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Washington Capitals 07-08


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Guest bigsby
oops 6-1hey you there, get out of my head, i posted the samething in the habs GDT :lol:

save the osmosis for the habs game. don't use it now! lol.

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Guest bigsby
i'm watching on rds .... it's their 'C team' of announcers though

they must be more knowledgable than these clowns who spent five minutes talking about how to pronounce huet's name...

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Guest bigsby
huet was removed for the 3rd ??

what happened?! he's not on the bench?! he must have been hurt. they didn't mention it on rds? they have no idea what's going on on versus.

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Guest bigsby
Someone please tell me why the NHL doesn't market Ovechkin instead of Crosby.

they don't?! that's news to me.

i do i do !!!

Watch out for your second rank Red Wings, the Caps are gaining ground on my 'team-lov-o-meter' :D

but lidstrom is out of this world! if i can still love the redwings even with hasek as their goalie, i don't think they could ever drop below second place on my list. caps are third, hands down (poor oilers got bumped on that one). what a team they have! and it's hard not to cheer for the caps while huet's still wearing his habs mask! it's like they're now an extension of ourselves. lol.

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Guest CanadianMike

keep it up Caps...I love it!!! make the playoffs.

Ovie is god!! HUUUUUUUUUUuetttttttttt

Canes must be playing golf when playoff season hits.

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Guest 1970 Habs

Owner's Corner

Tuesday was an exciting day for our organization, acquiring three outstanding players in trades and beating a very good Minnesota team in front of an energetic crowd at Verizon Center. But I also found it enlightening to step back a bit and look at the bigger picture, comparing Tuesday’s experience to the last few trade deadlines.

It certainly had a different feeling this year – a much better feeling. In many ways it also continued to validate our willingness to steadfastly adhere to our plan. Think about it: In our 4-1 victory over the Wild, we saw young players whom we acquire in prior trades leading us to victory. Brooks Laich (from Ottawa) had a four-point night with two goals and two assists, Shaone Morrisonn (from Boston) scored an important goal and Tomas Fleischmann (from Detroit) and Mike Green (draft pick from Detroit) added key assists. We had a team and a building that was clearly energized by the commitment we showed in acquiring Sergei Fedorov, Cristobal Huet and Matt Cooke.

And we had a reason to keep an eye on that out-of-town scoreboard, which is an awfully nice feeling as we embark on what should be an exciting March. Clearly times have changed. I told you change was coming, didn’t I? As I think George McPhee demonstrated with his moves on Tuesday, we want to make the playoffs. To do that, we have to make up some ground. The Carolina Hurricanes are ahead of us in the Southeast Division and have proven to be a tough, battle-tested opponent. Florida and Atlanta are on our heels. But we have games in hand, and we get to play those teams two more times each.

As George has pointed out, our team has played so hard and so well the last few months, we wanted to give them every opportunity to earn a playoff berth without jeopardizing our overall plan. I think we did remarkably well. Remember, Michael Nylander, Chris Clark and Brian Pothier all have missed a significant amount of time, and we have hung tough in their absence. The hope is that the players we obtained at the trade deadline will give us the necessary extra push to make the playoffs. I have faith in our team.

I also have faith in our fan base. The energy at Verizon Center recently has been unbelievable. When you factor in the new high-definition video boards and the fans’ excitement, I think the overall experience is as good as it’s ever been.

Our ticket sales for full and partial plans as well as group outings are strong, and every February game drew a crowd of more than 17,000. Since Alex Ovechkin signed his long-term extension, we have seen attendance increase more than 20% from the first half of the season. There are a number of factors for that, certainly including Alex’s commitment to the team. We’ve always seen a spike in the second half on the schedule, and the team’s rise in the standings helps create ticket demand. We have also been creative and aggressive in sales and marketing strategies, especially with implementation of the Caps Student Rush program. We’ve also received tremendous support from sponsors for our “Click to Win” nights and from our ownership group for the new “Josh’s Kids” section, both of which bring deserving children to Verizon Center to see our games.

