Playing without their captain and just hours after one of the alternates (and a trio of other roster players) was shipped out of town, the Caps shook off an awful start and rode their superstar all the way to a shootout loss to Florida. Feel free to comment on the game, but I know all you want to read about is more fall-out from deadline day, so here we go:
- Tarik has some quotes from Dainius Zubrus, GMGM and Coach Hanlon, including the coach saying that Zubie "helped [Alexander] Ovechkin more than you'll ever know, he's helped [Alexander] Semin more than you'll ever know." Weep.
- Steinberg feels bad for Jamie Heward's wife [must... resist... cheap shot], which in turn makes me feel like a jerk for yesterday's caveman post... OK, I'm over it. Thank god that passed.
- The Maven "was in Washington on Sunday and the Caps insiders assured [him] that Zubrus would return next year after his rental period ends. The key: Zubrus and Al Ovechkin are buddies. If The Big O wants Dainius back, he’ll get him."
- Masisak with this on newly-acquired Jiri Novotny: "He is a great guy, and I can't wait to see him," said Caps forward Tomas Fleischmann, who played with Novotny on the Czech Republic under-20 team at the World Junior Championships in 2003. "You can expect a lot of skill from this guy."
- TSN.ca: "Considering Zubrus is headed for unrestricted free agency, the Capitals get good value for the future with a couple of assets to put towards the rebuilding process. However, the only way that the Caps are going to get out of the rebuilding process is by adding more skilled players, not trading them away for prospects and draft picks."
- USAToday: "The Sabres, overrun by injuries up front, get a gifted center. Zubrus is 6-4, and he's been a 20 goal scorer. Even on this talented Sabres team, Zubrus can play on the second line. There is a possibility that Novotny could be as good, or maybe better, than Zubrus is today. He's big and skillful."
Finally, a lot is being made of this quote from GMGM (from Tarik's article):
"He's a big strong kid who's ready to play in the NHL now," McPhee said of the 2001 first-round draft pick. "He's good defensively and he's got some offensive upside. So we think he can fill that third-line hole for us, but he could be better."
While I know everyone's knee-jerk reaction is "Don't the Caps already have 47 third-line centers?" the fact is that Brian Sutherby, Brooks Laich and Kris Beech (as well as Novotny, for that matter) are not signed past this year and I think that this quote is an indication that the team will go out and get a first-line center, expect Nick Backstrom to center the second line and Boyd Gordon the fourth. Therefore, Novotny will battle for ice-time on the third-line. Or, put another way, would you rather have had GMGM say, "We think he can be our first-line center"?! It's called managing expectations. Relax, people.
I'll post more as I stumble upon it, and you can read reaction from around the Capogosphere at Washington Hockey Daily.
- Hart: Martin Brodeur (31-save shutout win at Pittsburgh)
- Ross: Jason Blake, Alex Ovechkin (4 points each)
- Norris: Derek Morris (2A, +1)
- Vezina: Martin Brodeur (see above)
- Richard: Jason Blake, Olli Jokinen (3G each)
- Calder: Clarke MacArthur (G, 2A, +3, 2 hits, 2 SOG, 2 takeaways, 1 giveaway)
- Aiken: Brent Johnson (4 goals allowed on 15 shots against in just 20 minutes of work)