Friday, March 23, 2007

What Ever Happened to Brad Church?

Friday, March 23rd 2007

Remember him? The Capitals former 1st round pick back in 1995. Here's a look at what he's up to today. Article courtesy of (Photo Courtesy of

The Phoenix RoadRunners of the ECHL, an affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes and the San Antonio Rampage, have announced that Head Coach and Assistant General Manager Ron Filion has resigned effective immediately. Assistant Coach Brad Church has been named the RoadRunners’ head coach for the remainder of the regular season and the ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs.

“We are a better hockey team than our record has shown over the past two months, but based on recent performances, I felt it was in the best interest of both the RoadRunners’ organization and its fans to step down as head coach at this time with the hope that the players can once again start playing to their potential,” said Filion. “I wish the team continued success over their final eight games, and hopefully look forward to watching them compete in the upcoming playoffs."

Filion was named the first head coach of the ECHL’s incarnation of the RoadRunners on Feb. 28, 2005. He leaves the club with a record of 45-81-10.

“We thank Ron for his tireless efforts and the professionalism he has shown over the past two years,” said Rick Welts, Phoenix Suns President and Chief Operating Officer. “Without his hard work from the beginning, the return of the RoadRunners to the sports landscape in Phoenix could not have been achieved.”

Church, 30, was named the RoadRunners’ Assistant Coach on Jul. 24, 2006. Prior to coming to Phoenix, the Dauphin, Manitoba native closed out an illustrious 10-year professional playing career in 2005-06 by capturing his first professional championship as a member of the Kalamazoo Wings of the United Hockey League. Selected by the Washington Capitals with the 17th overall pick at the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, Church spent a bulk of his playing career in the American Hockey League with the Portland Pirates, the Capitals former primary affiliate. Church made his NHL debut with Washington on Dec. 16, 1997 against the New York Islanders, and appeared in two games with the Capitals that season.

“I am looking forward to this opportunity,” said Church. “We are in a great position to clinch the organization’s first playoff berth, and I will expect nothing less than hard work and dedication from our players in order to achieve that goal.”

His career numbers courtesy of

Brad Church
Left Wing
Born Nov 14 1976 -- Dauphin, MAN
Height 6.01 -- Weight 210 -- Shoots L
Selected by Washington Capitals round 1 #17 overall 1995 NHL Entry Draft

Regular SeasonPlayoffs
1992-93 Dauphin Kings MJHL Statistics Unavailable

1993-94 Prince Albert Raiders WHL 71 33 20 53 197 ----------
1994-95 Prince Albert Raiders WHL 62 26 24 50 184 15 6 9 15 32
1995-96 Prince Albert Raiders WHL 69 42 46 88 123 18 15 20 35 74
1996-97 Portland Pirates AHL 50 4 8 12 92 1 0 0 0 0
1997-98 Portland Pirates AHL 59 6 5 11 98 9 2 4 6 14
1997-98 Washington Capitals NHL 2 0 0 0 0 ----------
1998-99 Hampton-Roads Admirals ECHL 24 10 9 19 129 ----------
1998-99 New Orleans Brass ECHL 5 3 4 7 4 11 1 1 2 22
1998-99 Portland Pirates AHL 10 1 3 4 18 ----------
1998-99 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 9 0 2 2 4 ----------
1999-00 Hampton-Roads Admirals ECHL 11 4 3 7 31 ----------
1999-00 Portland Pirates AHL 56 9 17 26 52 4 1 1 2 4
2000-01 Portland Pirates AHL 61 14 18 32 90 3 1 1 2 18
2001-02 Richmond Renegades ECHL 8 6 5 11 13 ----------
2001-02 Portland Pirates AHL 45 6 13 19 52 ----------
2001-02 Lowell Lock Monsters AHL 9 2 2 4 2 4 0 0 0 4
2002-03 Richmond Renegades ECHL 64 29 45 74 121 ----------
2002-03 Cleveland Barons AHL 8 1 0 1 4 ----------
2003-04 Reading Royals ECHL 56 22 19 41 91 15 4 5 9 20
2003-04 Manchester Monarchs AHL 11 5 6 11 0 ----------
2004-05 Florida Everblades ECHL 62 23 31 54 62 19 5 7 12 40
2005-06 Missouri River Otters UHL 15 4 3 7 11 ----------
2005-06 Kalamazoo Wings UHL 33 9 18 27 51 7 1 0 1 4

NHL Totals
2 0 0 0 0

Brashear vs Peters Mar 21, 2007

After yesterday's disappointing finish I thought the best way to brighten up everyone's day was to reminisce Brashear's beat down of Jason Peters from Wednesday night. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Andrew Gordon Named an All-Star

Thanks to the Chronicle Herald for this interesting tidbit on the Capitals 7th round pick of the 2004 draft.

Gordon named to U.S. college all-star team
Wednesday, March 21st 2007

St. Cloud State University junior Andrew Gordon, a resident of Porters Lake, has been named to the 2007 All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s first team. A draft pick of the Washington Capitals, Gordon has posted 22 goals and 23 assists this season for a total of 45 points.

He also has 12 power play goals (second best in team history) this season, and he is plus 15 on the plus/minus this year.

Gordon recently notched his 100th career point on March 16, with an assist against North Dakota during the Huskies’ 6-2 loss to UND. He now has 51 goals and 51 assists for a total of 102 career points. Gordon is the 20th player in team history to reach the 100-point plateau at SCSU.

A Nice Tim Leone Article Worth Taking a Look At

For those of you who don't regularly follow Tim Leone's coverage of the Hershey Bears over at this is a nice look at two of the Capitals newest prospects Steve Pinizzotto and Sean Collins, who were both signed last week after finishing up their collegiate seasons.

2 College Stars Take First Pro Steps
Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Their college careers finished, newly signed Steve Pinizzotto and Sean Collins began their education in professional hockey yesterday at Hersheypark Arena.

The duo got a quick bonus seminar in logistics. They needed directions back to the appropriate locker room from Hershey Bears head coach Bruce Boudreau after practice concluded.

"Not there, that's the bathroom," professor Boudreau told Pinizzotto. "One more over."
Pinizzotto, a forward from Rochester Institute of Technology, and Collins, a defenseman from Ohio State, hope their first tentative pro steps are the start of a journey to the NHL.
Both were undrafted free agents who signed two-year entry-level contracts with the Washington Capitals (and amateur tryout deals with Hershey) last week.

"It's pretty intense," Pinizzotto said. "I didn't expect it to be like that. Being off the ice for a month, it shows what you have to do to be game-ready."

The 6-1, 195-pound Pinizzotto, a native of Mississauga, Ontario, opted to go pro after completing his sophomore season at RIT. The 22-year-old led the Tigers in scoring this season with 44 points (13 goals, 31 assists) and displayed an edge with a team-high 76 penalty minutes in 34 games.

"I felt I needed a change and I knew that if I would come up with better players and adapt to their pace of the game, it also makes you a better player, too," Pinizzotto said.
"I would just like to play my hardest every game and try to help the team win another Calder Cup."

