Kris Versteeg wipes out. (Photo credit: Thearon W. Henderson)

How was your weekend? The Caps won. That was cool. I bet Coach Hunter is psyched. I lost my cell phone. That sucked.

On Monday night, the Capitals hit the road again, leaving a tumultuous three-game home stand behind them. They’ll be suiting up in Sunrise, Florida, which is a ludicrous name for a city. The hosting team? The Florida Capitals.

Marjory the Trash Heap was also assembled from other people's refuse.

Ahh, shoot! Florida Panthers. Sorry. But the Florida roster does sport four ex-Caps: Tomas Fleischmann, Matt Bradley, Jose Theodore, and Marco Sturm (who shouldn’t really count). How did so many Caps players end up in Florida? Over the summer, Panthers GM Dale Tallon got his checkbook out and started signing free agents all willy nilly just to reach the salary floor.

And now– somehow– the Panthers are at the top of the Southeast Division. No one saw that coming. This team was assembled from spare parts. We had joked that it was a retirement home. These guys shouldn’t have a cohesive personality, let alone a winning record. Instead, they’re 14-8-4 and they’ve commited the fewest minor penalties in the league. It’s disciplined and effective hockey they’re playing in Sunrise, which is still is a stupid name for a city.

The Capitals are in the awkward position of looking up in the standings to see another Southeast team. Florida is five points ahead of Washington, even if Washington has played one fewer game. So yeah, this one matters.

The Panthers are making a big deal out of the game. It’s Tomas Vokoun’s homecoming. Vokes played four seasons for Florida before leaving as a free agent last year. Even though the team has changed drastically, his return is a marketing ploy. This is from their site:

Let’s take a look at some Panthers players.

Tomas Fleischmann (12G, 15A, plus-14 ). Flash’s blood clot thing is ancient history. If he were still playing on the Caps, he’d be their best player. Remember who GM got in exchange for him? Scott Hannon, whom the team didn’t re-sign over the summer.

Matt Bradley (1G, 1A, even). Nothing to say here. I included him out of nostalgia. If he fights Matt Hendricks, there will be tears.

Kris Versteeg (12G, 12A, plus-13). The right winger is playing great hockey in what should become his career year.

Jose Theodore (2.28 GAA, .924 Sv%) is Florida’s number-one goalie. If the hockey gods are good, we’ll see Theo between the pipes.

On the Caps side, Mike Green is still out with a shattered babymaker. Jay Beagle is still doing the concussion thing, but he’s improving. Alex Semin is traveling with the team, but the shoulder injury he suffered after Jordan Staal’s charge may keep him out. We’ll know after the morning skate.

Can Coach Hunter string two wins together? Will the Caps’ offense come back to life? Will RMNB make a crack about Jose Theodore’s hair? Only one of these things is certain.

Puck drops at 7:30 PM on CSN. See you there.

  • Emily Casto

    I lost my cell phone, too! At the Caps game at the Verizon Center. But I was still so happy that we won that I didn’t care as much as I should have.

  • Emily Casto

    Call me! Oh, you can’t. And I can’t answer. Now I’m pissed that I lost my cell phone. Thanks for the creepy Bradley Movember Stache pic, and the comment about Greenie’s babymaker. Good luck finding your phone- does the Phone Booth have a lost and found?

  • serpent

    Ok, let’s have Neuvy in goal and really trash their game plan. Jose’s helmet is pretty cool, though. Sunrise is some assisted living complex, isn’t it?

  • Yvk

    Important game, if Caps will lose than Panthers would be 7 point up. Caps already looking up for charging Pens, Bruins, NYR and Flyers, who playing steady hockey and start separating from others. Essentially it’ll mean, that if these 5 teams will continue of getting very feasible 13 points out of 20 in the next 10-game segments , while Caps will start winning 7 out of 10, than it will take forever to catch them, barring theirs sudden long losing streaks.
    On another note, to my knowledge there is huge interview with E. Kuznetsov in ‘Sov. Sport’ with a lot info about his contract situation, Caps, his life etc. I’m wondering when RMNB planning to translate it.

  • Whiskey

    great start to the game. can’t watch it but the caps are down 3-1, and from the boxscore it looks like erskine caused the team to be down a man for at least 5 min…great