Photo credit: Greg Fiume

In the second period of the Caps home game against Tampa, Lightning forward Brett Connolly got hit with an ugly one-two play when he was tied up in the corner by Dmitry Orlov, and Mike Green came in hard and hit him high, making contact to Connolly’s head with his forearm. Video is below the jump.

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Tampa Bay Lightning Pregame: Five Minutes To Midnight

Doug Johnson writes for Puck Buddys. And because we have the microfilm in a safety deposit box somewhere, he writes for us as well. Follow @PuckBuddys or we start executing hostages.

The Pregame: Hey now; any you guys see that show on the teevees, “Doomsday Peppers” or something? You know, the one where seemingly pleasant enough, if overwhelmingly white people happily share their crackpot theories of why the world will end any minute now and how they’ll survive by stocking their compounds with bullets and pig dung? Good times.

Meanwhile we in America’s Hockey’s Capital are not so much having da good times of late. I’m thinking closer to the pig dung. Or better – remember those snobby nuclear scientists with their finger-waggling about nuclear Armageddon, bringing us down during the happy heydays of Ronald Reagan and “Family Ties” with their elitist Doomsday Clock? (Kiddies: go look it up while we drink our Metamucil.)

Yeah. Sitting here, looking at Thursday’s game and the remainder of the season, it feels like five minutes to midnight…with the clock ticking. And here’s us, without a stockpile.

Want more feel good snuggles?  Keep reading.

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Trade: Steve Downie Somehow Turns Into a First-Round Pick

If we had entitled this “Steve Downie Involved in Three-Way”, you never would have clicked on it, but that’s exactly what happened this afternoon. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Tampa Bay has traded Steve Downie to the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Kyle Quincey, and then traded Kyle Quincey to the Detroit Red Wings for a first-round draft pick and prospect Sebastien Piche.

Steve Downie has a cap hit of $1,850,000 and will bring with him his charming personality and 121 season penalty minutes, while the Detroit has acquired Quincey and his $3,125,000 cap hit, who they originally drafted in 2003, and lost on waivers in 2008.

We’re obviously very broken up about Steve Downie leaving the division and will deeply miss seeing his face six times a year. We’ll make it through this somehow. The real question is, who’s going to tell Semyon Varlamov about his new teammate?

Trade: Pavel Kubina to Philadelphia


Photo credit: Elsa Allen

According to TSN, Pavel Kubina has been traded from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Philadelpha Flyers for a second and a fourth-round draft pick. The club has made it no secret that he was on the block, keeping veteran defenseman Kubina off the ice this week for multiple games, including the game played against the Capitals tonight while they looked for a buyer.

Kubina has a cap hit of $3,850,000 and was likely acquired to shore up Philadelphia’s defense with key player Chris Pronger out of the lineup long-term with a concussion. Philadelphia has already acquired defenseman Nicklas Grossman from the Dallas Stars this week but that didn’t seem to stop them from making a bid for Kubina; we assume this is because your average defenseman is worth about one half of a Chris Pronger.

Bolts beat Caps 2-1, Mike Green Returns

Photo credit: Mike Carlson

The Washington Capitals ended their vacation in America’s unit by mixing it up with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The game featured the return of Mike Green to active duty and Mike Knuble to the top line, but precious little else.

Just 130 seconds in, a neutral-ice turnover by Dmitry Orlov led to Tom Pyatt’s puck dribbling past Vokoun. Just 110 seconds into the second period, a turnover by Matt Hendricks led to Steven Stamkos’s breakaway and the 40th goal of his season. Brooks Laich redirected a Matthieu Perreault pass into the weak side of the Tampa net to make it 2-1. A Marcus Johansson penalty nixed the team’s chances at a comeback.

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Florida Panthers Pregame: Deal The Card

Doug Johnson is a Puck Buddy. Read Puck Buddys. Follow @PuckBuddys. Obey.

The Pregame: True story. Florida’s Everglades have become so overrun with non-native Burmese Pythons, imported by one simpleton New Jersey retiree couple on Hoverounds, that they’ve eaten just about everything good and natural to the region, leaving the entire ecosystem on the edge of collapse. Really.