College and junior-eligible players rarely have much of an immediate impact when they hit the AHL.

"When the college kids come and the junior kids come, their idea is to let's see what pro hockey's all about," Boudreau said. "Sometimes you get really lucky with a [Mike] Richards [Philadelphia] or a [Jeff] Carter [Philadelphia] or Andrew Alberts [Providence], but most of the time it's giving them a little view of what pro life is going to be like so when their next year comes they know what's coming and there's no surprise.

"Sometimes juniors that come in think that this is going to be easy, but the American League is a very good league and the eyes are opened very quickly."

Collins, 23, was Ohio State's captain this season and a second-team All-CCHA pick. The 6-1, 215-pounder led the Buckeyes in scoring with 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in 28 games.
"It was exciting," Collins said of his first practice. "There's a lot of anticipation. I was real anxious.

"It's definitely quicker. The passes are harder. It's tough for me because I'm out of game shape right now. I've been off for about two weeks. I really look forward to getting into the swing of things and getting in shape. It's the most exciting time of the year, and I'm stepping right into an exciting time. It's awesome."

Collins, a Troy, Mich., native, was teammates with Bears centerman Dave Steckel at Ohio State in 2003-04. It was Steckel's senior year and Collins' freshman year.

"It's real nice to come in and know someone that's been here for a little bit," Collins said. "He's a great guy, so he's helping out a little bit."

Pinizzotto is the first RIT player since the school moved from Division III to Division I in 2005-06 to leave early and go pro. The 22-year-old missed the first nine games of his freshman season in 2005-06 due to a torn ACL, but he made it back two months after suffering the knee injury to produce 18 points in 24 games and enjoyed a breakout season in 2006-07.

"I got a lot of my points on the power play [eight goals]," Pinozzotto said. "I had a lot of good players to play with, so that helped me out a lot."

Boudreau said he doesn't have much of a read on Pinizzotto and Collins as players after one practice.

"I didn't want to start teaching today," Boudreau said. "They can both skate and shoot. But junior B players can do that, so we'll see. The big thing is to see how they can adapt to systems and the speed of the game.

"At some point, they're going to play. It's just a question of when. I'd like to get them in sooner rather than later. You don't want to have to put them in for the first game when we're battling for first place."


The Springfield Falcons, poised for a fourth straight season out of the playoffs, visit Giant Center tonight amid a big off-ice week for the franchise.

Formal announcement came Monday that the Edmonton Oilers will replace the Tampa Bay Lightning as the club's NHL affiliate next season. With the Chicago Blackhawks switching their AHL affiliation to the expansion Rockford, Ill., franchise next season, Tampa Bay is expected to affiliate with Norfolk.

Boudreau is friends with Springfield general manager Bruce Landon. He said he talked to Landon Monday and lauded the Edmonton prospects he's seen play for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season.

"He's pretty excited about the whole thing," Boudreau said. "He's a good guy, and I hope it works out."

For the Bears, tonight's game will be a glimpse at some players they'll be seeing more of next season in the East Division, assuming the alignment remains the same and Tampa Bay actually affiliates with Norfolk.

"I know those players pretty good," Boudreau said. "I follow Springfield because Bruce Landon is such a good friend of mine.

"Anytime a team changes an affiliation, you see the NHL team make an extra effort to put a good product in. I believe that they're going to be a good team next year [in Norfolk]."

Norfolk became the first AHL team to clinch a playoff berth. Hershey's magic number to clinch an East Division playoff berth is four points; any combination of Bears points gained and Albany points lost that adds up to four will cement a Bears' postseason slot.

Albany visits Worcester tonight. Thus, the Bears could clinch tonight with a win over Springfield and a regulation loss by Albany.

BLUE LINES: Stephen Werner and Marc Busenburg practiced with Hershey yesterday, but one or both soon could be ticketed back to South Carolina (ECHL). "South Carolina is in quite a terrific race to make the playoffs," Boudreau said. "We don't want to steal players from them if we don't have to. If we can get a guy back, we probably would." ... Injured Scott Barney remained sidelined, and Matt Hendricks also sat out practice. ... Chad Wiseman has begun off-ice rehabilitation in the wake of sports hernia surgery. ... Two Notre Dame caps were among the hats tossed in the wake of Kyle Wilson's hat trick Sunday against Binghamton. Bears interns Andrew Telega and Dave Corsones had the inventive presence of mind to station them as props at Fighting Irish fan Boudreau's postgame interview table.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Caps/Sabres Preview

Washington Capitals (26-34-13, 65 points)
Buffalo Sabres (46-19-7, 99 points)

Television: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: Sportstalk 980-AM
Gametime: 7:00 PM ET

It feels as though the season has been reborn again. The Capitals head into tonight's game in Buffalo riding a two game winning streak in which they dominated playoff caliber teams from Toronto and Tampa Bay. Back-to-back home wins included a 7-1 drubbing of the Lightning thanks to a breakout game from winger Tomas Fleichmann and the second career hat trick from Alexander Semin.

In one game Fleichmann doubled his scoring output for the entire season at the NHL level tallying a career high four points. It's the type of game the entire organization has been waiting for from the talented Czech prospect. He has proven at the AHL level that he is a dynamic player that has the ability to take control of a game. His problem has been transferring that production to the NHL level and securing a permanent spot with the big club. Hopefully, he will continue to build on his excellent game against the Lightning and provide the Capitals with another scoring option to complement the Alexs'.

The current win streak just happened to begin with the return of franchise goaltender Olie Kolzig, who has shown no signs of his knee injury that kept him out of the lineup for the past month. He clearly is the glue that keeps this team together.

The Sabres on the other hand have lost three consecutive games at home as they look to secure the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. Goaltender Ryan Miller has struggled lately posting a 1-3-2 record with a 3.38 goals against average since stopping 29 shots in route to a 4-1 victory in Tampa March 5th.

The game also marks the first time Danius Zubrus will play against his former team. In his 9 games in Buffalo Zubrus has scored twice while averaging 18:22 of ice time in more of a checking role than he was used to with the Capitals.

Another win from Washington and things will certainly begin to get interesting as the Capitals look to finish off the season as they did last year, on a high note.

Kyle Wilson Leads the Way

Tuesday, March 20th 2007

The Norfolk Admirals became the first team to clinch a playoff spot this week, but the Hershey Bears find themselves in just as good of a position as they only trail the first place Admirals by two points heading into the final stage of the regular season. (Photo Courtesy of Just Sports Photography)

The Bears are coming off of a dominating 6-1 victory over the the Binghamton Senators on Sunday as Kyle Wilson led the way recording a hat trick and adding an assist to record four points on the evening. The career night gave Wilson 4 goals and 6 assists for 10 points in the last 3 games as the Oakville, Ontario native was named the AHL player of the week. Since being acquired on loan from the South Carolina Stingrays back on December 1st he has put up 21 goals and 22 assists for 43 points while posting a +16 defensive rating, securing an important role in the team’s upcoming playoff run.

