Good afternoon from the press box at the X. Sorry for the blog delay, but I was working the Washington room. Had a great conversation with a couple players, including Eric Fehr, who gave me a little more insight into whom Justin Falk, one of his good friends from Winnipeg, is.
Also talked to some Washington players on a story I'm working on in a few weeks that should be fairly entertaining. GQ star Alex Ovechkin, or "OVI8" as his blue sticks say, as usual was bubbly and full of personality.
He said he wasn't disappointed Jose Theodore wasn't starting tonight because Theodore knows Washington's "weapons." No offense to Jose, but "Advantage Washington."
We've seen the Wild shut Washington's stars down before, but any time a team ushers out Ovechkin and Semin and Backstrom and Green and Fleischmann and Laich and Carlson, I'll pick the shooter over the goalie any day.
Apparently major stat problems last night in Carolina. Washington's PR guy handed coach Bruce Boudreau a final gamesheet this morning and Boudreau handed it back and said, "I'll go on record and say Ovi played more than eight minutes."
Also, Matt Bradley apparently played 37 minutes last night!!!
Funny line, but Caps forward Jason Chimera reminded me today his belief that Wes Walz's OT goal vs. Columbus a few years back was "No goal." Remember, that was the game where the puck rolled out of Walz's pants after Chimera put Walz into the goal.
First injury updates:
Guillaume Latendresse is out with a groin. Chuck Kobasew skated and appears as if he'll play. Antti Miettinen is sick and is a gametime decision. If he can't play, callup Casey Wellman will play. Colton Gillies is definitely in for Latendresse. Cam Barker will be given a third game off because of his groin, meaning Clayton Stoner plays.
If Miettinen doesn't play, I've got no idea of the lines. If he does play, it looks like no lines will change, except for Kobasew moving up to play with Matt Cullen and Martin Havlat and Gillies playing with Kyle Brodziak and Brad Staubitz.
As for the brewing Havlat-Todd Richards duel, that again was the point of today's article. Say what you want about the tactics of Havlat's agent, but in the overall grand scheme of things, what today's article demonstrates clear as day is an overriding tension between coach and his highest-paid skater.
I asked about Havlat twice in the press scrum with Richards:
1) "First off, we’re playing the Washington Capitals. I can’t believe this is the first thing we’re talking about. I’ve got no comment on what’s going on. He can handle it the way he wants. Preparing for Washington. And that’s the last I’m going to say about it."