The Caps head to South Beach for a date with the Cats tonight, the first of seven-straight on the road and the Caps' seventh chance to beat the Panthers for the first time this season. It certainly won't be easy, as the Caps enter the game riding a six-game winless streak overall and have the fewest road wins (7) in the NHL, but then again, have the Caps had many easy games this year? Now on to the meat and potatoes...
Kudos to Dave Fay for ostensibly getting to the bottom of the Alex Ovechkin benching. It turns out, as speculated, that AO had "been warned several times about paying more attention to defense in his own zone and keeping his shifts within limits laid down by the coaching staff unless specifically directed to do otherwise" and had not done so on Monday night. The disturbing part of Fay's piece is that this incident may not be isolated or limited to Monday night's game, as "[t]here have been a few murmurs in the dressing room about the publicity Ovechkin receives being overblown, that he has been paying too much attention to offense while ignoring defensive liabilities. A source close to the team acknowledged yesterday that the charge might be true to an extent with the team possibly partially at fault." This certainly bears watching, and is one of the first whispers of anything other than a 100% unified locker room. Then again, Fay's anonymous source could be his cat.
Thread of the Day: Core Players - who are they? (a look to the future)
Elsewhere 'round the rinks:
- The Kings, currently one point out of the playoffs and losers of five of their last seven games, have fired head coach Andy Murray. "I'll be fired up tomorrow because if I expect my team to be energized and ready to go to work, I'd better make sure I'm energized myself," Murray said after Monday night's 5-0 home loss to Colorado. No, Andy, you'll just be fired, not fired up.
- Hope you didn't just eat, because on this day back in 1989 Sabres goalie and former Cap Clint Malarchuk's neck did it's Old Faithful impression after St. Louis winger Steve Tuttle's skate slid across Mallard's throat on a goal-mouth scramble, opening up the netminder's jugular. Click here for more grisly details with a picture to boot! Eww.
- Make sure to stop by Kukla's to check out the video of Pavel Datsyuk's shootout goal from last night. Filthy. Amazingly, Tomas Vokoun was able to complete - and win - the shootout sans the jock Datsyuk faked him out of.
- Hart: Alex Auld (30 saves on 31 shots against in crucial win at Edmonton to jump Vancouver from 9th to 7th place in the Western Conference)
- Ross: Patrice Bergeron (3 points)
- Norris: Marek Zidlicky (2 assists, +1 in 3-2 shootout win at Detroit)
- Vezina: Rick DiPietro (Win, 36 saves on 37 shots against)
- Richard: Steve Bernier, Marian Gaborik (2 goals each)
- Calder: Steve Bernier (2 goals, +2)
- Aiken: Reinhard Divis (Loss, 6 goals against on 29 shots)