Eat It, Canada! Caps Beat Sens 5-2

If tonight’s blistering win over the Ottawa Senators is emblematic of anything, it’s our team’s enduring hatred of Canada (America Junior). Yeah, the country’s teams have been problematic for the Caps all season, but Canada really bit off more than it could chew when it overlooked the best defenseman in its country, Mike Green, for the 2010 Olympics. Taken with Tuesday’s victory over the Canadiens and John Carlson‘s OT goal to win the World Junior Championship, tonight’s beatdown is the icy punctuation on the Caps sentence: Eat it Canada. Eat it hard. Eat delicious buffalo wings.

The Caps have been caught unawares in the first period for the past two weeks, but tonight they broke the habit with a goal by… wait– what? Boyd Gordon? We didn’t even know he was playing tonight, and all of a sudden he’s the first on the board. Joined by vet Mike Knuble, the Caps ended the first frame with a two-point lead. The team cooled off, as it alway does, in the second period, but they came back with fury unleashed in the third. The Verizon Center was crackling with energy all night, and we look forward to a report from Ian “blogpocalypse now” Oland on his visit all night.

Let’s do the bullet points.

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Russian Machine Sometimes Breaks: “Groin is Good”

Semyon Varlamov's junk is no longer the problem.

Semyon Varlamov's junk is no longer the problem.

As the east coast prepares for another storm, the Washington Capitals suit up to face off against the Ottawa Senators.  And guess what?  We’ve got some injuries.  Stifle yourself.

  • Brian Pothier is expected to return to play tonight after recovering from a broken rib.  I’ve never had a broken rib, but I hear those things hurt like the dickens.  Imagine if you have to sneeze.  Yowza.
  • Quentin “Crazy Eyes” Laing is out tonight.  Apparently, he’s got some bad bruises he acquired from blocked shots recently.  I’m searching my memory right now, and I can’t recall anything remarkable from Quentin that doesn’t involve diving in front of flying pucks.
  • Semyon Varlamov continues his period of convalescence and unibrow-gardening.  Varly injured his jock over a month ago, but has since played a game with the Hershey Bears to test his progress.  After the game it was reported that he had another “lower-body injury”.  The hockey tradition of using these vague euphemisms led us to believe that Semyon had re-injured his junk, but we were wrong.  Tarik reports that Varlamov sprained his MCL, but — and we quote — “Groin is good.” While we dispute that there is anything inherently good about  the word groin, we are ecstatic that Varly may soon be back in the Caps line-up!
  • Tyler Sloan, whose financial projections are looking rosy of late, will not be playing tonight.  Is he injured?  Not as far as we can tell.  With Laing out and Alzner back in Hershey, isn’t this exactly the kind of situation where Tyler could be used?  Or are we gonna let that $1.4m marinate for a little bit before we put him to work?

That’s it for now.  If there are any more updates on tonight’s players, we’ll be sure to mock them mercilessly right here.

In other news, Blogfather Ian Oland will be at the game tonight.  My guess is he’ll be wearing one of our totally bitchin’ t-shirts.  If you see him, run up to him and kick him in the groin for me.  Cheers!

Off-Day News Update

Verizon Center is quiet tonight, spared from hockey games and gun fights alike. Despite that, this is in no way a quiet day for the Washington Capitals.

  • As we reported regurgitated last night, David Steckel has signed a three-year extension with the Caps.  We like to see Steck happy, but we are curious of this deal’s provenance.  The left winger is a serious grinder, tallying only 5 points all season, and he’s the only regular player in rotation on the wrong side of the plus/minus ratio (-1).   As always, we defer to the infinite wisdom of GMGM, who will forget more about hockey than we’ll ever learn.
  • Everything I said nice about George McPhee just now?  Forget it.  Tyler Sloan has also signed a contract extension.  Sloan is a swingman, which we think means he is good at neither offense nor defense.  When the Caps had a blueliner meltdown last week (Jurcina traded, Pothier injured, Erskine erskined), Sloan still didn’t play.  Sloan is -2 this season, but that number means very little from such a small sample size.  You gotta think Bruce Boudreau and the Caps management know something about these guys we don’t know.
  • Karl Alzner has been sent back to Hershey.  Does this mean that Sloan will be on a D-pairing on Thursday?
  • Caps prospect John Carlson is the talk of the town today after his OT win against Team America’s Hat in the World Junior Championship.  He showed impressive composure and patience in that breakaway goal, opting to shoot instead of risking a pass (a lesson his future teammates might want to learn!).  Carlson’s play deserves to be on every sports show’s highlight reel this week.
  • Not-captain Brooks Laich was on the Elliot in the Morning radio show on Wednesday morning.  He assures us that everyone still loves Theodore.  We are assured of this.
  • Tarik El-Bashir reports that Jose Theodore will start in goal against the Ottowa Senators tomorrow night (WaPo).   After having warmed the bench for what seems like weeks, Bruce Boudreau says, “We’re going to need Theo to play and we’re going to need Theo to play good. We’re going to need Theo to get his confidence.”  I love BB and his garden-salad-y wisdom, but this is crazy talk.  Sitting the guy in favor of Neuvy the newbie does nothing but rob Jose of confidence.  Although I’m alone on this among the RMNB staff, I think Theodore is a terrific netminder, and he possesses one of the best glove hands in the NHL.  If he’s having a crisis of confidence, the team should show him support.  That means giving him ice time, and — once he’s out there– not feed him to the wolves.  Bottom line: if Tom Poti learns how to clear the puck in the next 20-odd hours, all should be fine.

That’s all the news that fits for tonight.  We’ll be back tomorrow night to chronicle the Caps’ thunderous 6-1 defeat of the Senators, and what we predict will be the team’s first hat trick of the season (by Matt Bradley).  Stay tuned to see if we’re right!