Monday, December 11, 2006

Gameday Preview: Caps vs. Penguins

Who: Your Nation's Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Where: Verizon Center
601 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
When: Monday, December 11, 2006, 7:00 pm

Broadcast Information: Versus; WTNT 570 AM, WXDX 105.9 FM

Versus is planning to roll out some interesting additions to tonight's broadcast: both Ovechkin and Crosby will be mic'd for the whole game and there will be interviews with the two youngsters as well as teammates and coaches. The funniest addition? An interview, taped yesterday, with Evgeni translated by Ovechkin. Classic.

I'm going to miss all the hoopla as I will be at the game tonight, but I'll definitely be recording it and will try to recap it for anyone who doesn't have Versus. (How do you live without professional bull riding??)

Media Notes:
Washington Post
Washington Times
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Thanks for Noticing...
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
PTR: Scouting the Caps
PTR: Penguins' Notebook - This just in...Bob Hartley picks the Pens over the Caps as the best young team in the league. And here I thought he loved us.

My New Favorite Pundit (As posted last night)

Malkin's learning English...from a preschooler.
Actually I think it's kind of cute, I'm just being snarky on principle...

All the Hype:
Tale of the Tape
USA Today
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Winging It (
Burnside Gets into the Game
(See what happens when you're nice to my boys, Scotty? I give you links. That's what we call a win-win situation)

2005-06 Season Series: Caps 1-3-0, Penguins 3-1-0

2006-07 Standings: Caps 13-10-6, 32 points - 3rd in division, 8th in conference; Penguins 12-11-5, 29 points - 4th in division, 13th in conference

Last Game: March 8 in Washington, Caps won 6-3
- Ovechkin finally bested Penguins rookie phenom Sidney Crosby in the final battle of the young superstars, collecting his 42nd goal and adding two assists for good measure. Crosby managed just an assist on the Penguins' first goal of the night.
- Ivan Majesky scored his first (and last) goal as a Capital on a clearing attempt that took an odd bounce and confused goaltender Sebastian Caron; the puck zigged, the goalie zagged, and just like that Ivan was on the scoresheet. He would later cap off his point-scoring bonanza with an assist on Matt Pettinger's empty net goal.
- The Penguins took 10 penalties in this game and the Caps made them pay, scoring twice with the extra man. They also added a shorthanded goal and killed off all five penalties, but did allow one shorthanded goal against.
- A Penguin was called for diving, but it wasn't Crosby who was sent to the sin bin for that particular infraction - however, he was called for interference later in the game...strange.
- Clark, Zubrus and Pettinger each scored a goal for the Caps - it was their 13th, 14th and 15th goals respectively, a total which all three look poised to surpass at this point in the season.
- During the first intermission a pigeon that apparently lost his way started playing a game of chicken with the zambonis. It then continued to throw caution to the wind throughout the game by landing in either end and facing the wrath of the idle goaltender's stick. Long live the rally pigeon!!

Things to Look for:
- It's important to look past the hype of Crosby/Malkin vs. Ovechkin and focus on the fact that coming into tonight's game, these are two very evenly matched least in the numbers game...that have experienced an upswing since last season. Of course, neither team really had anywhere else to go but up, but that's a different issue.
- Both teams come in to tonight's game with a day's rest after an uplifting win - the Caps over the sliding Flyers, the Pens in overtime over the Thrashers. The Caps need to avoid the first period sluggishness that showed up against the Ducks and maybe even try to play through the second period as well to avoid what happened Saturday in Philly. They are young and should be fresh, so I'll go out on a limb and ask for a full...60...minutes. Crazy, I know, but it just might work.
- Although the goal of both teams during the offseason was likely to spread the scoring around, the Caps have succeeded slightly better, with 5 players having scored 10+ goals this season compared with Pittsburgh's 2 - Malkin and Crosby.
- The Penguins have won only 2 of their last 9 games, including last night's win which snapped a four-game slide; on the flip side the Caps have won 4 of their last 5 after losing 6 straight.
- The current standings of these two teams serves as a perfect example of just how tight the conference has become as we head towards the halfway mark of the season - their records are almost identical and they are separated by only 3 points, but the Caps stand at 8th place while the Pens are at 13th overall. What's more, if the Caps pulled off a win tonight they would move into 5th place in the conference...
- The Caps will likely be facing Fleury, but both goalies for the Penguins have struggled lately - Fleury is 1-2 with a 3.86 goals against average and an .841 save pct. in his last four starts, while Thibault has yet to earn his first win and is 0-4 in his 5 starts this season.

Possible Lineup for the Caps
8-Alex "the Better One" Ovechkin, 9-Dainius "Zoobie Doobie Doo" Zubrus, 17-Chris "Roof It" Clark
28-Alex "Post-Post-Bar" Semin, 24-Kris "Life's a" Beech, 18-Matt "King" Pettinger
27-Ben "Heart of Gold" Clymer, 16-Brian "So Close" Sutherby, 15-Boyd "PK King" Gordon
87-Donald "Piano Man" Brashear, 21-Brooks "What's Not to" Laich, 38-Jakub "Put Me in, Coach" Klepis

2-Brian "the Assistant" Pothier, 26-Shaone "Gonchar Who?" Morrisonn
4-John "Clearing Attempt" Erskine, 44-Steve "Scary No More" Eminger
47-Bryan "Hot Hands" Muir, 52-Mike "Babyface" Green

1-Brent "Go Johnny Go!" Johnson, 37-Olie "Cover Boy" Kolzig

Possible Lineup for the Pens
12-Ryan "Leave Me" Malone, 87-Sidney "the Runner-Up...Crybaby...Ballot Box Stuffer...Canadian Diving Team Captain" Crosby [so many nicknames - pick your favorite], 8-Mark "Should've Stayed in NC" Recchi
16-Erik "Helena" Christensen, 71-Evgeni "Gonch's Ward" Malkin, 20-Colby "Jack Cheese" Armstrong
11-Jordan "the Other" Staal, 18-Dominic "Sin Bin" Moore, 7-Michel "Faux Leather" Ouellet
37-Jarkko "Lady Byng" Ruutu, 25-Maxime "Shortie" Talbot, 26-Ronald "I Heart Evil Teams" Petrovicky

2-Josef "Gonchar's Backup System" Melichar, 55-Sergei "Wait...I'm a Defenseman?!?" Gonchar
19-Ryan "Bobby &" Whitney, 32-Alain Nasreddine (Yeah...I got nothing)
44-Brooks "the Lesser Brooks" Orpik, 47-Micki "Mouse" Dupont

29-Marc-Andre "Just a Little Snow" Fleury, 41-Jocelyn "In the Mood for a Nice Juicy" Thibault


Jordi said...

Haha! Coverboy Kolzig!

I was watching those interviews before the game. A better question for Ovy should've been "if you see Malkin stuck in the middle of the road, in front of you. Do you brake?"

CapsChick said...

Was it on NHL Network up there? I think I heard something to that effect. If so, lucky ducks - I won't get to see it until I get home from the game, I'm recording it.

And I have a feeling the answer to your question would be no...Ovie would check his parents into next week if they had the puck and/or stood in his way, so I doubt that Malkin gets any special treatment :)

hockeygirl said...

I'm glad you went with "Jack Cheese" for Colby. We have a brand of cheese up here called "Armstrong" so when he played in the WHL and I watched him, I started calling him "Two Cheese" and the name has stuck.