Knee-Jerks & Notes: Caps-Habs, 1/31

Montreal Logo - image from TSN.caKnee-Jerk ReactionsThe Caps met Montreal for the second time in three nights. Given that the early headline on NHL.com was “Habs Go for Home-and-Home Sweep,” the Caps had something to prove Thursday night. They also were seeking to avoid consecutive losses in regulation under Bruce Boudreau.
Good crowd, good ice, two streaking teams, and a crammed press box.

  • The game started off with a high-stick hello — apparently the Canadiens thought they’d need to smack Ovechkin in the face with a stick in order to send a message. The only thing louder than the outrage on that hit was, lamentably, the “O” during the anthem.
  • Great stuff attempt on that first power play by Laich. If only it went in.
  • The RDS feed was on in front of us (pucksandbooks is yapping away with all his Hershey buddies in the house while I do the game work), and it appeared that Brashear went to the box for “rudesse,” which apparently means “roughing” in Habs-speak. We’ve seen worse infractions during a Metro ride. Especially this season.
  • It was Hershey night at the Phone Booth (Josef Boumedienne and Sami Lepisto were signing autographs before the game, then watched the game from the press box), and even Coco arrived to help Slapshot with mascot duties.
  • What a slapper by Ovechkin! Any harder and that would’ve taken Huet’s head off.
  • Season ticket holder Pat Sajak is in the house. Although he didn’t look too enthused at being highlighted in the center ice scoreboard. What we wouldn’t give for his seats…a ceramic dalmation, perhaps?
  • Thank you, lack of Montreal defense, for Ovechkin’s second goal of the night. Too bad that was immediately followed up with Montreal’s first goal of the game.
  • Quintin Laing is an absolute workhorse out there, despite a lack of ice time in this game (six minutes in the first two periods). But we already knew that.

Hershey Bears Logo

  • Montreal is getting a team back in the QMJHL next season, after a five-year absence. The St. John’s Fog Devils have been sold to a Montreal businessman. Speaking of the Q league, Capitals’ prospect Mathieu Perreault is on a 20-game scoring streak!
  • Courtesy of the Caps Cribs segment: Quintin Laing and his wife have the cutest little boy, who sleeps in the closet in their apartment. As Laing explains, “It’s a very big closet.”
  • There are three Russian journalists in the press box tonight. The game’s first five goals scored were by Russian players, so the journalists were understandably beaming.
  • Ladies, get out the stilettos — Hockey ‘n Heels is coming back in February! (Note: wearing heels is optional, and probably not a good idea if they do the on-ice shot tutorial again.)
  • Brashear has had an impact on the ice tonight — and several Montreal players have felt that impact.
  • And the hits just keep on coming! What a physical game this is — no shortage of glass-shaking or open-ice collisions tonight.
  • Ovechkin’s first hat trick at home: through the defender’s legs, up over Huet’s left shoulder, into the cage at about 170 mph, and back out the cage almost to the blueline. He sure enjoys playing against Montreal. No wonder their press was begging him to sign there.
  • Guillaume Latendresse broke up all the Russian goal-scoring with the Habs’ third goal.
  • The lack of a whistle leading to Montreal’s fourth goal is sure to be a hot topic during this game’s post-mortem.
  • There are hat tricks and then there’s what Ovie accomplished Thursday night: a four-goal, bash ’em and blur-by-’em “one for the ages” (that’s Mike Vogel’s post-game quote) feat of dominance, in front of a sizable contingent of Montreal press, and ESPN’s Scott Burnside, that may go a real long way to forging the Gr8’s Hart Trophy award. Oh, and he did it all with a broken nose. That contract’s beginning to look really good!