Hershey also added some depth to their lineup this week as the team added recently signed Washington Capitals prospects Sean Collins and Steve Pinizzotto to PTOs for the remainder of the season. The 6′1″ 215 pound Collins, who was the captain of the Ohio State Buckeyes this season, is an offensive defenseman that led his team in points posting 9 goals and 19 assists in 37 games. Pinizzotto a right wing who also stands 6′1″, also led his team in points as he posted 13 goals and 31 assists in 31 games for the Rochester Institute of Technology.

The signings come at a good time as the Bears continue to play without their leading scorer Alexandre Giroux who remains with the Washington Capitals after being recalled on March 16th. Giroux has performed well as he recorded his first two career goals in the NHL this past week with tallies against Toronto and Tampa Bay. As a result of his good play he is now seeing time on the team’s first line with Alex Ovechkin and center Jiri Novotny.

Hershey has a favorable schedule this week as they play their next three contests at home beginning with a game against the Springfield Falcons who currently reside in last place in the Atlantic Division. They follow that up with back-to-back games against the Philadelphia Phantoms and Binghamton Senators this weekend.

Stingrays Sitting Pretty in Race to the Playoffs

Tuesday, March 20th 2007

It wasn’t too long ago that the ‘Rays found themselves in sixth place in the South Division with a roster decimated by injuries and call ups to the Hershey Bears. In response all they have done is won seven of their last eight games and moved into sole possession of 4th place building a solid four point lead over both Augusta and Charlotte. The streak included taking two out of three games over 2nd place Florida and sweeping back-to-back games over Pensacola and Reading. They’ve seen an offensive explosion as of late, scoring at least three goals in each of those victories and averaging 3.875 goals per game over the past eight. (Photo Courtesy of The Mankato Free Press)

The Stingrays also received a boost to their lineup recently as the Washington Capitals signed their 2004 9th round pick Travis Morin (Pictured) to a two year entry level contract beginning next season. As part of the deal, Morin was signed to a PTO by the Stingrays for the rest of this season. The signing didn’t take long to pay dividends as Morin tallied the game winning goal in his first professional game on Sunday as South Carolina came from behind to defeat Pensacola 3-2. His debut followed an outstanding senior year at Minnesota State where he was named second team All-WCHA after leading his team with 17 goals and 39 points in 38 games.

South Carolina is now in a good position as they head down the stretch run to the post-season. They still must play three games at Augusta and host one game at home against the Charlotte Checkers in what will end up deciding who gets the final two spots in the playoffs.

Former Stingrays in the News:

Kyle Wilson, who was loaned to the Hershey Bears back on December 1st, was named the AHL player of the week for period ending March 18th. He posted 4 goals and 6 assists for 10 points in only 3 games.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cassivi is Back With the Bears

Wednesday, March 14th 2007

With Olie Kolzig set to return when the Capitals travel to Boston on Thursday, Frederic Cassivi has been reassigned to Hershey. Kolzig has missed the past month due to a knee injury. Cassivi started one game and appeared in three other’s in relief of Brent Johnson and posted an 0-1-1 record with a 2.59 goals against average and an .897 save percentage.
(Photo Courtesy of Dave Sanford/Getty Images)

He returns to the Bears as they prepare to play three games in as many nights beginning with a road trip to Worcester Friday night. They are currently five points behind the division leading Norfolk Admirals and only one point ahead of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for second place in the East Division.

In his place Maxime Daigneault has seen the majority of the action and has flourished compiling a record of 18-6-0 with a 2.65 goals against average and a .912 save percentage.

It is unclear as of yet what the coaches plan to do as far as which goaltender will see the most action. Cassivi will probably take over the number one position again, but it would be nice to see Daigneault get his share of starts, especially in the playoffs in order to continue his development.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ovechkin's Magic Still Isn't Enough

Superstar's Two Goals Gives Him Back-to-Back 40 Goal Seasons
Atlanta Thrashers 4, Washington Capitals 2
Monday, March 12th 2007
(Photo Courtesy of Dave Sanford/Getty Images)

Alex Ovechkin provided the team with some much needed offensive excitement that has been hard to come by lately. He single handedly kept the Capitals in the game by flying around the ice and creating havoc for the Thrashers defense.

His first goal was a result of just charging the net and making something happen. Niclas Havelid knocked the puck away from him on his way to the goal, but the puck somehow found it's way into the back of the net.

Ovechkin's second of the night came as he was trying to set up Kris Beech in front of the Thrashers net. The puck deflected off the skate of defenseman Andy Sutton and over the glove of goaltender Kari Lehtonen. With 41 goals on the season now, a repeat of last years 50 plus seems as though it could be reachable.

Atlanta put the game away at the 9:35 mark of the third period when they restored their 2 goal advantage thanks to Ilya Kovalchuk's 37th goal of the season. He was able to beat Frederic Cassivi through the five hole as the Caps' backup gave up his only goal of the game after replacing Brent Johnson at the start of the final period.

Johnson was hurt while attempting to stop Atlanta's 3rd goal of the night in the second period. A Steve Eminger turnover directly led to the Keith Tkachuk marker thanks to a nice feed by Eric Boulton.

The loss was Washington's 8th straight as the team still has not won since the trading deadline passed and the team moved it's #1 center Danius Zubrus. They hope to get Olie Kolzig back at the end of week in either Thursday night's game at Boston, or Friday night's game at home against Toronto.

Game Notes:

Jiri Novotny only won 5 of 16 faceoffs as he saw most of his ice time centering the team's first line.... Ovechkin continues to lead the team in ice time as he recorded 25:33.... Atlanta's win improved their record to 5-0-2 against the Caps this season and moved them into sole possession of first place in the Southeast Division.

Big Weekend For the 'Rays

Monday, March 12th 2007

The South Carolina Stingrays won all three of their games this weekend, an impressive feat considering their thin lineup due to injuries and callups to Hershey. The wins moved them in front of the Charlotte Checkers and into the final playoff position in the South Division. They lead the Checkers by 2 points and trail the Augusta Lynx by only 2 points for fourth place. The Stingrays got a boost to their lineup as Cail MacLean was activated from the disabled list before Saturday night’s win over Reading. (Photo Courtesy of

Some more roster moves were made on Monday as the Stingrays lost one of their leading scorers while receiving another back in return. Cam McCaffrey was recalled to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, his first callup to the AHL this year. He has yet to record a point in 22 career games in the AHL, 19 with the Portland Pirates during the ‘04-’05 season and 3 last year with the Hershey Bears. Matt Reid was returned to the team despite the fact that he recorded 3 assists in Hershey’s 5-3 win at the Manchester Monarchs Friday night.

The Stingrays received some bad news as they lost defenseman Sasha Pokoluk during Friday night’s game after he received a hard hit. The injury could become a concern for the highly touted prospect as he missed the first four months of the season after suffering a concussion while playing in the Hershey Bears opening game. Journeyman defenseman Tim Judy was also released today.

