Author Topic: CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13  (Read 2830 times)

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Offline Senators2005

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CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Topic Start: January 09, 2007, 05:19:53 PM »
This Thread Dedicated To The Following Games:

Jan 9th vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Jan 11th @ Tampa Bay Lightning
Jan 13th @ Florida Panthers


Ted Lionsis Writes To Fans At Mid-Season

January 9, 2007

Greetings, Caps fans. We?re just past the halfway point of 2006-07 season and competing for a playoff spot. We have reasons to expect a happy new year, indeed.

In short, we have without question improved ourselves on and off the ice. Our team is better; our business is much improved; we have great upside.

This group of players has succeeded on all counts. Our record at the halfway point this season was .500 (17-17-7), a 32% improvement when compared with last season. We are in the playoff picture, and though we have another half of the season to play, I?m not sure how many fans and members of the media would have anticipated that scenario.

 And Saturday?s game against Atlanta reminds me why hockey is the best sport to see live. It was fantastic to see and hear such a great hometown crowd. There was end-to-end action, plenty of scoring chances, great saves, big hits and a fantastic overtime goal that gave the Caps a victory.

Last year we were 23rd in league scoring, now we?re in the top 10. We have five players with double-digit goals thus far; Alex Ovechkin shares the league lead and Alexander Semin isn?t far behind, and both already have surpassed the 20-goal plateau. Our special teams, which languished near the bottom of the league last year, have been roughly in the middle of the pack this season ? a marked improvement. Olie Kolzig has been spectacular at times, and we?ve improved our goals against. We still have some work to do, but that?s a young group on the backline (Steve Eminger, Shaone Morrisonn and Mike Green are all younger than 25). Brian Pothier, who is averaging more than 25 minutes a game, has been a steadying influence on the blueline, and I think we?ll improve in that regard during the second half.

The first half of the season has been somewhat of a roller-coaster ride, as we are among the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference one day and a couple of points out of that final playoff spot the next. The conference standings are a little more compact this year, so perhaps teams won?t need as many points in order to qualify for the playoffs. At the midpoint the eighth-ranked team was on pace for 88 points. The Caps had a 41-point first half, so as you can see, we have every belief that we can compete for a playoff berth this year.  

Mention of the playoffs leads people to ask if we?re going to ?make a move? ? as if it were as simple as crossing something off a shopping list. That?s not to dismiss the importance of improving your team when you have the opportunity, and we will do that ? if it?s the right opportunity. I know you?ve heard me say this before, but we won?t do it just for the sake of ?making a move,? or if it will unduly cost the franchise down the road.

 Could we make a trade? Of course. One of the reasons we stockpiled draft picks and focused on our farm system was to create value. And we?ve been strategic in our approach to the salary cap so that we are not handicapped in that regard, as some other teams are. Simply having room under the cap, however, is not reason to spend it.

It was written recently, after we lost back-to-back games, that ?You Get What You Pay For.? In the NHL nothing could be further from the truth. I don?t want to pick on individual teams, but a quick glance at the standings will prove the fallacy of that headline. Some of the highest payroll teams occupy the bottom of the standings. Trust me, if anyone knows that you don?t always get what you pay for in this business, it?s me.

There are strategic reasons why we need to manage our payroll now too. In 2003-04 I promised you that we would build a team that you could watch grow. But we aren?t going to be hockey?s Montreal Expos, developing stars to make their marks with other teams. To keep the Ovechkins, Semins, Backstroms and Greens into the prime of their careers, we will need to have flexibility under the salary cap. It?s an important fact of life in the ?new NHL,? especially with players eligible for free agency at younger ages.

 Before we look too far down the road, however, I can?t help but reflect on an extremely gratifying 2006. Just think about it: a Calder Trophy and a Calder Cup. The King Clancy Award. A great draft class. A couple of under-the-radar free agent pickups (Pothier and Donald Brashear), who I?ve been very impressed with. An elevation in Ovechkin?s game and the return of Semin. A new captain who evokes memories of Dale Hunter. The continued excellence and leadership provided by Olie. A team that finished the 2005-06 season strong, posting a 10-9-7 mark after the Olympic break.