Post-game reactions

  • Comcast’s Lisa Hillary asked Ovie if Tuesday night’s disappointment fueled his outburst tonight. Not so much, apparently. “My girlfriend [I knew] was coming,” he said, beaming. “That’s why,” he added chuckling.Washington Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau
  • Olie Kolzig: “I think I might set a record for lowest save percentage with a winning record.”
  • Gabby on Ovie: “He’s an amazing person.”
  • “What was going through your mind when they tied it?” the head coach was asked. “Exactly what was going through my mind was we’ve been up 3-0 four times and they’ve come back to tie it … but we’ve won every game. That’s the first thing I thought of. So I said, we’re, ok!” [press room erupts in laughter]
  • More Gabby: “I thought it was a game we absolutely dominated the first 30, 35 minutes. They only had 9 shots … Coaches have always said get a hit early and get into the game, and he [Ovechkin] loves the challenges and you could see him going after Komisarek more than Komisarek was going at him. That’s a big boy, and when you play as much as Alex does, I mean, it doesn’t seem to tire him, and that’s good for the Capitals.”
  • On not losing consecutive games and its meaning: “It means they can play with anybody they want … We don’t have the consistency of the Detroit Red Wings or anything, but when we put our minds to it, play the way we’re supposed to play, and when we get the good goaltending like we got tonight, we’re a pretty tough team to beat.”
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11 Responses to Knee-Jerks & Notes: Caps-Habs, 1/31

  1. vt caps fan says:

    That game last night was one of the most remarkable individual games I have ever seen. AO was hitting people, setting up Kozlov’s goal (not to mention his first goal, he set it up himself), and FINISHED! WOW! The hat trick goal was amazing; I had a guy at work tell me how impressed he was with that goal and he doesn’t like hockey.
    If this team can maintain a lead, and learn to play better team D for 60 minutes they’ll be very DANGEROUS! But, we know they are a young team, so mistakes are to be made. If they can minimize the Defensive zone mistakes, we’ll be ok.
    Lets beat the Thrash

  2. WFY says:

    I wore my Caps sweater to work today I’m so giddy about Ovie’s performance last night.

  3. Victor says:

    FWIW, that was Ovie’s second hat trick at home. OK, so his first was during a pre-season game his rookie year, but I think it should count because it was against Pitt.

  4. Dez says:

    Hell of an effort last night. No idea how the ref didn’t blow the tying goal dead before it squirted free, but I think what amazed me most was just the sheer exuberance of everyone in the building after the game winner. Wouldn’t say the place was packed, but it was pretty full, and when that puck tickled the twine for the W, felt like it was 1998 and Ottawa or Buffalo was in town again.

  5. Jordana says:

    Did they announce at the game when Hockey N Heels would be this month? I can’t find any mention of it on the Caps website.

  6. Jordana- I only caught a glimpse of the announcement on the Jumbotron, but I thought the date was either Feb. 26 or 27. I’m sure more info will be forthcoming soon.

  7. JR says:

    I’m glad you mentioned that “O” thing again. The blogosphere is almighty and powerful. Could we possibly force these HILLBILLIES to acquiesce and SHUT THEIR MOUTHS during the anthem? Thank you.

  8. jeff says:

    as a Habs fan i can only say WOW!
    the habs didn’t play thier game
    even though they came cack down 3-0
    and 4-2 with only minutes remaining
    but even if they had played better
    Ovee One had that game burnig in his eyes, the cameras were one him all night on the Caps bench and he had this crazy look in his eyes like
    a man possessed- a demon on skates.
    He was pissed about the 4-0 beat down the Habs laid on his team a few nights earlier and he came out for blood. Good for him, He is exactly what hockey needs. I as well as every hockey fan am very excited to see this guy play. Go Caps. Make the playoffs, Just don’t play the Habs.

  9. Roger says:

    I agree Sajak did not look happy on the jumbotron. Probably because IIRC they were playing Alex Trebek’s Jeoprady theme song while showing him.

  10. Roger! You are so right- that didn’t even occur to me! Good observation.

  11. Joe says:

    Good, I’m glad I’m not the only one who was screaming “WHISTLE?!” at the television set last night.

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