The moves come as the Stingrays start an important stretch of five games in six nights beginning Tuesday night in Florida. During that stretch they will play the second place Everblades three straight times. These games will decide once and for all whether or not this will be a playoff team.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sunday Prognosis

Sunday, March 11th 2007

Through the first 40 minutes of yesterday's game on Long Island the Caps looked like a team that had completely lost their way. They were able to accumulate enough shots, but goaltender Rick DiPietro had the answer every time. (Photo Courtesy of Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

With each goal they gave up, you could see in their body language that they were spent. Tired of giving it their all and continuously coming up short. A 4-0 lead by the Islanders heading into the final period didn't give Washington much to look forward too, except for the fact that they only had another 20 minutes to endure before they could head out of town.

But then Alex Ovechkin provided the team with a spark. He made an explosive move around the right side and fired a shot on net. DiPietro made the first stop but the rebound was left in front and Ovechkin had broken the Capitals scoreless streak just five minutes before it would had tied the all-time record of futility. (Goal Pictured)

That goal seemed to change the attitude of the entire team. From that point on, the Capitals dominated the playoff-bound Islanders producing many quality scoring chances from players such as Alexander Semin, Ben Clymer, and Brian Pothier. Donald Brashear tallied the only other goal on the night and the Caps lost for the 7th straight time 5-2. But they showed in third period that even though their lineup is highly depleted, because of injuries and trades, they are still capable of playing at a high level.

If they can put together a full game at the level they played at in the third period, they should have a very good chance at pulling the upset tomorrow night in Atlanta.

Down on the Farm:

The South Carolina Stingrays won all three of their games this weekend, an impressive feat considering their thin lineup due to injuries and callups to Hershey. The wins moved them in front of the Charlotte Checkers and into the final playoff position in the South Division. They lead the Checkers by 2 points and trail the Augusta Lynx by just 2 points for fourth place. The Stingrays got a boost to their lineup as Cail MacLean was activated from the disabled list before Saturday night's win over Reading.

The Hershey Bears won Friday night in Manchester and Saturday night in Portland before falling to Bridgeport this afternoon. The wins get the Bears in pace with their divisional foes and they continue to trail the Norfolk Admirals by five points for first place in the East Division. While they continue to lead the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins by five points for the second place. Top performers this weekend were forwards Alexandre Giroux and Chris Bourque who both tallied 3 goals in the 3 games.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Caps Shutout Again

Offense Fails to Produce for the Second Straight Game
Carolina Hurricanes 3, Washington Capitals 0
Friday, March 9th 2007
(Photo Courtesy of Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Traditionally when these two teams get together the games have been high scoring. In fact coming into tonight's contest they have combined for an average of 7 goals per game. But that was not the case tonight as good goaltending, along with solid defensive play by both teams led to a low scoring and uneventful evening.

Andrew Ladd finally broke the scoreless battle 1:42 into the second period after the Capitals failed to clear a loose puck in front of their own net. A couple of whacks later and Ladd had his 8th goal of the season.

The game stayed 1-0 until midway point of the final period when a Donald Brashear turnover in his own zone directly resulted in Justin Williams putting the game away as he snapped a snot into the top left corner of the net. The two goal Carolina lead was more than enough for Cam Ward who stopped 25 shots on his way to his second career regular season shutout.

The bright point on the night for the Capitals was the performance of goaltender Brent Johnson who stopped 42 shots despite falling to 5-12-6 on the year after taking the loss. Johnson has possibly 2 or 3 games remaining as the number one goaltender before Olie Kolzig makes his return.

The Caps welcomed Chris Clark and Boyd Gordon back to the lineup and they, combined with winger Brooks Laich, did a nice job playing the role of the shutdown line. Each time Hurricanes' coach Peter Laviolette sent out their top line it was Gordon's line that was called on. They did their job as only Laich finished with a negative plus/minus rating.

Washington now has 48 hours to try to turn things around and find some line combinations that can produce offensively before they travel to New York on Saturday to take on the Islanders. They have 14 games remaining and still find themselves needing ten points in the standings to match their total of 70 last year.

Game Notes:

Steve Eminger and Brian Muir were the healthy scratches.

Todd Krygier Article in The Hockey News

I found this article in the latest edition of The Hockey News. I thought everyone would like to hear what the former Capital was up to these days.

Making it Stick
Krygier made good on his second NHL call-up, turning it into a serviceable nine-year career

March 9, 2007
By Roman J. Uschak
(Photo Courtesy of

The University of Connecticut has a storied reputation for basketball and a growing one for football, but it also once turned out a pretty good hockey player in Todd Krygier.

A native of Chicago Heights, Ill., who grew up in Michigan, Krygier is second among all-time Huskies scorers with 99 goals and 200 points. He was there from 1984 to '88, when Connecticut played its home games on an outdoor rink. Krygier then parlayed his selection by the Hartford Whalers in the 1988 NHL supplemental draft (now defunct) into a 12-year pro career after leaving early from UConn, where his brothers also starred.

"I had a year (of eligibility) left and was working on my (masters degree in business)", Krygier said.

"During that year, the scouts were looking at me and coming to my games. I just wanted to keep playing."

After a year-and-a-half apprenticeship in the American League, Krygier burst onto the NHL scene the following season, tallying 18 goals and 30 points in 58 games with Hartford.

"I made the Whalers in camp, but was sent back to work on a few things," said Krygier, who never topped the offensive totals he put up in his rookie year. "I didn't want to go down again and the next time I was called up, I stayed nine years."

He remained in Hartford for one more season before stops in Washington and Anaheim.

Krygier developed asthma during his playing days, but didn't let it deter him. With treatment, the condition eventually went away.

The last NHL stop for Krygier was a familiar one, as he returned for one last go with the Caps. He dressed for 13 games during Washington's run to the 1998 Cup final, where the Capitals were swept in four games by Detroit.

He retired in 2000 following two seasons with the old International League's Orlando Solar Bears.

"That was a great experience," said Krygier, who helped Orlando to within one win of a Turner Cup title. "I became a better person. I learned a lot of life lessons and met some great friends I still have now."

Krygier, 41, is back in Northville, Mich., with his wife Kim and their five children, where he runs his own State Farm auto insurance agency. He also coaches the hockey team at Novi High School and has mentored his three sons in youth hockey at various points.

"One of my daughters also plays hockey," Krygier laughed, "and she's been all over me to coach her, too."