We are one of the youngest teams in the NHL, and all in all, we?ve seen validation that our plan to build from within is working. Some have even said that we are ahead of schedule, although I prefer the way our general manager and coach look at it ? there?s no timetable at work here, we just want to win as many games as possible, demonstrate improvement and be a tough team to play against and a fun team to watch.

Ovechkin began the 2006 calendar year with one of the most amazing feats you?ll see on an ice rink ? his goal in Phoenix. I think that opened a lot of people?s eyes to what a special player we have here. By that point those of us who followed the Caps knew that already, but it has been fun to see his star burn ever brighter.

 He is one of the league?s most prolific scorers, and also one of its most clutch performers. Five times this year he has scored a late goal to send the game into overtime. Once he ended it in overtime, memorably, capping off his second career hat trick the same way he did his first. There are some great numbers to show his value as well: he consistently is among the league leaders in lead-changing goals, even-strength goals, road goals and third-period goals. He finished 2006 with 77 goals, three more than anyone else in the league. If the season ended today Ovechkin would share the Maurice ?Rocket? Richard Trophy as the league?s top goal scorer.

  Glen Hanlon has earned well-deserved praise as a coach of the year candidate. There are lots of people who feel that Olie has been one of the NHL?s best goaltenders this season.

That kind of individual attention only comes with team success, and we?ve had that. We?re in a position to contend for a playoff spot, which is something we?re all excited about. Most important, we?ve shown growth during the course of the past year, which is what I most want to see with a young team.

Off the ice 2006 was just as notable. We?ve opened the Kettler Capitals Iceplex and will move our offices there in the near future. We?ve added a chief sales officer and a chief marketing officer to our front office staff. WashingtonCaps.com has maintained its status as a leading team website, which was confirmed in a Forbes Magazine feature on the NHL. Our sponsorship and paid ticket revenues are both up double-digit percentages; our business is healthier than it has been at any time in my tenure. Many of you stop me on the concourse at Verizon Center and express your excitement and love of this team. I genuinely share in your feelings. I love going to games, meeting fans, talking hockey and will do whatever I can to grow the sport. (As witness by my role in the NHL?s promotional video that featured Alex. Behind the scenes video here) Sure, we would like more fans, and eventually I?d like to get to a financial breakeven point, but we are undoubtedly moving in the right direction. There is no overnight potion to fill Verizon Center. We need to work hard at our business and continue to add the appropriate pieces to our franchise. This is a great sports town ? I know, I go to a lot of events; I see it and live it.  

Also, I receive emails from fans locally as well as around the world who want to help support the Caps. We have implemented a matching ticket program that offers fans the opportunity to share the excitement of Caps hockey and support the team by purchasing tickets that will be donated to Most Valuable Kids (MVK). We will match each ticket purchased, and MVK will distribute them to wounded soldiers and their families or organizations that focus on children in low-income and underserved households.

There are plenty of praises I can sing about our organization, but I?d also like to focus on another topic that?s near and dear to my heart: blogs and user-generated content.

Many of you have probably heard me talk about the Washington Capitals? approach to blogs; others may have even found this column via a blog, perhaps even my own ? Ted?s Take. Allow me to expand a bit on our beliefs, our approach and what I believe the future holds for blogs in the NHL and professional sports.
 
If you know my background with AOL, you know that I?m passionate about the web and the way people use it. Blogs are nothing new to those of us who follow the web, but they have never been more powerful. Blogs gained widespread recognition during the 2004 presidential election for their ability to rally like-minded individuals and raise money for candidates. Over time, the number of blogs has exploded, while the best blogs have gained even more readership. Time magazine named ?You? as its Man of the Year for a reason.

The Capitals are embracing the blogosphere more than any other sports team.