Attendance only begins to tell the success story. Local broadcast ratings have spiked dramatically. Comcast SportsNet has enjoyed a 40-plus% improvement from last season in its ratings, and our recent game against Pittsburgh on VERSUS featured the best Washington, D.C., ratings since the network began televising NHL games in 2005. NBC has taken notice as well, picking up the March 9 game against Pittsburgh that will now start at 12:30 p.m.

The return to red, white and blue has been overwhelmingly positive. I loved the site that rated our jerseys as the second-best new design in the league, and cited our secondary logo as the best. Merchandise sales are among the best in the league when you look at what’s sold through NHL.com, and that doesn’t even include the jerseys purchased through our special preorder last summer. Alex Ovechkin’s jersey is, predictably, one of the best sellers in the league.

Speaking of Alex, the last two months have seen him earn some praise that’s been overdue, I believe. That might seem silly to say about a two-time first-team NHL All-Star and a Calder Trophy winner, but people always seemed to praise him as a pure goal scorer. Now, more and more recognize him the way we do – as the best player in the NHL.

Alex is earning acclaim for his leadership, for his two-way play and for the ways that he makes his teammates better. And he’s still the best goal scorer the league has seen for a while – the only other players to score at least 45 goals in each of their first three seasons were Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy and Luc Robitaille.

Needless to say, we’re thrilled to have him signed for the next 13 years. Alex is the cornerstone around which our Stanley Cup championship teams will be built. The talent that surrounds him is looking better and better as well. Consider this: if Alex leads the league in goals and Mike Green leads all defensemen in goals, they’d be the first teammates to pull that off since Mario Lemieux and Paul Coffey in 1988-89.

Green is a great success story this season, as he has blossomed under coach Bruce Boudreau. He is among a great group of young players who we look forward to watching grow up together. Guys like Alexander Semin (20 goals in 47 games), Nicklas Backstrom (battling for the rookie scoring lead) and Jeff Schultz (plus-5 and playing 18 minutes a night) have made significant contributions already, and we expect others will in the near future.

Part of Tuesday’s excitement was that we made key acquisitions without sacrificing the future. There was – and is – a lot of affection for Matt Pettinger in our organization, and we wish him the best back home in Vancouver. The fact was, especially with his struggles offensively this year, we weren’t sure how he would fit in next year’s plans.

We are excited to see how the players we obtained will perform down the home-stretch of the regular season. We will have the opportunity to see them first-hand and see if they would fit in our plans moving forward. First and foremost, however, we feel that they will help our quest for the playoffs, and that’s the most important thing on our minds right now.

We got a sense of just how good Cristobal Huet is when he shut us out less than a month ago, and he was rock-solid in his Caps debut, posting a 4-0 shutout at New Jersey. This is one of the best goaltenders in the league – an All-Star last season – who was available at a price (Anaheim’s second-round choice in 2009) we couldn’t turn down.

Cristobal and Olie Kolzig give us two elite goaltenders. Much has been made about our goaltending situation, one which I see as more of a luxury than a problem. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Olie in 19 years, it’s that he’s a professional first and foremost. I had no trepidation about his reaction to this move, and his performance Tuesday night confirmed it. He’ll play his heart out, as he has throughout his entire career, and we have another elite goaltender to compete with him for time.

Brent Johnson has been an outstanding backup to Olie Kolzig, and his importance shouldn’t be diminished. George – in consultation with our scouts and goalie coach Dave Prior – just felt that the price was too good for Huet, and that’s something that the NHL media echoed across North America.

Sergei Fedorov is a player I’ve always admired, and hearing Alex, Alexander and Viktor Kozlov speak about him, I know I am not alone. Much has been made of how Sergei will impact them, but I think he will impact our entire team. He’ll help the power play, the penalty kill, the second line (which is missing a key piece in Michael Nylander) and in the locker room. Sergei has three Stanley Cup rings. He’s won one in Washington even. He brings an amazing presence to our team.

Matt Cooke is a player that I know George has admired for a while. I wonder if he may play a little like George did – feisty, tough and with enough skill to average double-digits in goals the past six years. I can’t wait to watch him, and I know our guys can’t wait to have him on their side.