And yet, we are so overcome with issues of real import (Caps fail) that we cannot even fill in the punchline here. The easy, made-to-order, South Florida punchline. The joke that Dave Barry has penned a hundred times (and Gene Weingarten a thousand.)

THAT is precisely how dire our current situation is. To make it clear: if two well-educated, middle-aged gay men can’t make wry comments about South Florida, you know it’s fer realz.

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Video: Tomas Vokoun’s Save of the Year Candidate

While his teammates in front of him were having a bit of a vacation hangover, Tomas Vokoun was brilliant in net during the Capitals’ 4-3 (OT) loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday. Vokoun made 27 saves, including stoning Steven Stamkos on a breakaway in regulation. The Czech netminder’s best stop however came in overtime, when — down on the ice and out of position — he stretched out and caught Vincent Lecavalier’s shot from the crease with his glove. Check out the video below the jump.

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Tampa Bay Lightning Pregame: Tampa Smells

Doug Johnson of the Puck Buddys is back from break. Follow PB on Twitter.

The Pregame: Tampa. Sh*t, I’m still only in Tampa.

Or them, technically. Meaning us. As in, them, Tuesday night, isn’t us. And us don’t like them.

As dance partners go, Tampa Bay is the nattering, grabby-hands B.O. champion* of NHL cities. The one you get stuck with while your date runs off for a giggle as you try to shake him/her/it loose, but you can’t, because no-one else will even look at them, as they are now adhered to you like dog stain on rug, like flab on hips, like a vote-starved politician (redundant!) to your wallet.

Try as you might, they just won’t go away, and the longer they stay attached to you your social capital sucks dry as you furiously look for some escape but come to realize that, no, you and this thing are now welded together in a grotesque, condemned to dancing together for all eternity, or at least until realignment. Face it, Tampa: you smell.

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Brouwer celebrates the hatty! (Photo credit: Nick Wass)

Coming into tonight’s game, the Capitals had scored on five of their last 12 powerplays. Meanwhile, Tampa was playing their second game in two nights on the road.

Right off the hop, Alex Ovechkin took advantage of Tampa’s tired legs, scoring on the powerplay via a blast from the point. The goal, courtesy of a screen orchestrated by Troy Brouwer’s rear, was Ovi’s 18th on the year. The Hockey Gods then rewarded Troy’s hard work with a goal of his very own 1:53 later on the brouwerplay.

In the second period, Brouwer went to the second power, pushing a rebound past 42-year-old Dwayne Roloson. With 2:54 left in the second, the Lightning got their first of the night when Mike Knuble had his pocket picked by Martin St. Louis. That freakin’ gnat then dished to Tom Pyatt who one-timed home his fourth goal of the season.

Steven Stamkos gave Tampa’s comeback some steam with a powerplay goal in the third period to make it 3-2. But Troy Brouwer then responded by collecting a hat trick with an empty-netter. Still the Lightning wouldn’t die as Vincent LeCavalier deflected home a St. Louis shot with 11 seconds left. After another wild deflection in front of the net almost got past Vokoun, the buzzer finally hit zero. Caps beat the Lightning, 4-3. WHEW.

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Tampa Bay Lightning Pregame: S’all Downhill From Here

Sorry, Puck Buddys fans. The dudes skipped town last night and didn’t even leave a phone number. They could be in Marrakesh raising an army horde of bonsai kittens or playing Stratego with Sherpas in Tibet. We. Just. Do. Not. Know.

So yeah, the Capitals won that bout with the Penguins, but was that not one of the weirdest meetings between the two you’ve ever seen? Neither team seemed too interested in the whole “shooting” mechanic of hockey, and Matt Cooke didn’t even curl his evil mustache or malevolently pet his shaved cat once. With that humble 1-0 win, the first half of the Capitals’ season ended. It was a mess of a type we have not seen since Glen Hanlon’s reign.

But there are 41 pristine games ahead of us, starting with… [checks schedule] aw dammit! Tampa Bay Lightning woeugfbwieugwe

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