Todd Krygier's career statistics courtesy of

Left Wing
Born Oct 12 1965 -- Northville, MI
Height 5.11 -- Weight 180 -- Shoots L

Regular SeasonPlayoffs
1987-88 U. of Connecticut NCAA Statistics Unavailable

1987-88 New Haven Nighthawks AHL 13 1 5 6 24 ----------
1988-89 Binghamton Whalers AHL 76 26 42 68 77 ----------
1989-90 Binghamton Whalers AHL 12 1 9 10 16 ----------
1989-90 Hartford Whalers NHL 58 18 12 30 52 7 2 1 3 4
1990-91 Hartford Whalers NHL 72 13 17 30 95 6 0 2 2 0
1991-92 Washington Capitals NHL 67 13 17 30 107 5 2 1 3 4
1992-93 Washington Capitals NHL 77 11 12 23 60 6 1 1 2 4
1993-94 Washington Capitals NHL 66 12 18 30 60 5 2 0 2 10
1994-95 Anaheim Mighty Ducks NHL 35 11 11 22 10 ----------
1995-96 Anaheim Mighty Ducks NHL 60 9 28 37 70 ----------
1995-96 Washington Capitals NHL 16 6 5 11 12 6 2 0 2 12
1996-97 Washington Capitals NHL 47 5 11 16 37 ----------
1997-98 Portland Pirates AHL 6 3 4 7 6 ----------
1997-98 Washington Capitals NHL 45 2 12 14 30 13 1 2 3 6
1998-99 Orlando Solar Bears IHL 65 19 40 59 82 17 9 10 19 16
1999-00 Orlando Solar Bears IHL 28 7 13 20 12 6 2 1 3 2

NHL Totals
543 100 143 243 533 48 10 7 17 40

Caps/Hurricanes Preview

Carolina Hurricanes (33-28-7, 73 points)
Washington Capitals (24-31-12, 60 points)

Television: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: WTNT 570-AM
Gametime: 7:30 PM ET

Friday, March 9, 2007

The Caps have a chance to play the role of spoiler tonight as they host their division rivals, the Carolina Hurricanes. The defending Stanley Cup champions are on the outside looking in as the tight for the final playoff positions in the Eastern Conference heats up. The Hurricanes find themselves tied with the New York Rangers and the Toronto Maple Leafs for 8th place but would currently lose a tiebreaker to the Rangers.

Fatigue should not be a factor for both clubs heading into the matchup. Carolina has not played since they fell to the Thrashers 3-1 last Sunday in Atlanta, while the Caps have had 2 days off to think about their loss Tuesday night in Toronto.

Washington should get a much needed boost to their lineup as their captain Chris Clark and checking line specialist Boyd Gordon have both been cleared to play. Clark has missed the last six games with a sprained shoulder while Gordon missed the last 2 with a sore knee. The team is still without their franchise goaltender Olie Kolzig and winger Matt Pettinger, although Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post had reported that Kolzig was supposed to have practiced today, taking shots for the first time since his injury. No report on whether or not that did occur.

The game will mark the last meeting of the season between these two teams at the Verizon Center. They'll still play once more at Carolina on the 22nd of March. They're last meeting was a 7-3 drubbing by the Capitals on January 27th thanks to 2 goals by Alexander Semin and Eric Fehr's 1st career NHL goal. That came just one day after the Hurricanes beat up the Caps in Raleigh 6-2 in the first game after the all-star break.

While Carolina will most likely be without left wing Ray Whitney and defenseman Bret Hedican with lower body injuries, they should get winger Eric Cole back after he was activated from the disabled list yesterday. Cole has missed the past seven games with multiple hip injuries, first a contusion then a torn muscle. His 25 goals and 26 assists will be a another offensive weapon for the Capitals to deal with.

Down on the Farm:

The South Carolina Stingrays came up with a big victory over the Charlotte Checkers on the road last night. The 6-2 moves the Stingrays just two points behind Charlotte in the battle for the fifth and final playoff position in the South Division. The Stingrays got 2 goals from Chris Chaput and 3 assists from Peter Szabo to pace the offensive attack. It was an impressive victory considering how short handed the team currently is thanks to injuries and recent callups. Check out Mike Vogel's blog Dump and Chase for a behind the scenes look at the ECHL franchise as he spends the week with the team.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Thursday Morning Capitals Draft Update

The Capitals moved into 5th place in the race for the top pick in the NHL draft after the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Los Angeles Kings in overtime last night 3-2. With their move into the top five they now are eligible to win the 1st pick in the draft lottery. Under the terms of the rules, only the teams with the worst five records are eligible to move up to the number one pick. The Caps also control Buffalo's first round pick which at the moment would be the 29th selection. That will change based on the Sabres performance in the playoffs, just another reason to root against them.

The only problem with this draft is that it is not as strong as last year's as there is no clear cut franchise player. Here is the updated list of the top 30 skaters available as of March 7th. No goaltender is ranked to go in the first round.

Top 30 Skaters - Updated March 7

No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Shot DoB Team
1. Cherepanov, Alexei RW 6.00 183 L 1/15/1989 Omsk
2. Kane, Patrick RW 5.10 162 L 11/9/1988 London
3. Turris, Kyle C 6.00 165 R 8/14/1989 Burnaby
4. Van Riemsdyk, James LW 6.03 191 L 5/4/1989 US Under-18
5. Voracek, Jakub C 6.01 188 L 8/15/1989 Halifax
6. Alzner, Karl D 6.02 210 L 9/4/1988 Calgary
7. Couture, Logan F 6.01 188 R 3/28/1989 Ottawa
8. Gagner, Sam RW 5.11 190 R 8/10/1989 London
9. Ellerby, Keaton D 6.03 182 L 11/5/1988 Kamloops
10. Mayorov, Maxim LW 6.02 187 L 3/26/1989 Leninogorsk
11. Esposito, Angelo C 6.01 180 L 2/20/1989 Quebec
12. Gillies, Colton C 6.04 194 L 2/12/1989 Saskatoon
13. Petrecki, Nick D 6.03 213 L 7/11/1989 Omaha
14. Andersson, Joakim C 6.02 198 L 2/5/1989 Frolunda
15. Blum, John D 6.00 155 R 1/30/1989 Vancouver
16. Plante, Alex D 6.05 220 R 5/9/1989 Calgary
17. Veilleux, Keven C 6.05 195 R 6/27/1989 Victoriaville
18. Hamill, Zach C 5.10.5 180 R 9/23/1989 Everett
19. Hickey, Thomas D 5.11 186 R 2/8/1989 Seattle
20. Aliu, Akim RW 6.02.5 207 R 4/24/1989 Sudbury
21. Sutter, Brandon C 6.03 174 R 2/14/1989 Red Deer
22. Shattenkirk, Kevin D 5.11 193 L 1/29/1989 USA Under-18
23. Hoeffel, Mike LW 6.01 175 L 4/9/1989 USA Under-18
24. MacLean, Brett LW 6.01.5 200 R 12/24/1988 Oshawa
25. Moller, Oscar C 5.10.5 182 R 1/22/1989 Chiliwack
26. Gratchev, Max LW 5.11 195 L 9/26/1988 Rimouski
27. Ruzicka, Vladimir C 6.01 180 L 2/17/1989 Slavia
28. Doyle, Eric D 6.02 191 L 4/5/1989 Everett
29. Backlund, Mikael C 6.00 191 L 3/17/1989 Vasteras
30. Tyrell, Dana C 5.10 185 L 4/23/1989 Prince George

The Caps should be able to chose either a right wing or center, their two positions of greatest need prospect wise.

Caps Roster Notes:

The team announced yesterday that both Chris Clark and Boyd Gordon will return to action Friday night when the Caps host the Carolina Hurricanes. In response the team reassigned forwards Alexandre Giroux and Dave Steckel back to Hershey. Giroux played well in his brief time with the big club, providing a nice spark to the lineup with his speed and hustle. Steckel did not see any action after being recalled before Tuesday's game in Toronto.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

A Maxime Lacroix Interview

A close up look at the Capitals' 2006 5th round draft pick courtesy of
(Photo Courtesy of Valerie Monette)

Sit-down with student-athlete Maxime Lacroix

BOUCHERVILLE, Wednesday, March 7, 2007 – The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s official website will offer its readers a weekly feature on one of the five finalists in contention for the Marcel-Robert Trophy, which honours the student-athlete of the year at the Golden Puck Awards Gala held in early April.

This week, Maxime Lacroix of the Quebec Remparts.

In which program are you presently enrolled?

"I’m majoring in human sciences and mathematics, with a minor in economics at Limoilou Cegep in Quebec City."

Why do you put so much time and effort into your studies seeing as though you wish to pursue a professional hockey career?

"It’s important. If I should get injured or fail in hockey, I want to be able to do something I enjoy. School gives you options and opens doors. It also enables me to plan a career."

How does the hockey club support your academic endeavours?

"The team has a hands-on academic consultant to make sure that our teachers are aware of where we are if we should happen to leave on a long road trip. Along with the Cegep’s academic department, they make sure that we stay on top of things. Also, the team and our teachers are always there to help us if we’re having trouble in a certain subject or with schoolwork."

Your major junior career could be coming to a close in a few months. What is your career plan?

"I’m a bit uncertain about my immediate future. I was drafted by the Washington Capitals and I’d like to play in the American Hockey League next year, but since I’m 19 years-old, I still have one year of QMJHL eligibility left. That’s why I registered in Business Administration at Laval University in time for the fall semester since I might play another year with the Remparts."

What has your career in the QMJHL taught you?

"A career in the "Q" certainly helps a person mature. With our tight schedules, you learn to incorporate discipline into your life. We’re (players) gaining valuable experience, and any employer will tell you that they look for organized and disciplined individuals to add to their workforce."

How much of an influence has your family been to your decision-making process?

"My dad played in the QMJHL and the NHL, so he’s always been a role-model for me. At the time, hockey players didn’t attend school much. He got injured and went back to school. Thereafter, he found a job to provide for his family. My dad is proud of my success in school and he provides plenty of encouragement. He doesn’t want me to repeat the same mistakes he did. That’s why school is so important. I want all my options to stay open."

The winner of the Marcel-Robert Trophy will be announced at the Golden Puck Awards Gala on April 5. Along with the Trophy, the winner will receive a $500 purse as well as the Guy Lafleur student-athlete bursary worth $6,000.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Road Woes Continue

Loss is Caps 14th out of their Last 16 Games Away From the Verizon Center

Toronto Maple Leafs 3, Washington Capitals 0
(Photo Courtesy of Frank Gunn/AP)

After his streak of 26 straight starts was snapped last Saturday, Andrew Raycroft came into tonight's game refreshed and it showed. He made several remarkable saves on the way to stopping 24 Washington shots while recording his second shutout of the season.

A solid defensive first period for the Caps ended with a Kris Beech hooking penalty as the period expired. After a Shaone Morrisonn holding penalty on Johnny Pohl the Maple Leafs were given a two man advantage in the first minute of the second period. While the Caps were able to kill off both penalties, Toronto was able to crack the scoreboard shortly thereafter courtesy of a lucky bounce.

Pohl led the break into the right side of the offensive zone and fired a shot on net. Frederic Cassivi was able to make the blocker save, but the rebound deflected off of Darcy Tucker's right arm and into the back of the net. It was Tucker's 20th goal of the season in his first game back since missing time with a foot injury. Yanic Perreault added his 20th goal of the season as well and his 1st since joining the Maple Leafs for his third tour of duty 11 minutes later giving them a 2-0 lead.

An Alexei Ponikarovsky deflection of a Nik Antropov shot from the point stretched the lead to 3-0 just 2:47 into the final period. Both Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin had numerous scoring opportunities in their bid to get Washington back into the game, but neither was able to beat Raycroft.

The Caps continued to struggle on the power play as they had a hard time bringing the puck into the offensive zone the entire night. They failed to convert on all five of their opportunities.

Frederic Cassivi was the bright spot on the evening stopping 28 of 31 shots in his first start of the season in the NHL this season.

Overall, despite the lack of offense it was not a bad outing tonight for the Capitals. The better team was able to get the breaks and came out on top. It was as simple as that.

Game Notes:

Dave Steckel, who was recalled today from Hershey, was on the lineup sheet but did not see any ice time.... Kris Beech was the Caps leader in faceoffs as he won 9 of 15 draws for 60%.... Brian Muir was a healthy scratch.

Dave Steckel Recalled

A late addition to tonight's roster. Steckel has been called up from the Hershey Bears in time to play against Toronto. Here's the release from

March 6, 2007 WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 6, 2007 – The Washington Capitals have recalled center David Steckel from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.

Steckel, who will turn 25 next Thursday, has played three games with the Capitals this season and 10 games in his NHL career. He won 72 percent of his faceoffs in his three games this year (Dec. 29-Jan. 1).

A 6’5”, 222-pound native of Westbend, Wis., Steckel has 43 points (22 goals, 21 assists) in 56 games for the Bears this season. He ranks fourth on the team in scoring, tied for second in goals and second with a +22 plus/minus rating (which is tied for fifth in the AHL).

Steckel will be available for tonight’s game at Toronto (7:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet, WTNT-AM 570) and would wear No. 25. Rates the Best GMs in Sports

Found this in an ESPN article.

This will be a list that can be highly debated. Washington area teams to note:

25. Ernie Grunfeld, Wizards

71. George McPhee, Caps

77. Jim Bowden, Nationals

79. Vinny Cerrato, Redskins

For the full list click here.

Caps/Maple Leafs Preview

Washington Capitals (24-30-12, 60 points)
Toronto Maple Leafs (31-26-9, 71 points)

Television: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: WTNT 570-AM
Gametime: 7:30 PM ET

The Capitals limp into Tuesday night's game in Toronto having lost 13 of their last 15 games on the road. However, they should get some much needed reinforcements back into their lineup.

Captain Chris Clark announced on Comcast SportsNet's Postgame Live after Saturday's loss at home to the Islanders his intentions to return for the game. He will be joined by defenseman Mike Green and winger Alexandre Giroux who were both recalled from Hershey on Monday, and center Kris Beech who was declared ready to play by team officials despite leaving the team's last game in the second period after he took a blocked shot off his knee.

Tuesday Morning Edit: The Washington Post is reporting that Chris Clark is ill and did not make the trip.

Mike Vogel is reporting that there is some talk of giving Frederic Cassivi his first NHL start of the season tonight. He appeared in two games this past week, both in relief of starting goaltender Brent Johnson. If Johnson gets the call instead, it will be his 10th straight start which would surpass Olie Kolzig's longest stretch of 9 straight earlier in the year.

This is a key game for the Maple Leafs as they find themselves tied with the New York Rangers for 10th place in the Eastern Conference just two points behind the 8th place Carolina Hurricanes. They spent their Monday preparing for the Capitals in a unique fashion, practicing outdoors in -20 degree weather while entertaining about 250 school children. Their longtime captain Mats Sundin described the experience as reported on "We have a huge game (Tuesday) and a little break in the routine is all right. It was tough conditions out there with the wind and everything but it's great to come out and meet the fans."

Toronto will most likely be without their all-star defenseman Tomas Kaberle who suffered a concussion in last Friday's game against the Devils after he was the victim of a late hit to the head by tough guy Cam Janssen. The Toronto Star is reporting that his symptoms are no better or worse at the moment and that the team hopes he will be able to return to the lineup in 7 to 10 days. In his place the Maple Leafs are expecting the return of Pavel Kubina who has missed the past 5 games with a broken finger. He practiced fully with the team yesterday and only needs final approval from the medical staff in order to play.

Washington and Toronto have split their two meetings earlier in the season as each team won in the other's building. Toronto won the first meeting November 24th 7-1 before the Capitals won the rematch a month later 3-2.

Down on the Farm:

The Hershey Bears announced they have recalled forwards Matt Reid and Stephen Werner to replace Giroux and Green. Reid was briefly recalled to the AHL last week for one game by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He currently leads the Stingrays with 22 goals on the season. Werner has been in South Carolina since being demoted back on December 6th. While with the Stingrays he tallied 9 goals and 6 assists in 24 games.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Monday Morning Thoughts

Let's face it, this team is in dire straits right now. Not only is it going to be hard for this team to win games the rest of the season, it's going to be hard for them to even be competitive.
(Photo Courtesy of Jason Cohn/Reuters)

Last Thursday night's surprising performance against a streaking Lightning team provided a glimmer of hope, that this team could still string together some solid games and at least continue their reputation of being a hard working team that is tough to beat. But injuries to Matt Pettinger and Boyd Gordon that night severely depleted an already thin lineup. The result was a 6-2 trashing at the hands of the N.Y. Islanders Saturday night that saw the Caps over matched by the playoff bound team. And the team was hit by the injury bug again as Kris Beech left the game after a blocked shot hit his left knee.

It's hard to believe that an injury to Beech could be so devastating given the fact that he was a regular healthy scratch earlier in the year. But with the recent trades and roster moves, Beech ended up centering the team's first line between Ovechkin and Semin. Now the Caps are left with just 2 regular centers, Brian Sutherby and newly acquired Jiri Novotny, on their roster.

Their schedule will only get tougher from here on out. Nine of their next thirteen games will be played away from the Verizon Center where the Caps are 2-12-1 in their last 15 road games. Plus they are coming off of a winless (0-2-2) homestand.

What once looked like a season that was going to be much improved over the previous one, now even that is in question. With 16 games to go Washington needs 10 points to match it's total of 70 last year. That might be a hard number for this team to reach.

Caps in the news:

Prospect Mathieu Perreault is having an excellent year in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The Daily News, a Halifax newspaper, reviewed the league's season and gave out awards. Perreault was recognized multiple times.

BEST PLAYER: Tie, Mathieu Perreault (Bathurst) and Thomas Beauregard (Bathurst), three votes - The Q is divided on who is the better player, but Perreault, the playmaker, and Beauregard, the trigger man, form a devastating line. They're the highest-scoring duo in the Q, with 106 goals and 125 assists for 230 points in just 64 games. Other: Withheld.

BEST PLAYMAKER: Mathieu Perreault (Bathurst), five votes - The Washington Capitals draft choice (177th overall in 2006) has 76 assists in 61 games. His slick passes have helped Q goal-scoring king Thomas Beauregard net 70 goals. "He'd make any player score goals," one GM said. Others: Withheld.

BEST STICKHANDLER: Mathieu Perreault (Bathurst), five votes - As clever a playmaker as Perreault might be, the five-foot-nine, 155-pound centre is equally adept with the puck on his stick. He can flat-out dangle and makes defenders look silly. Others: David Perron (1), withheld (1).

MOST DANGEROUS ON POWER PLAY: Thomas Beauregard (Bathurst), five votes - Beauregard is the centrepiece of the league's best power play, which operates at better than 26 per cent. He leads the division with 26 power-play goals and has an uncanny knack for finding open ice in scoring areas. Others: Cam Fergus (1), Mathieu Perreault (1).

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Bears/Wolf Pack AHL Preview

Hartford Wolf Pack (35-21-3-0, 73 points)
Hershey Bears (37-13-5-5, 84 points)

Television: B2Networks
Radio: Bears Network (100.1 FM, 1490-AM, 960-AM)
Gametime: 5:00 PM ET

As if the Bears needed any more offensive fire power following yesterday’s 7-1 drubbing of the Binghamton Senators, the team will welcome back their leading goal scorer Alexandre Giroux for their Sunday evening matchup with the Hartford Wolf Pack. He’ll return to Hershey in time for today’s game before rejoining the depleted Capitals lineup tomorrow. Depending on the severity of Kris Beech’s injury during yesterday’s blowout loss to the Islanders, Washington may need to recall some more help for when they travel to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs Tuesday night.

Hartford is coming off of a game yesterday at Philadelphia in which they outshot the Phantoms 42-20 but needed to rally from a 2-0 deficit and put up a good shootout performance in order to escape with the victory. Center Brandon Dubinsky lead their comeback as he tallied both goals in the second period, one on the power play and the other shorthanded. He also scored what ended up being the game winning goal in the shootout. The win was Hartford’s seventh straight, making them one of the hottest teams in the AHL.

While it will be hard to match the excitement of yesterday’s game given all the goals and physical play, the Wolf Pack’s recent play should be a precursor to a entertaining game. The Bears will no doubt be scoreboard watching as well as the division leading Norfolk Admirals head to Portland to take on the Pirates at 4:05 PM today. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, who is only two points behind Hershey, is off today.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Hershey Routes the Senators

Seven Straight Unanswered Goals by the Bears Leads to a Third Period Brawl Totaling 68 Penalty Minutes

Hershey Bears 7, Binghamton Senators 1
(Photos Courtesy of Michael Fernandez/Patriot-News)

Playing without their leading scorer in Alexandre Giroux, who was recalled by Washington, the Bears had no trouble denting the scoreboard tonight as six players combined to tally seven goals in route to the Bears blowout victory over Binghamton.

Making his home debut with Hershey Scott Barney lead the way with 2 goals and 2 assists on the night. While struggling to put up just 4 goals and 12 points in 40 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins this season, the Oshawa, Onterio native seemed to regain his offensive stride that saw him put up 32 goals in only 53 games for the Chicago Wolves last year.

Despite not allowing a shot during the first ten minutes of the game, the Bears ended up giving up the game’s first goal when Ryan Vesce scored his 12th goal of the season at the 11:44 mark. The power play goal would be the Senators’ only tally of the game and gave the them a brief 1-0 lead.

Hershey would answer back just two minutes later as goals by Joey Tenute and Scott Barney only 61 seconds apart would give the Bears the lead for good. They got contributions all throughout their lineup as 15 of the 17 players recorded at least a point on the night. Only defensemen Deryk Engelland and Donny Grover were get off the score sheet.