One of the motivating factors in the growth of blogs has been a backlash against the mainstream media, and we know we face challenges there. I love the Washington Post and read it every day; I?d just love it more if the Capitals stories had more prominent placement, or a columnist stopped by a little more often. But the Post ? and all newspapers for that matter ? is struggling with deep circulation declines and advertising sales issues as well as trying to keep their writers in the midst of cutbacks and layoffs.

We make every effort to improve that coverage in the Post ? we had a great meeting with their editors and Gary Bettman in November, we are as accommodating as we can be when they do come see us and we have some of the friendliest, most accessible athletes in sports. We also recognize that no matter what they do, we will probably want more coverage. And blogs offer an outstanding alternative.

Every day bloggers show that great journalism isn?t confined to established outlets. Give Japer?s Rink or Southeast Shootout a read and you?ll find some of the best hockey writing around. Eric McErlain at Off Wing Opinion is one of the most dedicated hockey writers on the continent. And the creativity you?ll find at On Frozen Blog beats a lot of the coverage that even the Redskins get from the Post.

Many in the mainstream media discount blogs as amateur exercises ? usually accompanied by a description of the author in pajamas somewhere in their parents? house. But the web is extremely democratic, and the blogs that are done well rise to the top.

If a blog offers something unique, something that can?t be found in the newspaper, fans will spread the word. Once people find it, they?ll come back every day and tell more friends. When you think about it, it?s not unlike the way we hope to grow our ticket base ? keep people coming back and use the power of word of mouth to draw new people in. Eventually, as more people link to a blog, its search engine ranking rises and even more people will find it.

As part of embracing blogs, we have invited a number of bloggers to our games and other events, either as guests in my suite or as credentialed media. We developed a space on our message boards where fans can create their own blogs. I?ve got my blog, Ted?s Take, featured prominently on WashingtonCaps.com, as does senior writer Mike Vogel, who authors Dump & Chase. And we link to some of our favorite blogs on the right side of our home page.

Special thanks to Eric from Off Wing Opinion, who worked with our media relations staff to develop a set of guidelines that we use to determine which bloggers should receive media credentials. The emphasis is on readership and a professional approach ? even if writing isn?t a blogger?s profession.

 Almost a dozen different blogs have been credentialed for games at Verizon Center this season. That?s 12 more outlets that have been there to tell our story of a young, hard-working team that has grown to become one of the toughest to play in the NHL. As you might know, the local papers did not attend last summer?s NHL Entry Draft, so a few high school interns created NHL DraftNet to fill the void, and they did a bang-up job.

 We might not always like what a blogger posts ? but we won?t always agree with what the Post writes, either. Just because this is a new type of journalism, however, we aren?t going to shut them off from the access other writers receive. By inviting bloggers to interact with our staff and players, I believe they will gain a perspective that they otherwise could never have.

 Does that mean you can register on blogger.com, or blog on your AIM Page, and get free tickets to Caps games, as well as access to the locker room after the game? Not exactly. As you can see, the criteria that Eric and our staff developed isn?t easy to meet ? there has to be a demonstrated audience for your blog, and as I noted before, to gain that you have to be providing something different.

A community has developed around the bloggers who follow the Capitals, with places where our fans can go and read more about their favorite team and share their own thoughts in blog comments. It?s the Web 2.0 version of a message board ? and you know I believe in the power of our boards. This goes hand-in-hand with the creation of a passionate, worldwide base of Capitals fans that I talked about as far back as 1999, when we purchased the team. A community like that shows the true power of the web, allowing interaction beyond the initial article in a way that no newspaper can accomplish. Even the Post has a full-time blogger now ? Dan Steinberg?s D.C. Sports Bog is one of my favorite online destinations, and he?s done a nice job telling some of the interesting storylines that occur outside of the game itself.  

Thanks to this community, we can spread the word about Capitals hockey in ways that aren?t possible in the conventional media. That could mean a lengthy post about our team?s performance in a particular game ? in the paper you?ll get a game story, sure, but you might not see the analysis that some of our bloggers will share. It could also take the form of a post highlighting our recent blood drive, for example ? something that may get passing mention in the Post or Times, but can get more space, and more attention, on the web. Alex recently launched his personal AOL AIM Page (http://www.aimpages.com/alexovechkin/profile.html), and I have one too (http://www.aimpages.com/leonsisted/profile.html).

It?s impossible to tell now what the next step will be in the evolution of blogs. But I?m comforted to know that the Washington Capitals have been on the forefront of embracing them. I believe strongly that other teams, in the NHL and beyond, will recognize their value and follow suit.

But if you know me ? even if only from reading Ted?s Take ? you know I relish placing our fan base ahead of the curve. And I?m proud to say that we are in this case.

Well, that?s a lot for one Owner?s Corner, but I want to ensure you we are doing everything we can to make improve our franchise on and off the ice.

Whether you embrace our approach of building within or you are among the emailers who want to spend my money ? ☺ ? I hope you continue to follow our team, at Verizon Center, on SportsTalk 980, via Comcast SportsNet, through WashingtonCaps.com and by way of the many fantastic blogs that are dedicated to the Caps and hockey in general.  

And get ready for an interesting and exciting 2007.

Ted

Offline Senators2005

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CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #1: January 09, 2007, 05:20:22 PM »
Caps Close Homestand with Tuesday Tilt vs. Flyers
Jan. 9 vs. Philadelphia Flyers at Verizon Center
Time: 7:00 pm
TV: CSN
Radio:  WTEM 980 AM

Philadelphia Flyers (11-27-4)
Washington Capitals (18-17-7)

Washington closes out a four-game homestand and closes out the season?s series with Philadelphia when the Flyers visit Verizon Center on Tuesday. The Caps will also host Hershey Bears night on Tuesday, featuring a celebration of the Capitals? AHL affiliate and the Bears? 2006 Calder Cup championship.

The Caps have pieced together a modest two-game winning streak, coming back to win after surrendering the game?s first goal in both. Washington is now 5-14-4 in games when the opposition scores first. When the Flyers paid their last visit to Verizon Center on Dec. 16, the Caps gave up the game?s first goal but rallied for a 4-1 win.

Washington is coming off a thrilling 3-2 overtime win over the Atlanta Thrashers. Alexander Semin scored the game-winner in that one, converting a brilliant feed from defenseman Steve Eminger with just 17.7 seconds remaining in overtime.

Semin?s goal was his second of the game; he has scored two goals in each of the last two games and has 21 for the season. Washington is one of just five teams in the league with a pair of 20-goal getters.

The Caps have won three games in overtime this season. Alex Ovechkin?s unassisted goal just six seconds after the puck dropped to start the extra session was the game-winner in the Caps? 3-2 overtime victory at Atlanta on Dec. 15.

In both of Washington?s other overtime triumphs, the same trio of players has combined to win it for Washington. On Nov. 6, Chris Clark scored with help from Semin and Eminger. When Semin netted the overtime game-winner on Saturday, Eminger and Clark received the helpers. The Caps are 7-0 in games in which Eminger has registered a point in 2006-07.

Washington heads out on a four-game road trip on Wednesday. The Caps will visit three of their fellow Southeast Division denizens (Tampa Bay, Florida and Carolina) on the trip, and will also pay their first visit to Ottawa this season.

The Capitals? power play is clicking at a rate of 17%, and the unit ranks 18th in the league. The Capitals have gone consecutive games without a power play goal just once this season, doing so on Nov. 9-11. Washington?s penalty killing corps ranks 21st in the league with a kill rate of 80.8%.

Philadelphia comes into the District just a game past the midway point this season, and the Flyers will end an eight-game road swing with Tuesday?s visit to the Phone Booth. The Flyers have dropped three straight games, but they also fashioned a season-long three-game winning streak during the current road trip. Most recently, the Flyers suffered a 6-1 setback to the Senators on Sunday.

The Flyers had 60 points at the halfway mark of the 2005-06 season, tops among all 30 teams in the NHL. This season, they're on the bottom of that same 30-rung ladder with just 27 points.

The Flyers have lost 27 games of their 42 games in regulation, one more loss than they recorded during the entire 2005-06 season. In more than half (22 of 38] of the previous full seasons in franchise history, Philadelphia has finished the campaign with fewer than 27 losses. Only once in the last 11 seasons (in 1997-98 when they finished 42-29-11) have the Flyers ended a season with more than 27 losses.

Philadelphia has scored two or fewer goals in eight of its previous 15 games, and has managed as many as 30 shots on goal only four times in its last 23 contests.

Philadelphia goaltender Antero Niittymaki is in the midst of a franchise-record 10-game losing streak. He has given up four or more goals in six of those 10 games. Niittymaki is the first NHL goaltender with a double-digit losing streak since Pittsburgh?s Sebastien Caron lost 11 in succession in 2003-04. Niittymaki is 0-10-1 in his last 11 starts and has not won since Nov. 30.

Philadelphia?s power play is 28th in the NHL with a 13.6% conversion rate. Philly is just 6-for-60 (10%) with the extra man in its last 13 games. The Flyers are seventh in the league with a penalty killing success rate of 85.1%.

Offline 2k6nats

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CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #2: January 09, 2007, 07:01:39 PM »
That's a hell of a long letter.  Best of luck to the Caps in this one, in a game they should win.

Offline Senators2005

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CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #3: January 09, 2007, 08:56:13 PM »
4-0 Caps at the end of the second period.   :twisted:


CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #4: January 09, 2007, 09:05:04 PM »
Puck Fhilly.

CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #5: January 09, 2007, 09:05:14 PM »
No, I mean it.  I hate'em.

Puck Fhilly.

Offline sportsfan882

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CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #6: January 09, 2007, 09:07:58 PM »
We are kicking their @#%

Offline Senators2005

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CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #7: January 09, 2007, 09:08:32 PM »
Yeah, it's 5-0 Now.   :P


CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #8: January 09, 2007, 09:17:07 PM »
Way to go Caps!  Keep Pucking Fhilly!

Offline 2k6nats

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CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #9: January 09, 2007, 10:08:27 PM »
Quote from: "Nat of the LivingDead"
Way to go Caps!  Keep Pucking Fhilly!


Haha  :lol: thats a great one.

CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #10: January 09, 2007, 10:16:47 PM »
We pucked Fhilly 6-2!

First time in franchise history we swept the season series from pucking Fhilly!

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #11: January 09, 2007, 10:36:16 PM »
loudest Caps game I've attended in years...great stuff  :D

Offline Senators2005

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CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #12: January 10, 2007, 12:53:23 AM »
Final From Verizon Center

Philadelphia 2
Washington 6



Ovechkin, Caps complete first season sweep of Flyers

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Alexander Ovechkin learned before the opening faceoff that he would be a starter in this month's All-Star Game.

Did the news give him an extra bit of oomph?

"Just a little jump," Ovechkin said. "Not a big jump, but a little jump."

Ovechkin turned that "little jump" into two goals and an assist Tuesday night in a 6-2 victory that gave the Washington Capitals the franchise's first season sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Ovechkin, who leads the league with 28 goals, is the first Capitals player to be voted into the starting lineup since Rod Langway in 1986.

"I'm happy," said Ovechkin, last season's rookie of the year. "It's a big honor for me, and for Capitals hockey and for Russian hockey, too."

The Capitals won their third straight by showing no mercy on a neighborhood rival that has given them fits for decades. Washington was winless (0-18-6) in its first six seasons against the Flyers and recently had a 16-game winless streak in Philadelphia.

But this season, with the Flyers at the bottom of the league standings, the Capitals are perfect -- 4-0 -- against Philadelphia for the first time in Washington's 32 NHL seasons. On Tuesday, they took advantage of a goaltender who gave up a soft early goal and apologized for losing the game.

"They're going through some tough times this year -- like us last year," said Washington veteran goaltender Olaf Kolzig, who has endured many setbacks against the Flyers. "But obviously it's a great accomplishment on our part. It shows we're going in the right direction."

Ben Clymer scored on the game's first shift, former Philadelphia enforcer Donald Brashear got his first goal of the season, Alexander Semin added his 22nd goal, and Brian Sutherby also scored for the Capitals. Kolzig made 31 saves and was especially impenetrable when the Flyers had a fruitless five-on-three advantage for 1:23 during the second period.

Ovechkin also assisted on Semin's goal, giving him nine goals and 16 points in eight career games against Philadelphia. He has 12 goals and 32 points in his last 18 games overall.

Kyle Calder scored the two third-period consolation goals -- one on a power play, the other shorthanded -- for the Flyers, who lost their fourth straight and finished 3-5 on their season-long eight-game road trip. Captain Peter Forsberg missed his fourth straight game with a strained groin; Philadelphia is 0-13-3 when he's not in the lineup.

The Flyers coaching staff held a candid, air-it-out meeting with team's veterans before practice in Washington on Monday, but whatever inspiration they might have drawn from it dissipated 15 seconds into the game when goaltender Robert Esche allowed a soft goal on Clymer's slap shot. Esche misjudged the puck and allowed it to trickle between his side and left arm.

A few minutes later, Ovechkin made it to 2-0 after finding himself unmarked near the Flyers' net. Ovechkin lifted the puck over Esche at the near post.

"All of us know I could've stopped both those pucks," Esche said. "They can't go in. We've been struggling all season, and the ownership comes from guys like myself, and it can't happen. ... I'm going to wake up tomorrow and start all over and get back on the horse or whatever, but right now I'm just extremely frustrated and upset. I apologize to the coaches who had a good game plan and the players who played well."

In the second period, Ovechkin got his second goal in a similar manner -- skating behind the net to pounce on a loose puck with no one marking him. Less than a minute later, Brashear poked a shot that trickled over Esche's shoulder, down the goalie's back and over the goal line. A video review was required to verify Brashear's first goal since March 25, 2006, when he was with the Flyers.

Semin scored on a power play in the third period, his fifth goal in three games.

"Today could have been a real pivotal game for us," Philadelphia coach John Stevens said. "We could have made something out of our trip, but now we go home not feeling so good."


Offline Dave B

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CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #13: January 10, 2007, 08:15:50 AM »
Quote from: "Ali the Baseball Cat"
loudest Caps game I've attended in years...great stuff  :D
Saturday was rocking.  The Post said 15k and it was probably pretty accurate.  Dont know what they said for last night. Maybe there are some good things to come.  It was pretty full except for the club level, and it was against ATL.  I dont think think their fans travel well, so we know there are at least 15k Caps fans around here. And it was also a football playoff night.  I dont know how much that factored into it, but I would not have been upset if I couldnt get tickets from a scalper and had to watch football, so maybe there were some that watched football instead of the Caps.  It definitely raised my expectations for weekend games

Offline Senators2005

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CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #14: January 10, 2007, 09:32:53 AM »
Who can be the first to name everybody?   :idea:


Offline Dave B

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CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #15: January 10, 2007, 09:43:51 AM »
not me

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #16: January 10, 2007, 12:08:48 PM »
man, that's tough, especially since I was out of the area from '86 and out of the country from '89 until '96.  But here goes:

from left to right:

Callie Johansson
Bengt Gustaffson
Dale Hunter
Michal Pivonka
Dino Ciccarelli
(duh)
Bobby Carpenter
Mike Ridley
Banzai
Richard Zednick

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #17: January 10, 2007, 01:49:23 PM »
You left out the "Notes" from the AP story (about the awesome DC United fans who livened things up at the Caps game last night):

Notes:  A boisterous contingent from the D.C. United fan club decided to give hockey a try Monday night. The "Barra Brava" took over most of a section in the upper deck and behaved like soccer fans ? standing, singing and chanting for most of the game. ... Players from Washington's AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, were on hand as the Capitals honored the team that won the Calder Cup last season. ... The Capitals went 3-1 on a four-game homestand. ... Before the game, the Flyers recalled D Jussi Tomnen from the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL.

Offline Senators2005

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CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #18: January 10, 2007, 04:18:28 PM »
Quote from: "Ali the Baseball Cat"
You left out the "Notes" from the AP story (about the awesome DC United fans who livened things up at the Caps game last night):[/b]
I never include the notes or other extras....just takes up space.  But in this instance, probably would have been a good thing.   8)

Offline Senators2005

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« Reply #19: January 11, 2007, 11:17:16 AM »
Caps Start Four-Game Trip in Tampa Bay
Jan. 11 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning at St. Pete Times Forum
Time: 7:30 pm
TV: CSN
Radio:  WTEM 980 AM

Washington Capitals (19-17-7)
Tampa Bay Lightning (21-21-2)

Washington heads south to Tampa Bay, where it will open a season long four-game, eight-day road trip with the Lightning on Thursday. The game is the fourth of eight meetings between the two Southeast Division foes this season. Washington won its previous visit to Tampa Bay on Nov. 28, while the Lightning took both games played in the District.

The Caps packed a three-game winning streak with them when they set out for Tampa Bay. Each of the four teams on this trip is clustered with Washington in a pileup for playoff positioning. The Caps currently occupy the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings, but Tampa Bay is a mere point behind.

?It doesn?t matter who we?re playing on this road trip,? declares Caps goaltender Olie Kolzig. ?The way the league is right now, we could be playing Buffalo, we could be playing Philadelphia. It doesn?t matter. If you?re not ready to play, you?re not going to win. Florida and Tampa are behind us, but they?re two very good hockey teams. They just have fewer points than nine other teams in the conference. Between 12th [place in the Eastern Conference standings] and fifth is like four or five points. When we talk about who is behind us and who is ahead of us, it doesn?t matter. You want to play your best hockey and give ourselves a chance to win.?

On the team?s last visit to the Bay area in November, Kolzig certainly played his best hockey as he stopped 48 of 50 shots to pace the Caps to a 5-2 victory. Washington has not allowed as many as 40 shots in any of its 19 games since.

?Everybody is starting to get in synch,? says Kolzig. ?I think our system play has really improved. It?s not only the [defense]; when we?re successful it?s the forwards coming back and helping out the [defense]. The last week we?ve really emphasized our system play and we?ve eliminated a lot of shots.?

After going through a rugged stretch of schedule and fighting thorugh some injuries and illnesses, the Caps have had a bit more lineup stability in recent games. Caps coach Glen Hanlon believes that has been a factor in the team?s recent winning run.

?There are three categories of winning,? says Hanlon. ?There is skill, there is work ethic and there is positional play. In the past our skill level couldn?t match [other teams]. So we tried to be as strong positionally as we could, and sometimes it wasn?t there. But we always felt that we could work hard and be competitive and win a few games. Now, we?re aware that there is some cohesion and we have some familiarity with [forward] lines and [defensive] pairs, and we?re at the midseason mark, our positional play should be able to win us some hockey games.?

Washington just went through a stretch where it allowed fewer than 30 shots for three straight games for the first time since last March. It is currently in the midst of another streak where it has allowed two or fewer goals in three straight games for the first time since Feb. 2004. The Caps have allowed only two even-strength goals in their last four games.

The Caps? most recent game was a 6-2 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday at Verizon Center. Washington did not play nearly as well as it is capable of playing in that game, but it still defeated the Flyers for the fourth straight time.

?I thought [Tuesday night?s] game was great,? begins Hanlon, ?because our skilled players won a hockey game for us where perhaps in the past we would have lost that hockey game.?

Hanlon mentioned after Wednesday?s practice that he and his coaching staff will handle the details of preparing for the games, but he is counting on the players and the team?s leadership group to handle the task of motivating each other and realizing the importance of each game as the second half of the season and a hotly contested playoff chase unfolds.

?For two years we haven?t applied any pressure and we felt that was the correct environment,? says Hanlon. ?Now what we?ve talked about with our captains is that they can put the pressure [on the team] and the room can take hold and take charge. They can talk about the importance of each game in terms of where we are in the standings and it?ll be us as coaches now to have some visuals to see as far as what?s ahead of us. As far as addressing it, I think we?ll back off and just let this unfold here.

?I think it?s like running a business. You have to put trust in your employees. You can?t be there 24 hours a day, and you have be able to trust our leadership group. That?s never an issue with me. When you have Olie and [Chris] Clark and [Dainius] Zubrus and [Brian] Sutherby, they know what needs to be talked about. I don?t envision any one of those guys not being aware of what the circumstances are.?

The players are fine with that.

?Glennie has played the game before; he was a player,? says Kolzig. ?Sometimes he feels that the coach?s message gets old and people start tuning it out, which wasn?t the case. He just felt it was time for the players to take charge. So they?ll set the game plan, but it?s up to us to get everybody going and make everybody accountable to each other. It?s worked. We?ve played some pretty solid hockey and guys have responded.?

Heading into Wednesday?s slate of NHL activity, the Capitals ranked 17th in the league in power play efficiency with a success rate of 17.2%. The Caps are 5-for-24 (20.8%) with the extra man in their last four games.

Washington?s penalty killing outfit ranks 21st in the league with a kill rate of 80.9%.

The Lightning is exactly at .500, and is playing dead-even hockey at home (11-11) and on the road (11-11-2) this season. Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2004, Tampa Bay has had goaltending issues. This season is no different.

The Bolts have a brand new netminding tandem (Marc Denis and Johan Holmqvist) for the first time in franchise history. The duo has combined for an .881 save percentage to date, the lowest in the NHL.

The Lightning has cushioned that blow by limiting the number of shots it allows. Although Tampa Bay has played one more game than Washington this season, it has allowed 324 fewer shots than the Capitals. The Lightning has allowed the third fewest shots on goal in the NHL this season.

Tampa Bay relies heavily on its big horses up front. Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier are first, second and fifth respectively in average ice time per game among NHL forwards this season. St. Louis and Lecavalier are both among the league?s top 10 in both goals and points. When two or three of those guys are going well, the Lightning is difficult to beat regardless of its netminding troubles.

The Bolts have won two straight, four out of their last six and seven of their last 11 contests.

The Lightning features the league?s 12th ranked power play with a success rate of 18.1%. Tampa Bay is last in the league in penalty killing, having killed off just 76.4% of the opposition?s man-advantage opportunities.

Offline Dave B

  • Posts: 6036
CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #20: January 11, 2007, 11:38:06 AM »
Quote
Glennie


Olie took the hockey player nickname formula of adding -ie or -y to a name too far with this one

Offline Senators2005

  • Lake Ridge, VA
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CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #21: January 11, 2007, 09:20:15 PM »
What a great back and forth game!  It's 4-4 at the end of the 2nd period...


Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

  • Posts: 13613
  • babble on
CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #22: January 11, 2007, 09:34:21 PM »
I think Gordie Howe has a big back-office role with the Lightning...Florida is probably a good 25% Canadian this time of year, so shrewd marketing  :lol:

Offline sportsfan882

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CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #23: January 11, 2007, 10:36:42 PM »
Kolzig was steaming garbage tonight. :roll:  Where's BJ??

Offline 2k6nats

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CAPS Week 15: Jan 9 - Jan 13
« Reply #24: January 11, 2007, 10:52:11 PM »
5-4 Lightning, Final.