Source: http://capitals.nhl.com/team/app?articleid...mp;service=page

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Guest bigsby
Owner's Corner

Tuesday was an exciting day for our organization, acquiring three outstanding players in trades and beating a very good Minnesota team in front of an energetic crowd at Verizon Center. But I also found it enlightening to step back a bit and look at the bigger picture, comparing Tuesday's experience to the last few trade deadlines.

It certainly had a different feeling this year – a much better feeling. In many ways it also continued to validate our willingness to steadfastly adhere to our plan. Think about it: In our 4-1 victory over the Wild, we saw young players whom we acquire in prior trades leading us to victory. Brooks Laich (from Ottawa) had a four-point night with two goals and two assists, Shaone Morrisonn (from Boston) scored an important goal and Tomas Fleischmann (from Detroit) and Mike Green (draft pick from Detroit) added key assists. We had a team and a building that was clearly energized by the commitment we showed in acquiring Sergei Fedorov, Cristobal Huet and Matt Cooke.

And we had a reason to keep an eye on that out-of-town scoreboard, which is an awfully nice feeling as we embark on what should be an exciting March. Clearly times have changed. I told you change was coming, didn't I? As I think George McPhee demonstrated with his moves on Tuesday, we want to make the playoffs. To do that, we have to make up some ground. The Carolina Hurricanes are ahead of us in the Southeast Division and have proven to be a tough, battle-tested opponent. Florida and Atlanta are on our heels. But we have games in hand, and we get to play those teams two more times each.

As George has pointed out, our team has played so hard and so well the last few months, we wanted to give them every opportunity to earn a playoff berth without jeopardizing our overall plan. I think we did remarkably well. Remember, Michael Nylander, Chris Clark and Brian Pothier all have missed a significant amount of time, and we have hung tough in their absence. The hope is that the players we obtained at the trade deadline will give us the necessary extra push to make the playoffs. I have faith in our team.

I also have faith in our fan base. The energy at Verizon Center recently has been unbelievable. When you factor in the new high-definition video boards and the fans' excitement, I think the overall experience is as good as it's ever been.

Our ticket sales for full and partial plans as well as group outings are strong, and every February game drew a crowd of more than 17,000. Since Alex Ovechkin signed his long-term extension, we have seen attendance increase more than 20% from the first half of the season. There are a number of factors for that, certainly including Alex's commitment to the team. We've always seen a spike in the second half on the schedule, and the team's rise in the standings helps create ticket demand. We have also been creative and aggressive in sales and marketing strategies, especially with implementation of the Caps Student Rush program. We've also received tremendous support from sponsors for our "Click to Win" nights and from our ownership group for the new "Josh's Kids" section, both of which bring deserving children to Verizon Center to see our games.

Attendance only begins to tell the success story. Local broadcast ratings have spiked dramatically. Comcast SportsNet has enjoyed a 40-plus% improvement from last season in its ratings, and our recent game against Pittsburgh on VERSUS featured the best Washington, D.C., ratings since the network began televising NHL games in 2005. NBC has taken notice as well, picking up the March 9 game against Pittsburgh that will now start at 12:30 p.m.

The return to red, white and blue has been overwhelmingly positive. I loved the site that rated our jerseys as the second-best new design in the league, and cited our secondary logo as the best. Merchandise sales are among the best in the league when you look at what's sold through NHL.com, and that doesn't even include the jerseys purchased through our special preorder last summer. Alex Ovechkin's jersey is, predictably, one of the best sellers in the league.

Speaking of Alex, the last two months have seen him earn some praise that's been overdue, I believe. That might seem silly to say about a two-time first-team NHL All-Star and a Calder Trophy winner, but people always seemed to praise him as a pure goal scorer. Now, more and more recognize him the way we do – as the best player in the NHL.

Alex is earning acclaim for his leadership, for his two-way play and for the ways that he makes his teammates better. And he's still the best goal scorer the league has seen for a while – the only other players to score at least 45 goals in each of their first three seasons were Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy and Luc Robitaille.

Needless to say, we're thrilled to have him signed for the next 13 years. Alex is the cornerstone around which our Stanley Cup championship teams will be built. The talent that surrounds him is looking better and better as well. Consider this: if Alex leads the league in goals and Mike Green leads all defensemen in goals, they'd be the first teammates to pull that off since Mario Lemieux and Paul Coffey in 1988-89.

