Caps win! Caps win! Caps win! Say what you will about the coming NHL season, but one thing is for sure: no fans will savor victories like Caps fans. In Boston it will be "ho-hum, another win." In Ottawa, "Did the Sens win again last night? Sweet." Not in Washington. Here, every win will be accompanied by the online equivalent of a ticker-tape parade among the team's fans. So you'll forgive Caps fans for getting a little over-excited about a preseason win against a largely-AHL lineup. For Caps fans these days a win is a win is a win, and they'll be awfully hard to come by this year, so enjoy them while you can. Hell, by March we may be celebrating faceoff wins with Jäger shots. Once again, human quote machine Alexander Ovechkin summed it up perfectly: "We lose all games. We must win something. This game we win. We're happy." Love that kid. On to the game.
I didn't get a chance to listen to this one (figures), but from all accounts, the powerplay was effective (Brian Willsie scored a pair with the extra man), Olie Kolzig was sharp, Ovechkin impressed (though he didn't make his way onto the score sheet), and Andrew Cassells, Nolan Yonkman and Jakub Cutta all looked good in their preseason debuts. But don't take my word for it - read the WaPo's or WTimes' coverage.
- Jochen Hecht scored in the 11th (?!) round of a shootout to lift the Sabres past the Lightning 3-2.
- Jaromir Jagr had two goals and an assist in the Rangers 4-2 win over Boston.
- A pair of Kris Draper third period goals helped the Wings beat the Stars 4-2.
- Sticking with the 4-2 games, the Preds beat the 'Canes by that same score.
- Kyle Calder's two goals and an assist helped Nikolai Khabibulin earn his first win of the preseason as Chicago downed Columbus 3-2.
- Brandon Bochenski had a hat trick and a helper and Jason Spezza had a goal and three assists in the Senators' 7-4 win over Toronto.
- A Chris Kunitz hat trick wasn't enough for the Ducks, who fell to San Jose 6-5.
- The Devils finally played a game and beat the Isles 3-2 in a shootout. Garth Snow stopped 42 of 44 shots for New York.
- The Kings kicked the extra point to win by a field goal, 7-4 over Phoenix.
- Rangers goalie Dan Blackburn has retired at the ripe old age of 22 because of nerve damage to his left shoulder. Truly a shame, as the former first round pick (10th overall in 2001) had tons of promise.
- New King Jeremy Roenick was helped off the ice after a hard but clean shoulder from Phoenix blueliner Denis Gauthier. JR whined after the game that "[I]t indicates the state of our game, the lack of respect - especially in pre-season. It is uncalled for. It is ridiculous - one of the reasons our game isn't as good as it once was. There is no respect for people in this league. It was not a cheap hit, it was a good solid hit. But you don't do that in pre-season.'' You don't?
Further, this comes from the guy about whom the following was penned: "It's become an unwritten rule that there are no bodychecks in the All-Star games, but it's become tradition for Roenick to deliver one check." Chalk up JR's hypocrisy to the concussion. Or to him being a clown. Your choice.