven-game road trip. ... Ovechkin had 52 goals and 106 points last season. ... The Capitals recalled LW Tomas Fleischmann from Hershey of the AHL before the game, and sent him back afterward.

Online UMDNats

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CAPS Home Opener at Verizon Center
« Reply #5: October 08, 2006, 12:35:27 AM »
Got back about 1.5 hours ago...totally pumped.
Semin is my BOY, I knew he was this good when I saw him in 2004.

Verizon Center was AMAZING, awesome crowd.


See my post on the Caps' boards (capsfan28) - topic "Verizon Center Fans" for my thoughts on the fans.

Offline Senators2005

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CAPS Home Opener at Verizon Center
« Reply #6: October 08, 2006, 01:28:54 AM »
Quote from: "Nats19"
Got back about 1.5 hours ago...totally pumped.
Semin is my BOY, I knew he was this good when I saw him in 2004.
Verizon Center was AMAZING, awesome crowd.
See my post on the Caps' boards (capsfan28) - topic "Verizon Center Fans" for my thoughts on the fans.
I agree with you on Semin.  Glad he's back and hope he can be the piece we have been missing.

Online sportsfan882

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CAPS Home Opener at Verizon Center
« Reply #7: October 08, 2006, 11:21:39 AM »
great win.  The 2 Alexs are amazing

Offline NatsCaps19

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CAPS Home Opener at Verizon Center
« Reply #8: October 08, 2006, 05:04:49 PM »
what a game. Can't believe this is the first home opener I've missed in at least 6yrs.

both Alexes are incredible, and the Caps just own the Canes. Sucks we have to wait until THURSDAY until they play again vs the Wild.

Offline Dave B

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CAPS Home Opener at Verizon Center
« Reply #9: October 08, 2006, 06:45:54 PM »
semin seems to have some sniper qualities.

ovechkin took 15 shots. about five in five minutes from terrible angles

hopefully he was just trying to get the first one out of the way and these two goals get him going. the first one i have yet to see a replay of, but it looked like bad shot selection and i thought it was a soft goal, at least from what i could see from the top row at the other end of the arena.

Online UMDNats

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CAPS Home Opener at Verizon Center
« Reply #10: October 08, 2006, 07:21:17 PM »
I didn't see his first goal (in section 113, bad angle on the other side of the rink), but my brother at home told me he roofed it short side.

Offline nospinzone1

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« Reply #11: October 09, 2006, 07:41:45 PM »
WHO WOULD HAVE THUNK IT? AN ANTIKASTRO, ANTICOMMUNIST CUBAN JEWISH AMERICANPRINCE ROOTING FOR A TEAM THAT 2 OF THEIR BEST PLAYERS ARE PINKO COMMIES

Offline Senators2005

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« Reply #12: October 09, 2006, 08:15:51 PM »
Quote from: "nospinzone1"
WHO WOULD HAVE THUNK IT? AN ANTIKASTRO, ANTICOMMUNIST CUBAN JEWISH AMERICANPRINCE ROOTING FOR A TEAM THAT 2 OF THEIR BEST PLAYERS ARE PINKO COMMIES
You're right about one thing: nobody would have ever thought of it in a million years, that part you can definately be sure.   :idea:

Online UMDNats

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« Reply #13: October 09, 2006, 08:18:39 PM »
Yea, who would've thought it, the Russians AREN'T Commies in the year 2006 :lol:  :roll:

CAPS Home Opener at Verizon Center
« Reply #14: October 09, 2006, 08:41:30 PM »
Quote from: "Nats19"
Yea, who would've thought it, the Russians AREN'T Commies in the year 2006 :lol:  :roll:


Communism, terrorism, facisism (sp?), blind patriotism....

I tend to avoid as many "isms" as I can.  :wink: