Saturday, February 10, 2007

Capitals Run Through Recap

With today being a run through instead of a normal practice there are no lines to report as the players just wore black jerseys on offense and white jerseys on defense.

Continuing on their way back from injuries John Erskine and Brian Pothier were back on the ice today. They were again doing conditioning drills with trainer Greg Smith before practice and both players along with Brian Muir participated fully in the run through. The only player missing from practice this morning was goaltender Olie Kolzig.

Ben Clymer was getting a lot of extra work in this morning with usual scratches Kris Beech and Lawrence Nycholat so despite his recent play, my guess is that he is a healthy scratch tonight allowing Matt Bradley a spot in the lineup.

The run through this morning consisted of what you would expect on a game day, a lot of free flowing skating, full length drills at what looked to be about 75% speed. The team split sides into offense and defense where the forwards practiced on quick passing and shooting drills, as the defenseman worked on their puck control skills while backpedaling.

In faceoff drills Gordon dominated as expected having no trouble against Laich, Clark, and Sutherby. Speaking of Gordon while perusing the media notes this morning I ran into some interesting stats concerning him. When he scores this season the Caps are 3-0-0. When he registers a point the Caps are 11-3-1. And he has played at least 21 minutes in each of the last three games. Therefore my key to victory tonight is for Gordon to crack the scoreboard in any way possible.

With all the talk about Alex Ovechkin being in a slump eveyone seems to have forgotten about Alexander Semin. Currently he has gone 6 consecutive games without a goal and 4 consecutive games without an assist including a -3 defensive ratings in his last 5 games. The only good news about this is that despite Semin and Ovechkin cooling off as of late, the team has still posted a 2-0-1 mark on the current home stand.

Tonight's game can be looked at as the most important game of the season to date. It's the last game of the home stand, and it's another 4 point swing game where a win would put us just a point out of 11th in the conference, while a loss puts us five points out of 11th and could put us back into a tie for 12th with Boston depending on the outcome of their game with the Islanders.

It should be a packed house tonight as a sell is expected, and with Ranger fans in the house, get ready for a rowdy hockey night in Washington.

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