In the third period with the Senators trailing 5 to 1 their frustrations finally got the best of them as Louis Robitaille was jumped from behind leading to an all out brawl that even included both goalies going at it. Goaltender Jeff Glass left his crease and skated the entire length of the ice after Bears goaltender Maxime Daigneault, who defended himself well by catching Glass with a few solid punches that left him shaking his hand afterwards. For his trouble the Senators goalie received 29 penalty minutes alone for leaving the crease, instigating, fighting, a ten minute misconduct, and a game misconduct.

The win kept the Bears on pace with the division leading Norfolk Admirals, who won in a shootout and the third place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, who won in overtime. They remain three points out of first place while still two points ahead of third.

Game Notes:

Troy Milam, Jamie Hunt, Eric Fehr, Pete Vandermeer, and Dean Arsene were the scratches…. Maxime Daigneault stopped 33 of 34 shots to improve his record to 17-4-0.

Another Loss in the Standings and the Lineup

Center Kris Beech is Lost to a Leg Injury After Blocking a Shot in the Second Period
New York Islanders 6, Washington Capitals 2
(Photo Courtesy of Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

If there was anything worse than losing tonight's game in a blowout fashion, it was the realization that the Capitals lineup will be even further depleted following the loss of center Kris Beech. Coming into the game with 7 defenseman and only 11 forwards dressed the team finished up with only two healthy centers in Jiri Novotny and Brian Sutherby.

But even with Beech in the lineup for a period and a half the Capitals were no match for the playoff bound Islanders. The game was never in doubt as the team from Long Island jumped all over them from the get go. They scored their first three goals of the game on the power play thanks to goals from Mike Sillinger, Miroslav Satan, and Marc-Andre Bergeron. That was on the way to building a 5-0 lead before the Caps were finally able to strike back.

Goals by Brian Pothier, on the power play, and Brian Sutherby, even strength, just 34 seconds apart swung the momentum squarely in the their favor half way through the third period. For Pothier it was only his second goal of the season and his first since January 1st. Sutherby on the other hand, has been on a role as of late, notching his 4th goal in his last 7 games.

Even with Washington's late surge, the game was never really close and Ryan Smyth's 1st goal as an Islander with 2:54 remaining sealed the deal for New York as they won soundly 6-2.

Alex Ovechkin was held scoreless ending his three game goal scoring streak despite leading the team in ice time with 26:21. Alexander Semin was also held scoreless despite 25:28 in ice time. The increased ice time should only be a sign of things to come as the team's lineup keeps getting thinner due to injuries.

Game Notes:

Alexandre Giroux provided a nice spark to the lineup in spite of only playing 9:26.... Sutherby continued his good faceoff performance as of late winning 11 of 19 draws on the night.... Novotny also won 8 of 12 faceoffs.... Frederic Cassivi replaced Brent Johnson in net during the third period. It was the second time this week he's come into a game in relief.

NHL Center Ice: Now Available Online

Thanks to On Frozen Blog for this tidbit. Now you can take NHL Center Ice with you wherever you go. Click on the logo for more information.

Caps/Islanders Preview

New York Islanders (32-23-9, 73 points)
Washington Capitals (24-29-12, 60 points)

Television: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: Sportstalk 980-AM
Gametime: 7:00 PM ET

Richard Zednik will not have to wait long to make his return to the Verizon Center as he and his new teammates from the New York Islanders travel to Washington tonight. The game will mark the end of Washington's current four game homestand. They'll begin a stretch that will see 9 of their next 13 games on the road when they visit Toronto on Tuesday.

The Islanders were one of the biggest buyers at the trading deadline as they picked up Zednik along with Alberta native and former Oiler Ryan Smyth. The moves signify the club's intentions of making a serious run in the post-season this year. Before Thursday night's loss against St. Louis in overtime, the Islanders had won 4 games in a row and 6 of their last 7. As of today they find themselves in seventh place in the conference and in the middle of a highly competitive race with Carolina, Montreal, and Toronto for one of the final playoff spots.

As if the Caps were not short handed enough following their trades of Zednik and Zubrus at the deadline, the team lost two more of it's regular forwards in Thursday night's shootout loss to Tampa. Matt Pettinger is likely out for the season with a broken thumb, while Boyd Gordon is out at least two weeks with a knee injury. That leaves the team with only three healthy centers as they chose to only recall Alexandre Giroux from Hershey. The Caps will now dress 7 defenseman and just 11 fowards as the extra ice time will most likely go to double shifting Ovechkin and Semin.

Ovechkin now has 8 points in his last 4 games after putting up only 2 points in his previous 9 games. It seems like his slump is behind him now, which is good news for the Caps because besides Ovechkin and Semin, the only players to dress tonight that have more than 20 points on the season are defenseman Brian Pothier and center Kris Beech.

The key to the game will be whether or not the Caps supporting cast can contribute offensively and whether the Caps defenseman can shut down the Islanders newly acquired snipers.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Injuries Continue to Mount

The Capitals received some more bad news this morning. Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post is reporting that Matt Pettinger will be out 4-6 weeks thanks to a broken thumb, while their checking line center and faceoff specialist Boyd Gordon will be out 2 weeks with a sore knee. Both players were injured in the third period of last night's game and did not return.
(Photos Courtesy of Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Tarik says that General Manager George McPhee has plans to call up winger Alexandre Giroux from Hershey. Giroux is having an excellent year in the AHL, where he has 34 goals and 21 assists in 53 games while being named to the All-Star team. If the team feels they need a center to take Gordon's spot on the roster, they would most likely turn to Dave Steckel who is also having a career year in the AHL. Known for his checking ability, just like Gordon, Steckel has added an offensive punch this season and has 21 goals and 21 assists in 54 games. Both players also have excellent plus/minus ratings with Giroux being a +28 and Steckel a +20.

Today was also the day that the Hershey Bears announced their clear day roster. The list of 22 included 4 players currently on Washington's roster in Frederic Cassivi, Jeff Schultz, Eric Fehr, and Tomas Fleichmann. Here's the full list courtesy of the Hershey Bears website:

Goaltenders: Frederic Cassivi, Maxime Daigneault
Defenseman: Tim Wedderburn, Tyler Sloan, Jeff Schultz, Andy Hedlund, Dean Arsene, Deryk Engelland, Mike Green
Forwards: Joey Tenute, Eric Fehr, Alexandre Giroux, Tomas Fleischmann, Jakub Klepis, Chris Bourque, Kyle Wilson, Matt Hendricks, Dave Steckel, Louis Robitaille, Quintin Laing, Chad Wiseman, Scott Barney

Players in Residence but not on clear day list: Jamie Hunt, Pete Vandermeer, Kip Brennan, Donny Grover, Jeff Pietrasiak, Troy Milam.
A player in residence can be used during the playoffs if a member of the 22-man roster is injured or recalled.

Only amateur players signed to PTO's can be added to this list. Some possibilities there include current Capitals prospects Andrew Gordon, Andrew Joudrey, Travis Morin, and Andrew Thomas who are all playing in the collegiate ranks.