Green is a great success story this season, as he has blossomed under coach Bruce Boudreau. He is among a great group of young players who we look forward to watching grow up together. Guys like Alexander Semin (20 goals in 47 games), Nicklas Backstrom (battling for the rookie scoring lead) and Jeff Schultz (plus-5 and playing 18 minutes a night) have made significant contributions already, and we expect others will in the near future.

Part of Tuesday's excitement was that we made key acquisitions without sacrificing the future. There was – and is – a lot of affection for Matt Pettinger in our organization, and we wish him the best back home in Vancouver. The fact was, especially with his struggles offensively this year, we weren't sure how he would fit in next year's plans.

We are excited to see how the players we obtained will perform down the home-stretch of the regular season. We will have the opportunity to see them first-hand and see if they would fit in our plans moving forward. First and foremost, however, we feel that they will help our quest for the playoffs, and that's the most important thing on our minds right now.

We got a sense of just how good Cristobal Huet is when he shut us out less than a month ago, and he was rock-solid in his Caps debut, posting a 4-0 shutout at New Jersey. This is one of the best goaltenders in the league – an All-Star last season – who was available at a price (Anaheim's second-round choice in 2009) we couldn't turn down.

Cristobal and Olie Kolzig give us two elite goaltenders. Much has been made about our goaltending situation, one which I see as more of a luxury than a problem. If there's one thing we've learned about Olie in 19 years, it's that he's a professional first and foremost. I had no trepidation about his reaction to this move, and his performance Tuesday night confirmed it. He'll play his heart out, as he has throughout his entire career, and we have another elite goaltender to compete with him for time.

Brent Johnson has been an outstanding backup to Olie Kolzig, and his importance shouldn't be diminished. George – in consultation with our scouts and goalie coach Dave Prior – just felt that the price was too good for Huet, and that's something that the NHL media echoed across North America.

Sergei Fedorov is a player I've always admired, and hearing Alex, Alexander and Viktor Kozlov speak about him, I know I am not alone. Much has been made of how Sergei will impact them, but I think he will impact our entire team. He'll help the power play, the penalty kill, the second line (which is missing a key piece in Michael Nylander) and in the locker room. Sergei has three Stanley Cup rings. He's won one in Washington even. He brings an amazing presence to our team.

Matt Cooke is a player that I know George has admired for a while. I wonder if he may play a little like George did – feisty, tough and with enough skill to average double-digits in goals the past six years. I can't wait to watch him, and I know our guys can't wait to have him on their side.

Source: http://capitals.nhl.com/team/app?articleid...mp;service=page

talk about pride of ownership. ;)

i'd like it if gillett (gainey, especially after the trade deadline!?) did something like that but i can't imagine it would be as eloquent. i guess the habs don't need a reassuring blurb as ticket and merch. sales never seem to wane but it was a good read.

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Guest 1970 Habs

Huet fitting in with new club

Don't be shocked if Alexander Ovechkin has already walked into George McPhee's office and asked the Washington Capitals general manager why in the world he made that trade for Cristobal Huet. "Well, last game I scored four goals on him," the Russian star joked to NHL.com.

Who could forget the night Ovechkin broke his nose, required stitches in his lip after getting a face full of puck, and still proceeded to score four goals, including the overtime winner against Huet in a 5-4 Caps win against the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 31?

A beaten-up and smiling Ovechkin is one of the lasting images of this NHL season, but that was more than a month ago, and Ovechkin is smart enough to realize his four goals against Huet was more aberration than norm for the Capitals' newest goalie.

That Washington already had a No. 1 in Olaf Kolzig -- and one of the League's top backups in Brent Johnson -- didn't stop McPhee from nabbing Huet for a future second-round pick at the deadline last week. Humor aside, Ovechkin is thrilled to have Huet, because he's knows the goalie can help the Caps in their surprising push for a playoff berth.

Huet blanked New Jersey, 4-0, in his Caps debut last Friday night, pushing aside all 18 shots he faced. Kolzig was in net the next night for a 3-2 loss to Toronto, but Huet was back between the pipes for Monday's 10-2 shellacking of the Boston Bruins when Ovechkin tallied his third hat trick of the season. However, after making 20 saves, he left after the second period due to mild back spasms.

