First off, I hope all of you sports fans had a wonderful and safe holiday weekend! HM spent the weekend shuttling between two different tournaments in two states for the twins and almost got into a shouting match with some parents (their home state will remain unmentioned to protect the innocent) who thought that they should've been wearing the stripes. Let's just say that some of these hockey parents would've fit in perfectly with Tony and the gang hanging outside of Satriales butcher shop -scary. Our kids did get the chance to see Mike Knuble and Alex Semin skate before our game at Kettler on Sunday - hope to see them back very soon.
So forgive me for being out of commission for this weekend's Caps action but I did hear the Backstrom game winner on my trusty XM radio on the way home from the rink.
Tonight the boys headed down south to Raleigh to face their Southeastern foes, the Carolina Hurricanes, who've been struggling and have had a bad rash of injuries, among the injured is their Cup-winning goalie Cam Ward. So the Caps faced Michael Leighton in net while Jose Theodore got his first start in quite a few outings. The boys came out of the gate a little slow and the Canes lit the lamp first with a backhand goal from Joe Corvo. No worries for the Caps, as Nick Backstrom (who had an absolutely stellar evening) tipped one in to tie it two minutes later. But after those two scores, the first period got a little weird in more ways than one. Canes' scorer Joe Corvo went down (apparently with a cut from a skate) after an accidental run in with Karl Alzner. Of course the game's big story was the major penalty and injury (severity as of now is unknown) to Alex Ovechkin. As AO was going in for a hit on Tim Gleason, he came in low and went knee on knee sending both players down in a heap. But Ovie stayed down for quite some time in obvious pain and then needed assistance leaving the ice, to the dismay of Caps fans worldwide. The knee-on-knee drew an automatic five-minute major and game misconduct, his second in a week after the boarding call last week against Patrick Kaleta. We should know more on the extent of his injuries tomorrow and HM will be keeping her ears to the ground for the latest. As of 9:16 p.m., this was the message I received from the Caps' PR staff: Alex Ovechkin was injured in the first period of this evening’s game at Carolina; the Washington Capitals do not anticipate having an update on Ovechkin’s status until tomorrow. This latest offense could definitely draw additional punishment from the League - we'll have to wait and see.
The guys regrouped after the loss of their top player and Eric Fehr scored late in the first courtesy of a lovely Backstrom feed. End of the first period: Caps 2 - Canes 1
The second period saw a great effort from Jose Theodore as the Canes saw two power plays. Nick Backstrom netted his second goal to give him three points on the night and give the Caps a two goal lead. End of the second period: Caps 3 - Canes 1
Carolina's Tim Gleason might have been out for some revenge early in the third as he laid a major hit on not-so-large Mathieu Perreault and headed off for a seat in the box as a result. Tomas Fleischmann had an outstanding backhander that would have given the boys a 4-1 lead but Michael Leighton stopped him dead in his tracks. The Canes' tempers started boiling over in the final period as Andrew Alberts gave his team another boarding call for face-washing a guy in a white sweater. The party just deteriorated from there as Erik Cole pretty much mauled Brooks Laich with no call and then a complete melee erupted in front of the Cane's crease with most of the action taking place between Tim Gleason and young Tyler Sloan (who both took a seat). Gleason got a 10-minute misconduct for his part in the scrum. Eric Fehr got charged with a high-stick with less than two minutes left leaving his pals short-handed. In the flurry of power play shots that followed, Jose Theodore made a magnificent glove save on the Cane's Eric Staal. Matt Cullen wound up and blasted one past Theo with 15 seconds left to come within one goal but it was not enough. Great game for Jose as well as Nick Backstrom against a feisty Canes team! Final score: Caps 3 - Canes 2
And the bonehead play of the year goes to a fellow Southeastern conference player from the Florida Panthers team (who we'll see on Thursday). Check out this craziness from Keith Ballard as he takes out his own goalie in a hissy fit:
Wow - HM is thinking he may need to take up meditation (or find out where Sean Avery took his anger management classes)...