Coach Glen Hanlon called last night's game the team's "best overall effort this season" and on this night the efforts paid off as the Caps downed the struggling Maple Leafs 4-1. The game featured a little bit of everything, from key goals by youngsters (Brooks Laich and Mike Green) and grinders (Ben Clymer and Chris Clark), highlight reel hits and more than a little chippiness, including Olie Kolzig skating the length of the ice to engage his counterpart Ed Belfour as he mugged Alex Ovechkin. Said Kolzig of his nearly 200-foot jaunt:
"I have a lot of respect for Eddie Belfour. But I didn't want to see our guy -- the guy -- get a blocker to the face. So I went down there. I just wanted to take care of our superstar."This team seems as tight-knit on and off the ice as any Caps team has in a long while, and games like last night's both exemplify that closeness and strengthen it.
We've got a bunch of media recaps today, from the WaPo, WTimes, TOSun, TOStar (but no word from TO himself) and the Globe and Mail.
In other Caps news:
- The Rink salutes Ben Clymer for notching the Caps' first Gordie Howe Hat Trick of the season, scoring the third goal, assisting on the fourth and chucking knuckles with some clown named Andy Wozniewski in last night's win.
- The team announced late last night that they have signed Chris Clark to a two-year contract extension that will pay him an average of just over a million dollars per year. Congrats to Clark, who certainly deserves it.
- Imagine being mid-flight and hearing "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking..." and it's Jeff Halpern. Did it almost happen?
- We told you that the Caps acquired Doug Doull yesterday for Dwayne Zinger. In his first game for Hershey last night Doull dropped the gloves twice and racked up 16 PIMs, to go along with an assist. See you next Saturday for the Pitt game, Dougie!
- Happy 45th Birthday to Hall-of-Famer Denis Savard.
- Heck of a couple weeks for Craig Anderson, wouldn't you say? Good luck convincing him to unpack his bags.
- Coyotes winger Ladislav Nagy is out for the season after undergoing knee surgery. Nagy is quickly earning a reputation as a highly talented, but frail winger.
- Martin Brodeur became the third goalie in NHL history to record 100 shutouts in a career with his 3-0 whitewash of Carolina Friday night (Terry Sawchuk, with 115, and George Hainsworth, with 102, are the others)
- Hart: Olie Kolzig (W, 25 saves on 26 shots against, studly defense of a teammate)
- Ross: Chris Gratton, Olli Jokinen, Daniel Sedin (3 points each)
- Norris: Mike Green (G, +2)
- Vezina: Martin Brodeur (28 save shutout win)
- Richard: Chris Gratton (2 goals)
- Calder: Ryan Kesler (Game-winning goal, +1, fight, 3 SOG, 2 hits, 2 blocked shots)
- Aiken: Tomas Kaberle (-2, 0 SOG, 0 hits)