Heading into Wednesday's game against the Sabres, the Caps are second in the Southeast Division with 70 points, three points behind first-place Carolina. Plus, Washington has a game in hand on the Hurricanes. "We're not in a bad spot here," Huet told NHL.com before beating the Devils at the Prudential Center. "Basically we have nothing to lose. We just have to make a push to get a spot."

Huet never imagined he'd be in this position this season. Next season? Who knows? He's set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1 and he'll be a hot commodity on the market, possibly more attractive than Kolzig, also a pending UFA.

However, this season, Huet was supposed to be in Montreal, backstopping that legendary team deep into the playoffs. That all changed at noon on trade-deadline day, Feb. 26, when Montreal GM Bob Gainey pulled off the shocker of the deadline. Gainey sent Huet to Washington and handed rookie Carey Price the No. 1 job in Montreal, which comes complete with the pressure of taking the Habs deep into the playoffs, possibly all the way.

Huet, like the rest of the hockey world, was blown away. "You should ask them why they did that," he said. Looking back on it, Huet actually sensed a move was coming. Since Price returned from Hamilton of the AHL, Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau was playing the hot-goalie card. Win and you stayed in. Lose and you sat. However, after practice last Monday, Carbonneau told the goalies that Price was going to play Tuesday against Atlanta even though he lost the previous game. "I sensed that either the rest of the season was going to be long for me," Huet said, "or something like a trade might happen."

Twenty-four hours later, he was on his way to D.C. "It's always good when a team wants you," Huet said. "It's a fresh start for me." And it's an exciting addition for the young and rapidly improving Capitals.

"He's very quick, and he's good with rebound control," Bruce Boudreau told NHL.com. Boudreau coached Huet in the AHL when they were both in the Kings organization. "When he's on, he's really, really good. He's had his off days in his life, but if we can clear that second shot, he's going to stop the first one."

Still, acquiring Huet adds a level of stress to Boudreau's job. Now he has three capable goalies to juggle, which is rare for any hockey coach at any level. Boudreau doesn't seem overly concerned. "We have two good goalies I believe, but this makes us three good goalies," the coach said. "It'll be tough to get them all work, but it makes us a better team, I believe."

The Capitals players also believe the team is better today than it was last week. "It's probably tough on the three guys, but it never hurts to have as much depth as you can," Caps defenseman Tom Poti told NHL.com. "If one guy gets hurt, we have another guy who can step in and not miss a beat."

Huet isn't worried about what can easily be perceived as a goalie controversy, especially in Washington, where many young fans have grown up with Kolzig. He's been a Capital since 1989 and the team's No. 1 since 1997. "I have a lot of respect for (Kolzig) and I think he's done so much for the organization," Huet said. "He's been a class act. He's welcomed me. He's been very friendly and he knows we have to work together to get the job done. It's the same for Brent. We're like a team within the team. Whoever plays, it's not in our hands. We just have to do our best."

Huet then stressed that winning with the Caps is all he's focused on right now. "I'm happy to have a new chance," he added. "People believe in me here." Even so, Huet's not naive. He realizes this is a time of uncertainty in his NHL career, almost as if he's hit a crossroads. He's 32 and basically playing for what could be his last big contract.

At least Huet already knew his future wasn't in Montreal, not with Price already in the fold. However, if the Caps choose to throw money at him instead of Kolzig this summer, there's a chance he'll just be keeping the net warm for the eventual emergence of prized goaltending prospects Semen Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth.

"It is what it is," Huet said. "I don't want to think too far ahead. I would like to play well here for myself and the team. It's that simple. We'll see after this season." Nevertheless, by nabbing Huet -- as well as forwards Sergei Fedorov and Matt Cooke in separate deals -- at the deadline McPhee made it known to his team and its fans that in Washington the present matters just as much as the team's future.

The team that has finished 14th in the Eastern Conference each of the last three seasons is ready for some playoff hockey. For Ovechkin, that comes at a price. "He told me, 'No more four goals, not even in practice,' " Ovechkin said.

Source: http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app/?service=page&a...rticleid=355811

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